Radford University Programs Align with 2012's Top Jobs


Physical therapy is among U.S. News & World Report's best jobs for 2012. Radford University enrolled its first Doctor of Physical Therapy students in 2011.

Of the 10 most promising careers of 2012, three are in health-related fields where Radford University recently added graduate programs, and five are in the fast-growing technology sector, where Radford offers a degree with a concentration specific to each area.

That puts the school in the forefront of universities preparing professionals for high-demand jobs, said Raymond Linville, dean of the university’s Waldron College of Health and Human Services. “Today’s Radford University students are well positioned for tomorrow’s job market in medical and allied health professions,” he said. “I am proud of the role we play in preparing clinicians, practitioners and educators to serve Virginia and the nation as leaders in the health-care field.”

U.S. News & World Report compiles an annual list of the best careers based on Labor Department employment projections. All of the top 10 jobs on the magazine’s “quick-to-hire” list for 2012 are in either health care or technology, with registered nurse ranked No. 1 and software developer No. 2.

“Global competitiveness has prompted a renewed emphasis on all aspects of technology,” said Orion Rogers, dean of Radford’s College of Science and Technology. “Whether a student’s interest is in computer science and technology or information science and systems, we can prepare her or him to excel in that area. Innovations in these fields are changing from day to day, and we are continually updating our curriculum to reflect that.”

Radford launched its Doctor of Nursing Practice program in 2010 and its Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2011 with the intent of preparing not only practitioners but also college-level teachers in the two rapidly growing fields. The university’s Master of Occupational Therapy program enrolled its first students in late 2011.

Radford also offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and a special curriculum for registered nurses who want to complete requirements for the baccalaureate degree.

The university’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Technology has concentrations in software engineering, databases, networks and computer science, preparing students for careers in software development, database administration, systems analysis and programming, respectively. The Bachelor of Science in Information Science and Systems offers a concentration in Web development.

“RU is on the cutting edge of preparing our students for top jobs,” Rogers said.

The occupations on the U.S. News top-jobs list are expected to be in high demand for a number of years. The survey also factors in average salaries and job satisfaction. For instance, the magazine points out that the No. 4 job, medical assistant, requires no extensive training and pays a modest salary, but it is highly ranked in job satisfaction by people working in that position.

John Challenger, chief executive of the national outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told U.S. News many sectors will overlap. "Health care has become the core industry in this country, just like manufacturing in another era," he said. “It's a confluence of forces causing this, including the science involved in uncovering new frontiers, the aging of the population and government's commitment to providing health care to a broader generation of people,” Challenger said. “That causes job growth in several sectors."

Besides matching candidates with jobs, the company conducts surveys and releases reports on the economy, employment trends, executive compensation and workplace issues such as bullying.

Learn more about the magazine’s list of top occupations on its website.

Mar 8, 2012
Deanne Estraada