6 Fun Degrees to Explore

Adult learner in a graduation cap and gown

To close 2021, I thought I would explore a few unique fields of study our team has come across. These are majors where you can have fun and earn a decent living. If you’re looking for adventure in your career, read on.

Holistic Nursing

The field of holistic nursing has slowly emerged into the academic space. The American Holistic Nurses Association or AHNA defines holistic nursing as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal.” Nurses who focus in the area of holistic nursing will take into account the whole patient and not just the condition that needs to be treated. The AHNA defines this as a "person's physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental strengths and challenges and honoring each person’s values, health beliefs and health experience." Those who practice holistic medicine may turn to non-traditional methods of healing. Some professionals in this field may focus on art therapy, aroma therapy, or medical cannabis.

Learners who are interested in this exciting and growing field have a few options from an academic perspective. Your foundational degree to start your holistic nursing journey is either an Associate or Bachelor in Nursing. Once you complete a degree program you will then need to pass a licensing exam to work as a Registered Nurse. American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) collectively works with the AHNA to advance the mission of holistic nursing. The AHNCC provides accreditation to educational programs that incorporate holistic nursing fundamentals into its curriculum. They also provide certifications for those who are seeking to solidify their knowledge in this field, while letting patients know you are certified at the highest level in this field. The AHNCC provides two certifications, one in Holistic Nursing and the other in Nurse Coaching. Both "promote health, wellness, and wellbeing as they facilitate their client’s growth and healing.

You can view a list of accredited degrees here: AHNCC Endorsed Nursing Programs. Bright Horizons partner school Drexel University offers a Certificate in Advanced Study Complementary and Integrative Therapies. The program is not just for nursing professionals, it can be beneficial for physician assistants and mental health counselors as well. 

The AHNA also provides a bountiful database of Continuing Nurse Education (CNE) options. This is a great opportunity to begin learning and integrating holistic methods in your practice or scope of work. Some of the options are also available to health care practitioners who are not nurses. In addition to the CNE options, the AHNA also holds a national and regional conference yearly. You can learn more here: AHNA CNE Programs, Webinars and Additional Resources.

Medical Cannabis

If you are interested in the healthcare field but would like to focus on a non-traditional form of treatment, a degree in medical cannabis might be right for you. The debate over cannabis in our country remains a hot topic of conversation, and many states are handling cannabis availability differently. Some states have fully legalized it, while others have exclusively made it available for medical consumption. Regardless of the accessibility, the field of cannabis has exploded over the last couple of years. For example, the world of medical cannabis yielded $1.23 billion in sales and created 15,000 new jobs in Florida in 2020.

High interest in cannabis has created new opportunities for those looking to pursue a degree in this field. Now you might be thinking, what in the world will you study in a cannabis-driven degree? The answer is a lot of science surrounding cannabis itself including the growing process, pharmacology, extraction, and cultivation. Education can be in the form of a certificate, bachelor’s or master’s degree. Currently only a few schools offer such programs due to state restrictions. Working in this field goes beyond the growing of cannabis. Cannabis careers can be found in management within a dispensary location, distribution, policy and compliance, or development of new products. As more states consider bringing on a form of cannabis distribution, employment opportunities will continue to grow. 

Bright Horizons partner school Saint Louis University currently offers a certificate in Cannabis Science and Operations. Learn about other degree and certificate pathways available in this field of study at Leafy. 

Brewing Science

Do you have an interest in science and love beer? What about a degree in brewing or fermentation? In 2019, according to Beverage Daily, craft beer produced a record of 26.3 million barrels, besting the previous record from 2015 by 2.1 million barrels. The field has felt some tightening over the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but experts believe the industry will continue to grow as the supply chain challenges start to reverse. Saint Louis University, a Bright Horizons partner, offers a Brewing Science and Operations Certificate. Coursework includes packaging and distribution practices, the biochemistry of brewing, operations, and accounting. You can start this field of study as long as you are at least 21 and have a high school diploma or a GED. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree check out the Certificate in Brewing Science and Operations or a Master of Science in Brewing Science Operations at Auburn University. Both pathways are completed online with a brewing practicum. 

You can also become certified through the Institute of Brewing & Distilling with a General Certificate in Brewing. The certificate is primarily for those seeking to jump start their career and is also open to those already in the industry. According to the Institute, the certificate program “shows employers that you understand the basic underpinning scientific principles of the brewing process that go into producing a quality product.” If you are currently in the industry and working on the technical side, you may want to consider the General Certificate in Distilling. 

Puppetry

Yes, you read that correctly. If you are interested in the arts and love stage shows such as “Disney’s The Lion King - The Musical” or “Finding Nemo — The Musical,” puppetry may be for you. The aforementioned shows use puppetry to tell animated stories in a live theatrical version. Having seen both shows myself, actors who understand the importance of puppetry are essential to the telling of the live action story. Those seeking to enhance their education in the arts or study a new field are in luck. The University of Connecticut offers a graduate certificate in puppet arts online. This program offers learners the opportunity to learn more about techniques in puppetry and the overall development of storyline and utilization of puppetry in storytelling. You can also view puppetry in action via Disney’s The Lion King website, which is truly breathtaking to see in person. 

Sustainable Tourism

The field of global sustainability has grown in recent years. This growth has been driven by the continued challenges our world faces in terms of resource limitation, climate change, mass tourism, and transportation to name a few. Global sustainability continues to evolve into new areas of study to aid the fight against the challenges our world faces. One fun area of study is Sustainable Tourism. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) mentions that sustainable tourism refers to sustainable practices in and by the tourism industry. 

As people become more cognizant of the impact travel creates on our planet, many are seeking ways to enjoy traveling while taking part in sustainable practices. Ecotourism has quickly become a sought out adventure for those looking to vacation responsibly. According to the GSTC, “Ecotourism is a sustainable form of natural resource-based tourism that focuses primarily on experiencing and learning about nature, and which is ethically managed to be low impact, non-consumptive, and locally-oriented”. You might be asking yourself what this means in terms of selecting a vacation? Think about the Florida Everglades as an example of ecotourism. Taking a scenic boat tour through the Everglades with a company that is using sustainable tourism practices is at the core of an ecotourism adventure. Ecotourism can also be as simple as taking a hike through a rainforest, instead of a city tour, or staying at a hotel/motel that has a focus on green practices.

For example, if you are visiting Florida, the Department of Environmental Protections has developed the Florida Green Lodging Program. This program establishes a set of guidelines hotels must follow to receive this designation. It’s the establishment's assurance that they are committed to the conservation of the natural resources available in Florida while continuously improving their environmental impact. Staying at hotels with this designation provides the assurance that you are staying at a hotel following the guidelines and practices to ensure a reduction in its environmental footprint. 

Have I piqued your interest yet? Pursuing education in global sustainability with a focus on sustainable tourism is a great pathway for those looking to enhance their hospitality career. However, you can pivot into this field if you have an interest in sustainability and tourism or if you are seeking a new fun career. Programs in sustainability with a focus on sustainable tourism will provide you with the foundational knowledge you need to create, promote or operate a sustainable tourism destination, company or resort. 

Entry points of study can vary from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree. Some universities now offer certificate programs to enhance your knowledge if you already hold a degree. If you are seeking to start your educational journey in sustainable tourism, you may want to consider the Bachelor of Arts in Global Sustainable Tourism at Florida International University. If you already hold a bachelor’s and would like to further your education at the graduate level, check out the Master of Sustainable Tourism offered through our partner school Arizona State University Online (ASU). If you already hold a degree, you can enhance your education with a graduate certificate from ASU. This field of study is exciting and one that will evolve as the practices in sustainable tourism change. This area of study is not just about tourism. You will learn how to create sustainable policy, plan sustainable initiatives, and food management from a tourism lens, but with sustainability at the core. If you would like to learn more about Sustainable Tourism visit the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Amusement Park or Roller Coaster Engineer 

Speaking of fun, what about working at an amusement park? Can you imagine how fun it must be to create a heart-pounding roller coaster or an innovative 3D virtual reality ride? Such projects enlist the talents of engineers and specialized amusement park engineers. These highly skilled professionals create and build rides, games, and other attractions that thrill, amuse, and entertain millions of visitors each year.    

Think about what must have gone into the planning of Busch Garden’s Sheikra ride, which climbs 200 feet, drops you 90 degrees straight down, then twists and turns and drops into an underground tunnel before a final splash landing.  

Specialized engineers at roller coaster design firms spend three to five years designing and building themed roller coasters at an average cost of $8,000,000. At Walt Disney, engineers are called Imagineers, who may work the back-of-house in energy management or front-of-house, optimizing the flow of operations. Other specialties of amusement park engineers include architectural, design, lighting, sound, structural, and mechanical, to name just a few. 

Theme Park Engineers of the future will use ever-evolving innovative engineering technologies. Imagine tunnel rides based on frictionless air tube technology at super-high speeds, magnetic fields used to levitate coasters from train tracks and other designs that continue to push the limits.  

Purdue University and North Carolina State University engineering departments offer roller coaster technology in their undergraduate engineering programs. And Rochester Institute of Technology has a robust College of Engineering, including majors or minors in robotics, mechanical, structural, and more. Also, RIT has an award-winning Theme Park Enthusiasts Club.  

If, however, engineering is not your thing, consider some of the other amusement park occupations. Check out the career section of your local amusement or theme park. Or browse amusement park job openings on job sites such as www.indeed.com.

Adult learner in a graduation cap and gown

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