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Posted: November 19, 2014

Top 10 hot jobs and top 20 best-paying college majors

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By Clark Howard


So many people have been unemployed or underemployed over the last 7 years. At a time when it seems the doors are closed, where is the opportunity?

I've talked pretty extensively in the past about the geography of opportunity. Thanks to an energy boom, the prospects for employment are rosy in the wide swath of the country from North Dakota to Texas. 

But I'm not talking location, location, location right now. I'm talking about the fields that employers are in the most need of at this time. 

To 10 jobs in demand right now

The American Staffing Association put out list of the top 10 jobs going unfilled

  1.     Occupational therapists
  2.     Physical therapists
  3.     Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer
  4.     Occupational therapist assistants
  5.     Speech-language pathologists
  6.     Physician assistants
  7.     Merchandise displayers and window trimmers
  8.     Physical therapist assistants
  9.     Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary
  10.     Computer software engineers, applications


Now, you may not have an interest in any of those fields, or you may not be happy doing any of those things. But they are the fields that are hardest to fill at this time. With some 9 million people being underemployed or unemployed in the U.S. right now, these jobs are at least worth a look on your part. 

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Top 20 highest paying college majors

Let's look at college for a second. There are certain fields where people make the highest starting salaries with an undergraduate degree. 

Here's a list of the top 20 starting salaries for 2014-15 graduates, according to Michigan State University's Recruiting Trends 2014-15 report:

  1. Electrical Engineering - $57,030
  2. Computer Engineering - $56,576
  3. Mechanical Engineering - $56,055
  4. Software Design - $54,183
  5. Computer Programming - $54,065
  6. Chemical Engineering - $53,622
  7. Computer Science - $52,237
  8. Civil Engineering - $51,622
  9. Mathematics (includes applied) - $47,952
  10. Construction - $45,591
  11. Supply Chain - $45,508
  12. Finance - $44,699
  13. Accounting - $44,525
  14. Nursing - $43,481
  15. Chemistry - $43,344
  16. Human Resources - $42,495
  17. Marketing - $41,481
  18. Economics - $41,118
  19. Humanities & Liberal Arts - $39,162
  20. Agricultural Sciences - $38,854


Education and training need to be a lifetime pursuit. Jobs morph over time. The jobs of 2030 do not exist today. You can overcome the skills gap with additional training or education.

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