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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

Trying to decide which college major is right for you? If you're unsure of what you'd like to study, it can help to know which jobs will be available to you come graduation day.  

Business News Daily put together this guide to different career options based on the top popular college majors and degrees listed in USA TodayForbes 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 simply 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
  • 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 like the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders.

Sure, 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.

You might immediately associate a degree in communications with journalism, but not all communications majors go on to become writers. A major in communications can be extremely versatile and apply to many different fields outside of journalism, including business, advertising and marketing, education, media broadcasting, public relations, theater and performing arts, government and politics, technology, health care, international relations, law, social and human services, labor relations, and research, according to the New Jersey Communication Association.

Some of the careers that fall into these fields are:

  • Admissions counselor
  • Corporate relations officer
  • Events planner
  • Hospitality manager
  • Speech writer
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Lobbyist
  • Media buyer
  • Drama coach
  • Speech teacher
  • Playwright
  • News writer or director
  • Copy editor
  • Newscaster
  • Campaign director
  • Political aide
  • Health educator
  • Translator
  • Lawyer
  • Mediator
  • Consumer advocate
  • Recruiter

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.

According to the Cawley Center, these are 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

Essentially, computer science majors can do anything from fixing computers and developing websites to working for the government, so there's something for everyone no matter where your interests lie.

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. Actually, according to the American Economic Association, law school is "a common destination for recent graduates in economics" — but it's definitely not the only other career path for economics students. 

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. 

Engineering may not seem like a major with a lot of job versatility, but there are so many categories that fall under the broad engineering umbrella that it's almost impossible not to find something that fits your skills and interests.

According to the career center at the University of Denver, engineering is generally broken down into four main categories: electrical and/or electronic, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering. Engineering degree holders often work in fields like 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

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

Majoring in English and literature may seem to some like a waste because it's one of those courses of study that doesn't always guarantee a job (whereas students who major in fields like engineering and computer science often have better luck in the job market), but the truth is, 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 Department of English at the University of Washington, 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 copy writer
  • Consultant
  • Lobbyist
  • Speechwriter
  • Events coordinator
  • Teacher or tutor

You can find more career options here. [See Related Story: The Best Colleges to Study Entrepreneurship ]

Many people assume that history majors will go on to be teachers or researchers, and while those are great jobs for history buffs, the skills that students develop as history majors can be used in many fields.

Along with working as an educator (both at schools and historical sites or museums) or a researcher, the American Historical Association notes that students with undergraduate degrees in history can work in fields like 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 that they don't need to learn mathematics because 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 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.

Not all political science majors go on to actually become politicians. In fact, there is a wealth of career options open to political science majors. According to the American Political Science Association, political science 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 in such fields as law, business, international organizations, nonprofit associations and organizations, 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 on the APSA website.

Not all psychology majors obtain a doctorate and become licensed psychologists and therapists — many of them take the skills they acquired as psychology majors and apply them to other careers where understanding people is essential to success. This can include everything from customer service to criminal investigation, so there really is an option for everyone.

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, to put it simply, 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, teaching and higher education, according to the University of Notre Dame Department of Sociology.

The University of Notre Dame notes that while many sociology majors go on to get advanced degrees and become sociologists, graduates with bachelor's degrees often get jobs outside of the discipline that use their interests, experiences 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 careers on the University of Notre Dame website.

Like English majors, art majors (both visual and performing arts) are often told that they won't be able to get a job. However, artistic skills can be applied to many career fields. Art majors are more than just painters, illustrators and photographers — 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 at 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
  • Book cover designer
  • 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 at the University of Maryland

Brittney Helmrich
Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.