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Want a job? Major in education, new state report says

Looking for a secure job in Nevada once you graduate?

Then your best bet is to declare an education major, according to a report published Friday through the state’s new super-data system that links information from public schools, state colleges and universities and employers.

The Student Completion and Workforce Report shows education majors who graduated with a bachelor’s degree during the 2012-13 academic year posted the highest in-state employment rate — 74.1 percent — among all degree programs offered at the Nevada System of Higher Education.

But education majors who started working in Nevada directly after their graduation only earned $35,751 on average. That is among the 10 lowest salaries listed in the new report.

Kim Metcalf, dean of the college of education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said virtually all — 98.3 percent, to be exact — of the students who complete UNLV’s educator licensure programs land a job at the Clark County School District, which is scrambling to fill nearly 1,000 classroom vacancies before the school year starts Aug. 24.

“Clearly, education graduates in Nevada have a promising employment horizon,” Metcalf said.

“The challenge, of course, is to balance the imperative to increase the number of new professionals we prepare for the workforce, while at the same time ensuring the quality of their professional performance,” he added.

At the bottom of the list, students who declared majors in physical science, philosophy and religious studies, history or architecture all posted employment rates in Nevada at less than 30 percent. Graduates in those fields earned between $34,851 and $45,594 on average, according to the report.

The Student Completion and Workforce Report is the second database published on the Nevada P-20 Workforce Report, or NPWR, website since its launch July 31.

With funding from a $4 million federal grant, three state agencies, including the Nevada System of Higher Education, built the new site to analyze data collected from the moment students start preschool or kindergarten through their high school graduation, acceptance to a university and eventually first day of work.

“There are many challenges with comparing and reporting occupational data, but based on the available information, a majority of NSHE graduates (66.5 percent) are employed in Nevada the first year following graduation,” according to the NPWR site.

The first report on the NPWR site details the average wage earned in dozens of industries across the state and in individual counties. Additional reports on college remediation rates, most common degree by industry and other topics should go live over the next several weeks.

Nevada System of Higher Education officials and their counterparts at the Nevada Department of Education and Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation also plan to use the NPWR site to field requests from researchers, policymakers and other who want to study the impact of the state’s education initiatives.

Contact Neal Morton at nmorton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @nealtmorton.

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