Some career choices more certain in ever-changing market

Samantha Kerns

High school came and went and the college adventure is about to begin. One question many students face is what major to invest thousands of dollars in. The ever-changing job market can be a tricky business, but certain fields still promise a bright future for graduates.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, numerous factors determine what jobs are considered hot in the market. Society is living longer, retiring later and pursuing college degrees at a higher rate than past generations.

Technology is just one factor determining the next round of hot jobs. Shifts in demographics, business trends and consumer behavior also affect the changing market.

“The job outlook is great for these jobs in the computer field,” Michael Gershe, academic adviser for the College of Technology, said. “We are becoming more and more dependent on computers, whether it is gaming, movie making, or in an office setting. Students should not find it difficult to find a job once they graduate.”

The most popular technology jobs include software developers, data warehouse managers, web developers, project managers and application architects.

Another field graduates shouldn’t have difficulty finding a job in is the medical field. As the baby boom generation prepares to retire, experts predict a high demand for medical jobs such as pharmacists, nurses and physicians.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that five out of the 10 fastest-growing industries are health-care related. Individuals with a background in both pharmaceuticals and technology are in wide demand because of the growing trends within the job market.

The Bureau also reports that biomedical engineers are expected to have employment growth that is much faster than the average for all occupations through 2014.

Hot jobs in the medical field include pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse managers and registered dietitians.

“There are around 950 students in the nursing sequence in our campus system,” Curtis Good, academic program director for the College of Nursing, said.

“Typically people who go into nursing have wanted to do this for quite a long time.”

With technology and medical-related jobs on the rise, public relations positions are also growing in number. According to a 2006 ranking by Money Magazine, public relations specialists ranked in the top 20 careers based on various factors such as job market, salary and work environment. Companies have realized the importance of good consumer relations and public relations practitioners are in high demand.

“The great thing about public relations is that it’s everywhere,” Jeanette Drake, associate professor of public relations, said. “Every organization realizes that it needs PR, which is one of the reasons that it is one of the top 20 careers. Wherever you want to go in the country or world, you can be sure there are PR jobs.”

The public relations field offers graduates various outlets to explore. Agency, nonprofit and corporate public relations industries require constant contact with the general public and these positions require skilled employees. Kent State’s News Flash Magazine reports that the university’s job placement rate among public relations undergraduates is 92.5 percent. Drake said that graduates from Kent State’s public relations program graduate with both a degree and a strong reputation of having top-notch skills and practical knowledge.

Careers in the business field, including financial services and sales managers, are in high demand thanks partly to the 2002 passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which tightened corporate accounting standards. After corporate scandals broke out, competent accountants were in high demand to prevent further problems in the industry.

Teaching positions are also included in the list of the occupations with the largest projected job growth in the years to come. Locations are constantly trying to fill positions and graduates have a good chance of receiving a job offer.

“When out-of-state schools come to Teacher Interview Day at Kent State, they can hire on the spot because there are so many positions available and needing to be filled,” Carla Owens, assistant director of Career Services, said.

Contact career services reporter Samantha Kerns at [email protected].