A Look at the Numbers: Where the Jobs are (or will be) for Graduate Students

Where are the jobsThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released some groundbreaking data for individuals considering earning a graduate degree in the 2008-2009 edition of its Occupational Outlook Handbook. It explored the future of employment in the United States to determine which industries and occupations will have the greatest need for professionals by 2016.

The BLS report underscores the benefits of earning a graduate degree, as many of the industries and occupations experiencing an increase in demand require an advanced degree. As time progresses and expectations of job candidates rise, many of the growth industries will begin to value workers with education beyond a bachelors degree. Thus, graduate degrees are likely to become the industry standard for many of tomorrow’s fastest-growing occupations.

Percent of Change in Fastest-Growing Occupations with a Graduate Degree 2006-2016

* Network systems and data communications analysts: 53.4%

* Computer software engineers, applications: 44.6%

* Personal financial advisors: 41%

* Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors: 34.3%

* Financial analysts: 33.8%

* Mental health counselors: 30%

* Mental health and substance abuse social workers: 29.9%

* Marriage and family therapists: 29.8%

* Computer systems analysts: 29%

* Computer software engineers, systems software: 28.2%

* Physical therapists: 27.1%

* Physician assistants: 27%

The BLS also lists the top five occupations experiencing the fastest growth through 2016, in terms of the degrees required for those occupations. The Bureau made a distinction between the top five occupations that would grow the fastest and those that would increase the most in actual number of jobs. We invite you to click on the occupation that piques your interest to find more about graduate program choices in that area.

First-Professional Degree

Fastest-Growing OccupationsOccupations with Largest Numerical Growth
VeterinariansPhysicians and surgeons
Physicians and surgeons



Doctoral Degree

Fastest-Growing OccupationsOccupations with Largest Numerical Growth
Postsecondary teachersPostsecondary teachers
Computer and information specialists, researchClinical, counseling and school psychologists
Medical scientists, except epidemiologistsMedical scientists, except epidemiologists
Biochemists and biophysicistsComputer and information specialists, research
Clinical, counseling and school psychologistsBiochemists and biophysicists

Masters Degree

Fastest-Growing OccupationsOccupations with Largest Numerical Growth
Mental health counselorsClergy
Mental health/substance abuse social workersPhysical therapists
Marriage and family counselorsMental health/substance abuse social workers
Physical therapistsEducational, vocational and school counselors
Physician assistantsRehabilitation counselors

Bachelors or Higher Degree, plus work experience


Fastest-Growing OccupationsOccupations with Largest Numerical Growth
ActuariesManagement analysts
Education admin, preschool and child careFinancial managers
Management analystsComputer and information systems managers
Training and development specialistsMedical and health services managers
Public relations managersTraining and development specialists

There are plenty of lucrative jobs out there for those who earn a masters or PhD degree in one of these promising fields. While some may find careers in these areas with only a four-year degree, those with an advanced degree may have the opportunity to enter the field in superior positions and in higher salary brackets. In fact, as the country continues its quest for a highly-skilled workforce, many of these positions might end up requiring a graduate degree, and even now, those with an advanced degree may have a better shot at being hired.

Another benefit of earning a graduate degree is the United States Governments push to improve its prowess in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics - fields into which many of these growing occupations and industries fall – so a great number of fellowships, grants and various research positions are available in these areas of study.

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