How does educational attainment affect career choice?

April 18, 2023 at 4:30 AM
Image of a college grad who is wondering what else she can do with her educational attainment.

The college you choose for your undergraduate degree can have far-reaching effects on your educational and professional journey. Not only can it influence your opportunities for graduate and post-doctoral degrees, but it can also shape your career choices and prospects.

It's crucial to consider the level of educational attainment you aspire to achieve when applying to undergraduate colleges. This blog explores five in-demand careers, the required education, and suggested undergraduate degrees and colleges to help you succeed in these professions.

Data scientist

Data scientists are in high demand as businesses increasingly rely on data-driven insights for decision-making. This profession requires a master's or doctoral degree in:

  • Data science
  • Computer science
  • A related field

For undergraduate studies, consider pursuing a computer science, statistics, or mathematics degree.

If you're working on where to apply, consider the programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

With a degree in data science or a related field, you can work across various industries, including finance, healthcare, and technology. Potential career paths include data analyst, machine learning engineer, and business intelligence analyst.

Physician getting assistant

Physician assistants are essential healthcare professionals who work under the supervision of doctors to diagnose and treat patients. To become a physician assistant, you must complete a master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies.

During your undergraduate studies, focus on a pre-med track or a degree in a related field, such as:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Health sciences

Top colleges for pre-med programs include Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, and Duke University. As a physician assistant, you can work in various medical specialties, such as primary care, surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry.

Renewable energy engineer

Renewable energy engineers are in high demand to develop solutions as the world transitions to sustainable energy sources.

A bachelor's degree in engineering, preferably focused on renewable energy, is required for entry-level positions, while a master's or doctoral degree can lead to advanced roles.

During undergraduate, pursue a degree in electrical, mechanical, or environmental engineering. Top colleges for these programs include the University of Michigan, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of California, San Diego. Potential career paths include energy consultant, project manager, and research scientist.

Cybersecurity analyst

Cybersecurity analysts play a crucial role in protecting sensitive information and infrastructure as cyber threats grow. This career path requires a bachelor's degree in:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Computer science
  • Information technology

Meanwhile, a master's degree can enhance your career prospects. Top colleges for these programs include Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Southern California, and Purdue University. Cybersecurity analysts can work in diverse industries, including government, finance, healthcare, and technology. Potential career paths include information security manager, penetration tester, and security architect.

Genetic counselor

Genetic counselors work with individuals and families to assess their risk of genetic disorders and provide guidance on testing, prevention, and treatment.

Working as a genetic counselor requires a master's degree in genetic counseling. For undergraduate studies, focus on genetics, biology, or psychology at the University of California, Davis, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Washington.

Genetic counselors can work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, research institutions, and public health agencies in career paths, such as:

  • Clinical research coordinators
  • Genetic counseling program directors
  • Laboratory genetic counselors.

Work with an admissions counselor to discuss how educational attainment impacts a student's long-term career goals.

Your educational attainment level can significantly impact your career choices and opportunities. By considering your desired profession and the required education, a college admission counselor can help you to find the ideal undergraduate programs to set you up for lifelong success.

For experienced support navigating the college application process and selecting the right path for your career goals, reach out to Educational Attainment Services. Our experts can guide you to a bright and rewarding future.