As a college student, you may not think about where you’ll live after graduation until your senior year when it’s time to move. Your choice of major, though, can actually impact your options down the line, so thinking about not only what career will make you happy, but also where you want to live in the future, is important.
When you start looking for a job or thinking about your major, you may have a specific location in mind, hoping to end up somewhere close to your family or in a particular city. Maybe you don’t have a specific location in mind, though, and you’re open to moving just about anywhere as long as you can find a position with a reputable company and a safe place to live. You may split the difference, knowing you want to be on the West Coast, for example, but not knowing whether you’d prefer Seattle or Los Angeles.
Many careers, particularly those that are specialized or with a particular company (say jobs in the oil industry or with companies like Microsoft) are location specific. Going with the above example, many oil industry jobs are located in Texas, while Microsoft has a bunch of positions that are specific to Seattle. Though you may be able to find similar jobs in other states, you’d have the best luck actually getting a position if you’re in a location where the jobs are numerous. Other careers that come to mind are within specialties like marine biology (you must be near the ocean), technology (the hub is in Silicon Valley), and certain political or government jobs (often based in a state capital or Washington D.C.).
On the other hand, if you’re not tied to a particular company or region, there are majors that lead to careers with positions available virtually anywhere, from small town to large city. These majors and careers include:
Accounting: Every business has (or should have) an accountant, an accounting department, and/or staff who work solely on payroll. Additionally, private accountants are always in demand, particularly around tax season. Financial planners, bankers, and insurance brokers are also common. Where there are people, there is money; where there is money, there are people who need help managing it.
Customer Service: When you call customer service lines or live chat a company online, you may be dialing into a call center. Sometimes, though, you’re talking to regular people who work remotely from the comfort of their couch. It’s not the most thrilling position—and you’ll need a thick skin to deal with angry customers—but it’s great if you’re also going to school part time, are in-between jobs, or need flexibility for another reason. Hospitals, insurance companies, and banks also hire representatives to help with scheduling, billing, and account management.
Healthcare: Anywhere that people live, hospitals and medical offices will be nearby. From doctors and nurses to home healthcare workers and aides, jobs in medicine are plentiful. Although some of the more specialized areas of medicine may not be as common everywhere, primary care doctors, nurses, emergency room physicians, and OB/GYNs are always in demand. Medical licenses are specific to each state, though, so make sure you learn about the process for earning or transferring a license before you up and move across the country.
Media: Whether you want to get into print journalism or online editing, or even social media management, there are positions available everywhere if you can find the right company. Businesses small and large need employees to run their social media accounts, and it seems that everyone nowadays is managing a blog. Freelancing, though a tough choice, gives you the freedom to work and live wherever you want, as do many of the remote content writer positions that are available. With an English degree or well-developed writing skills you have plenty of options.
Software and Web Development: Businesses need individuals to create and manage their websites and sometimes to create and update apps. Most of this work is done behind a computer, so if you’re up on your coding technique and have a knack for design, it could be a great option for you. While some of these positions do still report to an office, remote work is becoming the norm.
Teaching: From public schools to private, preschool to high school, and tutoring to professorships, teaching positions are everywhere. Primary and secondary teachers need to be licensed in the state where they plan to work, typically by passing an exam. Community colleges may hire part-time instructors who don’t have education degrees, provided they have a master’s-level background in the subject they’d be teaching. Tenure-track professors often need PhDs, but their only location limitation is whether a particular institution will hire them. Additionally, with the increase in online classes and tutoring programs, remote teaching positions are becoming increasingly common.
Trades: If there are buildings in a city, there will always be the need for repairs. HVAC, plumbing, roofing, and electrical companies all need skilled employees. If there are people in a city, phlebotomists, hairdressers, chefs, massage therapists, and any number of other vocations are needed. If there are cars or trucks, mechanics are a must. Depending on the trade or vocation you’re pursuing, you may need to do an apprenticeship, earn a license, or complete an associate’s degree, but once you’re trained, you can go pretty much anywhere.
Veterinarians, law enforcement officers, childcare workers, hospitality workers, physical therapists, and personal trainers are all also found nearly everywhere. With a little creativity, your options are open!