Find out which degree can help you land a great career.
There was a time when good references and a strong interview could open the door to a great career.
Now you likely won't get an interview without the right college degree.
Want to arm yourself with the credentials that employers are looking for? Review the following eight great careers and find out which degree can help you get the career you want - and the earning potential you deserve.
Career #1: Medical Assistant
Average Salary: $29,450*
Medical assisting is among the fastest growing career sectors in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which notes that a degree or certificate in medical assisting could significantly increase your hiring potential.
The Degree That Can Help: Get a jump on the competition with a certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting. Additional certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants AAMA) can help distinguish an experienced medical assistant from an entry-level candidate.
Career #2: Medical and Health Services Manager
Average Salary: $90,970*
Qualified managers working in hospitals, clinics, and private facilities are enjoying solid career growth, according to the Department of Labor. Their ranks are growing due to the aging population's need for medical services.
The Degree That Can Help: Get a bachelor's degree in health care administration to get the preparation you'll likely need for entry-level or assistant administrator positions. An MBA can help qualify you for management roles.
Career #3: Paralegal
Average Salary: $50,080*
An education can help prepare for this increasingly complex career. According to the Department of Labor, paralegals with formal preparation have the best odds at finding employment in this growing field.
The Degree That Can Help: To qualify for most entry-level positions, an associate's degree in paralegal studies is a good start. If you already have a degree, consider a certificate in paralegal studies.
Career #4: Graphic Designer
Average Salary: $47,820*
Graphic designers with a formal education to augment their creative skills could have a better chance of getting noticed by employers. Most career opportunities are in advertising, computer design, interactive media, and animation.
The Degree That Can Help: You could meet the hiring needs of most employers if you earn a bachelor's degree in graphic design. An associate's degree or certificate could also help you qualify for a position as an assistant designer, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #5: Computer Network Administrator
Average Salary: $70,930*
Career prospects for educated workers in the field of information technology (IT) are excellent. Computer skills are important, but college degree programs could help candidates meet hiring requirements. Courses in the computer sciences, mathematics, and statistics can help show employers you're ready for the career.
The Degree That Can Help: A bachelor's degree in computer science or information science can help you compete for administrator positions. For entry-level positions, an associate's degree is helpful.
Career #6: Financial Analyst
Average Salary: $85,240*
The job market can be very competitive and the hiring standards for financial analysts reflect that. The right degree can help you qualify for rewarding career opportunities in businesses such as banks, insurance companies, and securities firms.
The Degree That Can Help: A bachelor's or master's degree in a finance-related major like business administration is a great start. Additional certification and licensing might also be required for this career.
Career #7: Police Officer
Average Salary: $55,180*
Many local police departments require some level of college degree work, while having a degree is a federal agency prerequisite. Having a college degree could also increase your earning potential in law enforcement, according to the Department of Labor.
The Degree That Can Help: You could potentially improve your hiring outlook with an associate's degree in criminal justice.
Career #8: Dental Assistant
Average Salary: $34,000*
A degree program could provide a real boost to your employment opportunities in this field, according to the Department of Labor. A college education also prepares dental assistants for more advanced study should they want expanded responsibilities, higher earning potential, and promotion opportunities.
The Degree That Can Help: Earning an associate's degree in dental assisting could help qualify you for entry-level positions.
*Average annual salaries as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2009.