BPT -- High school seniors nationwide are preparing to graduate, receiving college acceptance letters and possibly enrolling in a college or university.
The challenging economy has made many of these young adults acutely aware of the important role their degree can play when they face commencement once again, this time entering the job market.
Some schools offer degree programs that address the skills required to enter fast-growing fields, such as cyber security, cloud computing, health care and accounting - U.S. News & World Report included accounting in its ranking of 25 Best Jobs in 2012.
This strong connection to a promising career path can be attractive to prospective students.
"Knowledge of projected industry growth is extremely helpful as students choose their major or area of study," says Dr. Chad Kennedy, chair and professor of biomedical engineering technology in the College of Engineering and Information Sciences at DeVry University. "Unlike some career fields where opportunities are shrinking, many technology and engineering fields are expanding at double-digit rates. In fact, many employers can't find enough qualified applicants to meet their needs."
Careers in technology are growing up to three times faster than other fields. For students interested in pursuing employment in this thriving industry, ComputerWorld recently outlined the "10 hot IT skills for 2013." Cloud computing was among the most coveted skills. Though relatively unfamiliar to the average consumer, this data management knowledge drives the services that support many of today's businesses.
Similarly, cyber security professionals will play an integral role in keeping information safe as the majority of companies' assets move online. According to Today's Engineer, the monthly Web publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the cyber security field is growing "in leaps and bounds."
Employment in health care fields is also on the rise.
An aging population of baby boomers and expanded access to health care has placed growing pressure on the health care industry to add workers in fields ranging from health information systems and biomedical engineering technology to nursing and ambulatory care.
"Given the sensitive nature of medical data, my role - ensuring data integrity, availability, and security for every current and former patient - is essential and growing in demand," explains Adam Franzen, a systems administrator at Presence Health Care who holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University. "As health care evolves, so do the technology and management skills that are central to career success in the field."
The workforce is rapidly evolving; some of the most desired professional roles of yesterday are shrinking today and will become obsolete tomorrow.
The class of 2013 will enter emerging career fields, managing the technologies that drive advanced hospital settings, leading development of the next cloud-based application and protecting companies and consumers from cyber and financial fraud alike.