Median annual wage, 2012

Projected openings, 2010-2020

Projected openings,


1.96 million



1.5 million

Elementary teachers

Computer science

1.08 million

Computer systems analysts

Arts and media


Public relations specialists

Engineering and architecture


Civil engineers

Health care and social service


Social workers



Recreation workers

Life and
physical science


Environmental scientists

2012 median annual wage

Less than $50,000

$50,000 to 75,000

$75,001 to 100,000

$100,001 and up


Five steps college freshmen can take

Step 1: Start thinking during orientation about finding a job.

“The general advice we give students is, first and foremost, look at themselves,” says Lorie Logan-Bennett, director of the career center at Towson University in Maryland. Her team asks students: What are you good at? What are your values?

Step 2: Don’t pick a job yet.*

That seems contradictory, but it’s not. With rare exceptions, such as aspiring doctors, you probably shouldn’t lock yourself into a narrow career path early on at a four-year school. Thinking about skills and functions in an industry is more important than specific jobs.

Step 3: Sharpen those skills.

You might not know which jobs will be plentiful when you graduate, but economists have decent predictions for which types of jobs will be — and which skills you’ll need to land them. The sooner you start working to build those skills, in and out of the classroom, the better your odds of landing one of those jobs.

Step 4: Build your résumé and your brand.

If there is one thing every career development official in college stresses, again and again, it’s how much work outside the classroom, particularly an internship or eight, can help students find jobs after graduation.

Step 5: Prepare to begin humbly

Counselors say they remind students that in four years, you're looking for a first job and not a lifetime one.

Read more tips for getting a job after college

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics College to Career report.

* Note to community college enrollees: Studies indicate you should pick a career, and quickly. You could save yourself money and maximize your future earnings by asking pointed questions very early about what degree or certificate you plan to pursue; how likely it is that you’ll complete that degree, given your academic record; and what sort of job prospects await grads in that field.