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Top 10 Careers for College Grads to Consider

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This is the U.S. Department of Labor blog post authored by Lia Gallitano.  These career paths were selected based off of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data.  For more information, please visit the Labor Department's Occupational Outlook Handbook.

College graduation season has ended, and recent grads are hitting the job market. And everyone seems to be asking the question, “What career paths are offering the best opportunities for me right now?” University of California, San Diego’s annual “Hot Careers for College Graduates” list helps answers this question. These career paths were selected based off of our Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data on median annual salary, current employment, projected growth through 2020, and workplace characteristics.

Check out these top 10 careers from the list. For more detailed information, take a look at our Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

1. Software Developer—Systems Software

This job, in a nutshell: Develop underlying systems that run the devices or control networks
Median annual salary in 2012: $99,000
Projected growth through 2022: 23% (Average growth rate for all occupations is 11%)

2. Software Developer—Applications

This job, in a nutshell: Develop programs that do specific tasks
Median annual salary in 2012: $90,060
Projected growth through 2022: 20%

3. Market Research Analyst

This job, in a nutshell: Help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.
Median annual salary in 2012: $60,300
Projected growth through 2022: 32%
Did you know? Although a bachelor’s degree is all that’s required for this occupation, top research positions often require a master’s degree. Also, strong math and analytical skills are essential.

4. Accountant/Auditor

This job, in a nutshell: Ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. They also assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently.
Median annual salary in 2012: $63,550
Projected growth through 2022: 13%
Did you know? Certification within a specific field of accounting improves job prospects. For example, many accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).

5. Networks/Computer Systems Administrator

This job, in a nutshell: Manage computer networks day-to-day
Median annual salary in 2012: $72,560
Projected growth through 2022: 12%
Did you know? Most employers only require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science, but some employers require a postsecondary certificate.

6. Elementary School Teacher

This job, in a nutshell: Teach children
Median annual salary in 2012: $53,090
Projected growth through 2022: 12%
Did you know? In addition to a bachelor’s degree, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

7. Computer Systems Analyst

This job, in a nutshell: Design computing solutions for organizations
Median annual salary in 2012: $79,680
Projected growth through 2022: 25%
Did you know? A bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field is common, although not always a requirement. Some firms hire analysts with business or liberal arts degrees who have skills in information technology or computer programming.

8. Management Analyst

This job, in a nutshell: Help improve efficiency of organizations
Median annual salary in 2012: $78,600
Projected growth through 2022: 19%
Did you know? To help improve job prospects, the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation is something to consider for this occupation.

9. Public Relations Specialist

This job, in a nutshell: Manage public image
Median annual salary in 2012: $54,170
Projected growth through 2022: 12%
Did you know? Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

10. Insurance Sales Agent

This job, in a nutshell: Sell insurance
Median annual salary in 2012: $48,150
Projected growth through 2022: 10%
Did you know? Although most employers require agents to have a high school diploma, many agents have a bachelor’s degree. Agents must be licensed in the states where they work.

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