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Build Your Career Get the Job

The Best Jobs You Can Get With Your College Major

The Best Jobs You Can Get With Your College Major
Credit: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock

Choosing a college major can be a life-altering decision — your future career basically depends on it. But trying to decide what industry best suits your skills and aspirations can be a difficult task. There are so many college majors to choose from, making the decision daunting and confusing if you have multiple career interests. However, it helps to know which specific jobs are available in each field.

Business News Daily put together a guide to different career options based on the top popular college degrees listed in USA Today, Forbes and The Princeton Review.

Note: Many of these career paths and professions may require additional degrees and training, beyond an undergraduate degree. 

For many students, a major in biology is a stepping stone to medical school and becoming a doctor, but biology majors can go on to pursue a number of different (and even surprising) career paths.

According to the American Institute of Biological Sciences, biologists can work in many different fields, including research, education, health care and environmental conservation. Suggested careers include:

  • Researcher
  • Veterinarian
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Zoo or aquarium biologist
  • Park ranger
  • Teacher or professor
  • Biotechnologist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Science adviser (for politicians and lawmakers)
  • Scientific products or pharmaceutical salesperson, publicist or marketer
  • Nutritionist
  • Bioeconomist
  • Computational, mathematical or theoretical biologist
  • Science writer or journalist
  • Artist or illustrator (for textbooks and other materials)

Biology majors can also work on public health campaigns, as an educator for the public (at science museums, zoos, aquariums, nature centers and more) or for charitable organizations such as the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders.

Studying business is a great first step to becoming an entrepreneur, but starting a company isn't the only career-path option for business majors. According to the University of Denver's career services department, a major in general business can expose you to a "wide range of business disciplines and methodologies." Some career options include:

  • Job development specialist
  • Quality control coordinator
  • Management analyst
  • Equal opportunity representative
  • Merchandiser
  • Loan officer
  • Human resources professional
  • Customer service manager
  • Public relations manager
  • Financial analyst
  • Stock broker
  • Recruiter
  • Purchaser
  • Researcher

You can view more careers for business majors on the University of Denver's website, or check out this list of top careers for business majors at Business Insider.

A major in communications can be extremely versatile and apply to many different fields, including journalism, business, advertising/marketing, education, media broadcasting, public relations, theater/performing arts, politics, technology, health care, international relations, law, social and human services, labor relations, and research, according to the New Jersey Communication Association.

Specific career paths that fall into these fields include:

  • Journalist (digital, print or broadcast)
  • Public relations representative
  • Events planner
  • Hospitality manager
  • Speech writer
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Lobbyist
  • Media buyer
  • Drama coach
  • Speech teacher
  • Playwright
  • News writer or director
  • Copy editor
  • Campaign director
  • Political aide
  • Health educator
  • Translator
  • Lawyer
  • Mediator
  • Consumer advocate
  • Recruiter
  • Social media manager

You can find a more exhaustive list (broken down by field) of communications careers on the NJCA website.

Technology is constantly growing, advancing and evolving, and that means careers for computer science majors are also on the rise. According to the Cawley Career Education Center at Georgetown University, a computer science degree gives students many skills outside of just technical knowledge — like critical thinking and communication skills, both of which are useful in a variety of jobs.

Essentially, computer science majors can do anything from fix computers and develop websites to work for the government, so there's something for everyone no matter where your interests lie. The Cawley Center lists some of the careers computer science majors can pursue:

  • Software programmer
  • Technical writer
  • Software tester
  • Teacher or professor
  • Network administrator
  • E-commerce developer
  • Website designer
  • Computer software trainer
  • Technical analyst
  • Consultant
  • Database administrator
  • Internet entrepreneur
  • Hardware programmer
  • FBI or CIA agent
  • Telecommunications expert
  • Artificial intelligence quality expert

The most common career aspirations for students in this field are law enforcement and prosecution. However, there are a variety of paths you can take with a degree in criminal justice. Rasmussen College lists the following as popular job options for criminal justice majors:

  • Security guard
  • Park ranger
  • Private detective/investigator
  • Probation officer
  • Correctional officer
  • Police patrol officer
  • Security manager
  • Mental health counselor
  • First-line police supervisor
  • Paralegal

Many economics majors go into their field of study intending to work in banking, business or finance, but that doesn't mean every aspiring economist will (or even wants to) wind up on Wall Street. These are just some career choices for economics majors, according to the University of Wisconsin's Department of Economics:

  • Consultant
  • Investment banker
  • Hedge fund administrator
  • Equity trader
  • Financial adviser
  • Economic analyst
  • Housing development aide
  • Urban planning research assistant
  • Purchasing agent
  • Public affairs specialist
  • Market research analyst
  • International trade specialist
  • Sales representative
  • Merchandise analyst
  • Government relations adviser
  • Community affairs adviser
  • Program analyst
  • Real estate development researcher
  • Mortgage specialist
  • Appraiser
  • Asset manager

Economists can also find careers in the health care industry, and they make outstanding entrepreneurs, too, as their skills and education give them a solid foundation for starting their own business.

There are so many career choices that fall under the broad engineering umbrella that it's almost impossible not to find something that fits the skills and interests associated with this major. According to the University of Denver's career center, there are four main categories of engineering: electrical and/or electronic; chemical; civil; and mechanical.

Engineering degree holders often work in fields such as aeronautics, electrical industries, mining industries, government agencies, higher education and transportation. Some of the top careers include:

  • Acoustical engineer
  • Nuclear engineer
  • Aeronautical engineer
  • Operations engineer
  • Electronics instructor
  • Aerospace engineer
  • Teacher, professor or educator
  • Geologist
  • Environmental engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Industrial engineer
  • Licensing engineer
  • Safety engineer
  • Decontamination engineer
  • Physicist
  • Ceramic engineer
  • Quality control engineer
  • Fire protection engineer
  • Mechanical engineer

You can also check out this list of the 20 highest-paying jobs for engineering majors at Business Insider.

English and literature may seem like topics of study that don't always guarantee a job, but a degree in English can be very valuable. English majors have a very wide range of career options available to them; it's just a matter of finding the right path to follow.

According to the University of Washington's Department of English, these are just some of the career opportunities English majors can pursue:

  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Screenwriter
  • Critic
  • Casting director
  • Television reporter
  • Public relations assistant
  • Technical writer
  • Corporate librarian
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Consultant
  • Lobbyist
  • Speechwriter
  • Events coordinator
  • Teacher or tutor

Additionally, English majors may consider becoming a publisher, literary agent or even blogger. You can find more career options here. [See Related Story: The Best Colleges to Study Entrepreneurship]

While teaching or research are great jobs for history buffs, the skills that students develop as history majors can be used in many fields. The American Historical Association (AHA) notes that students with undergraduate degrees in history can work in fields such as communications and information management, too. Other career ideas from the AHA include:

  • Writer or editor
  • Journalist
  • Documentary editor
  • Producer of multimedia material
  • Archivist
  • Records manager
  • Librarian
  • Information manager
  • Lawyer or paralegal
  • Litigation support staff

History majors can also do research for cultural and historical organizations and think tanks, work as historians for big corporations (as an expert on the company's history) or nonprofit associations, or do advocacy work for foundations, according to the AHA.

Some students think they'll never use algebra or calculus in real life, but math majors know this just isn't true. In fact, mathematics majors can go on to have some of the most lucrative careers out there, so don't underestimate the importance of solving for X or figuring out fractions.

According to the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Department of Mathematics at Duke University, there are plenty of interesting career options for math majors that span the following fields:

  • Education
  • Biomathematics
  • Operations research
  • Computer science
  • Actuarial science
  • Finance
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Statistics

The math department at the University of Houston also suggests careers with the government (especially in national security, which is the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States, according to the university's website), meteorology, software engineering, information science, economics and more.

Another cool career path for math majors? Cryptography, which combines math and computer science, and is the practice and study of hiding information (like computer passwords and ATM card data), according to the MAA. Duke University also notes that a strong background in mathematics is necessary for jobs in the social sciences.

There are a wealth of career options open to political science majors other than being an actual politician. According to the American Political Science Association (APSA), poli-sci majors "gain the writing, communication, analytical and data skills that are valued in a wide spectrum of potential careers."

The APSA noted that graduates with a political science degree can work for federal, state and local governments, as well as international organizations, and nonprofit associations and organizations. They can also work in fields such as law, business, campaign management and polling, journalism, education, electoral politics and research. These career paths include jobs like:

  • Activist or advocate
  • Attorney
  • Political data archivist
  • City planner
  • CIA agent or analyst
  • Corporate public affairs adviser
  • Journalist or editor
  • Foreign service officer
  • Foundation president
  • Intelligence officer
  • International research specialist
  • Mediator
  • Legislative analyst or coordinator
  • Policy analyst
  • Teacher or professor
  • University administrator
  • State legislator
  • Public opinion analyst
  • Immigration officer

You can find more potential careers here.

You could go on to earn your doctorate and become a licensed psychologist or therapist — but many psych majors take their skills and apply them to other careers where understanding people is essential to success. This can include everything from customer service to criminal investigation.

According to the University of Northern Iowa, some career options for psychology majors include:

  • Academic counselor
  • Applied statistician
  • Art therapist
  • Caseworker
  • Child development specialist
  • Teacher or professor
  • Criminal investigator
  • Customer service representative
  • Employee relations specialist
  • Financial aid counselor
  • Polygraph examiner
  • Public health director
  • Personnel recruiter
  • Employment interviewer

For the University of Northern Iowa's full list of psychology career options, go here.

Sociology is the study of society and human relationships, so it's no surprise that sociology majors have a wealth of careers to pursue. Possible fields include business management, consulting, corporate administration, insurance, medical administration, politics, realty, religious life, social work, and teaching and higher education, according to the University of Notre Dame Department of Sociology.

While many sociology majors go on to get advanced degrees and become sociologists, graduates with bachelor's degrees often get jobs outside the discipline that use their interests, experience and skills to their advantage.

Some potential jobs for sociology majors include:

  • Human resources manager
  • Public relations staffer
  • Recruiter
  • Case manager
  • Community aide
  • Family planning worker
  • Fundraiser
  • Housing worker
  • Resident planning aide
  • Youth outreach worker
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Admissions counselor
  • Alumni relations worker
  • Teacher or professor
  • Legislative aide
  • Corrections officer
  • Parole officer
  • Consumer researcher
  • Census research assistant
  • Interviewer

You can find more career options here.

Art majors are more than just painters, illustrators and photographers — the field of visual and performing arts also covers dance, theater, film, music and more. While many art majors will pursue careers as professional photographers, painters, actors, dancers, singers and musicians, others will find ways to incorporate their passions into alternative creative jobs.

According to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, visual and performing arts majors pursue many different careers, including:

  • Graphic designer
  • Web page designer
  • Cartoonist
  • Animator
  • Gallery owner or administrator
  • Teacher or professor
  • Museum technician
  • Corporate art consultant
  • Reporter or photojournalist
  • Auditions coordinator
  • Studio manager
  • Production assistant or producer
  • Stage manager
  • Booking agent or manager
  • Promotions or publicity assistant
  • Recording engineer
  • Music or sound editor

You can view more career options here.

Additional research and reporting by Brittney Morgan (Helmrich).

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela is a senior at Rowan University with a major in writing arts and a double minor in journalism and psychology. She is President of Her Campus magazine and I Am That Girl at Rowan, and contributes to other writing platforms on and off campus. She expects to graduate in 2017 and continue her freelance work with Business News Daily. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org