Align Your Education With Your Career Choice

Learn how to choose degree programs that meet your career goals and align with trends in the economy.

If you’re unsure of what career you’d like to pursue, consider getting a job in one of the industries that is projected to have a high number of openings through 2018.

Did you know that many experts advise making a career choice before deciding on a major?

The number of jobs that require some sort of post-secondary education is getting larger, while jobs that traditionally require only a high school diploma are shrinking or being eliminated entirely.

A recent report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicted that by 2018, 33 percent of jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or better and 30 percent will require some college or a two-year associate’s degree. This leaves only 36 percent of jobs that will require workers with a high school diploma or less.

The importance of a college education for employment is growing - rather than shrinking. According to the Georgetown report, the recent recession has only accelerated the trend.

It’s crucial that you have a clear idea of your career choice so that you can get the most out of your investment in your college education.

Choosing a Career

When you first start your search, it’s important that you set and keep goals. Start by thinking about your passions and natural talents. Next, list all the jobs that you’ve had in the past and make a list of pros and cons of those jobs. This will help you figure out your work style and the types of places you like to work, which should help you narrow down careers.

Even after completing this list, you might need additional help. You might then want to talk to a professional. Your high school or college counselor or advisor has resources to assist you in figuring out what careers would be most compatible with you and your talents and interests.

Once you have figured out what type of career you are interested in, your advisor can help you match your career with a college major. If you want to be a city planner, your advisor might suggest geography. If you want to be an event coordinator, you should probably get a degree in public relations.

Keep in mind that certain careers require specific majors. For example, nurses need to get a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and then complete a certification exam to get an entry-level job in nursing.

Fast-Growing Careers

If you’re unsure of what career you’d like to pursue, consider getting a job in one of the industries that is projected to have a high number of openings through 2018. The fast-growing fields require more workers with higher education.

The careers that will require at least some college include:

Aligning Your Education With Your Career Choice: Tips and Tactics

Interested in science and enjoy caring for other people? Health care has the highest rate of growth in careers that require a post-secondary education. A degree in health care is a safe bet to land employment when you graduate.

If you've already started or are about to start college and still don’t know what career you want to pursue, rather than choose a specific major randomly, stick with a more general liberal arts degree, such as history or English. This will ensure that you get a well-rounded education and are able to try out different subjects before deciding on a final choice.

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