Contributed by Rachel Farrell, CareerBuilder.com Writer
College majors are a funny thing. Some students know exactly what they want to major in before they even start the school year. Others don't declare until a year or so down the road. Some choose one knowing they could potentially earn a lot of money. Others follow in their parents' footsteps. The list goes on.
Our advice has always been to earn a degree in something that will lend itself to a career path that you can be passionate about. It can be uncommon, broad, challenging. As long as you love it, and can find some type of career doing it, go for it.
We took a look at the most popular college degrees, defined here as the number of degrees conferred in any given major.
Business was the most popular degree in 2007-2008, according to the 2010 Digest of Education Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education. Of the 1,601,368 bachelor's degrees awarded by degree-granting institutions, 346,972 were for degree in business, management, marketing and related support services.
Here's how other popular degrees broke down:
Social sciences: 133,789
Health professions and related clinical sciences: 120,488
Visual and performing arts: 89,140
Engineering and engineering technologies: 84,636
Communication and communication technologies: 83,109
Biological and biomedical sciences: 80,956
If you're thinking about earning your bachelor's degree in any of the above fields, here are some possible careers that line up with market demands:
Career: Market researcher
A bachelor's degree is often adequate for entry-level jobs, but you may need a higher degree for advancement and more technical positions.
Job prospects: Employment is expected to increase approximately 28 percent from 2008-2018
Career: Human resources analyst
A lot of schools don't offer specific programs for human resources, so many employers look for college graduates with a technical or business background or a well-rounded liberal arts education.
Job prospects: Employment is expected to increase approximately 22 percent from 2008-2018.
A bachelor's degree in forestry, biology, natural resource management, environmental sciences, or a related field is the minimum educational requirement for a forestry career.
Job prospects: Employment is expected to increase approximately 12 percent from 2008-2018.
A bachelor's degree in biology is generally sufficient for a career in zoology.
Job prospects: Employment is expected to increase approximately 13 percent from 2008-2018.
Career: Social worker
A bachelor's degree in social work is most common to get a job in social work, but majors in psychology, sociology or a related social science may qualify for some entry-level jobs.
Job prospects: Employment is expected to increase approximately 16 percent from 2008-2018.
Career: Urban and regional planner
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in urban planning qualify for some entry-level positions, but they will most likely need a higher degree to advance.
Job prospects: Employment is expected to increase approximately 19 percent from 2008-2018.
Visual and Performing Arts
Career: Graphic designer
An associate or bachelor's degree is needed for entry-level positions in interior design.
Career: Interior designer
A bachelor's degree in graphic design is often required for most graphic design positions. Bachelor's degree programs in fine arts or graphic design are offered at many colleges, universities and private design schools.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2010) Digest of Education Statistics, 2009 (NCES 2010-013.