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Career Success! Discover the Fastest-Growing Professions and Their Associated College Degrees.

Finding career fulfillment in a fast-growing profession can begin with the right bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

Even when unemployment is low, finding a good job can be hard. That’s why it’s helpful to know which professions are most in need of employees and which college degrees can help you start or advance your career in one of those fields. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some of the occupations that are growing fastest by percentage of job growth and some of the occupations experiencing the largest growth in the number of available jobs.

Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners provide direct patient care, typically under the oversight of a physician. They work in a wide number of medical fields including primary care, obstetrics, and gerontology.

Career Success! Discover the Fastest-Growing Professions and Their Associated College Degrees.

  • Expected Growth: The number of nurse practitioners is expected to grow by 36% from 2016–26.*
  • Best Degrees: A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN degree) is considered a prerequisite for becoming a nurse practitioner. If you want to advance as far as possible in your nursing career, you may want to consider earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Registered Nurse
As the backbone of the healthcare industry, registered nurses (RNs) care for patients, educate the public on matters of health, and help manage hospitals and clinics.

  • Expected Growth: 437,000 new RNs are expected to be hired from 2016–26.
  • Best Degree: While you don’t need a college degree to become an RN, the National Academy of Medicine wants 80% of the nursing workforce to hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by 2020. As such, earning a BSN is a very good choice for RNs who want a successful career.

Financial Manager
Financial managers help individual clients plan for both short- and long-term financial goals, working with retirement savings, educational savings, and investments in stocks and bonds.

  • Expected Growth: The number of financial managers is expected to grow by 18.7% from 2016–26.
  • Best Degree: An MS in Finance can give you the understanding of risk-management and financial systems you need to succeed as an advisor, and it can help you prepare for the CFP® Certification Examination.

Accountants do a lot more than just help people with their taxes. They work in every industry—public and private—helping to track and manage budgets and the inflow and outflow of funds.

  • Expected Growth: 140,300 new positions for accountants and auditors are expected to open up from 2016–26.
  • Best Degrees: A BS in Accounting is an excellent degree if you’re seeking an entry-level accounting job. It can provide a strong foundation in accounting principles and practice, and it can help you prepare for the Certified Public Accountant exam. However, to reach your full career potential, you’ll likely want to earn an MS in Accounting, which can help you gain expert-level skills.

Software Developer
In an age of apps and the internet of things, software developers are essential. They conceive of and design the programs that keep our modern world running smoothly.

  • Expected Growth: 253,400 new positions for software developers are expected to open up from 2016–26.*
  • Best Degrees: A great way to enter the technology field is with a BS in Information Technology. This degree can help prepare you for a wide range of IT careers, including software development. If you’re looking to take your career further, an MS in Information Technology can give you additional, expert-level skills and increased credibility.

Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts help keep our networks up and running. They work on the internal systems within organizations’ IT infrastructures and on the external systems that link the world together.

  • Expected Growth: More than 28,000 new positions for information security analysts are expected to open up from 2016–26.*
  • Best Degrees: You can enter the field of information security with a BS in Computer Information Systems. However, most analysts possess advanced knowledge, which you can gain through a Master of Information Systems Management (MISM).

Marketing Specialist
New technologies and, specifically, social media are revolutionizing the world of marketing. Marketing specialists work to maximize the potential of new media and strategically use older media to reach target consumers with the right messaging.

  • Expected Growth: 136,000 new positions for marketing specialists/marketing research analysts are expected to open up from 2016–26.
  • Best Degrees: Two different business degrees can help you gain the expert-level knowledge you need to succeed in marketing. An MS in Marketing can put you in position to innovate within the marketing field, while a Master of Business Administration (MBA degree) can provide you with strategic business skills, which can help you analyze markets and apply advanced business theory to marketing problems.

What’s the Best Way to Earn a Degree?

If you’re considering earning a degree in order to start or advance a career in a fast-growing profession, you should include online universities in your college search. Why? Because online education provides a number of benefits you can’t typically find at campus-based colleges and universities.

One of the top advantages of online universities is that they allow you to complete the majority of your college education from home. Plus, earning a degree online can give you the flexibility you need to continue working full time and/or taking care of other responsibilities. Unlike campus-based classes, online classes don’t meet at specific times of the day. Instead, online courses let you attend classes when and where it works best for your schedule.

On top of that, you can earn a degree online from universities with accreditation. Many accredited online colleges offer a wide number of degrees, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Through online learning, you can find the right degree program from the right accredited university and gain the convenience and flexibility you need to successfully earn a degree.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Fastest Growing Occupations, on the internet at National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.

†Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupations With the Most Job Growth, on the internet at National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.

‡Nelson, L.,, Report: 80% Of Nursing Workforce Should Have A BSN By 2020, on the internet at


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