Nursing, technology, business the top fields for college graduates in Connecticut – Hartford Courant

Nevaeh McKinney, an incoming senior nursing student at the University of Hartford, wasn’t sure what field she wanted to go into when she was an undergraduate. She knows she picked the right one now, though.

And so do an increasing number of students who are finding health care, in particular nursing, as the most rewarding, challenging – and most sought-after – field to enter.

“What I recall … was feeling frazzled and not knowing how I could contribute to the world and in such a meaningful way,” said McKinney, who is from New London. “So I was trying to go through a list of things that I thought I had that were positive attributes.”

McKinney, 21, considers herself tenacious and ambitious “and then I was always good at science and stuff like that,” she said. She also had friends and family members who were nurses who told her how much they love it and how rewarding it was.

“So I naturally was gravitated towards that and I was like, I’m going to try it and if it doesn’t work out, that’s OK. But at least I know I can give it a shot, ”McKinney said.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which kept her from getting a good feel for nursing. But when she worked in a nursing home as one of her field placements, she knew she had chosen well.

“It was such a beautiful experience because it was really hard,” McKinney said. “So you know, I took a shot in the dark but what solidified it was actually going in and caring for patients and seeing how much of a change you actually could make just by the simplest things, like being fresh and like new to the whole scene. Patients loved that and I thought that was really beautiful. “

She’ll graduate in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Nursing, like many front-line professions, was difficult during the depths of the pandemic, especially because health care workers were themselves at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus.

Many left the profession, because of the difficulties of the pandemic but also because many were reaching retirement age. In 2020, half of registered nurses were 52 and older, with more than one-fifth saying they plan to retire within five years, according to the 2020 National Council of State Boards of Nursing and National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.

As the baby boom generation also retires and ages, the need for health care workers will accelerate as well, according to Nursing World.

Nursing World said this trend only increased during the pandemic. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an average 194,500 openings each year for registered nurses through 2030, with a 9% growth rate. The bureau said the median income for a registered nurse in 2021 was $ 77,600.

With hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, businesses, doctor’s offices and other opportunities, McKinney and her fellow nursing graduates will have their choice of “really hard” but “rewarding” jobs.

According to UHart’s admissions office, nursing is the most largest major by far of new students, with education and architecture also popular.

Health care graduates have gone on to jobs at Yale New Haven Hospital, Hartford HealthCare, Baystate Hospital in Springfield, Mass., Danbury Hospital and Connecticut Children’s.

Beyond health care, information technology, IT, is a huge and growing field. “I see a huge spike,” said Jill Koehler, associate dean of Quinnipiac University’s School of Business career office. “Data analytics is like the word.”

There are so many fields in which data analysts are highly sought after, that, Koehler said, “I encourage all of my students when they’re unsure what they want to do to go into the field. It’s just so powerful. … Just being able to look at big data and being able to interpret it in a way that makes sense for business use. “

Koehler said data analytics “goes across all industries and all sectors”: research, stocks and investments, operations, supply chains and logistics “and even IT,” she said.

“The next one I would say is tech. AI is such a trending word right now, ”Koehler said. “IT security is another big one,” with social media and electronic devices in danger of hacking, not to mention utilities and government.

Other business fields Koehler said are hiring are marketing and accounting, “with the boomers retiring and CPAs, people needing CPAs.” The test for certified public accountants is getting harder and harder each year, she said.

Koehler also mentioned human resources and “the US labor statistics are saying that they are seeing an uptick in leisure and hospitality now that COVID is leveling out a bit,” she said.

“I’m very optimistic about the job market. There’s definitely going to be an increase in opportunities in the next five to eight years, ”said Cynthia Christie, assistant dean for career development at Quinnipiac.

“The bottom line is that for recent college graduates, they are less affected by changes in employment than mid-career people because, at the end of the day, mid-career people require more of a salary,” Christie said. She said the university has “always been in the upper 90s with placement within six months of graduation.”

“I’d say that the job market is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Brooke Penders, executive director of career and professional development at the University of Hartford.

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“There are a lot of opportunities for people to rethink their skill sets, to leverage their skills and abilities outside of the classroom,” she said. “Create small businesses, have these side gigs that actually can produce income and create really unique job connections and outcomes for themselves.”

The university tries “to provide the best experiences in the classroom, connect them to really great experiences, not just internships, but research and small project teams, to get a sense of trying it out,” Penders said.

She said Hartford has “a variety of programs that have phenomenal placement rates. We have great relationships with employers throughout the region. And the job market right now us really hot for health care, engineering. Always good for business. … So if students know exactly that’s what they want to do, there’s usually a terrific placement rate, especially here in Connecticut, for that. “

She said it’s harder for those who are not “in as linear a path,” going for a specific degree. “And they know they want to do something in communications or they love social media, and we’re looking to explore something there. … It’s our job in the career office to try and find and connect people… To say, I was a history major, but I found my way into content management for an organization and now I run their website and to kind of illustrate for people what’s possible. “

Remote work has also changed the job market, Penders said. “The pandemic has provided this fruit basket upset of opportunities,” she said. “There are virtual and remote jobs and people can go work for a company in California, Minneapolis, Austin all over, so I think there’s a lot of rethinking about how they can and where they can apply their skills.”

Even in nursing, thought of as hands-on, there are telehealth opportunities, Penders said. “Younger nurses usually tend to move into those direct-care opportunities and hospitals and primary care settings, but we are seeing that nursing takes people into all different kinds of arenas, health care business, new health care apps that are being developed, So nursing continues to be and I think will be a huge industry for our students and graduates. “

Ed Stannard can be reached at [email protected] or 860-993-8190.

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