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College students need to find balance between fun majors and in-demand jobs

Some internet memes can hit a little too close to home.

A friend, who had been a theater major in college, reposted this recently:

“Choose a major you love and you’ll never work a day in your life because that field probably isn’t hiring.”

As someone who hung out with the art, theater and music crowd in school – I can say that most aren’t working in their fields.

Well, there is one friend who’s a fairly successful musician on Broadway – but I think he was a math major in school, so go figure.

Since it’s that time of the year when people with children nearing high school graduation, it’s also the time of the year families talk about college majors or other career plans.

So, let’s take a look at what at what careers are hiring.

Kevin Campbell, president of Barry Isett and Associates, an Upper Macungie-based engineering firm, said his industry is hungry for talent in many areas.

He estimates the unemployment rate among those with an engineering degree is at about zero percent.

Engineering also pays well, so if you have the skills, that might be a career path.

It seems like every other week representatives of the manufacturing industry are complaining about the lack of a skilled talent pool.

The good news is that prospective workers might not even have to pony up for an expensive, four-year college degree.

Community colleges and trade schools often are more than equipped to properly train workers, and there are organizations, such as CareerLink, that will even help people find job skills most in demand and best match an individual’s aptitude.

The list goes on.

CNBC recently published an article listing some of the top in-demand professions that are having a hard time finding enough workers to fill their payrolls.

Among the top in-demand careers are financial advisers, nurse practitioners, information security analysts and construction workers.

The website www.bestcounselingdegrees.com listed some of the college majors with the lowest employment as psychology, architecture, history, fine arts and comparative literature.

Architecture and engineering can have some overlay, so that could be a good option for someone who wants a career in building but wants a better chance at securing a job.

The others can be tricky.

Combining a history degree with work as a nurse practitioner might be interesting if you get to tell a patient something like “Hey did you know Napoleon suffered from the same condition as you?” – but, probably not.

And finding security breaches in a company software probably doesn’t afford you many opportunities to quote Shakespeare.

But before families start arguing over what a student wants to major in versus a practical major, try a compromise.

Try a bit of both. Tell your children they can take some arty courses if they take a few practical ones, too.

Those students might find they have more of an interest in the mundane than they thought, and having a well-rounded education with arts as well as science will help your kids become well-rounded.

As Shakespeare would say: ‘tis a win-win.*

(*Shakespeare never said that.)


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