Industry Insights: Where Do Professional Studies Graduates Thrive in Today’s Job Market?  

Industry Insights: Where Do Professional Studies Graduates Thrive in Today's Job Market?

Working professionals dreaming of completing their degree program may find the prospect of returning to school a little intimidating. We all have busy lives, and when you are working, fulfilling personal obligations, and trying to find some semblance of balance, continuing education doesn’t always fit into the equation.

Fortunately, at Carson-Newman University, we offer professional studies degree programs that allow you to apply existing credits and expedite your degree completion, allowing you to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree that can help accelerate your career.

Professional Studies: Popular Specializations

Within the College of Professional Studies, there are many degree options and specializations to consider. Professional studies degree programs often include both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, and the coursework typically combines practical, skills-based training with theoretical and conceptual instruction.

Most students who enroll in professional studies degree programs are looking to complete their bachelor’s degree or earn their master’s degree to pursue career advancement opportunities. As a result, these are the most popular specializations and concentrations within the field of professional studies:

Business Management

A professional studies degree with a concentration in business management can mean the difference between a job vs. a career. A working professional who is currently employed at an organization but does not have a bachelor’s degree may have a hard time advancing within the company. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in business management can provide them with the competitive advantage needed to secure that promotion.

Within the business management specialization, you will develop expertise in advanced business topics, including marketing, finance, organizational leadership and strategic planning. You will also have the opportunity to refine your soft skills and develop leadership skills that can help you to thrive in any business environment.


Career advancement in the healthcare industry is much easier when you have a degree. By earning a professional studies degree in healthcare, you can pursue positions that allow you to take on more complex cases or serve in an administrative role.

For example, if you pursue a Master of Science in Nursing through the College of Professional Studies, you will enjoy an accelerated curriculum that puts you on the fast track to graduation. After earning your MSN, you may be eligible for higher-level positions in nursing. According to Indeed, some positions on the jobs market for MSN graduates include nurse manager, nurse educator, and nurse practitioner.

Social Work

Within the field of social work, higher education can be the gateway to new and specialized opportunities. Many social workers currently employed in the industry find that professional studies degree programs allow them to prioritize their education while balancing their existing workload.

For instance, when you earn a master’s degree in social work, you will be able to consider higher-level positions in the field. According to Indeed, some jobs you may be able to pursue after earning a master’s degree in social work include medical social worker and school counselor.

Hospitality Management

Hospitality management is a growing field, with industry insights from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noting that the hospitality and leisure services industry is expected to recover fully from the pandemic’s detrimental impact. Those currently working in the hospitality industry have the advantage of being familiar with how the industry operates, but a professional studies degree in hospitality management can position them for upward mobility within the field. Some high-growth careers within hospitality management include event planners, hotel managers, and restaurant owners and operators.

Digital Media and Communications

Technology has revolutionized the way that we communicate, and those changes are not slowing down anytime soon. If you are interested in a career in reporting, content creation, communications or public relations, a professional studies degree that concentrates on digital media and communications is a worthwhile investment.

As artificial intelligence continues to reshape digital media and communication, experienced professionals with recent educational insight will continue to be in high demand. The professionals of today and leaders of tomorrow will need to know how to work alongside this technology and optimize its usage for their organization.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 18 percent of public schools in the United States had at least one teacher vacancy in 2022, with more than 26 percent of public schools suffering from multiple teacher vacancies. The teacher shortage across the country is reaching crisis levels, which is one of the reasons why a professional studies degree in education is increasing in popularity.

Within this field, a professional currently working as a staff aid or assistant may be able to expedite their education and earn a teaching certificate. Professional studies degree programs that specialize in education can help bridge the gap and reduce the number of teaching vacancies in an area.

Demand and Current Trends for Professional Studies

Professional studies degree programs differentiate from their traditional undergraduate counterparts because they are accelerated and focus heavily on a specific set of skills for an individual industry. These specific, skills-based programs are preferred by many employers around the country.

According to an article by Business Insider, an Education Advisory Report noted that demand for professional studies master’s degree graduates is on the rise. Employers appreciate that those with a professional studies degree benefit from an industry-specific curriculum focused on skill development.

Career Movement

Professional studies graduates are uniquely positioned for mobility within their careers, as these programs are designed with career advancement in mind. Students will find that their accelerated coursework builds upon their existing knowledge and professional expertise and allows them to focus on developing the skills they need to elevate their careers.

Education Advantage

Employers often seek graduates with advanced degrees, as this is a sign of professional competency and personal achievement. A professional studies degree can offer an educational advantage without requiring you to spend years working toward your degree.

Advanced Workplace Skills

Professional studies degrees are widely known for being skills-based programs that allow students to develop specific skills relevant to their industry. For example, those pursuing a professional studies degree in business management will be able to develop their leadership skills while building analytical, critical thinking and strategic planning skills.

Skills Needed in the Job Market

In addition to focusing on industry-specific skills, professional studies degree programs provide students with a chance to develop the soft skills that are in high demand everywhere. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the most coveted soft skills are:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Problem-Solving
  • Professionalism
  • Enthusiasm

Direction and Discipline

By investing your time and resources into a professional studies degree program, you are proving that you have both discipline and direction. Simply taking the time to complete your bachelor’s or master’s degree showcases your commitment and drive.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Throughout your professional studies degree program, you will have the opportunity to work directly with professors, instructors, and other students. This gives you real-world experience with communication and collaboration in the 21st century, which often relies heavily on technology and digital resources. In addition to learning how to work with others, you can begin extending your professional network during this time.

Research and Critical Thinking

Regardless of the specialization or concentration you choose for your professional studies degree program, you will be able to develop improved research and critical thinking skills. The projects you complete during your degree program will allow you to conduct research, test theories, and come to new conclusions relevant to your chosen industry.

Mastering Your Specialization

With a career-specific focus in mind, your professional studies degree program will allow you to become an expert in your chosen specialization. You will graduate with the confidence to pursue any position in your field that interests you.

Explore the College of Professional Studies at Carson-Newman University

As a Christian liberal arts college, Carson-Newman University is dedicated to helping students reach their full potential as educated citizens and worldwide servant leaderss. Take control of your career advancement with Carson-Newman and earn your degree in professional studies today!

Previous CPS Blog Post

Sports Analytics: Revolutionizing Decision-Making in Sports Management

Next CPS Blog Post

Navigating the Online Learning Experience: A Guide to Mastering Your MAcc Program

Related College of Professional Studies Blog

  • Coins in stacks showing the rise of accounting in a percentage.

    Navigating the Digital Age: How Technology Is Reshaping the Accounting Landscape 

    In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the entire field of accounting is undergoing a profound transformation. Traditional practices are being reshaped by the relentless march of technology, presenting both challenges […]

  • Man sitting at desk working on daily accounting duties.

    Beyond the Balance Sheet: Exploring Career Opportunities in Accounting

    Initially, it may seem like the day in life of an accountant is fairly straightforward. An accounting degree will prepare you for entry-level positions in the field, with many students assuming that […]

  • DNP checking patient vitals.

    Breaking Barriers: Advancing Your Nursing Career With a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

    The Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP degree, is the highest-level degree that a nurse can attain, and graduates from this program can pursue leadership positions in their nursing careers. Compared […]