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Although there’s no guarantee that getting a college degree will guarantee you job security, some career fields are likely to remain reliable no matter what the economy is doing.
A recession is a substantial decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts longer than a few months, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
Going to school during a recession can make sense — as long as you weigh the potential benefits and costs.
Let’s take a look at five recession-proof college degrees and some ways to pay for school during an economic downturn.
- Degrees least likely to be impacted by a recession
- Attending school in a recession
- Paying for school in an economic downturn
Degrees least likely to be impacted by a recession
Several types of degrees can help you land a job in a career field that is expected to have average or faster-than-average growth over the next decade. Here are five degrees to consider.
- Median salary: $50,390
With a public accounting degree, you’ll study courses such as accounting, internal auditing, and taxation. After you’ve completed a bachelor’s degree, you can get a variety of financial jobs, such as an internal auditor, tax manager, and accounting manager.
Accounting jobs are expected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Median salary: $130,850
As a petroleum engineering major, you’ll study many subjects, including geology, physics, and mathematics. Once you complete this program, you can get a job as a completions engineer, drilling engineer, production engineer, or reservoir engineer.
The BLS predicts that petroleum engineering jobs will rise 8% from 2021 to 2031.
- Median salary: $101,340
As a healthcare management major, you’ll study business and healthcare courses, such as economics, accounting, healthcare economics, and healthcare administration. When you complete this degree, you can get a job as a hospital administrator, health insurance analyst, or medical office business manager.
Medical and health management jobs are expected to rise 28% from 2021 to 2031, according to the BLS.
- Median salary: $77,600
In this degree program, you’ll study things like patient education, scientific and clinical skills, and humanistic values. You can become a registered nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Pursuing a master’s degree in nursing could lead to a more advanced role.
Job openings for registered nurses are expected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, according to the BLS.
- Median salary: $50,390
As a social work major, you’ll learn how people are impacted by society and what you can do to improve their lives. With this degree, you could get a job as a social policymaker, family social worker, or criminal justice social worker.
The BLS predicts that social work jobs will rise 9% from 2021 to 2031.
Attending school in a recession
Going to school during an economic recession can be a good idea as long as you make an informed decision about your major and carefully consider the costs of pursuing a certain degree.
Paying for school in an economic downturn
Budgeting and taking cost factors into account are super important at all times — and especially during a recession. You’ll want to ensure you have enough money to meet your financial goals.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form you must fill out to qualify for federal aid, such as student loans, scholarships, and grants. You can access this application by visiting StudentAid.gov
Filling out this form can give you access to gift aid. Plus, federal student loans come with many benefits such as access to income-driven repayment (IDR) plans and student loan forgiveness programs.
Private student loans
Private student loans aren’t backed by the federal government and are offered by many private financial institutions, like banks, credit unions, and online lenders.
Since these loans don’t come with the same benefits as federal student loans, you should exhaust your federal student loan options first before considering them.
If federal loans aren’t enough to cover your college expenses, private student loans can help cover any funding gaps.
If you need to take out private student loans, visit Credible to compare private student loan rates from various lenders in minutes.
The companies in the table below are Credible’s approved partner lenders. Whether you’re the borrower or cosigner, Credible makes it easy to compare rates from multiple private student loan providers without affecting your credit score.
|Lender||Fixed Rates From (APR)||Variable Rates From (APR)|
|4.50%9 - 15.49%9||6.37%9 - 16.70%9|
your credit score. 100% free!
Lowest APRs reflect autopay, loyalty, and interest-only repayment discounts where available | 10Ascent Disclosures | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2,3College Ave Disclosures | 11Custom Choice Disclosures | 6Discover Disclosures | 7EDvestinU Disclosures | 8INvestEd Disclosures | 9Sallie Mae Disclosures