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Industry Shortfalls: Career Choices With High Opportunity

Knowing where the job demand is—and having the right college degree—can help you find career success.

As unemployment declines, the U.S. economy is increasingly moving into a labor shortage that some experts believe could last as long as 15 years.* In a number of industries, there are already more available jobs than there are qualified workers to fill them. It’s a problem for business. But it can be an opportunity for you.

If you have the skills to help fill a labor shortage, you’re more likely to enjoy a higher salary and career success. The key is knowing where the biggest labor shortfalls are—and what you can do to qualify for the available jobs. Here are five careers that are forecast to have lots of job growth in the coming years, along with the college degrees/graduate degrees that can help you land the best jobs in those fields.

Industry Shortfalls: Career Choices With High Opportunity

Cyber Security Worker

With so much information stored on internet-connected devices, cyber security has become increasingly important. In fact, the need for cyber security is outpacing the number of people who have expertise in the field. A recent industry survey found that the world will face a shortfall of 1.8 million cyber security workers by 2022.

Best Degrees for a Cyber Security Career:

Nurse Practitioner

Like physicians, nurse practitioners are trained in patient care and can, in most states, treat patients on their own. Since nurse practitioners work in nearly every medical specialty, the profession is helping alleviate the increasing strain on our healthcare system. However, the demand for nurse practitioners may soon eclipse the supply. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of available jobs for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners will increase by 31% from 2016 to 2026, a rate that’s much faster than average.

Best Degree for a Nurse Practitioner Career

Data Scientist

Big data is big business. And data scientists are the brains and brawn behind the data analytics movement. They not only develop ways to mine the huge amounts of data stored on computer systems, they help analyze the results, providing new insights that fuel new innovations. It’s a job that requires specialized knowledge. But it’s knowledge too few people have. By 2018, the global demand for data scientists is expected to exceed the supply by 50%.§

Best Degrees for a Data Scientist Career

Healthcare Administrator

The U.S. spends over $3 trillion a year on healthcare, which accounts for nearly 18% of the nation’s GDP.** Keeping such a massive system running requires a lot of managers at every level, from private clinics to hospital systems to insurance companies. However, the healthcare system is so big that the pace of hiring is straining demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of available jobs for medical and health service managers will increase by 20% from 2016 to 2026, a rate that’s much faster than average.††

Best Degrees for a Healthcare Administrator Career

Tax Manager

If you’ve done your own taxes recently, you know how complicated the U.S. tax code is. It’s even more convoluted for businesses, which is why tax managers are in high demand. In a recent study by Glassdoor, there were more than 3,300 open jobs for tax managers in the U.S.‡‡, a number that’s hard to fill with the current availability of skilled workers.

Best Degrees for a Tax Manager Career

What’s the Best Way to Earn a Degree?

If you want to put yourself in position for one of the nation’s most in-demand jobs, you’ll likely want to earn one of the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees mentioned above. But if you’re a working adult, you may be concerned that earning a degree isn’t feasible. The good news is, thanks to online education, it can be.

When you choose an online university for your higher education, you’ll enjoy several advantages. First of all, you can take online courses from home, meaning you don’t have to worry about being close to or even driving to a campus. Secondly, online classes are typically offered on a flexible schedule, allowing you to attend class at whatever time of day works best for you. It’s what makes earning a degree online such a popular choice among working adults.

Best of all, there are plenty of good colleges offering degrees online. If an online school has accreditation, you can be sure it’s meeting rigorous educational standards. And many accredited online colleges offer as wide a variety of degrees as you’ll find at campus-based colleges and universities. Putting online universities on your list of colleges is a great idea if you want to earn a degree that can help launch or advance a career in an in-demand profession.

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

*M. Hartman, 15 Years of Labor Shortages Predicted for the U.S. Economy, Marketplace, on the internet at

†N. Ismail, Global Shortfall of Cyber Security Workers to Reach 1.8 Million in 5 Years, Information Age, on the internet at

‡Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, on the internet at

§A. Gershkoff, How to Stem the Global Shortage of Data Scientists, Tech Crunch, on the internet at

**A. Martin, et. al., National Health Spending: Faster Growth in 2015 as Coverage Expands and Utilization Increases, Health Affairs, on the internet at

††Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, on the internet at

‡‡A. Picchi, The Best 11 Jobs in America for 2017, Moneywatch, on the internet at

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,