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    Best Degrees in 2021

    December 23, 2020 | Staff Writers

    Degree Finder
    BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

    What jobs do you think will be taken away by machines first in the future? 

    Several industries and fields of work are starting to lose their place to machines, including accountants, lawyers, traders, data-entry operators, and more. 

    Employees are anxious to see when artificial intelligence, automation, and algorithms will make their jobs obsolete. But there’s still hope that many sectors and jobs will continue to need to hire people.  In fact, some will even thrive. 

    But you might need to earn some degrees to ensure that you can get into an industry and profession that will thrive. So, what are the best degrees in 2021? 

    The answer to this question lies with different industries and fields of work that are growing fast and will continue to grow for years to come. 

    In this article, we’re going to look at the best degrees in 2021 and the industries that will continue to see growth in 2021 and beyond. 

    Fastest Growing Industries and Fields of Work

    It doesn’t matter if you’re searching for your first job or switching to a different field; you need to make sure that there are jobs available after you finish your training or degree. There are no guarantees. Below you’ll find a list of the fastest growing job opportunities that are expected to have job openings in years to come. 

    Solar Photovoltaic Installer

    Solar photovoltaic installers maintain, install, and assemble solar panel systems. Most of the solar panel systems are located on rooftops and other high structures. This job will start to grow in demand as solar energy becomes common. 

    Photovoltaic installers have to understand complex mechanical and electrical equipment, and they need to be comfortable working outside and on their feet for the majority of the day. 

    To become a photovoltaic installer, you generally only need a high school diploma. However, several trade schools and community colleges have degrees and courses in photovoltaic installation and design. You’ll also get plenty of training on the job. 

    If you find solar energy interesting and have the mechanical skills needed for the job, this could be an excellent job for you. 

    Projected Job Growth: 63%

    Median Salary: $44,890

    Wind Turbine Service Technician

    Similar to the photovoltaic installer job, wind turbine service technician jobs will see an increase as more people turn to alternate energy. Wind turbine service technicians repair, maintain, install, and assemble wind turbines. They’re also called wind techs. 

    Wind techs must be comfortable working in tall and confined places. They will typically learn their trade by doing trade school and participating in community college courses, several of which offer associate degrees and certificates in wind energy technology.

    Projected Job Growth: 57%

    Median Salary: $52,910

    Home Health and Personal Care Aide

    As a home health and personal care aide, you’ll be assisting ill or disabled people or elderly adults who need help in their everyday lives. Aides help people with dressing, bathing, giving medications, and checking vital signs, and eating. 

    You would generally work inside a client’s home but assisted living facilities and group homes can also employ you. 

    To become a home health and personal care aide, you must receive a certification or pass an evaluation before you can work in this kind of healthcare sector; this depends on what the state requirements are. Some states may even require you to get formal training (i.e., in the classroom). 

    Projected Job Growth: 36 – 37%

    Median Salary: $24,020 – $24,200

    Occupational Therapy Assistant 

    As an occupational therapy assistant, you would be helping patients recover, develop, and maintain daily living skills. You would be working under the supervision of an occupational therapist. 

    Assistants are used to help patients do stretches and exercises and teach patients how to use adaptive equipment. They also help prepare and clean treatment equipment and areas and perform other administrative tasks (i.e., scheduling). 

    Generally, an occupational therapy assistant will have an associate degree from a technical school or community college and state licensure. They’ll also have training from previous healthcare employment and on-the-job training. You will also need basic life support and CPR certification. 

    Projected Job Growth: 33%

    Median Salary: $61,510

    Information Security Analyst

    Performing business functions in a digital age means that companies need to safeguard private data from their consumers. To minimize the risk of a data breach and protect their consumers, companies often hire information security analysts to investigate intrusions and prevent data breaches. 

    As an information security analyst, you would generally have a bachelor’s degree in some IT field of study. There are even some employers who would prefer if their candidates have a master’s degree and/or certification program and experience.

    Projected Job Growth: 32%

    Median Salary: $99,730

    Physician Assistant

    A physician assistant helps conduct physical examinations, treats and diagnoses illnesses, and performs other duties under a doctor’s supervision. 

    A physician assistant doesn’t need to go to medical school and complete a residency; they do have to complete a master’s degree program. You must also be certified before you can practice. 

    Projected Job Growth: 31%

    Median Salary: $112,260

    Physical Therapist Assistant

    A physical therapist assistant also sometimes called a PTA, aides and works under the direct supervision of a physical therapist. They help patients who are recovering from different injuries and illnesses by helping them regain their movement and manage pain. 

    To become a physical therapist assistant, you have to complete an accredited associate degree program. You are also required to become certified and licensed in all states. This means you have to pass an exam and it may also require higher education and continued classes.

    Projected Job Growth: 40%

    Median Salary: $42,980

    Mathematician and Statistician

    Mathematicians and statisticians perform a variety of mathematical functions and analyze data to solve real-world problems. Most statisticians and mathematicians will work for the government, while some will work for research institutions. 

    Most have a master’s degree in statistics and mathematics. For entry-level positions, some, especially statisticians, will only have a bachelor’s degree. 

    Projected Job Growth: 26% – 31%

    Median Salary: $91,160 – $105,030

    Genetic Counselor

    A genetic counselor will assess the risk of inherited conditions and advise patients about their risk of genetic disorders, like hemophilia and cystic fibrosis. They also provide information and educate patients about the testing options for a specific disorder. 

    Generally, a genetic counselor will have a master’s degree in genetic counseling or genetics and should be board certified. They’re mostly employed by medical laboratories, doctors’ offices, and hospitals. 

    Projected Job Growth: 27%

    Median Salary: $81,880

    Speech-Language Pathologist

    As a speech-language pathologist, you’ll treat and diagnose speech communication and even swallowing disorders in adults and children. They’re also called speech therapists, and they work in residential care facilities, outpatient offices, schools, and hospitals.

    Generally, you would have a master’s degree and are licensed by the state they practice in. 

    Projected Job Growth: 27%

    Median Salary: $79.120

    Business Administration

    A major in business administration is also good to have because it is currently one of the more in demand majors. With this degree, you can find a high-paying career with above average growth prospects, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

    With a degree in business administration, you can become a sales manager, business consultant, financial analyst, market research analyst, human resources specialist (HR), loan officer, and training and development specialist, among others.

    A bachelor’s degree is required for these positions to obtain and develop the skills you need and build on your foundational business knowledge.  

    Depending on the career you choose under the blanket of business administration, you can make an average salary of between $141,000 and $147,000, especially if you choose sales or financial management position.

    Projected Job Growth: 19% and continuing to grow

    Median Salary: $141,000

    Other Fastest Growing Industries and Fields 

    There are several more jobs in energy, healthcare, and technology that are growing fast. Below are some of the other fast-growing jobs we couldn’t include in the list above. Next to each job title, we’ve included the expected growth rate. 

    • Prosthetist and Orthotist: 20%
    • Operations Research Analyst: 26%
    • Market Research Analyst: 20%
    • Nurse Practitioner: 26%
    • Actuary: 20%
    • Medical Assistant: 23%
    • Respiratory Therapist: 21%
    • Phlebotomist: 23%
    • Software Developer: 21%
    • Physical Therapist: 22%
    • Mental Health, Behavioral Disorder, and Substance Abuse Counselor: 22%
    • Family and Marriage Therapist: 22%
    • Massage Therapist: 22%

    Some industries and fields of work are expected to grow the most in the next few years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the industries that will see the most growth include mathematics, education, energy, and home health care. 

    It’s also expected that low-wage and high-wage jobs will see the most growth, whereas median annual wage jobs are expected to grow at a lower rate. 

    Finally, not every growing job will require higher education. Most jobs will only require a high school diploma because they’ll train on the job in healthcare, green energy, and more. 

    Companies Who Will be Hiring the Most in 2021

    If you’re still trying to figure out the best degrees in 2021, researching jobs that will have a high demand is a good start. Figuring out the sectors that have the most opportunities and projected employment ensures that you’re spending your time in something worthwhile, and you may find your dream job. 

    Because of the changing job trends and current booming industries, below, you’ll find a list of high-demand jobs in 2021. 

    Hybrid Roles

    This technically isn’t a job, but there’s a good reason why it’s at the top of this list: the economy might still be recovering, but companies are starting to try to regain their footing. 

    This means that they might not have the budget to hire multiple people and need somebody who can wear several hats. Hybrid roles will be one of the most in-demand jobs in 2021, but you’ll need to be dynamic and have soft and technical skills. 

    An example of a hybrid role would be an administrative assistant who also helps with HR and operations duties. 

    Digital Marketing Specialists

    Many companies have had to transition into the digital field. For example, brick and mortar stores have had to turn into eCommerce platforms. Because of this shift, many companies require digital marketing professionals. 

    These specialists are kind of like marketing professionals, only their area of expertise is with online platforms (i.e., social media). Working as a digital marketer means that your job will include anything from Google ads to social media to SEO. 

    To be successful, you’ll need to have experience working in the digital world and a general marketing background.

    Graphic Designers

    Graphic designers are going to be one of the most highly demanded jobs in 2021. Companies will want to start running ambitious marketing campaigns, which means that they’ll need someone to actualize marketing concepts. 

    If you want to be part of a career path that allows you to express your creativity, this is a good job for you. Part of your role will include creating layouts for project illustrations, creating logos for companies looking to rebrand and for startup companies, designing campaign art and user interface, and so much more. 

    Marketing Strategists

    In 2021, companies will be looking to make a complete comeback after the coronavirus pandemic, which is why marketing strategists are going to be in high demand. In this job, you’ll be responsible for helping different companies navigate the marketing field. You’ll be making marketing strategies, identifying the best messaging and creative concept, and executing your strategy. 

    Because you’re a consultant, you get to choose if you work with an agency or if you freelance. Keep in mind that most companies prefer to look for marketing strategists with a few years of experience, which includes working with an agency or in the marketing department of a single company. 

    Data Analysts

    More than ever before, companies are starting to realize how important data is. They now want to figure out consumer habits, both offline and online, so they can use this information to produce creative marketing strategies. 

    This is where data analysts come in. The job of a data analyst includes gathering data from different platforms and interpreting it to find trends and patterns. They then give a recommendation to the company about how they can improve their business from the data collected. 

    This is one of the best degrees in 2021, and because of this, there are several educational programs dedicated to data science. To succeed as a data analyst, you have to be familiar with different CRMS and other reporting tools and Google Analytics. 

    The technology industry sees the most employee turnover, so there are typically more jobs available in this industry. 

    Other Job Demand Predictions for 2021

    Other jobs that are going to be in high demand in 2021 include: 

    • Web engineers
    • Accountants
    • IT professionals
    • HR professionals
    • Operations managers

    If you want to get involved in the business service sector, read this to learn more about the fastest-growing jobs. 

    Fields Where New Employees Are Always Needed

    Research has shown that one of the biggest problems with job recruiting is having enough applicants to fill the position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the unemployment rate continues to go down, the number of job openings has been going up, but this creates a big talent shortage for several different companies. 

    Which fields always need employees? The list below sheds some light on some of the jobs that are always looking to hire employees. 

    1. Medical professionals such as specialists, doctors, and nurses
    2. Mathematicians and scientists
    3. Skilled trades, such as plumbers, welders, mechanics, machinists, carpenters, electricians
    4. Architecture and engineering
    5. IT computer specialists
    6. Executives
    7. High-skilled technicians, such as environmental, telecommunications, health technicians
    8. Transportation
    9. Mining and construction
    10. Social service and community workers, such as social workers, therapists, and counselors
    11. Political Science

    How to Prepare for a Degree Program in 2021

    After you’ve gotten your acceptance letter to the university of your choosing, you might start wondering what you can do to prepare for your degree program in 2021. 

    To succeed in the classroom, whether online or in-person, it’s crucial that you prepare in advance. So, we’ve put together a list of the top ten things that you can do to prepare for your degree program in 2021.

    Research Tech Requirements

    You can do this by searching your program’s website or contact tech support to ensure that you have the right software and hardware for your program’s requirements. Most requirements will include a desktop or laptop computer, around two web browsers, and high-speed internet. 

    Familiarize Yourself with Your Program and School

    Even if your degree is online, you should look for ways to familiarize yourself with your program and school. You can do this by finding online social media groups that provide insight into what the program and school are like. Some schools might even hold virtual open houses for incoming students to learn about the program and school. 

    If Possible, Visit the Campus

    If you live near your university, explore the campus to learn more about the culture, build connections, and even meet with professors. This counts even if you’re an online student because you’ll still be able to go to football games and be part of alumni events. 

    Contact an Academic Advisor

    Many programs provide you with information about an academic advisor they can contact if any questions arise. They could help you register for your classes, figure out the best action plan for your program, and answer any questions you might have. 

    It’s recommended that you ask them about student involvement opportunities, student orientation, and weekly time commitments for your courses. You can even ask them about opportunities to study abroad during your degree program. 

    Attend Orientation

    Most programs and schools require or offer incoming students to attend an orientation to help them acclimate to the program and university. You might also learn how to navigate between your classes, connect with support services, and learn more about the other people in your program. 

    Prepare an Introduction

    Most universities and programs require you to introduce yourself in some way so other students and the professors can get to know more about you. Prepare a speech that covers your background as well as any professional aspirations you have.

    Design a Weekly Schedule

    When pursuing a degree, time management is going to be crucial. It’s highly recommended that you spend a few hours on certain days to do coursework and prepare for classes and using a planner or digital calendar to keep your days and coursework organized. 

    Speak to Support Systems

    Online and in-person degree programs aren’t easy, so make sure that you have people – peers, friends, and family – around you that understand how important your time commitment to your program is and have them understand that you’re not always going to be available. It’s also a good idea to keep them in the loop so they can provide you with advice and help when you feel like you’re drowning with schoolwork. 

    Find a Quiet Study Area

    Whether you’re online or in-person, it’s important that you find a place that’s distraction-free so you can study, finish coursework, and even take exams. You should make sure that there’s high-speed internet in this area so you can log into your classes online and submit work. If you’re on campus, try finding a place at home and on campus that you can study, so you have options. 

    Reach Out to Your Professors

    Contact your professors before your classes begin with any questions that you might have regarding the syllabus, class schedule or class as a whole. You can also reach out to professors to share your professional and academic goals and get to know more about your professor too. Establishing a relationship with your professor early in the semester will help you build trust and understanding during the entire term. 

    What Are Employers Doing to Attract Highly Qualified Candidates?

    So, what are employers doing to attract highly qualified candidates? Well, they need to attract, interest, and communicate to the right candidates while discouraging those that are not suitable for the role. 

    Many employers will look at the median salary offerings for a specific position and then match that rate or increase it slightly. Some then choose to also offer an employee benefit program and offer employees job growth opportunities.

    Employers are attracted to marketable degrees and these include degrees in the finance, accounting, computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, marketing, and management information systems, among the long list of other career opportunities we have already mentioned.

    Conclusion

    There are several best degrees in 2021 that are going to continue to see growth. These degrees are related to different industries and fields of work that will be hiring more people throughout 2021. 

    While some jobs might not require you to have higher education degrees, it’s important to note that several jobs do require certain degrees for you to move forward and practice. For example, you might not need a degree to be Solar Photovoltaic Installer, but a degree might help you out if you want to move up in your role. 

    Preparing for the best degrees in 2021 includes preparing for classes either online or in-person. You can prepare for the best degrees in 2021 by researching your program’s technology requirements, learning more about your program and school, get to know more about your professors, and so much more. 

    The best degrees in 2021 are going to revolve around the healthcare industry, data analysts, mathematics, business, engineering, and more. Knowing what jobs will be in the most demand will help you figure out the best degrees in 2021 that will have job opportunities in the future. 

    Hopefully, this article has shed some light on what you need to know about the best degrees in 2021. In 2021, we’re bound to see more permanent remote workers in the workforce because of the COVID 19 pandemic making anyone who could work from home, so keep this in mind when you look into the best degrees in 2021.  

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