Choosing a Degree: Looking Ahead

Students choose their degrees for many reasons. Maybe you come from a long line of lawyers and feel obligated to earn a law degree. Maybe you've wanted to be a medical doctor since you were a kid. Or maybe you're considering an art history degree because you love paintings and other works of art. Whatever the case may be, you need to think about your future and make sure you can make a career out of your degree, that there are going to be jobs available, and that you'll be able to pay the bills.

You can find article after article listing “worthless” college degrees. The reason certain degrees are seen as a waste of money is because they don't actually lead to a career, or the careers they do lead to are very limited and specific. While some people may say that it doesn't really matter what your degree is in, just as long as you have one, many employers feel differently. Employers want their employees to have skill sets that match the requirements of the positions available. Most employers aren't going to look at your resume, see that you have a bachelor's degree, and not take into consideration your area of study.

For this reason, it's important to not just choose a degree that you want, but to make sure all of the time and money that you're going to invest in your education is well worth it. One of the best ways to do this is to speak with a counselor at your school or even do an Internet search to learn about the different career options available for the degree you're considering. Then, if you decide you like your options, research the careers that interest you.

A good resource for career information is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. This will allow you to search for specific careers, or browse through categories such as industry, growth rate, educational requirements, and pay. You'll be able to see what the job outlook is for your chosen career, and whether employment is expected to grow or decline. You can also learn about the average income for each career, the work environment, the types of organizations that you may have to work for, and more.

Don't make the mistake of choosing a degree without making sure you're going to be able to find a job and start a career after graduating. Also, make sure your career options are something that you think you'll be happy doing day in and day out, and that you can make a living out of it. Many students are surprised when they learn that the career they had dreamed about isn't anything like what they had imagined, so spend your money and time wisely and look ahead when choosing your degree.