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The basics
THE USA: Career Prospects

Top 5 graduate jobs in the USA

Which jobs do you think are best for graduates in the USA? Test your knowledge and find out with our summary of five top graduate jobs for in the USA.

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Want to stay in the USA to work after your studies? We don’t blame you. The US is a huge country with a variety of different cultures, lifestyles and industries all waiting to be explored by fresh graduates. One major advantage of working in the US is that it will look great on your CV as it is one of the most influential and prosperous countries in the world. Home to Silicon Valley, the world’s epicenter of technological advances, and many prolific companies such as Apple, Amazon, American Express, Google, Universal Pictures, IBM and lots more.


So, what are the top five graduate jobs in the USA? We’ve used the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) fastest growing occupations ranking to see which industries you should consider after your studies in the USA. The BLA considers the professions with the highest potential for growth and their salaries.


1. Nursing


Nurses are highly sought after in the US due to the constant need for healthcare professionals. The population is always going to need medical experts to care for the elderly and unwell. This makes the healthcare sector particularly promising for new graduates. According to the BLS, nurses earn an average salary of USD 75,330 per year (2020) in the US.


To become a registered nurse in the US you need a bachelor’s degree and a state license. Studying nursing in the US will typically take four years to complete. If you want to expand your prospects in nursing, you can continue your learning to qualify as a nurse practitioner. For this role you will need a master’s degree. This can take anywhere from two to four years to complete. While the training will take some time, you might be enticed by the average salary of USD 111,680 per year for this specialised nursing profession. Demand for this skillset is also expected to grow by a rate of 45 per cent (BLS 2019-2029).


Universities with undergraduate nursing degrees in the USA:


2. Occupational therapy


Occupational therapy is predicted to grow by 16 per cent over the next 10 years. As with nursing, occupational therapists must have a state license to practice in the USA. Make sure you check the requirements for the state you wish to work in as these can differ across the US depending on the location. To land a graduate job as an occupational therapist, you either need to have a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy or a bachelors in a related field such as biology or physiology which must then be followed by a master’s in occupational therapy. This postgraduate course prepares students for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam (NBCOT).


All in all, you can expect to study occupational therapy for a total of six years within higher education followed by the NBCOT exam. Usually, you will also be required to complete a certain amount of fieldwork alongside your studies. Occupational therapists earn an average salary of USD 86,280 per year (BLS 2020).


3. Statistics


Have you completed a bachelor’s degree in maths or statistics? Or maybe you’re thinking about pursuing one of these subjects at degree level? If yes, you might want to consider becoming a statistician. In the US, mathematicians and statisticians are expected to be in high demand over the next 10 years with an expected growth rate of 33 per cent. Graduates with numerical and analytical skills are highly sought after for high profile roles within government, engineering, forensics and scientific research in the US.


To really excel in this profession, it is advisable to obtain a master’s degree. In the US, this will typically take two years to complete on top of a four-year bachelor’s degree. As these skills are so desirable among employers, statisticians can expect to earn USD 93,290 per year while mathematicians can earn an annual salary of USD 110,860 (BLS 2020).


Find out what kind of statistics programmes are offered by these universities:


4. Information security analysis


If you want a graduate job in information security in the US, you need to have a bachelors in a computer-related subject such as computer science, IT, cybersecurity, engineering or mathematics. You could also consider completing a relevant certification to further show your interest in information security. Of course, a master’s degree is also only going to improve your knowledge of the field and will be attractive to employers.


As we spend a lot of time online and we have seen this increase as an effect of the pandemic, information security is becoming increasingly vital for companies to avoid data breaches and hacking. In fact, this profession is expected to grow by 31 per cent over the next 10 years. Therefore, it’s no surprise to see the high salaries afforded to graduates with these qualifications. According to the BLS, information security analysts can earn USD 103,590 per year.


5. Mental health and substance abuse counselling


If you want a fulfilling career which involves helping others, you might want to look into becoming a mental health or substance abuse counsellor. In the US, this profession is expected to grow by 25 per cent over the next decade as more and more people seek mental health support.


Most roles require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement, although this can vary depending on the position. Relevant subjects at undergraduate level include psychology or social science.


Studying a masters in mental health or psychology will also enable you to apply for more senior positions with greater responsibility and a higher salary. On average though, mental health and substance abuse counsellors can earn USD 47,660 per year in the US.


One thing to keep in mind about working in the USA is that it can be difficult to obtain a visa due to the strict stance on immigration. However, there are several options for international students looking to work in the US. Want to find out more about post-study work visas?


If you didn’t find a course that took your fancy, check out our course matcher tool. Simply input your grades and preferences to find what’s right for you.


Before you go, keep an eye on our latest news page for all updates relating to your studies in the USA.

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