Good Graph Friday: The Majors With The Best Job Prospects

Hey college students, do you want a job? Then you may not want to study architecture or the arts.

A new analysis of government data finds that recent college graduates with degrees in fields such as health and education have much lower unemployment rates than those who earned degrees in architecture and the arts.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce crunched government data from 2009 and 2010 to find out which majors are the most likely to land you a job right out of college.

In general, the researchers found that people are much more likely to get a job out of college when they choose a major that puts you on a specific career path, such as business. By contrast, people who get more general degrees in things like humanities and liberal arts may find it tougher to land a job, especially given the current job market.

“Your degree matters less and your major matters more,” said Anthony Carnevale, the Georgetown center’s director.

That’s a change from past thinking, when conventional wisdom held that just getting a college degree would be enough to set you on a lucrative career path.

Still, even some very specialized degrees don’t guarantee a good job. Saying you’re an architect may impress people (or at least George Costanza always thought so), but Carnevale said it’s long been a very competitive field.

“It’s like being a chef,” he said. “You may end up being a cook instead of a chef.”

The recent slump in construction has made the job market for architects even worse, and that could last for years. The unemployment rate for recent architecture grads was 13.9 percent, according to the report.

The findings also show that there continues to be strong demand for people with degrees in engineering, math and some computer science fields.

Still, the overall unemployment rate for people with computer and mathematics degrees was a little high, at 8.2 percent. Carnevale said that’s because there are a growing number of less technical computer information specialists degrees, and hiring in those fields slows down in recessionary periods.

The unemployment rate for education grads also was particularly low, at 5.4 percent. Although there have been cuts in education in recent years, Carnevale said it’s continued to be a good bet for jobs because there are lots of older teachers who are retiring.

The good news for all college grads, regardless of major: As time goes on, unemployment rates generally go down.

“The truth is, if you get a four-year degree … you’ll do OK,” Carnevale said. “It’ll be worth some money.”


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  • by crystalfair Location: ny on Jan 8, 2012 at 08:37 PM
    Common guys the universities are not for everyone these days, it is very costly just accept, only alternative now is something called High Speed Universities where you pay much much less but get degree faster
  • by Wharf Rat Location: OIB on Jan 8, 2012 at 06:59 AM
    Lots of college grads get to ask one of life`s most important questions, "you want fries wid dat?"
  • by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2012 at 04:40 AM
    But the accurate part is that it's hard to find a job and you need certain skill sets rather then a general overview of things.
  • by Obama Snake Oil co Location: Washington on Jan 8, 2012 at 04:32 AM
    So Obimbo is taking credit for the Christmas season hiring that goes on every year? Desperate times, require desperate measures.......
    • reply
      by Yep on Jan 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      I'd love to see our economy turn around, but I'm waiting for the January and February numbers to come out before I get any hope going. The local and nat'l news media isn't even mentioning all the temporary hiring that was done in December and the fact that it may have something to do w/ the lower numbers.
    • reply
      by Whats really going on? on Jan 8, 2012 at 04:10 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      Where in the article did it say Obama was taking credit? Where in the article did it even mention Obama? You must be some whack job that is obsessed with Obama, or is it a Manlove thing?
  • by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2012 at 04:12 AM
    One area where the money keeps rolling in is to Barrack Obama's employees of the Federal Government.
  • by BLAH on Jan 8, 2012 at 03:15 AM
    Man the liberal obama media is really trying to paint pretty picture here,while the hole time none of this is good news.
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