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Futurologist Career

What Is a Futurologist?

The work of a futurologist is “future studies,” which includes intensive research to develop useful foresight regarding what is probable, possible, and preferable for organizations, people, and the planet based on current trends, likely events, and systems thinking.

These professionals have made accurate predictions about major global events throughout human history, like the growth of the internet, the impact of aging demographics, the fall of technological costs, and the continuation of social trends.

Take note that futurologists are different from “religious futurists,” whose studies relate to astrology or the occult world. Futurists make predictions based on religious beliefs, signs in the stars, or other symbolic signs. Futurologists, on the other hand, work specifically with the world’s trends, data, and systems of impact by analyzing actual events and phenomenon to make informed calculations and anticipate probabilities.

While futurologists can be accurately called futurists or trend analysts, many are adopting the term “futurologist” to differentiate themselves from past and pre-scientific “futurists” that relied on the occult to make predictions. Instead, futurology faithfully employs systems thinking as the means for formulating predictions in the real world.

What Does a Futurologist Do?

male DevOps engineer

Famous futurologists like Herman Kahn, Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Pearson, and Alvin Toffler have made accurate predictions 10 or more years into the future about technology, the economy, and society. These are some of the things they did in order to draw their conclusions:

  • Understand and analyze the trends and systems of a particular situation, organization, phenomenon, or global occasion.
  • Forecast events and probabilities based on the studies of what is known in the field of concern for the futurist.
  • Supervise and facilitate projects while generating intelligence from data and systems analysis to manage uncertainty and make predictions.
  • Coordinate a range of foresight and predictive activities, applying alternative possibilities and futures in simulation.
  • Consult with leadership and executives to facilitate changes on a policy or practice level based on the insights of analysis.
  • Collaborate and build teams with competency while practically solving problems and welcoming transformation based on probabilities.
  • Identify and initiate the need for change within an organization according to predictions and against competitors.
  • Employ the latest emerging technologies to make simulations, predictions, and adjustments to policy and practice within organizations.
  • Guide and innovate by offering a strategic vision of the future through advanced models of the future informed by the most desired outcome.
  • Challenge ideas and assumptions of the past to see the future as clearly as possible and to innovate for organizational advancement.

How Do I Become a Futurologist?

It takes the right person with a comprehensive education and job experience to be an accomplished futurologist. If this career path sounds intriguing to you, take the following steps to begin your journey.

Profitable businesses and corporations are some of the biggest employers of futurologists, so having an education in business and data will be very useful for someone pursuing a future in this career. Any of these degree programs at WGU will prepare a prospective futurologist with the skills necessary to build a strong foundation for a long, successful career.

  • Apply for internships or entry-level roles in data-driven and analytical roles to gain relevant experience.

Futurologists’ predictions are driven by historical trends and data analysis. Upon completing your bachelor’s degree, seeking jobs that require you to get deep into the weeds with data will position you to eventually take a role as a futurologist.

  • Apply to predictive analyst positions.

Futurologists use predictive analytics at the center of their work. This work involves statistical techniques like data mining, predictive modeling, and machine learning that analyze current and historical facts to formulate predictions about the future.

If you have a passion for futurology and you want to secure high-paying management positions in business, you should seek out a master’s degree in management and leadership. The skills you’ll learn in a degree program like this will prepare you to lead teams, inspire major change in the world of business, earn more money, and get better jobs.

Best Degrees for a Futurologist

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 68% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Marketing – B.S. Business Administration

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:...

For those who want to lead brands and steer...

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:

  • Time: 67% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing and PR manager
  • Director of marketing and communications
  • Director of publications
  • Customer intelligence manager
  • Marketing sales manager

Marketing is a creative and exciting field—and one where an undergraduate degree will open better opportunities.

Data Management/Data Analytics – B.S.

Lean into data, and walk away with a cutting-edge online degree:...

Lean into data, and walk away with a cutting-edge...

Lean into data, and walk away with a cutting-edge online degree:

  • Employer approval: 69% of graduates finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition: $3,625 per 6-month term.
  • Certifications: CIW and CompTIA certs, all included.

Unique to WGU's program is the incorporation of a Udacity Nanodegree—a highly recognized credential designed to prepare you for a career in data science.

Certified Internet Web certification included:

  • CIW Data Analyst

CompTIA certifications included:

  • CompTIA A+ (Parts 1 and 2)
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Project+
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist

Management and Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree focused on change management,...

An online master's degree focused on change...

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and leading teams:

  • Time: 62% of graduates finish within 18 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President
  • Vice president
  • Director of operations
  • Executive director

Develop a comprehensive suite of leadership skills and your confidence to navigate changing business structures.

Marketing – M.S.

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on...

Two online marketing master's degree options with...

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on either digital marketing or marketing analytics.

  • Time: 70% of grads finish master's programs within 24 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program
  • Specializatin: Students choose from two specializations to focus their marketing studies on digital marketing or marketing analytics.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing manager
  • Marketing analyst
  • Marketing director
  • SEO manager
  • SEM manager
  • Email manager

A marketing master's degree will help you prepare for a wide range of exciting marketing careers.


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What Skills Does a Futurologist Need?

A man looks over different visual data while sitting at a desk.

As you can imagine, predicting the future takes a very specific set of skills. Throughout their education and job experience, futurologists gain and nurture these skills in order to lead a successful career:

  • Mastery in understanding and practice of systems thinking.
  • Capability of building credibility for predictions based on data.
  • Education in business management and exposure to future studies.
  • Skill in measuring metrics, trends, and using tools to forecast events.
  • Ability to clearly convey and summarize ideas and probabilities to different audiences.
  • Skill in consulting leadership and stakeholders as an advisor to policy.

How Much Does a Futurologist Make?

$80,174

The average income for futurologists of all industries and experience levels is $80,174 per year. The possible salary range for more experienced futurologists is upwards of $173,000.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

21%

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the overall employment rate of professionals with similar roles to futurologists such as actuaries, policy analysts, and financial analysts is projected to grow by 21% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than average for all professions. This growth rate will produce hundreds of thousands of new job openings over the course of the decade.

Where Does a Futurologist Work?

Varies

The work of futurologists is useful in every industry, which means that there are plenty of jobs in a wide array of fields. Some of the most common employers of futurologists include:

-Corporations with global reach

-Government organizations

-Nonprofits

-Insurance companies

-Financial firms

-Consumer goods companies

-Policy departments

-Pharmaceuticals

Interested in Becoming a Futurologist?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this lucrative career.

View Degree Programs