10 Emerging Majors for a Cutting Edge Education

Posted on May 13, 2010 by Site Administrator

If you’re thinking about going back to college, getting an online degree or adding to your existing education and work experience, consider the job market and the emerging opportunities that may not have existed when you first went to school. This list of 10 cutting edge college majors will prepare you for some of the most important and lucrative work in media, communications, computer science, aeronautics, environmental science, health care, and other developing fields.

  1. Emerging media: From social media creators and managers to corporate bloggers to podcast producers, new media is a truly cutting edge field that is still being developed and explored by innovative talent. Nearly every industry is affected by emerging media projects that can reinvent business and marketing plans, pulling in more customers and making business processes much more efficient and profitable. Cappex.com calls it an updated communications degree "for the Internet age."
  2. Nanotechnology: GoCollege.com lists nanotechnology as one of the newest college majors that can prepare you for "the more sophisticated job options" in years to come. As a nanotechnology student, you’ll find solutions to aeronautics problems, perhaps revolutionizing commercial air travel as well as space exploration.
  3. Botany or Horticulture: As medical marijuana becomes more accepted in certain parts of the country, job postings for grow instructors, consultants and legal advisors are becoming more frequent. Oaksterdam University in Oakland, CA, charges students just $200 for lessons in cooking marijuana for medical purposes.
  4. Forensic Science: Forensic science is a major that has been around for several years, but it’s becoming a more popular field of study and a more lucrative career choice. Forensic science technicians are expected to experience job growth in the next several years and make competitive salaries, while forensic science researchers and lab supervisors may make even more. As new technology is developed for the field, new, experienced professionals are needed to effectively use it to solve crimes.
  5. Microtechnology: Microtechnology majors may also be called network systems or data communications majors, and the emerging field is an umbrella field for nanotechnology. Microtechnology students will learn about developing technology for microchips, computers, cell phones, security devices and other communication and information systems.
  6. Health care and nursing: The United States continues to experience a nursing shortage, and health care and nursing degree programs are constantly being reinvented to meet this need. As more technology is being introduced to the field and as the baby boomer generation gets older and requires more medical attention, nursing jobs will grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the number of job openings for home health aides will grow by 50%, and similar jobs will experience significant growth as well.
  7. Medical assistants and health technicians: Besides nurses, a huge emerging field in the health sciences is in medical technology. Medical assistants and health technicians are needed to manage information technology and new medical technology in clinics, hospitals, dentists’ offices, and other health care facilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly 17,000 physical therapist aide positions will open up in the next few years, and nearly 164,000 new jobs for medical assistants will be created.
  8. Homeland security: Homeland security is an emerging major that covers many niche areas, including immigration, cyberterrorism, disaster planning, and more. Small colleges and major universities are beginning to offer homeland security programs to meet the new demands of these industries as new jobs are created and new technology is developed for the protection of the country.
  9. Environmental and eco-friendly studies: Another emerging field that incorporates science, business and technology is environmental studies. Eco-friendly or green majors can encompass many different fields of study, from ecology to law to engineering to environmental policy. Students around the country are enrolling in sustainability programs that prepare them to rework and redefine the ways in which we do business, find and use natural resources, shop, and manage our environment.
  10. Biotechnology: This cutting edge field can be a great fit for students interested in medicine, science, research and genetics, but the effects of their work will impact us all. Biotechnology programs around the country are increasing in number and expanding to train students to develop vaccines, food additives, pharmaceuticals, gene therapy systems, and even new plants.
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