Choosing the Right Degree for You

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Some students have no difficulty when it comes to choosing a degree program. It is the culture in Sri Lanka to choose a profession such as a doctor, engineer, etc. pretty early on in your school career. But many others feel uncertain about the path they want to follow and even unsure about where to start. For those who are less certain about a profession, it is helpful to make an honest assessment of talents as well as start a thorough investigation to make sure you don’t make the wrong choice! Investigate the salaries, job outlook, and quality of life associated with different careers.

Fortunately, students have plenty of options when it comes to finding a degree program that aligns with their career plans. Online education has freed students from the restrictions of geography, allowing them to enrol in a degree program with any school that offers online programs. Still, deciding between those options can prove challenging.

A quick way to jump-start a career search is to look through a college program catalogue and see the type of courses required for different majors. There are many online resources available that help you match your talents and interests to degrees that you may not have known existed.

Factors to consider when choosing a degree

Most students start their higher education journey with a simple question: “What college degree should I get?” This question is not always easy to answer, but the following tips can prove helpful in reaching a decision.

Talents

A career search must start with an honest assessment of your talents. It’s also important to choose a degree that offers the chance to improve skills in an area of interest. Passion for the career is also critical and will keep you focused on completing your degree when faced with challenging course material. All degrees will be difficult, so make sure you really enjoy them otherwise you will lose motivation.

Career pay

The potential salary for a specific career should not become the sole factor in choosing a degree program. Few people enjoy working at jobs they don’t like even if they make a great deal of money. However, it’s important to set expectations for what your potential career will pay. Degrees such as Tech, Medicine, and Finance are guaranteed high pay most of the time. But nearly any job has the potential to make money if you’re the right person.

Career outlook

Another important factor is the outlook for future job growth. This is especially important as technology continues to rapidly change the workforce. The BLS provides projections in this area. Some of the jobs expected to grow the fastest include nursing, software developer, general operations manager, financial manager, and management analyst. Some jobs might be taken over by tech in the future so keep that in mind.

Quality of life

Being a doctor can earn you respect, a good salary and great benefits. But the workload is literally life or death in some situations and includes long working hours and many years of study. This is why you need to realise what YOUR priorities are in life so you don’t pick a stereotypical ‘good’ job and end up regretting it. This is a very personal decision, but it helps to talk with people who currently work in a field you are considering so you can better understand the life they lead.

Earning an associate’s degree

Deciding on a lifelong career is difficult to do at a young age. Even working adults may not yet know exactly what they want to do. An option that makes sense for many is to first earn a two-year associate degree before moving on to complete a bachelor’s degree.

An associate degree can offer a great stepping stone for students who remain unsure of their full-time career choice. By earning an associate degree online, they knock out many of the general education requirements found in almost every academic program.

Those include general education requirements in English, Ethics, Humanities, Social Sciences/History, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Arts & Sciences electives, and Information Literacy.

By taking their time to carefully consider all options, potential students can eventually choose a degree and arrive at a solid choice for a career field. Whether they start with an associate degree or move immediately into a bachelor’s program, the options offered through online learning increase the chances they will choose a degree program that suits them best.

Overall, it’s not the end of the world if you pick a degree and change your mind. You can always change your field in your master’s, and on average 40% of people end up working jobs that don’t correlate to their degree. Do the research you need to and you will be fine!

By Ruelle Sittampalam