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10 unusual majors can get you these jobs

  • Story Highlights
  • Family and consumer science majors can branch out into a variety of jobs
  • Recreation management can be fun and gets you outside
  • Interested in a career that promotes eco-friendly products? Try packaging
  • Curious about neighborhood development? Major in urban studies
Rachel Zupek
CareerBuilder writer
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A food science major is heavy in biology and chemistry but great for curious foodies.

A food science major is heavy in biology and chemistry but great for curious foodies.

Here we are again, nearing the end of yet another summer and the start of a new school year. By now, you (hopefully) know where you'll be attending college this fall, but do you know what you'll study?

The importance of choosing your college major has never been so important. Although the economy will have hopefully turned around by the time you graduate, nothing is certain.

You'll want to declare a major in something you not only enjoy and which interests you, but also in something that will be come in handy when it comes to finding a job.

While it's tempting to choose a broad major like engineering, English or communications, it behooves you to get creative because you never know -- an uncommon degree could put you in a great position to find a job in an emerging, unique or specialized field.

Here are 10 uncommon (or overlooked) majors and the jobs you can get with them*:

1. Family and consumer sciences

Also known as home economics, a background in family and consumer sciences teach students everything you need to know about what makes a "home." You'll become an expert in such areas as child development, family relations, consumer economics, personal finance, fashion design, housing and nutrition, which means you'll have plenty of options when it comes to starting your career.

Related careers: Teacher, health educator, financial adviser, education administrator

2. Linguistics

Linguistics majors study language -- its structure, how it's acquired, how people use it, its history, etc. As globalization continues as an emerging trend in business, those with a linguistics background will become more valued in several fields.

Related careers: Anthropologists, archaeologists, computer scientists, interpreters, linguists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists, translators, marketing

3. Recreation management

Students who major in recreation management learn how to manage employees, plan and promote activities, create budgets and follow safety regulations when running recreational facilities. Most recreation management graduates work in parks, resorts, sporting facilities, camps, senior centers, theme parks and community facilities.

Related careers: Amusement and recreation attendants; lifeguards, ski patrol and other recreational protective services; recreation worker; coaches and umpires; park ranger

4. Food science

Perfect for self-proclaimed "foodies," food science majors study the biology and chemistry behind food. They learn the basics of producing, transporting and preparing food, and learn what it takes to get a safe food product to consumers.

Related careers: Agricultural and food scientists, flavor chemist, dietetic technicians, dietitians and nutritionists, industrial production managers

5. Packaging

If you're interested in a green career, this might be a good path to follow. Most things come with packaging for health and safety reasons, so it's not likely this major will go away anytime soon. There are ways, however, to make packaging more functional and environmentally friendly, which is what packaging majors focus on.

Related careers: Sustainability engineer, industrial designer, agricultural and food scientists

6. Criminology

Are you able to solve the case during every episode of "Law & Order"? Then majoring in criminology might be for you. Criminology students study the psychology behind why people commit crimes, criminal profiles, crime prevention and the theories surrounding why crime exists.

Related careers: Clinical psychologists, correctional officers, government lawyers, correctional treatment specialists, research psychologists

7. Social work

Social work majors are usually people who want to help make the world and its inhabitants better. In this area of study, you'll learn about human psychology, learn how to counsel individuals and groups, and also learn about social services like welfare and subsidized housing.

Related careers: Child, family and school social workers; human service assistants; medical and public health social workers; mental health and substance abuse social workers; sociologists

8. Urban studies

Have you ever wondered why a certain area of your city is considered "middle-class" or "the slums?" As an urban studies major, you'll learn how neighborhoods develop -- and the stereotypes that go along with them. You'll also study what makes cities unique, find out how different areas respond to problems and events, how buildings and city layouts affect its people, and much more.

Related careers: Urban and regional planners, community organizers and activists, public interest advocates

9. Natural resources

Another green college major, natural resources majors learn how to protect and preserve natural resources and how to commercially use natural resources like oil, trees, water, animals and plants with the least environmental impact.

Related careers: Conservation scientists; environmental educators; environmental scientists; foresters and forestry technicians; park rangers; preserve managers

10. Gerontology

As the population continues to age, an increasing amount of research and resources are being put forth into studying the human aging process. Gerontology majors learn the biological, behavioral and social changes associated with aging, and can often put this knowledge to use in a career that involves working with seniors.

Related careers: Advanced-practice nurses, general practitioners, medical and health services managers, medical and public health social workers, mental health counselors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, public interest lawyers

*Availability of majors vary depending on your academic institution. Selected careers may require higher education and training.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority

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