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The Future of Work: How College Programs Can Align with Evolving Career Trends  mobile hero image

The Future of Work: How College Programs Can Align with Evolving Career Trends 

While there are many motivations for attending college—personal growth, pride, desire for a broader perspective, socialization—the primary reasons for most people remain career-related. Earning a degree helps students gain the skills and credentials required to work in a specific field, increase their earning and advancement potential, and avail themselves of networking opportunities. 

With career advancement being the core incentive for students, higher education institutions must consider the current and future working world and adapt their program offerings accordingly. It’s crucial to closely monitor trends that impact the workplace and get out in front of them when possible. Is your institution adhering to this strategy?  

Here we’ll discuss some ways you can align with evolving career trends to simultaneously boost enrollments and prepare your students for professional success through online programs.  

Offer Programs for Where the World Is Going 

Several fields have risen to prominence in recent years and will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future. It’s imperative that your institution provides programs centered on the current skills and principles of these fields: 


Challenges for our overtaxed power grid must be overcome, including a continuing uptick in electric car usage. In general, there will be an emphasis on harnessing renewable energy sources in the coming years.  

Cyber Security 

Virtually every type of organization, from banks to hospitals to social media companies to schools, has been affected by cyberattacks. These devastating cyber intrusions have compromised the privacy and livelihoods of millions. 


Healthcare delivery methods are changing, and with them, the training of healthcare professionals. Remote monitoring tools and smart medical devices will only be useful with skilled personnel to operate them. 


Cloud computing, 3D printing, robotics, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and drones have become buzzwords for a reason: these technologies are in wide use and here to stay. 

Retrain and Reskill Working Adults for AI  

Automation has been a reality in some industries for decades, and recent advances in artificial intelligence make further automation a certainty. But AI will also require the efforts of trained human beings. This presents employment opportunities not just for individuals starting their careers but for those who need to transition careers due to automation and other changes. 

AI Trainers, Explainers, and Sustainers 

The World Economic Forum forecasts that new jobs will be created for people to develop AI, make it user-friendly, and ensure its optimal use. Success in these roles will depend not only on computer, engineering, and other technical education but also on legal and regulatory expertise. 

Cultivate “People Skills” 

As important as technical skills are, government and corporate employment authorities continue to report on the need for “soft” skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration among today’s job candidates. Degree programs that can help students develop these critical skills include but are not limited to: 

– Arts
– Communication
– English
– History
– Humanities
– Psychology
– Sociology 

Don’t Expect Students to Spend Years on a Credential 

While two-year and four-year degree programs will continue to be with us, demand for a faster, more convenient way for working people to acquire skills and credentials is growing. Microcredentials are increasingly popular, and universities that want to compete with MOOCs—which some students are taking to bypass traditional college programs altogether—should take note.  

Digital Badges 

While these are available for free from some sources, higher education institutions can connect the prestige of their name with digital badges. Some institutions are issuing badges to individuals who complete their professional development courses. These clickable credentials are easily added to a LinkedIn page or an email signature and instantly verify the individual’s qualifications. 


Undergraduate and graduate certificates are like streamlined versions of degree programs that require fewer credits and can be completed in as little as one semester. Recipients can return later and apply these stackable credentials toward the completion of a degree program. 

Graduate Degrees 

While certainly not microcredentials, select master’s degree programs can be completed in about one year. Some universities have reduced the number of required credits of these programs to make them more competitive. 

Meet Students Where They Are: Online 

More students today are taking advantage of online programs for earning degrees and certificates to elevate their professional potential. If your institution doesn’t offer at least a few online or hybrid learning options—the preferred education medium for countless students—your enrollments may suffer. 

While higher education enrollments may be down overall, they remain strong for online programs—Apollidon Learning’s area of expertise. We invite you to reach out to us to discuss your enrollment goals and how our tailored services can help you achieve them! 


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