Nikki OUA
Nikki OUA

What to study to ensure your uni degree pays off

THESE are the top study paths to get an excellent return on your investment.

It's that time of year again. Christmas is approaching faster than the speed of light, the new year is on the horizon, and if you're a soon-to-be uni student, in the blink of an eye you'll be cracking the spines of your textbooks and stepping towards a career filled with opportunity and success. Or will you?

Even the most competitive degree can be worthless if there aren't any jobs available after you graduate, so if you're aiming for a career with job security and growth, here are Australia's fastest-growing industries and the pathways you can take to get into them.HEALTHCARE AND SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

If you're looking for a career that's rewarding in more ways than one, this your best bet. According to the federal government's Australian Jobs 2018 report, the healthcare and special assistance industry employs more than 1.6 million people today, and will add more than 250,000 jobs in the coming five years - almost double that of the second-placed industry for job growth.To open doors to the industry, you can study degrees such as a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences, a Bachelor of Health Science or a Bachelor of Community Health - all of which can be studied online, anywhere, anytime with multiple universities through Open Universities Australia (OUA).

"This year, we've significantly expanded our health portfolio with 40 new programs now available to students looking to enter or progress their career within this exciting industry," says OUA chief executive officer Stuart Elmslie. "As opportunities within Australia's booming healthcare sector continue to grow, so has the number of health degrees we offer, making it easier for students to compare their options."PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SERVICES

Employing more than a million people in occupations such as graphic design, accounting, advertising, marketing, and software and application programming, this sector is broad and diverse. The outlook for growth is strong, with an expected 126,400 jobs to be created in the next five years. It's fairly common for professionals in this highly skilled workforce to work remotely, with 13 per cent reporting in the 2016 census that they clock on wherever they please.OUA offers a wealth of programs that can help you make your way in this industry. You could study a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Business, or a Bachelor of IT among other degrees, with a huge range of majors available to choose from. If you're like the 13 per cent already working in the industry who prefer a bit more flexibility in your day-to-day, you can get that through OUA, too. All degrees are offered online so you don't have to feel chained to a classroom."Whether you're looking to start your first degree, have a career change, or simply upskill within your current industry, for many students the flexibility of studying online is essential when study needs to also be juggled with jobs, family and other life commitments," Mr Elmslie says.CONSTRUCTION

For people who like to help shape the world around them, a degree in construction management could be the key to a long and fulfilling career. Right now, more than 1.16 million people work in the construction industry, and by May 2022, it's forecast that there will be more than 120,000 additional jobs available.Through OUA, you can study a Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management) with Curtin University, or a Bachelor of Construction Management with the University of South Australia as your first step to overseeing, coordinating and managing the construction of various buildings. You can even tailor your speciality to suit your interests - perhaps you could work on building schools, hospitals, skyscrapers, or even high-end residential projects, managing the building of Australia's (and possibly the world's) most beautiful homes.EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Although in fourth place, there is huge growth happening in education and training with more than 116,000 jobs to be added in the next five years. Of the 1.02 million people employed in the industry, most are primary and secondary school teachers or education aides, but there are also many university lecturers and tutors and private tutors and teachers.OUA offers Bachelor of Education degrees in Early Childhood Education, Primary Education, and Secondary Education with Curtin University and Mr Elmslie says the education industry is thriving, and one of the most future-proof you can choose to get into. "Hardly a day goes by without talk of digital disruption within the workforce and the threat of a robotic takeover, but what's exciting about Australia's fastest-growing industries is the ongoing need for a human element - a robot could never replace a school teacher."Mr Elmslie adds if you choose to study a degree in education online through OUA, you won't miss out on invaluable face-to-face training and placements. "All degrees available through OUA are designed to get graduates industry ready - when practicums are an essential part of a degree it will be incorporated within the program content, such as Education and Health degrees where classroom hours and professional field placements are required."GET THE DEGREE THAT WILL GET YOU THE JOB

For 25 years, Open Universities Australia has enabled students to study online with leading Australian unis and obtain the degrees that are most in-demand in the workplace, without putting their lives on hold. Explore your options at open.edu.au, or call a friendly student advisor on 13 OPEN.