Top 10 Degrees for Emerging Industries

An image of an environmental scientist for our ranking of Top 10 Degrees for Emerging Industries

Emerging industries are based on an innovative product, idea, or service that’s in its early stages of development. Economists and finance wizards track emerging industries because they’re good indicators of where the marketplace is headed in the near future. There are currently a number of emerging industries in the US that are gaining steam. The the recent economic downturn has helped us identify businesses that are poised to fill the gap for jobs that used to be the cornerstones of global commerce.

Engineering. Science. Healthcare. Education. Now is an exciting time to be picking a college major and future career track. Here are the top 10 degrees for emerging industries.

Featured Programs

1. Biotechnology

When it comes to healthcare, the future is being created as we speak. Biotechnology has moved out of the research lab and into the marketplace. As the products and services developed by biotechnologists begin to prove valuable, the industry will only continue to grow. The field at this point is so open that a remarkable variety of skills will fit. Do not think that this brand of science is limited to the traditional engineering-minded student.

How to get on board:

Biotechnology is becoming an increasingly popular degree program for students  interested in combining interests in:

  • biology
  • engineering
  • computer science

Many universities are opening degree programs in this field to fill demand for this very technical career track.

2. Environmental Engineering

Our economy is turning toward new ideas about how we can conserve and create energy. New sources of fuel will create markets that previously didn’t exist. Wind energy. Solar panels. Biofuels. Safer atomic fission. These are all ideas that once seemed a bit science fiction. Now they are starting to become more attractive alternatives to current options. Environmental engineering is also becoming a key to creating more effective living and working spaces.

Degrees in Environmental Engineering will provide students opportunities to focus on a wide array of potential career skills. It is smart to look at schools that may specialize in a field that interests you, such as:

  • alternative energy sources
  • atomic engineering
  • sustainable architecture.

3. Health Information Technology

Health Information Technology is the IT side of the recent boom in Biotechnology. We have become better at healthcare in recent years in part because we are developing systems that help doctors diagnose and assess their patients more effectively. With advances in computer science, we are also able to build databases that better  predict what type of healthcare issues are important for different locations and age groups.

How to get on board:

Health IT management programs can be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They are certainly geared toward someone interested in IT. However, these programs can also train you to support scientists who need help:

  • tracking data
  • constructing healthcare models
  • a variety of tasks fundamental to the practice of medicine.

4. Aerospace Engineering

One engineering specialty that is  in demand involves supporting advances in the transportation industry. As air travel and international commerce grow, engineers who can create and maintain aircraft will be an important part of future economic growth.

How to get on board:

An Aerospace Engineering degree program is the best way to get your foot into the door of this industry. A good program will provide internships and opportunities to help you claim your spot in the job market.

5. Pharmaceutical Sciences

Big Pharma has never failed to post big annual returns, but that only means that drug manufacturing will continue to prove itself as constantly emerging industry. The amount of work it takes to take a drug from an experiment to the marketplace is staggering. This is why effective researchers will always be in high demand.

How to get on board:

A Pharmaceutical Sciences degree is now where the undergrad begins working toward a research position in the drug manufacturing business. And hey, if you find out that you are not a fan of managing clinical research, there is always pharmaceutical sales to fall back on.

6. Physician’s Assistant

Doctors are becoming increasingly reliant on Physician’s Assistants to keep up with growing demands for care. A Physician’s Assistant is qualified to do a number of things that MD’s used to do themselves, such as:

  • performing tests and procedures
  • talking with patients
  • even prescribing medication

This is an excellent option if you’re not interested in committing to a full MD program, but you still want to be a part of the action.

How to get on board:

There are Physician’s Assistant programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. These programs can get you into the hospital or doctor’s office in a matter of years.

7. Financial Engineering

The financial engineer, sometimes called a “quant,” is becoming a key part of the finance world. This person is armed with a background in:

  • computer science
  • finance
  • economics

A financial engineer is skilled at assessing market risks and predicting future sources of revenue.

How to get on board:

Financial Engineering degrees at the undergraduate level are still very new and fairly untested. It is best to start out in:

  • economics
  • statistics
  • computer science

Work your way toward this career with a Master’s in Financial Engineering (MFE).

8. Geophysics

The boom in environmental engineering is going to require people skilled in understanding how the earth produces natural resources. Geophysics is going to continue to remain part of the backbone of our economy, even if our energy plan shifts toward alternative fuels.

How to get on board:

An education in geophysics can begin at the undergraduate level. It is a very attractive option for people who are interested in science, but also want to get their hands dirty in the field.

9. Information Technology Security

Any advance in computer science technology will be met with an equal challenge in creating better ways to secure and maintain data. IT Security degrees enjoy one of the highest post-graduation salary rates in the US, and there is no reason to think this will change in the near future.

How to get on board:

You best option is to head straight for an Information Technology Security degree program rather than generalizing somewhere in a Computer Science department.

10. Distance Education

The future of education is online. Adult learners to juggle life, work, and school by enrolling in online degree programs. Colleges and universities are looking for people with the ability to navigate IT, education, and management issues all at once. Traditional higher education administration jobs are going to start looking much different in the near future.

How to get on board:

Currently, your best bet at the undergraduate level is to get a degree in Curriculum and Instruction or Adult Education. At the graduate level, options for degrees in Higher Ed Administration are an excellent way to market yourself for these jobs.

Related Resources:

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