Are you considering returning to school and want to earn a degree that's attractive to future employers?
Now is a good time to be practical about what you study, says Susan Heathfield, About.com's Human Resources Guide.
"With the unemployment situation the way it is right now, I would be considering what degree to get more closely than any other time in history," says Heathfield. "If you want to be employable in this economy and the future, you have to have valuable skills."
With that in mind, we asked Heathfield what degrees employers might love – and which could make them frown.
We also consulted Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, and his department's 2012 study called "Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings." With the subheadline "Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal," this report studied the unemployment rates for recent (aged 22 to 26) and experienced (aged 30 to 54) college graduates in various majors.
Using the U.S. Department of Labor's most recent U.S. unemployment rate of 8.1 percent (April 2012), we considered unemployment rates above 8.1 percent as bad, and rates below 8.1 percent as good.
Keep that in mind as you learn more about college majors employers love and hate.
Most Loved: Health Care Administration
Do you have a passion for health care but want to pursue more of a leadership role? Consider earning a degree in health care administration.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor's 2010-2020 projections, 28 percent of all new jobs in the U.S. economy will be in the health care and social assistance industry.
So it's no wonder that the "Hard Times" report found a 2.9 percent unemployment rate for experienced health and medical administrative services grads.
"The cost of health care is now 18 percent of GDP (gross domestic product), our total economic activity," says Carnevale. "It's the biggest industry we have." And because management of that industry is such a large part of it, this is an attractive degree to employers, according to Carnevale.
Most Hated: Architecture
Okay, so architecture might not be such a hated degree; it's just that there aren't many employers around to love it, says Carnevale.
Basically, it's all tied to the capital markets and the implosion of the housing market over the past few years. According to Carnevale, when Wall Street went under so did construction – which is closely linked to architecture field.
Perhaps that's why recent architecture graduates had an unemployment rate of 13.9 percent – the worst unemployment rate of all the listed degrees in the "Hard Times" report.