Advice for New College Students

Many students graduate high school every year with a plan to go to college, but how do you know that your degree choice will get you where you want to be when you graduate college? I’m going to outline some key websites to help you make the best choice for this investment in your future. I will also outline some high-growth jobs and the degrees and experience you need to get them.

Most students enter college with some idea of what they want to be when they grow up but once they get there, they change their minds and spend a lot more money than they expected. How can this be avoided? The first step to making the right choice the first time is to do some research. There are many websites that can help you take a look into the future opportunities that a job will hold. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is one of the most well-known guides for choosing a career. It is available at any library and at the website www.bls.gov/oco . This is a guide provided by the U.S. Department of Labor that gives information about careers, what the job duties are, what type of education you need, and what the expected growth of the field is. Some of the jobs with the largest projected growth between 2004 and 2014 include Home Health Aides, Medical Assistants, Computer Software Engineers, Personal and Home Care Aides, and Postsecondary Teachers. All of this information is available from the Occupational Outlook Handbook website listed above. I looked under the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section to find the links to the specific sections about the fastest growing jobs and the largest projected growth. They also have a link to state projections in this section. This is the most helpful and reliable source I found, but you can always use Google or Yahoo! to search for other sources. Yahoo! has a section for education to help you learn more about specific colleges and universities that you may want to attend.

Now that I have given you a couple of ways to find out about jobs that will offer the most opportunities for you in the future, I am going to give you an idea of what you need to learn in school to get these jobs. I’ll use the jobs listed above for this since they currently show the most promise for a future career. Home Health Aids, Medical Assistants, and Personal and Home Care Aides usually receive most of their training on-the-job though some Associate degree or Certificate programs are available. Computer Software Engineers will need to acquire a Bachelor degree in a field such as Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, or Information Science. In some cases, any technology or mathmatical degree will suffice. It is important to do some additional research based on the job market in your area. Using a site like www.monster.com or www.hotjobs.com can give you an idea of the current requirements for the position you are looking for. In order to become a Postsecondary Teacher, you will need to obtain a Doctoral degree in the teaching field of your choice. With this degree it is important to know that you can get some teaching experience while you are working on a Bachelor degree.

To all of you new graduates that are well on your way to the college life, good luck with your degrees and careers. Use my advice, and you can find yourself going straight into the career of your choice and be earning that well-spent college money back in no time!

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