5 of the Most Useful College Degrees of 2014

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

These days, college students are tasked not only with finding an educational path they will enjoy, but also finding one that’s practical — one that will lead to success in the job market. About fifteen years ago (in 1998), the unemployment rate among bachelor’s degree holders was only 1.9 percent.

Back then, it was a fairly commonly held belief that if you obtained a college degree, you would more than likely be successful. Although most people still think education helps you on the path to success, some people have started to wonder whether or not the benefits of a college degree outweigh the costs. Pew Research recently addressed this topic. The think-tank found that “on virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment—from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the share employed full time—young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education.” So, getting a degree is better than not getting a degree — all things considered. But, then, there’s still the million-dollar question: What is the best degree to go after?

Data published by the University of La Verne indicates that 50 to 70 percent of college students change their major at least once, and some, well, they change majors two, three, or even four times before deciding on a course of study they really enjoy. The key is finding the most useful degree for you — the degree that will not only help you get a job, but one that will help on you a variety of career paths. On the same token, it’s ideal to find something in-demand, so people with your degree are not “dime a dozen.”

Using Labor Statistics data on the fastest growing occupations, coupled with information from Payscale’s College Major ROI report and a study performed by NBC, we determined a list of useful college majors to provide a few ideas. Some of these degree options don’t necessarily guarantee the most money, but they do provide a solid foundation, decent career prospects, and a bit of variety.