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In today’s world, with so many changes taking place in the economy and new technology being introduced continuously, it’s hard to keep up with the job industry. In fact, there are new opportunities becoming available all the time and some of the jobs that were scarce in the past, are now in high demand. Moreover, in order to get a decent paying job today, you’ll almost certainly need a college degree. It’s not like it was years ago where you can land a job managing a store with a high school diploma. Now, there is too much involved with running a business or fulfilling job duties in other occupations, to rely on basic skills and knowledge. You will need to spend a significant amount of time learning your craft in order to succeed and going to college to earn a degree is the best way to do that.

Explore Career Options to Find Your Career Path

One of the hardest parts of your career is choosing a profession and then figuring out how to get where you want to be. There are many things to factor in when deciding on a career that would best fit the kind of lifestyle you desire. Of course, the first thing that everyone thinks of is how much money they will earn, but there are other important factors to consider as well, such as:

  • Is this job in high demand?
  • What hours will I be working?
  • What exactly will I be doing?
  • Is there room for advancement?
  • How much education is required?
  • What certifications and/or licensing will I need?

Here, we will explore some of the more common career options, what it will take to pursue them, how much they pay, how many job openings will there be in the near future, and more. This should help give you an idea of what opportunities are available to you so you can decide what you want to be.

Degrees, Certifications, Skills, and More

Degrees are basically proof stating that you have completed a specific college program. There are 4 common college degrees that are available to postsecondary students that can take 2 to 8 years to earn.

Degree TypeTime to CompleteRequirements
Associate’s2 yearsHigh school diploma or GED
Bachelor’s4 yearsHigh school diploma or GED
Master’s1 to 2 yearsBachelor’s Degree
Doctorate2 or more yearsMaster’s or Bachelor’s depending on source
  • Certifications
    can be acquired much more easily and much cheaper than a degree, by passing an exam and paying a fee. Some exams will require that you complete a workshop specific to your trade before taking it, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few years.
  • Interpersonal Skills
    also known as social or people skills, are related to how you interact and communicate with others. These skills are one of the most important criteria that employers utilize when evaluating a potential candidate. No matter what kind of job you are applying for, portraying a good demeanor and a positive attitude is a major plus and a great start toward landing any job.
  • Job Responsibilities
    are what you will be expected to handle at work. Of course, every job has different obligations to fulfill and many of them will have to be done on a daily basis. The major differences are between entry-level worker jobs and management jobs. In an entry-level position you will be told what to do and how to move toward company goals. As a manager, you not only have to decide what the company goals are, but you must discern the best way to achieve those goals and inspire your team to work toward them with you.
  • Salaries
    are what you will earn in return for your labor. You will typically start out on the lower scale of what you can make in your field with a starting position. However, studies have shown that salaries increase with experience and also that they can increase significantly with each degree you earn. So, if you really want to go the extra mile and earn the most you possibly can in your field, it may be a good idea to continue in your education.
  • Job growth
    is tracked and measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), who use it to create projections of the number of potential jobs that will be created in the near future or on a yearly basis. To find this data the BLS sends out surveys and then publishes the compiled data results each month.

Where Can You Work?

Did you know that one degree can lead to many different career opportunities? This is true because during your studies you will learn about certain things that can be applied to a variety of occupations. The following are some examples of what you can do with various degrees:

Architecture Degree

Graduating with an architect degree will lead to some constructive opportunities. With this degree, you will have project management skills, problem-solving skills, and technical skills that will help you to succeed in construction work, property management, and related professions such as:

  • Urban Planning
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Chartered Surveying
  • Civil Service
  • Engineer
  • Consulting
  • Education

Psychology Degree

Psychology graduates acquire many skills that can be useful in a variety of jobs. Some of the skills learned while studying for this degree include report writing, analytical data collection, communication, and problem-solving, research, organizational skills, and time management. With a Psychology degree, you may be able to work in the following areas:

  • Management Consulting
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • Charities Administrator
  • Mental Health Nurse
  • Child Psychotherapist
  • Teacher
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Counselor
  • Health Service Manager
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Language & Speech Therapist

Education or Teaching Degree

If you are studying to obtain a degree in education or teaching, you don’t necessarily have to become a teacher. There are other opportunities available to those who hold this degree such as:

  • Education Administrator
  • Academic Librarian
  • Community Education Officer
  • Museum Education Officer
  • Careers Adviser
  • Social Worker

Mathematics Degree

Earning a degree in mathematics will give you the skills to succeed in the field of finance, accounting, and more. Employers will see you as a big thinker who is logical, organized, and detail oriented. With these traits, you can go places. Jobs you can get with a degree in mathematics may include:

  • Software Developer
  • Investment Analyst
  • Investment Banker
  • Accountant
  • Consultant
  • Teacher
  • Actuary
  • Data Analyst
  • Commodity Broker
  • Statistician
  • Trader

These many degrees can earn you employment in any number of firms, large or small; government or state departments; in your hometown or the big city; in your home country or anywhere at all in the world. Tailor your choices to match what you want to do with your life. If you want to travel to another country, consider being a teacher and teaching English as a second language to pay off your school loans. Do you want to work throughout the US? Urban planning or construction work will take you to work sites all over the place. If you want to work out of your own house, consider doing the books for local businesses as an accounting consultant. Get what you want out of your job.

What Are the Steps to Land Your Dream Job?

If you are interested in a great career but don’t know the steps you would need to take to become successful, check out this list of profession ideas that tell you how to gain a rewarding career in many different areas. It may be just what you need to point you in the right direction.

Educational Path
The educational path you take will depend on three things, how much time you want to put into your career, how much money you are willing to invest, and the position you want to pursue.

Associate’s Degree
An associate’s degree typically takes one to two years to earn and can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000 per year. With it, you can head straight to the workforce and get an entry-level position, or you can continue your education and go for a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s Degree
The bachelor’s degree program usually takes four years to complete. However, having an associate’s degree or transferable credits can reduce that time down to two years or less. The total cost of earning a bachelor’s degree is anywhere from $3,500 a year to $60,000 annually. Holding a bachelor’s degree gives you numerous career opportunities.

Master’s Degree
Earning a master will require one to two more years to complete after obtaining your bachelor’s degree. The cost of a master's degree is around $24,000 per year to $120,000 annually. Courses for this graduate program will usually include choosing concentrations which allow you to specialize in a specific area. Concentrations can also prepare you for special certification exams.

Doctorate Degree
A doctorate degree can take two to six years more after obtaining a master’s, depending on whether you decide to study full- or part-time. The average cost could be anywhere from $17,000 to $50,000 annually. The doctorate level also includes special concentration courses. With this degree, you can become a professor or almost anything you want as you will possess outstanding knowledge and skills.

Business Careers Guide

Business is a general category of work that mostly refers to anything you do in an office. You can obtain a business position by getting an accounting degree, getting experience in sales right out of high school, or working retail and moving up to managerial positions. While you don’t necessarily need a degree for many of these positions, eventually you’ll hit a wall in salary growth and promotion unless you have some sort of degree. You might want to earn an MBA before or after you hit this point to allow you access to the highest levels of business employment, the C-suites.

OccupationAnnual Median SalaryJob Growth 2014 to 2024Required Education
Examiner$63,06087,900Associate’s Degree
Insurance Sales Agent$48,200165,800Associate’s Degree
Real Estate Agent$56,8607,300Associate’s Degree
Accountant$67,190498,000Bachelor’s Degree
Advertising Manager$119,280172,200Bachelor’s Degree
Economist$99,1807,000Master’s Degree
Statistician$80,11015,400Master’s Degree
Postsecondary Business Teacher$75,37028,300Doctoral degree

Computer Careers Guide

This is a general subject with a variety of highly specialized components. While there are a number of highly reputable educational options out there, this is a growing field, which means experience in new technologies holds a lot of weight with employers. Have you taught yourself how to create phone apps with dev software? Working on your own small programs in your spare time? You may be able to get an entry-level position in this field with on-the-job training without ever stepping foot in a classroom. However, many of the higher-level positions require management skills as well as computer skills, and the number of available learning programs continues to grow, so it would be wise to start taking a few courses here and there, even if you land a position without them.

OccupationAnnual Median SalaryJob Growth 2014 to 2024Required Education
Web Developer$67,990162,900Associate’s Degree
Software Developer$103,5601,256,200Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Programmer$82,240294,900Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Network Architects$104,650162,700Bachelor’s Degree

Education Careers Guide

If you want to teach, you will have to get the degree first. Even Head Start teachers, who work with pre-K children almost all have to hold an associate’s degree. To teach early childhood classes through high school (pre-k-12), you’ll need a bachelors. For some classes in that range you might even need to double major or at least complete a minor in the subject you plan to teach (Foreign Language, Sciences, etc). If you want to move to the college level, you’ll have to earn a master’s degree or even a doctorate. And for all of these positions, you will need to be licensed by the state, with a clean background check and criminal record.

OccupationAnnual Median SalaryJob Growth 2014 to 2024Required Education
High School Teacher$59,1701,018,700Bachelor’s Degree
Instructional Coordinator$63,750163,200Master’s Degree
Elementary School Teacher$56,9001,565,300Bachelor’s Degree
Librarian$58,520138,200Master’s Degree
Middle School Teacher$57,720630,300Bachelor’s Degree
Preschool Teacher$28,990478,500Associate’s Degree

Engineering Careers Guide

Engineering is another education-heavy occupation. While you can get into small electrical engineering or motors on your own through experience with electronics and mechanics work, most full engineering positions require you to have a much greater knowledge of mathematics, materials, and energy than tinkering will afford you. You’ll at least want to complete a bachelor’s in Engineering, and you can use that time to also choose and learn about a specialization such as: Mechanical, Electrical, Biomedical, etc.

OccupationAnnual Median SalaryJob Growth 2014 to 2024Required Education
Aerospace Engineer$113,03069,600Bachelor’s Degree
Agricultural Engineer$74,7802,700Bachelor’s Degree
Biomedical Engineer$88,04021,300Bachelor’s Degree
Civil Engineering Technician$51,62074,500Associate’s Degree
Industrial Engineering Technician$54,28063,900Associate’s Degree

Healthcare Careers Guide

This sector is a tricky one. There are many facets to healthcare, from the doctors, to the nurses, to the administrators and data workers who keep everything running in the background. If you want to work in a hospital as a general worker, you won’t need a degree. If you want to be a part of administration, you might be able to find an entry position with a high school diploma, GED, or associate’s depending on how competitive your area is. However, high-level administration and healthcare information work will likely require at least a bachelors. Nurses take specialized courses which can take anywhere from 18 months to 4 years. Doctors, as we all know, spend years in school learning everything they need to know about the human body to save lives.

OccupationAnnual Median SalaryJob Growth 2014 to 2024Required Education
Athletic Trainer$46,63027,800Bachelor’s Degree
Audiologist$75,92014,800Doctoral Degree
Dental Hygienist$74,070207,900Associate’s Degree
Dentist$158,120153,500Doctoral Degree
Dietitian/Nutritionist$59,41068,000Bachelor’s Degree
Genetic Counselor$77,4803,100Master’s Degree
Home Health Aide$23,1302,927,600High school diploma/GED
Massage Therapist$39,990160,300Bachelor’s Degree

Humanities & Art Careers Guide

Another varied sector. Humanities careers cover the spectrum: Technical Writer, Actor, Event Organizer, Artist, Travel Agent, Editor, Interpreter/Translator, etc. Humanities jobs are defined as those dealing with music, literature, language, and art. Many of these positions are created by the person who holds them. Editors and writers work freelance, create portfolios, build their reputation, and may find a company to employ them long-term. Artists, musicians, and actors create a niche or name for themselves in their community or farther afield and either get their break or don’t. Many translators didn’t go to school planning to become that; they may have learned multiple languages moving around as a child and now they can put that skill to use. However, there are more corporate versions of most of these things. Musicians get a degree and join a symphony, artists and musicians become teachers and show kids how to love the same things they do, students learn a foreign language and move to the country where it’s spoken to teach those students English. Keep your mind open when gaining a Humanities degree, as it often has unintended uses.

OccupationAnnual Median SalaryJob Growth 2014 to 2024Required Education
Music Director/Composer$50,59074,800Bachelor’s Degree
Producer/Director$71,620134,700Bachelor’s Degree
Art Director$92,50090,300Bachelor’s Degree
Floral Designer$26,35055,000High school diploma/GED
Interior Designer$26,35066,500Bachelor’s Degree

Psychology & Counseling Careers Guide

Psychology and counseling both require a degree. There are facilities in which someone with special knowledge can become an addiction counselor. For example, a past substance abuser might be able to help those going through the process of getting clean without earning a degree. However, these positions are rare and hard to get into. Even gaining a bachelor’s in psychology doesn’t open many options for you. Most research positions, and those that allow you to prescribe medication, require a master’s degree. However, a bachelor’s degree may allow you to be a counselor for individuals or families.

OccupationAnnual Median SalaryJob Growth 2014 to 2024Required Education
Psychologist$77,030166,600Doctoral Degree
Sociologist$79,6503,500Master’s Degree
Marriage/Family Therapist$48,79041,500Master’s Degree
Industrial-organizational psychologist$77,350800Master’s Degree
Rehabilitation Counselor$34,860119,300Master’s Degree
School/Career Counselor$55,410291,700Master’s Degree
Social Service Assistant$33,120389,800High school diploma/GED

That is merely a fraction of the many career opportunities available to you. Another thing to keep in mind is that you can attend college on-campus, online, or through a hybrid program, which is a little of both.