Posts Tagged “education”

If you’re thinking about declaring your major and wondering which industries are forecasted to have the most growth and job opportunities for the next few years, then check out MSN’s predictions for the 5 most marketable degrees.

Nursing

With an average starting salary over $52,000, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nurses can look forward to an increase of approximately 470,000 jobs between now and 2016.

Computer/Information Science

With starting annual salaries hovering around the $60,000 mark, computer science grads claimed the No. 1 fastest-growing occupation in the country — network systems and data communication analysts — with the field expected to add over 160,000 jobs between now and 2016.

Engineering

While the financial and housing sectors crumble, those entering the engineering market are still finding decent jobs and decent pay, especially in the areas of computer and project engineering.

Economics

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, two of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations require economics or business-related degrees to break in, and the average starting salary is $53,000.

Education

The National Educational Association estimates that in the next decade, more than 2 million new teachers will be needed to replace retirees and tend to increasing student populations. The field is especially ripe for bilingual, special education, math and science educators.

And the least marketable degrees (at least for the next few years) according to MSN are Print Journalism, Advertising, Architecture, Real Estate, and Film Studies.  Of course, just because these are less marketable doesn’t mean these fields are non-existent.  I’m taking my own advice here (as a filmmaker and writer) to follow your heart but know that the job market in these fields will probably be a little leaner and tougher in the near future.

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The New York Times published a startling article today discussing the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s biannual report, and I have to admit the findings are pretty scary.  There are certainly immediate implications for my husband and I as we produce our documentary film about students who are low-income and first generation college-going, but really the college-going future of our country effects all of us in both personal and national ways.

“If we go on this way for another 25 years, we won’t have an affordable system of higher education,” said Patrick M. Callan, president of the center, a nonpartisan organization that promotes access to higher education. “The middle class has been financing [college education] through debt. The scenario has been that families that have a history of sending kids to college will do whatever if takes, even if that means a huge amount of debt. But low-income students will be less able to afford college. Already the strains are clear…The share of income required to pay for college, even with financial aid, has been growing especially fast for lower-income families, the report found.”

Reading this article, I could certainly relate.  Like a lot of low-income students who see higher education as their ticket to moving up the social ladder, I was willing to work my way through school and go into debt just to get that college diploma.  But as financial aid decreases and tuition at public and private universities continue to rise at unprecedented rates, more and more students are getting priced out of college by the everyday costs of living or balk at the idea of going into debt for school. I’m still paying off my original $45K student loan for four years at Columbia which now hovers around $10K, and while I don’t regret the choice I made, carrying that burden of debt certainly has created its own set of worries and limitations. And even though student loans are still available for college, in our current recession, it just doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do.

But the reality is (and as the article states), we need more citizens to achieve higher education in order for America to remain competitive in the global market.  Those of us who know how important education is to the future of our country have to arrive at a solution to make higher education accessible and affordable to the untapped talent in the lower class who feel the cost of going to college is just too great. We as a nation will pay the price if we don’t figure out a way to invest in our greatest commodity: people.

If you’re interested in learning more about our documentary film, check out the First Generation website and blog, and I’d love to hear any ideas or thoughts you might have on this issue of college affordability.

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