The future is looking more optimistic for international students when the US administration announced on April 26, 2021, that the international student travel ban policy would no longer be in effect. Eligible students from previously banned countries may now return to the United States effective August 1, 2021, in time for the opening of the first semester of the year. 

Emerging from a turbulent 2020, America opened 2021 with confidence under a new leader, President Joe Biden, who has clearly included international education as one of his top priorities along with effective Covid-19 response, economic recovery, climate change, and immigration. In line with the government’s advocacy, colleges and universities are making headway in implementing safety protocols in anticipation of the return of in-class instruction.

For aspiring international students, now is an opportune time to plan and decide on the study program to take that would prepare them for their career aspirations post-pandemic and beyond. During the 2019/20 academic year, the most popular fields of study amongst international students studying in the United States were Engineering, Math and Computer Science, and Business and Management according to Statista, a specialist on the market and consumer data. There are several flagship courses in the US to consider but the COVID-19 disruption on many industries has put a spotlight on some degree programs that would address today and the future’s needs.

Here are some of the degrees that would be essential for future-proofing one’s career according to College Consensus, a unique College Ranking and Review Aggregator combining top publisher rankings and student reviews:

E-business and Innovations Masters. A graduate-level program, this study pathway supports today’s skyrocketing e-commerce industry, with potential jobs that can be done remotely. Focused on utilizing software programs to manage e-commerce operations, the curriculum combines business management skills and economics and e-commerce courses such as database management, system development, and programming.

Information Systems. The pandemic has revealed the demand for information systems specialists for business continuity during disruption. Offered as a Bachelor’s degree or an MBA, the curriculum is ideal for aspiring students who aim to be data analysts, IT consultants, software engineers, and database administrators. Similar to Information Technology, Information Systems jobs also offer work from home options with high earnings potential.

Retail and Sales Management. Businesses have embraced technology when COVID-19 forced most brick-and-mortar stores to temporarily, some permanently, close. Today, more than ever, many organizations are conducting virtual engagements using software programs within and outside the company, to comply with the pandemic restrictions and, most importantly, succeed. The retail industry remains a profitable sector that offers a competitive salary, insurance, and retirement packages.

Nursing. Always been in demand, Nursing jobs are needed today and even beyond the pandemic. Nurses, as essential workers, also have an option to work from home to conduct telephone and video call consultancy services. Master of Nursing is usually the pathway for bachelor’s degree graduates.

Digital Marketing. The world has been going digital even before the pandemic. With more and more people staying at home, businesses have heavily relied on digital marketing for optimizing web searches, digital ads, and social media promotion to reach their customers. Digital marketers, either bachelor’s or master’s degree graduates, have options to work in a marketing agency or as a freelance independent contractor.

Construction management, healthcare administration, human resource management, and data analysis are also mentioned as essential courses post-pandemic.

With embassies around the world now in the process of reopening, international education in the US continues to be viable and encouraging for prospective students.