You used to know what you wanted to be when you grew up. Now it’s not so simple. Job outlook, potential salary, personal expectations, even your personality can affect your choice and your chances for success. Where do you begin?
One Step at a Time
The first thing to do is focus on the basics. Do you want to consider a career first, then make education choices that will help you get there? Or would you rather focus on a specific subject now and identify career possibilities later? You won’t go wrong if you make a choice that fits your aspirations and lifestyle.
To make an educated career decision, take these steps:
- Do some self-assessment. Determine what you like to do, what you do best and what’s really important to you.
- Explore your options. Decide which careers best utilize your interests and your strengths.
- Consider the requirements. Do you have the time and money to complete the degree of your choice? Will you attend classes on campus or study online?
- Be flexible. Look at the different fields to which your major or degree can be applied. Consider a choice that will qualify you for positions in not just one field but many, when you’re ready to look for a job.
- Go for growth. Are opportunities expanding in your field? How much education will you need? You’ll find information about hundreds of different jobs, the education they require and their prospects for growth in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Handbook.
- Do the math. Will you be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle? Is comfortable enough for you? Consult the latest occupational employment statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor to gauge employment and earnings estimates for more than 800 occupations, by state or throughout the nation.
There’s no doubt about it. The more you learn, the more you can expect to earn, according to the most recent findings from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Education pays in part because employers believe that the higher your degree of education, the easier it will be for you to master organizational tasks. Across the United States, median earnings increase at every level of education. Take a look at these weekly salaries reported, by degree, in Occupational Outlook Quarterly:
And if the information above doesn’t convince you, keep this in mind: Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau report that professions requiring a bachelor’s degree are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as the national average, making a college degree an excellent investment.