Majors That Dominate the One Percent

03.21.12_Page_04_Image_0002A recent article featured in The Huffington Post listed the most successful careers and what majors to pursue in undergraduate studies. Titled “What the 1% Majored In,” the article focused on which majors land students in the top one percent of earners in the United States.

The 15 career areas listed are dominated by jobs in business finance and economics, as well as political science and biological sciences. Most of the majors that lead to those careers are offered at the University.

“I think Monmouth has done a good job of providing students with majors that are timely and help to best prepare them for future work. I know that Enrollment Management and the Academic Affairs division work closely to monitor employment trends to determine if our offerings continue to meet the demands of an ever changing world and employer,” said Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student and Community Services. Nagy continued that the University wants employers to see Monmouth as a place where they can find highly qualified graduates who are prepared to handle today’s fast-paced and complex environment

Thomas Pearson, Provost, also said the University regularly looks at career and job forecasts and the initiatives of competing colleges in developing University curricula.

“We are investing in developing new programs in the health care, homeland security and education fields because we expect there will be many job and career opportunities there. At the same time we emphasize the importance of our general education curriculum and our liberal arts majors which give students the power to develop and use their analytical and communication skills,” Pearson said.

The list, in order, reads health and medical preparatory programs, economics, biochemical sciences, zoology, biology, international relations, political science, plant physiology, art history, chemistry, molecular biology, civilization studies, finance and history.

Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department, believes the University prepares students for those careers through leadership opportunities available to all students.

“Two of the fields listed in the top seven most successful including political science and international relations. Stu-dents in our department go on to some of the top law schools and graduate schools, and then go students also receive national attention through their accomplishments on the Debate Team, the Model UN team, the Washington Semester, the Political Club,” Patten said.

The article also states that The -covered what the top 15 percent of earners majored in while in college. By using information from the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, they found out that taking on premed gave students the best chance to make the big bucks upon completion of their degree. In contrary, the 2011 list of most successful majors included petroleum engineering, which took the top spot but didn’t get a ranking on this year’s list.

William Hill, Assistant Dean for Career Services, believes that students should not put too much thought into the rankings.

“Those articles are interesting, but I wouldn’t advise someone based on those rankings. I would never choose to be a doctor, it’s just not my thing, so the info given to me is not valuable to me,” Hill said. He continued that students should realize that money should go into choosing a major and a career. “At the University, most of our students do well, whether its anthropology or accounting. Stu-where their strengths and interests lay,” Hill said.

According to Hill, the job market is driven by demographics in the United States. For instance, jobs in healthcare are lucrative because of the baby boomer population and the emphasis on health in order to improve quality of life. His one advice for students is to “do what you love, and the money will follow,” he said.

Anthony Cortese, a senior majoring in biology, is planning to go into a career in physical therapy. “I was informed by my parents and high school counselor that it was the best path to take. My decision to take on biology had nothing to do with the financial aspect of it, although seeing this list makes me happy. In a health care profession, it shouldn’t be about the money; however, the money should be there,” Cortese said.

Keefe Hetzler, a senior majoring in health studies, recently got accepted into the New York University School of Dentistry, but never focused on the money as his deciding factor. Hetzler believes that the skills he has de veloped in his classes were the reason for choosing his major and the problem solving techniques were much more beneficial than the thought of his possible paycheck one day.

Alex Assmus, a graduate student finishing up his degree in business administration, focused on the financial aspect of his degree but also found it an interesting field to get into. “I do want to be in the one percent one day and it’s nice to know that I can possibly get into economics or finance. Besides the money aspect, I also find business interesting and I can’t wait to start my career in it,” Assmus said.

“Given the cost of college to day, it is incumbent on us to prepare our students to identify, pursue and succeed in their career paths by offering relevant majors and a liberal arts education foundation that will help them navigate the changing employment opportunities,” Pearson said.

PHOTO COURTESY of Joanna Zietara