Until about 2007, deciding on a college degree typically involved choosing an area of interest or aptitude, then staying in college long enough to graduate.
But with the cost of a college education skyrocketing and the economy still struggling, the question of choosing a marketable major becomes much more urgent.
In the Inland Northwest, the degree most frequently conferred by area colleges and universities is business, according to a recent analysis by The Spokesman-Review. Social science degrees rank second, followed by health-related degrees, liberal arts and engineering. The analysis looked at both bachelors and associates degrees awarded by Washington State University, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, Eastern Washington University, University of Idaho, North Idaho College, Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College.
While that list roughly matches national figures, it doesn’t square with the expectation among workforce experts that the skills most in demand in coming years will be in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, or STEM.