The job market might seem dismal, but there could be a way to flip the odds in your favor—especially if you're able to return to school to get a professional degree. New research from CareerBuilder and Emsi quantifies a "skills gap" in certain fields: There are more jobs available than there are qualified employees to fill the spots. This means that graduating with certain degrees—either as an undergrad or by completing a post-graduate training program—will put you in high demand.
Computer and Information Sciences tops this list of needy fields. According to the report, in 2015, an average of 689,685 Computer and Information Science positions were posted in the U.S. each month, while only 157,591 people had graduated with a degree in this field in 2014. That leaves a gap where demand for employees puts qualified applicants in the power position.
While STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields dominate the list, they aren't the only ones struggling to find employees with the appropriate skills—there’s also a demand for employees in fields like human resources and graphic design that isn’t being met by the current outflow of graduates and job seekers.
Second only to deciding which a cappella group to join, choosing a major is the most stressful decision a college student can make. And with daily reminders about the dismal job market coming from news outlets and parents alike, that decision becomes all the more important. So whether you’re a college student or thinking about going back to school to make a career change, these programs—with the highest gap between average monthly job postings and average monthly positions filled—will be your smartest bet.
1. Computer and Information Sciences: Gap of 480,650 jobs
2. Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing: Gap of 242,884 jobs
3. Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Administration: Gap of 37,652 jobs
4. Human Resources Management and Services: Gap of 21,736 jobs
5. Electrical and Electronics Engineering: Gap of 18,959 jobs
6. Mechanical Engineering: Gap of 16,213 jobs
7. Biology: Gap of 13,980 jobs
8. Health Information/Medical Records Technology/Technician: Gap of 13,904 jobs
9. Legal Assistant/Paralegal: Gap of 10,952 jobs
10. Economics: Gap of 10,583 jobs
11. Civil Engineering: Gap of 3,057 jobs
12. Graphic Design: Gap of 2,350 jobs