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

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

So too are a growing number of students who find health care, particularly nursing, to be the most rewarding, challenging, and sought-after field.

“What I remember…was feeling burned out 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’ve always been 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 loved it and how rewarding it was.

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

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

“It was such a great experience because it was really tough,” McKinney said. “So, you know, I took a shot in the dark, but what solidified it was going in and treating patients and seeing how much you could actually change just by doing the simplest things, like being fresh and like being new in the whole scene. The patients loved it and I thought it was really beautiful.

She will graduate in the spring with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Nursing, like many frontline professions, was difficult during the height of the pandemic, not least because healthcare workers were themselves at risk of exposure 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 or older, and more than a fifth said they planned to retire within five years, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing 2020 and the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.

As baby boomers also retire and age, the need for healthcare workers will also accelerate, according to Nursing World.

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

With hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, corporations, doctors’ offices and other opportunities, McKinney and her fellow nursing graduates will have a choice of ‘really tough’ but ‘rewarding’ jobs. .

According to the UHart Admissions Office, Nursing is by far the largest number of new students, with Education and Architecture also popular.

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

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

There are so many areas where data analysts are in high demand that, Koehler said, “I encourage all of my students when they don’t know what they want to do to get into the field. It’s so powerful. …just being able to look at big data and be able to interpret it in a way that makes sense for business use.

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

“The next one I would say is technology. AI is such a hot word right now,” Koehler said. “Computer security is another big issue,” with social media and electronic devices under threat of hacking, not to mention public services and government.

Other areas of business, Koehler says, are marketing and accounting, “with baby boomers retiring and CPAs, people need CPAs.” The test for certified public accountants is getting harder every year, she said.

Koehler also mentioned human resources and “the labor statistics in the United States indicate that they are seeing an increase in recreation and hospitality now that COVID is stabilizing a bit,” she said.

“I am very optimistic about the job market. There will definitely be an increase in opportunities over the next five to eight years,” said Cynthia Christie, associate dean for career development at Quinnipiac.

“The bottom line is that recent college graduates are less impacted by job changes than mid-career people because, ultimately, mid-career people need higher pay,” said Christie said. She said the university has “always been in the upper 90s with placement within six months of graduation.”

“I would say 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 many opportunities for people to rethink their skills, to leverage their skills and abilities outside of the classroom,” she said. “Create small businesses, host these side gigs that can really generate income and create employment relationships and really unique results for themselves.”

The university tries “to provide the best experiences in the classroom, to connect them to really good experiences, not just internships, but research teams and small projects, to get an idea to try it,” said Hang.

She said Hartford has “a variety of programs that have phenomenal placement rates. We have excellent relationships with employers throughout the region. And the job market right now is very hot for healthcare, engineering. Always good for business. … So if students know exactly 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 aren’t “on such a linear path” to earn a specific degree. “And they know they want to do something in communications or they like social media, and we’re looking to explore something there. … It’s our job in the careers office to try to find and connect people … To say, I was a history student, but I found my calling in content management for an organization and now I manage their website and kind of illustrates for people what’s possible.”

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

Even in nursing, considered hands-on, there are opportunities for telehealth, Penders said. “Young nurses generally tend to head into these direct care opportunities and hospitals and primary care settings, but we’re seeing nursing take people into all types of arenas, healthcare businesses , new healthcare apps being developed, So nursing continues to be and I think it will be a huge industry for our students and graduates.

Ed Stannard can be reached at or 860-993-8190.

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