USD proudly offers academic programs that directly prepare students for 21 of the 25 careers listed in the U.S. News & World Report's "Best Jobs in America in 2024 List."

In its comprehensive report, U.S. News & World Report noted exponential growth in the health care and business industries. As the home to the state's only comprehensive school of health sciences and oldest accredited business school, USD is well equipped to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in these industries.

In addition to health care and business, other key growth areas included artificial intelligence (AI), technology and law.

“Completing a particular major can be essential for many of the careers in this article, but landing the job, and keeping the job, usually requires more than a diploma," said Susan Hackemer, assistant vice president for Career Services & Student Success. "In our Career Services office, we offer services and classes that teach students how to create meaning out of these experiences and to represent a full set of skills, interests and ambitions during their job search."

To help students connect their classroom learning to their future careers, USD Career Services provides a variety of resources, including job and internship search assistance, networking events, resume and interview help, and more.

“These resources give our students the opportunity to gain experience and transferable skills to empower them to navigate from education to employment," said Ashlin Schoenfelder, director of Career Services. “We do our best to make a positive impact on our students so they can enter the workforce and make a positive impact on others.”

Learn more about the careers highlighted in U.S. News & World Report's "The Best Jobs in America in 2024" list and the programs USD offers to put students on a trajectory toward success in these high-demand career paths.

Health Care

1. Nurse Practitioner

USD's Department of Nursing offers degrees beyond a bachelor's degree in order to meet the growing demand for nursing leadership in health care. The Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs prepare nurses to lead within complex health systems in roles of administration, executive leadership and academic faculty.

5. Physician Assistant

In USD’s physician assistant program, students take their learning from the classroom to the clinical setting, gaining supervised clinical experience from licensed physicians and physician assistant preceptors in a number of clinical areas. Find out more about the physician assistant master’s program and how USD prepares students to fill a critical need in the future of health care.

10. Speech-Language Pathologist

The Master of Arts in speech-language pathology is a two-year post-baccalaureate program consisting of four semesters of didactic coursework and clinical practicum – which is, at a minimum, two semesters of external, full-time clinical placements. USD's graduate speech pathology program provides graduates with experiences that will transfer from the classroom to their career.

19. Occupational Therapist

USD’s occupational therapy (OT) program equips students with the expertise and person-centered approach they need to empower individuals as they work toward their goals and seek independence. Learn more about the OT program and how it prepares students to become expert, compassionate OTs who provide innovative services for their clients.

22. Industrial Psychologist

Industrial psychologists focus on behaviors of employees and apply psychological principles to improve work environments. USD offers the state’s most comprehensive psychology program with graduate training for specializations in clinical psychology or human factors. Clinical psychologists focus on rural communities, cross-cultural differences with a focus on Native Americans, disaster mental health, first aid, trauma and substance abuse. 

24. Dental Hygienist

As a dental hygiene major at USD, students learn to emphasize prevention and outreach through work in oral health and oral disease prevention. USD's dental hygiene program, which is the only of it's kind in the state, provides students with real-world, hands-on experience in a variety of settings – including dental clinics, schools, nursing homes, tribal hospitals and penitentiaries – so students can gain confidence and learn by doing. 

25. Nurse Anesthetist

The nurse anesthesia practice program develops registered nurses into Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) who can work in a variety of settings to administer anesthesia, provide pain management services and offer support in emergency settings. Students learn in state-of-the-art facilities and gain invaluable practice using advanced technologies to improve patient outcomes.


2. Financial Manager

A degree in finance provides a solid foundation for students wanting to pursue careers as financial analysts, financial planners, international traders, CFOs or treasurers at major corporations, loan officers or bank examiners. Discover how a finance degree from the Beacom School of Business prepares students to develop problem-solving, decision-making and budgeting skills to help businesses thrive.

6. Medical and Health Services Manager

A degree in health services administration provides a solid foundation for students wanting to work in health care organizations, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, insurance companies and physicians’ offices. Learn more about how USD prepares the next leaders in health services administration.

9. Actuary

Actuarial sciences studies the calculation of risk using mathematical and statistical methods. USD's certificate in actuarial sciences is a great fit for current mathematics majors who want to become actuaries or learn how to apply risk calculation to their work in accounting or other financial services.

11. Marketing Manager

A degree in marketing prepares students for a dynamic career field where they will understand consumer behavior, market strategy, market research and more. Learn more about the marketing program and how USD develops creative and collaborative thinkers who are prepared to solve customer problems. 

12. Statistician

As a statistics minor, students will learn to think analytically and be a proactive problem solver. Explore USD's statistics program, which provides students with rich course content and research opportunities to prepare them for a career in business, physics, technology, law and many other fields.

13. Management Analyst

The business world is constantly changing and employers are seeking out leaders who have strong foundational knowledge in business concepts, critical thinking and problem solving. As a student in one of the top Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs in the country students will be part of a program that emphasizes decision making, data analysis and social responsibility.

15. Operations Research Analyst

A degree in business analytics prepares students for successful careers in finance, health care, manufacturing, hospitality, agriculture, tourism and more.  Faculty with industry experience lead students through the program, building new knowledge on prior understanding by combining statistics and computer science with business knowledge. With artificial intelligence (AI) technologies gaining prominence in the business sphere, the AI for business analytics specialization aims to prepare students to proficiently grasp and implement AI and cognitive technologies to tackle diverse business challenges.

23. Sales Manager

A certificate in marketing essentials allows students to benefit from study in marketing principles, promotions, sales and consumer behavior along with other marketing knowledge such as marketing strategy. USD’s certificate in marketing essentials provides students with rich experiences in and beyond the classroom so they can pursue a career in marketing.

Computer Science

In the rapidly advancing technological landscape, the demand for skilled professionals in the field of computer science has surged exponentially. In USD's computer science department, students can prepare for one of the most vital and fastest growing fields by specializing in South Dakota's first AI programs. Read more about USD's robust computer science program, which boasts an impressive 98% job placement of recent graduates.

With a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science, students can pursue a wide range of careers including the following.

3. Software Developer
4. Information Technology (IT) Manager
7. Information Security Analyst
8. Data Scientist
21. Web Developer


17. Lawyer

The Knudson School of Law is South Dakota’s only law school, preparing students to be tomorrow’s leaders in the legal profession. With excellent job placement rates, a low student-to-faculty ratio, robust experiential learning opportunities and affordable tuition, USD is home to one of the best value law schools in the country.


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