College grads who majored in actuarial science or astrophysics have a practically nonexistent unemployment rate.
Actuary job in hand, before the degree
Majored in Actuarial Science, Class of `12
Why become an actuary? My parents kind of planted the idea in my head from an early age, because math was always my favorite subject in school. Plus, they knew it would be a lucrative profession.
An actuary is basically supposed to predict the future, estimating future risks and costs. Being able to do that well is so valuable to a company.
This weekend, I graduated with my bachelor's in actuarial science. I've already had a job lined up since September, and I would say the same is true for the majority of my classmates, who have also had job offers for a long time.
I'll be working at Travelers Insurance in St. Paul, Minn., in their property and casualty business.
Overall, 0% unemployment in our field may be a bit of an overstatement. I know a couple students who haven't decided what they're doing yet.
But the fact that most of us can get jobs coming straight out of college, definitely says something good about the occupation.
No shortage of options in astrophysics
Astrophysics, Class of `05
University of Colorado Boulder
I was a business major when I started college, and science was a hobby more than anything else.
But after I took two semesters of astronomy, I was hooked. Learning about business at that point almost felt as boring as learning about cardboard.
I studied astrophysics and planetary science, and worked in the planetarium as a student employee. I had thought about going to grad school afterward, but when my boss decided to leave, I took this job.
I now run the planetarium and its education programs. My job is to take complex science and information and put it in the public vernacular.
It goes against the idea that to be part of science you need a Ph.D. That's a gross misconception.
I think you can have a 0% unemployment rate in astrophysics, because it's constantly evolving. The universe is huge and there just aren't enough eyes to study it. There's really never going to be a shortage of jobs.
Work in a lab, with pharmacology degree
Majored in Pharmacology, Class of `09
When I was an undergrad, I knew that I wanted to get involved in the research aspect of science. I liked that pharmacology was medically relevant -- studying the interaction of drugs and the body -- and it offered the opportunity to do cutting edge research.
After I graduated, I spent the summer doing an internship in France and then I came back and worked in a lab at Stonybrook for a year.
I've since started a masters program at Columbia University and work full-time in a lab in the pathology department there.
I would say that's a pretty typical path. I don't know of anyone who studied pharmacology and just stopped at a bachelor's degree. The end game is nearly always to pursue some kind of schooling afterwards. Many end up going to grad school or working in laboratories.
Multiple job offers for geophysics students
Majored in Geophysics, Class of `07
Colorado School of Mines
The energy industry is just grasping at straws for people with geophysics experience.
I work in an environment where it's over 50% foreign people. That's not only telling about the people the energy industry is looking for, but also the fact that these large energy companies are simply not getting enough qualified students from American universities.
When I finished my bachelor's in 2007, we graduated 10 people that year. I would say on average, my classmates were getting one to two job offers before they had even graduated.
I ended up going on to grad school. After interning in Norway, I had realized that outside of the United States there were no major oil companies looking for candidates with just a bachelor's.
During grad school, I got four job offers all in the Houston area. I graduated and started work at WesternGeco, a subsidiary of Schlumberger, two weeks later.
Now, I also volunteer with the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, building a network for geophysics students. We have about 7,000 student members in the U.S. -- not nearly enough to fill up all the jobs that are going to be available.