What are the most in-demand careers for a professional with a bachelor's degree?
We looked at the latest data to find the top careers for people with four-year degrees.
Whether you already earned a degree or you're considering going back to school, these careers offer high salaries and strong job growth potential. Read on to learn more about the best degrees for jobs.
This article draws on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes over 800 occupations. We narrowed our search to jobs with faster-than-average projected growth rates that list a bachelor's degree as the most common entry-level requirement. This method yielded a list of careers in demand in industries like healthcare, engineering, business, and technology.
Registered nurses(RNs) provide medical care for patients in hospitals, residential care facilities, doctor's offices, and other healthcare settings. They assess a patient's condition and record medical information to discuss with physicians. RNs also administer medication and treatments, and in some states they can even prescribe medication.
Nurses educate patients about illnesses and injuries, provide information on caring for medical conditions at home, and follow guidelines to protect themselves from diseases and create a sterile environment. The profession often requires shift work and irregular hours.
Many employers prefer to hire RNs with bachelor's degrees, though not always. To earn an RN license, each nurse must meet state education requirements and pass an exam. Nurses benefit from strong critical thinking skills, empathy for their patients, and the ability to communicate effectively with patients and doctors.
Demand for healthcare professionals, particularly nurses, has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. An aging population also makes nursing one of the top in-demand careers.
Type of Bachelor's Degree Needed
Median Annual Salary
Projected Growth Rate
12% (higher than average)
Financial Managers oversee an organization's financial health. They manage investments, create financial reports, and create plans to reach long-term financial goals. Financial managers analyze data to help make business decisions, which can include advising high-level executives on how to maximize profits.
Financial managers also supervise the professionals who create reports and budgets. They review financial reports to identify cost reduction opportunities and make sure the organization meets legal requirements. Most financial managers have a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in business or finance.
Strong leadership and communication skills help financial managers supervise staff and advise executives. Financial managers also benefit from analytical skills to help them evaluate data and organizational skills to work efficiently.
Professional certification can help financial managers advance their careers. Several organizations, including the CFA Institute and the Association for Financial Professionals, offer professional certifications in finance.
Software developers create and maintain computer programs, including applications and operating systems. After analyzing user needs, they design and test software programs and work closely with programmers to write code. During software maintenance and testing, software developers make sure programs function as designed.
There are a few specializations available for software careers. For example, applications software developers create custom and commercial software for computers and mobile devices, while systems software developers design systems that keep computers running.
Developers often work in teams. As a result, communication and interpersonal skills can help software developers succeed. Developers must be able to provide clear instructions to team members and collaborate effectively. The role also requires strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and software developers be technically proficient in programming and computer science.
With experience, software developers can move into roles as IT project managers or software managers. As more companies rely on technology and remote teams to operate, software developers have seen increased career demand.
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts implement security measures to protect private data and computer systems. They monitor an organization's networks for potential security breaches, investigate cyberattacks, and document damage caused by attacks. Information security analysts must also install software to protect data and conduct simulated attacks to identify system vulnerabilities.
To stay current in the field, information security analysts research IT security trends. They also determine when to upgrade security standards and recommend upgrades to managers. IT security analysts also create disaster recovery plans, which employees follow after a cyberattack.
Most information security analysts work in offices, and some positions require on-call hours. Information security analysts typically need previous IT experience, and employers may also prefer to hire candidates with professional certifications. The role requires problem-solving skills to effectively respond to security threats. Information security analysts also benefit from a detail-oriented outlook and strong analytical abilities.
Clinical Laboratory Technicians
Clinical laboratory technicians conduct medical tests to analyze body fluids and tissues. They collect samples from patients, analyze the samples with laboratory equipment, and record medical test data. Clinical lab technicians also study blood samples to count the number of cells, determine blood type, or check compatibility for transfusions.
Physicians rely on clinical lab techs to conduct tests and procedures. After analyzing samples techs communicate with physicians about the results. The role requires attention to detail and familiarity with operating medical equipment. Clinical lab technicians work on their feet for long periods, which requires physical stamina.
Clinical lab workers may come into contact with contagions or hazardous materials, so they must wear protective gear and follow appropriate procedures. In some states, a clinical laboratory technician needs a license or professional certification. Several credentialing institutions grant certifications for clinical lab techs.
Marketing and Advertising Managers
Marketing and advertising managers oversee departments that build consumer interest in products and promote a company's brand. Advertising managers also design campaigns to increase demand for products and services. Some work directly for organizations as in-house advertising managers, while others work for marketing agencies or as consultants.
Marketing managers analyze demand for products and services, develop pricing strategies, and research potential target customers and competitors. Marketing and advertising managers work closely with executives, public relations departments, and product development departments to craft their marketing strategies.
Most advertising and marketing managers have previous professional experience before applying to managerial roles. For example, a marketing manager may work as a marketing specialist first. Marketing and advertising managers rely on their creativity and analytical skills to generate new ideas and understand trends in their industry. The role also requires strong communication skills to work with colleagues and clients.
Human Resources Managers
Human resources managers oversee the needs of employees withing an organization. They manage human resources specialists, meet with top executives to discuss the organization's strategic planning and staffing needs, and coordinate the recruiting and hiring of staff. Human resources managers also oversee employee benefits programs and implement training and development programs.
When employment issues arise, including legal issues or disciplinary procedures, the human resource manager oversees the process. As a result, human resource managers need strong communication and decision-making skills. The career also requires organizational and leadership abilities.
Most of these managers work in human resources departments before moving to the management level. Earning a professional certificate from an organization like the Society for Human Resource Management or the HR Certification Institute can help professionals advance in their careers. Human resources managers typically work in office settings, and some positions may require travel to branch locations.
Industrial engineers design systems to eliminate waste during the production process. They evaluate production schedules, process flows, and output data to identify ways to improve efficiency when making a product or delivering a service. Industrial engineers also create and maintain quality control procedures to keep production running smoothly.
In fields like manufacturing, business, and healthcare, industrial engineers help companies increase efficiency and decrease waste. They may work in offices or industrial settings, and many industrial engineers work on teams to solve problems and implement solutions.
The role requires strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, since industrial engineers must identify and solve problems. Industrial engineers also need creativity and communication skills.
Industrial engineering ranks highly among bachelor's degree jobs in demand by employers. Some roles require work experience or a professional engineering license, which a candidate can pursue by earning a bachelor's degree from an accredited engineering program and passing an engineering exam.
Construction managers plan and supervise building projects. In the planning phase, they create budgets and estimate costs for labor and supplies, coordinate with architects and engineers to determine the project's construction needs, and hire subcontractors and construction workers.
During a project, construction managers must follow all legal requirements and ensure that buildings meet safety codes and any other regulations. Construction managers spend much of their time at construction sites, where they closely supervise projects. The job may require on-call hours and overtime to meet deadlines.
Most construction manager jobs require a candidate to have a bachelor's degree and work experience. The position requires strong analytical and decision-making skills, plus technical knowledge of construction methods. Construction managers must also utilize leadership abilities and time-management skills to manage teams and meet deadlines. Professionals can pursue certifications, though they are often not required.
Type of Bachelor's Degree Needed
Median Annual Salary
Projected Growth Rate
10% (faster than average)
Substance Abuse, Behavior Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Substance abuse, behavior disorder, and mental health counselors , support people managing substance use disorders, mental health issues, and behavioral problems. They offer individual and group treatment to help clients manage negative behaviors and recover from addiction.
Effective counselors evaluate patients and develop treatment plans based on client goals and readiness for treatment. They work with clients to recover from addiction and modify behavior, including working with family members to create strategies to support clients.
These counseling professionals work in mental health centers, juvenile detention facilities, prisons, and residential treatment centers. They may also find employment in private practice.
Most positions require a candidate to possess at least a bachelor's degree, and some states require counselors to hold a license. Counselors must have compassion, strong communication skills, and patience to help them empathize with clients and build strong relationships.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Degree Has the Most Job Opportunities?
Completing a bachelor's program is the minimum level of education for many jobs, especially office jobs. Some of the more versatile majors available at the bachelor's level include business, communications, and English, or you can pursue more specialized in-demand fields, like computer science or nursing.
Which Careers Will Be In-Demand in 2021?
The jobs that report high demand include managers, STEM specialists, and healthcare professionals. Project managers, nurses, and software developers also report high demand.
Which Types of Jobs Require a Four-year Degree?
Many types of careers in demand in healthcare, the technology sector, and business require four-year degrees at both the entry level and for managerial roles. Jobs in education, communications, marketing, and public relations often require candidates to possess four-year degrees, too.
What Careers Will Always Be In-Demand?
While the job market can vary with fluctuations in the economy and developments in technology, a few consistently in-demand roles include software developer, nurse, construction manager, and HR manager. Generally speaking, careers in tech, healthcare, and construction show strong growth projections.