Those who earn college degrees typically find, not only a faster-growing job market, but also significantly higher income potential than those who don't. That's according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently published its latest employment projections for more than 800 occupations for the decade ending in 2026.

According to the BLS findings, most of the occupations earning more than the median annual wage ($37,690, as of May 2017) typically require postsecondary education (an associate degree or higher) and are projected to grow faster than occupations that do not require a college degree for entry.

Job Market Growth
BLS notes that approximately one-third of employment in 2016 was in occupations that typically require postsecondary education for entry and most of those require a bachelor's degree. Occupations that require a bachelor's are projected to grow at a rate of 10 percent through 2026―faster than the growth rate projected for all occupations (7.4 percent). Those that require a master's degree are projected to grow by 16.7 percent, more than twice the rate for all occupations.

"Having a master's degree can differentiate oneself when one is advancing in a profession, leading to more recognition, more interesting responsibilities, and more salary," says Francine Blume, assistant vice president of career development in UMUC's Office of Institutional Advancement.

Among the fastest-growing fields, BLS lists nursing and health services, software and applications development, family and marriage counseling, and statistical analytics. Conversely, most of the fastest-declining occupations do not require postsecondary education for entry. These include occupations impacted by technological advances in automation.

Growth in Income Potential
The median annual wage for occupations that typically require associate's degree or above were more than the overall median annual wage. Many occupations requiring bachelor's degrees, including those in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), earn median annual wages of $75,380 or more―twice the overall median.

About half of occupations that had annual median wages of $94,225 or more (two and a half times the overall median) typically require a master's or doctoral degree for entry. Management occupations had the highest median annual wage among the occupational groups at $102,590.

UMUC Programs Can Help Meet the Demand
An online undergraduate or graduate degree from UMUC can provide the industry skills and credentials needed to advance in many of these expanding and lucrative fields.

UMUC offers more than 90 programs and specializations, many in high-demand fields like business and management, data analytics, healthcare and science, IT and computer science, psychology, and more.

"A master's degree from UMUC is not only a well-respected degree," said Blume, "but it helps you better compete for promotions and different career opportunities in your field."

Designed with input from employers and industry experts and taught by experienced faculty-practitioners, UMUC courses are built from the ground up to be collaborative online learning experiences that prepare you for today's competitive career environment.