Careers | Degrees | Winter 2013

Guarantee Yourself a Job: Degrees with Near 100% Placement Rates

by Scott Willyerd | for

In today’s turbulent economy, many students want to ensure they will leave college with specific skills to land a job. As opportunities tighten and costs at some schools rise, students are beginning to question the ROI of a college degree. However, it’s hard to argue with majors that offer students access to jobs post graduation. Below these are six programs with placement rates at 100 percent or very close to it.


accounting-degreeThe field of accounting continues to be a lucrative field for graduates, especially accounting alumni at Wake Forest University. Students in the Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) program at Wake Forest University Schools of Business achieved the top pass rate in the nation on the Certified Public Accountant exam, according to the 2012 edition of Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance. Jack Wilkerson, senior associate dean of accountancy programs at Wake Forest, says that all MSA students have accepted job offers prior to graduation, with many students receiving multiple offers. According to the U.S. News and World Report, an advanced business degree offered the highest pay after science and science-related fields at $81,000 to $84,000 salary.

Anesthesiology Assistant

anesthesiology-assistantWith an aging nation, health fields across the country are booming. “Most graduates of anesthesiology assistants degree programs are guaranteed jobs with a starting salary between $120,000 and $150,000,” says Robert Wagner, M.M.Sc., AA-C, a professor in the Anesthesiology Assitant program at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Anesthesiologist assistants are highly trained allied health professionals who provide patient care under the medical direction of an anesthesiologist. With a severe shortage of anesthesia providers in Florida and the nation, and only a handful of universities offering a degree in the field, demand is very high. “Graduates from a 27-month program average about 10 to 15 job offers,” says Wagner. Some students’ tuition are even subsidized by anesthesiologist assistant groups.


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chemistryMany STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields are hot in terms of career prospects. Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA has graduated 28 chemistry majors over the past three years. Owen Moe, professor and chairperson of the chemistry department, confirms that 27 out of 28 students were either placed in the field or accepted into medical or graduate school programs. The one other student took a job outside the field as a professional football player. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of chemists and materials scientists is expected to increase by 4 percent from 2010 to 2020.


engineersEngineering placement is very strong at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass. “Our Industrial Engineering program had nine students graduate last May,” says David Stawasz, assistant vice president of marketing communications. “Eight of the nine had accepted full time engineering jobs before Christmas. The ninth began looking for a job during the Spring semester and had an offer for a full-time position before commencement.” U. S. News and World Report says that engineering has the best future outlook of any degree: "[Engineering and science] had the best pay for advanced degrees, between $89,000 and $101,000, and the best employment for bachelor’s degree holders at 66 percent."

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Physical Therapy and Allied Health

physical-therapy-allied-healthPhysical therapy is one of Lebanon Valley’s most competitive programs. The folks at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania and Otterbein University in Ohio report near 100 percent job placement rates respectively. Physical Therapy students must pass a state licensure exam. Lebanon Valley reports that they have graduated six classes, and the chairperson of the department is not aware of any students who did not pass the National Physical Therapy Examination, and didn’t have a job within six months. Otterbein offers students the opportunity to earn a B. A., B. S. or a master's degree in allied health. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 39 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Supply Chain Management

supply-chain-gradsAs businesses become more complex – more vendors, distributors, and retailers – companies rely on graduates to understand how to manage complex global supply chains. York College of PA has launched the new major in Supply Chain Operations Management that teaches students how to manage partnerships to deliver a product the most economical and efficient way possible. York College of PA reports that the first student graduated in May and this month there are five others graduating. “They all have jobs or job offers on the table,” said Brenda Adams, assistant director of the MBA program at York College of Pennsylvania. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of logisticians, one of the most common supply chain-related careers,  is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.