Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Drive Consumer Interest In Higher Education

September 28, 2017 Digital Media Solutions

Paramus, NJ – September 28, 2017 – School is officially in session as consumers seek higher education programs and certifications to prepare for a competitive job market. According to the Sparkroom Q2 2017 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review, fields such as business, nursing, computer information sciences and mechanics, among others, remain among the more popular higher education programs.  SparkroomTM, an award-winning leader in performance marketing and technology, published its quarterly report as part of its effort to educate the industry on student demand trends. The Sparkroom report also shows the demand for Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technician programs has been on a general upward trend. Data shows consumers may be more focused on the tangible benefits of job placement or career advancement when assessing their education goals. In an evolving, competitive job market, advanced degrees, diplomas and certificates are becoming a minimum requirement for many jobs.

“What we’re seeing from our data is that the debate between online and campus-based higher education programs is changing as more institutions are shifting their strategies to meet the needs of career changers and millennials that are laser focused on jobs,” said Jeff Meola, Business Intelligence and Analytics Director at Sparkroom. “Our unique reporting helps the higher education industry remain competitive as shifts in demographics and the job market impact student academic goals.”

Top 5 Program Categories (Ranked By Q2 2017 Interest)

  1. Health Professions and Related Programs
  2. Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services
  3. Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services
  4. Education
  5. Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians


As the nation grapples with an ongoing healthcare debate, interest in careers in this sector continues to soar. The highest ranking healthcare program based on consumer inquiry continued to be Nursing/Registered Nurse (RN, ASN, BSN, MSN) in Q2 2017.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected healthcare occupations will grow 19% from 2014 to 2024, with 2.3 million new jobs added. In fact, health programs are driving the creation of new jobs more than any other group of occupations. Even with some fears in 2017 that healthcare policies could change in the U.S., due to increased population size and continued access to healthcare for more of the population than in the past, the need for healthcare professionals at all levels is projected to remain consistently high.

Top 5 Health Programs (Ranked By Q2 2017 Interest)

  1. Nursing/Registered Nurse (RN, ASN, BSN, MSN)
  2. Medical/Clinical Assistant
  3. Medical Insurance Coding Specialist/Coder
  4. Health/Health Care Administration/Management
  5. Medical Office Assistant/Specialist


Student interest in Business, Management and Marketing programs has been on the decline every quarter since Q4 2015. Surprisingly, the nation’s first businessman-turned-President did not inspire more consumers to seek information for a degree in business. In fact, the share of consumer inquiries for Business programs slipped in Q2 2017 to just 17.0%, down from 22.5% in Q4 2015.


Interest in Computer and Information Sciences programs rose almost every quarter from Q4 2015 to Q1 2017. Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design was the most inquired about computer program in Q2 2017.

From 2014 to 2024, the BLS projected a 12% increase in employment for computer and information technology occupations. More than 480,000 new jobs are expected to be added to the national marketplace during this period. This anticipated rise is driven by a greater emphasis on cloud and mobile computing along with growth in big data and an expanding “internet of things.”

Mechanic and Repair Technologies

Demand for Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technician programs has been on a general upward trend. More specifically, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) interest has been on the rise since 2015 and in 2016 increased by 17%. According to the BLS, the projected increase in employment for HVAC is jobs much higher than the national average coming in at 14%.

Top 5 Mechanic Programs (Ranked By Q2 2017 Interest)

  1. Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Refrigeration Maintenance Technology/Technician
  2. Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician
  3. Diesel Mechanics Technology/Technician
  4. Electrical/Electronics Equipment Installation and Repair, General
  5. Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician


Diploma programs appear to be a valuable option for consumers as more than one-fifth of all student inquiries related to this degree level in Q2 2017. Campus-based diploma programs remained vastly more popular than online diploma programs. In Q2 2017, the interest was 40% for campus-based diploma programs versus just below 2% for online diploma programs.

Top 5 Diploma Programs (Ranked By Q2 2017 Interest)

  1. Medical/Clinical Assistant
  2. Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Refrigeration Maintenance Technology/Technician
  3. Office Management and Supervision
  4. Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician
  5. Dental Assisting/Assistant


Interest and demand in certificate programs has been consistent for the last two years. However, certificate programs were immensely more popular in campus-based programs, securing 17% of consumer inquiries compared to 1% for online programs in Q2 2017.

Top 5 Certificate Programs (Ranked By Q2 2017 Interest)

  1. Welding Technology/Welder
  2. Medical/Clinical Assistant
  3. Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operator and Instructor
  4. Medical Insurance Coding Specialist/Coder
  5. Dental Assisting/Assistant

“The higher education sector needs to shift focus and evolve to best serve individuals. Whether they are seeking different credentials or different learning experiences, these institutions need to create programs that are meeting the needs of tomorrow’s job market,” added Meola.

The Sparkroom Q2 2017 Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review covers overall trends in the inquiry generation and student acquisition activities of higher education institutions for the period of January 2015-June 2017, with an emphasis on April-June 2017. The report can be downloaded at Sparkroom.com/resources.

About Sparkroom

Through the deployment of award-winning technology and services, Sparkroom helps marketers make smarter decisions and quickly find the win. Sparkroom marketing technology and services address the full customer lifecycle, with a focus on delivering higher-quality prospects and better conversion rates. Sparkroom performance marketing technology integrates campaign data, automates processes based on performance and provides holistic, cross-channel attribution reporting and analytics. Sparkroom marketing services include demand generation and prospect nurturing to manage cross-channel marketing campaigns from strategy to execution to optimization and beyond. Sparkroom operations solutions, inclusive of enrollment management consulting and short-term OPM engagements, layer on operational services for clients in need of end-to-end support. To learn more about Sparkroom, go to sparkroom.com. Sparkroom is owned by Digital Media Solutions (DMS). To learn more about DMS, go to digitalmediasolutions.com.


© 2017 Digital Media Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Digital Media Solutions and its logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Digital Media Solutions, LLC. All other company and product names referenced herein are the property of their respective owners.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: DMS) is a leading provider of technology and digital performance marketing solutions leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers. DMS proprietary technology solutions, significant proprietary media distribution and data-driven processes help large brands steadily acquire more customers. For more information visit https://digitalmediasolutions.com.

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