10 Best Jobs for College Grads in 2016

10 Best Jobs for College Grads in 2016
By Sarah LandrumIt’s going to be a big year! Besides choosing a new President for the first time, it looks like university seniors are about to cannonball into one of the best job markets of their working lives.That’s good news for everyone, but those who pursued a few choice fields will be happy to hear that even more opportunities abound for them. Here’s what the ever-reliable Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had to say about which degree-based occupations are growing the fastest.
  1. Nurse Practitioners

The field of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) includes nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. More broadly, it includes those nursing professionals who coordinate patient care and provide specialty treatment.If you’re interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, start by getting your registered nursing license and then plan on earning your master’s degree in one of the APRN fields.Between 2014 and 2024, this field is expected to grow by some 53,400 jobs, or 31%, which is much faster than the average rate of job growth.
  1. Operations Research Analyst

If you have an analytical mind and a passion for math, a career in operations research analysis might be just what you’re looking for. This field is expected to add 27,600 jobs by 2024 and grow by 30%.This type of analyst works with large companies of all types to study complex issues and solve problems using advanced mathematics.Plan on earning a bachelor’s degree in a quantitative field to get locked into an entry-level position, but be prepared to continue your education and earn a master’s if you plan on climbing even higher on the corporate ladder. In 2014, the median salary for this position was $76,660 per year.
  1. Cartographer

The field of cartography might sound like an ancient practice, but that’s only because most of us take maps for granted. Modern cartographers are as important as ever and are tasked with keeping our geographic information up to date for the purposes of regional planning, construction, emergency response, and much more.After earning your bachelor’s degree in geography, surveying, geomatics or cartography, you’ll have the opportunity to travel to the areas you’ll be mapping. Plan on buying a good pair of boots!In 2014, the median annual salary for this field was $60,930, and the field is expected to add 3,600 jobs by 2024, which equals a growth rate of 29%.
  1. Personal Financial Advisor

If you like money and the numbers that make money work, this might be the job for you. Personal financial advisors are responsible for providing advice and expert guidance on all types of personal financial issues, such as mortgages, college savings accounts, insurance, investments, estate planning, taxes, and much more.Personal financial advisors need a bachelor’s degree and can benefit greatly from a master’s degree. They also need certifications and licenses to sell certain products.By 2024, this field is expected to grow by 30% and add 73,900 jobs. In 2014, the median annual salary was $81,060.
  1. Statistician

In the era of big data, statisticians are only going to become more important. They work in a wide variety of fields, including engineering, healthcare, and business, and their job is to collect and analyze small and large data collections to solve problems or discover correlations.Aspiring statisticians should plan on acquiring at least a bachelor’s degree in a quantitative field; though, for many careers, a master’s degree is needed.The expected growth for this field is 34% by 2024 (30,000 new jobs), and in 2014 the median annual salary was $79,990.
  1. Physical Therapists, Aides & Assistants

Job prospects in the physical therapy field are expected to grow by nearly 40% between 2014 and 2024, which will lead to the creation of over 120,000 jobs. This impressive increase is largely attributed to the ageing baby boomer population, which will need more help recovering from the injuries and illnesses that are part and parcel to getting older.Physical therapist assistants and aides assist therapists directly with clerical tasks, helping to set up equipment for diagnosis and treatment, as well as helping patients feel at ease.Requirements for physical therapist assistants and aides can vary, but typically they include an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited program. Also expect to earn a license to practice your trade.The median annual wage for a physical therapist assistant was $41,640 in 2014.On the flip side, full-fledged physical therapists need a bachelor’s degree as well as a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, which usually takes three years to earn. Not to mention, a year of residency may be required in specialty areas of care.These professionals earn a median annual salary of $82,390 per year.
  1. Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

Occupational therapy is a field of medicine devoted to helping patients improve, develop, or recover basic mobility and other skills necessary for everyday life and work. Assistants and aides work under fully certified therapists to improve patients’ standard of living.In most states, occupational therapy aides and assistants must possess an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited therapy assistant program. This field is expected to add 16,800 jobs by 2024.In 2014, the median annual salary for an occupational therapist was $52,300.
  1. Audiologists

For any music lovers out there, the study of the ear might be a particularly tempting career choice. Audiologists work with patients to diagnose and treat ear problems, hearing difficulties, and even balance issues.Audiologists typically work in hospitals and physicians’ offices, but they’re sometimes expected to travel to secondary locations such as schools. To work in this field, plan on getting your bachelor’s degree in any field and then attaining a doctoral degree; be prepared to earn a license to practice in your state of residence.The average annual wage for audiologists in 2014 was $73,060. By 2024, this field is expected to add 3,800 jobs and grow by 29%.
  1. Interpreter/Translator

More and more, we’re living in a world without borders, which means interpreters and translators are expected to be in higher demand than ever. The BLS estimates that 17,500 jobs will be added to this field by 2024, representing an impressive growth rate of 29%.Interpreters can expect a median annual salary of $45,430, as well as potential employment in a variety of industries and applications. Interpreters can work in hospitals, schools, conference centers, courtrooms, and more. Employment is typically full-time, but some interpreters are self-employed and enjoy variable schedules.Native fluency in the English language is a core requirement, and schooling typically concludes at the bachelor’s degree level.
  1. Wind Turbine Technician

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the alternative energy industry, and those working in the wind power field will get to experience both an exciting transformation in the way the world uses energy and tremendous job opportunity. This field is expected to grow by a whopping 108% by 2024 and add as many as 4,800 new jobs.Wind turbine service technicians, or windtechs, are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining windmills and turbines.Be prepared to work at great heights, in the outdoors, and plan on attending a technical school for your degree. And you’ll always be learning something new, too, since employers tend to continue training after you’re hired. In 2014, the median annual salary for this field was $48,800.


Sarah Landrum is a career blogger and founder of Punched Clocks, a site for professionals seeking happiness and success in their careers. Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.


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