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What to study in college to get job right away? New research shows most-employable bachelor’s degrees

A bachelor’s degree in Mathematics gives students the highest chance to secure a job right after graduation. Chemistry, History, and Music follow closely behind. This is according to a new study that reveals the most employable bachelor’s degrees from U.S. universities.

The research, carried out by writing software ProWritingAid, used the latest available data from the U.S. Department of Education, to evaluate a total of 1,048,576 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the U.S. between 2014 and 2019. It found that there are 341 fields of study across the U.S. that have a 100% employment rate in the first year after graduation.

The top five most employable degrees are mostly concentrated in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, with a choice of 211, 186 and 173 degrees, respectively. The ranking is ordered by the number of degrees in each field of study that have a 100% employment rate within the first year after graduation.


Graduates with 732 Mathematics degrees obtain a job within their first year of leaving university. Pennsylvania is the best state to study Mathematics in, with a choice of 48 degrees, all with a 100% employment rate in the first post-graduation year. This is followed by New York, Ohio, California, and Illinois, who all offer 42, 41, 33 and, respectively, 28, 100% employable Mathematics degrees.

The highest-paid Math graduates from a private college come from John Hopkins University (JHU) in Maryland. They earn a median salary of $70,019 immediately after leaving JHU and reach $101,777 in their third year after graduation. When it comes to alumni from public institutions, the San Luis Obispo campus at California Polytechnic State University produces the most employable and highest paid graduates. Three years after leaving Cal Poly, they earn a median salary of $59,501.


There are 693 Chemistry degrees in the U.S. that register a 100% employment rate in the year immediately after graduation. Similar to the first top four states for Mathematics, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and California lead the way for the most employable Chemistry degrees, with a choice of 54, 52, 33 and 32, respectively. Texas joins them with another 32 100% employable Chemistry degrees.

Unlike for Mathematics, the highest paid Chemistry graduates come from public universities, according to U.S. Department of Education data. San Francisco State University alumni with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry reach a median salary of $60,594 three years after graduating. Stockton University in New Jersey, another public institution, follows closely behind, with annual earnings of $60,016 on average for its Chemistry graduates, three years after completing their studies.


Universities across the U.S. offer a total of 639 History degrees whose students are all successfully employed within the first year after graduation. These are most common in Pennsylvania (47), Ohio (31), New York (29), North Carolina (29), Illinois (28) and Texas (28).

Among them, Rice University, a private institution, offers the highest earning prospects, with its alumni reaching a median salary of $61,295 three years after graduation. Virginia Military Institute is the most competitive alternative among public universities, eventually earning its History graduates $55,205 per year, on average.


Researchers from ProWritingAid found that Music degrees from 636 universities in the U.S. register a 100% employment rate the year following graduation. Most of them are found in Ohio (33), Texas (32), Pennsylvania (30), Illinois (29) and North Carolina (27).

Unlike other highly employable degrees, public universities take the lead in offering students the highest earning prospects three years after completing their studies, according to the data available from the U.S. government. Music graduates from Stephen F Austin State University have the highest recorded median salaries ($45,138). The next best opportunities come from West Texas A & M University, North Dakota State University (Main Campus), George Mason University, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire), and Eastern Illinois University, whose alumni earn between $38,928 and $43,827 within three years of graduation.
Teacher Education and Professional Development – Specific Subject Areas

Based on the latest data from the U.S. government, the fifth most employable degree in the country is in Teacher Education and Professional Development – Specific Subject Areas. New York has the biggest concentration of these degrees (39) from a total of 599 across the U.S. that report a 100% employment rate in the year immediately after graduation. Ohio (36), Pennsylvania (32), Wisconsin (24) and Illinois (23) present the next best employment chances in this field.

On a national scale, New York University alumni studying Teacher Education and Professional Development – Specific Subject Areas earn the most three years after graduating – $60,395. It is followed closely by students from CUNY Hunter College – a public university, whose salaries average to $55,597 in the same period.

However, the U.S. Department of Education distinguishes between two types of teaching degrees, depending on whether they focus on specific subject areas or levels and methods. If the two were to be combined, then teaching would stand out as the most employable degree in the U.S. This aligns with the current teacher shortages across the U.S.

A spokesperson for ProWritingAid commented on the findings: “Looking at the overall ranking of the most employable degrees in the U.S., we anticipated medical degrees to live up to their expectations but were very surprised to see legal and architecture degrees, for example, fall below the first 100 positions. Only one in three degrees in legal- and architecture-related fields manage to secure a job in their first year after graduation.

“Drawing a parallel between these findings and another study ProWritingAid carried out on earning prospects, there seems to be a disconnect between employment chances and earning potential. More often than not, graduates are faced with choosing between a safe degree that gives higher chances of getting a job straightaway or a degree that, if it results in employment, can earn them a good salary within a few years.

“One field of study that appears to balance employability and earning prospects quite well is Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing. Among them, 24 degrees out of 471 across the U.S. result in all their graduates being employed in the year right after completing their studies and can reach a salary of more than $100,000 in only three years.”

The study was conducted by ProWritingAid., an Al-powered writing assistant for students and professionals.

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