Choosing a major can be very stressful for any college student.
Earning an associate degree at Salt Lake Community College is supposed to set students on a path toward a job that they love in an industry that will provide for them and their family. But in reality, not all careers have an equal amount of opportunities.
While some academic degrees can lead a recipient into high-growth areas, there are others that lead into non-sustainable industries. But not all high-growth jobs require a master’s or bachelor’s degree. In fact, there are plenty of in-demand jobs available to SLCC students who are just willing to work hard.
High-growth vs. low-growth industries
According to Fortune magazine, obtaining a master’s degree or Ph.D. greatly boosts the potential for employment in high-growth industries in the future. But students who want to enter the workforce after two years still have plenty of opportunities to thrive in these growing markets.
Pursuing a degree in one of the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — is a popular choice because these industries generate a high enough salary to live comfortably. These are just some of the high-growth industries which are projected to grow between 8 and 23 percent over the next seven years.
In contrast, low-growth industries include fine arts, education, architecture and English. During the same seven-year outlook, these fields have projected growth rates between 5 and 8 percent. While careers in these areas can be fulfilling in their own right, potential job seekers may be discouraged at the possible lack of employment opportunities.
Career resources at SLCC
Career and Student Employment Services advisor Robert Ameling says that information technology and software development, healthcare, business and finance, marketing, and construction are some of the fastest-growing job industries for students to major in.
Despite the array of choices, most SLCC students stick to completing their generals.
“The general studies major is the most popular major at SLCC, especially considering that the majority of students use it to then transfer to a four-year institution,” Ameling says. “Other popular majors consist of business and health sciences.”
For students who want more help choosing a major or career path, career and employment advisors are available in the Career and Student Employment Services office. These advisors can help students with the Career Coach assessment, available on the SLCC website.
“Career Coach provides a quick review of the student’s interests based on a quick evaluation — there is a longer evaluation option too. It enables us to start a conversation about areas of interest based on the answers they provided,” advisor Leilani Clegg says.
While the number of jobs in some industries may be declining, Ameling and Clegg agree that a student’s work ethic and passion will make a big difference in landing a successful career in any field.
“All industries, regardless of their growth, hold opportunities for people who are willing to work to secure those opportunities,” Ameling says.