Finding the Perfect Fit: Degree (Part 3 of a 3 Part Series)

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November 13th, 2013 by schoolbound

In this mini series we’ve talked about finding the perfect school which entails a lifestyle consideration as well as a degree choice. And we’ve talked about career aspirations and what would make you happy in the future as well as right now. Now let’s talk about degree choices. And when we talk about what degree to pursue we are not talking about your field of study, we did that in Finding The Perfect Fit: Career. We are more talking about what type of degree and how long, or not, to stay in school.

Depending on your subject matter and your job aspirations, you may be able to get there with a quick certification. You could start off as an IT Technician and work your way up, there is a LOT to learn on the job in that kind of a position and you can pick and choose where to fill in the blanks. Even if you have an advanced degree already in this field, because of the nature of this position you can always add other certifications to your list of accomplishments and grow your experience. If you have a Computer Science degree there are always more certifications to add, the technology world changes constantly and it can seem endless, but the more you further your expertise the more valuable you become.

There are many types of degrees: Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral. Each one in succession builds on the other and can increase your salary accordingly. But don’t forget that even if you stay in school to achieve that PhD looking forward to making a great salary once you start practicing, it is a very expensive endeavor most of the time and there is a lot of debt to pay off first before reaping the rewards. Let’s say you enjoy the aspect of helping people, taking care of the sick, enjoy being in the medical and health environment and love the reward of knowing you are doing good work. Do you NEED to become a doctor?  Are there other options with a quicker payoff that will fulfill you? Do you NEED that PhD?

Maybe not. Maybe you would be just as fulfilled being a nurse, or physician’s assistant, or even possibly teaching? What about Hospital Administration? Management? There are lots of levels and options as far as how to approach a career that holds your interest, and how you get there. It is ALWAYS good to have a base education for wherever you start which can give you more confidence and help you achieve your goals faster once you get into the job market.

I highly suggest not only researching different careers on the web, the levels of those careers and what education is required to achieve them, but also talking to a working professional that is doing the job you are interested in. If you want to be Physician’s Assistant go and interview one! Most people find it flattering when you want to know about their job and the ins and outs of their routine. You may learn more than you bargained for both good and bad, and it could help you make your decision solidly BEFORE going to school to find out if you want to pursue that degree. They can tell you what level of education is required for their position and probably others around them. The more real world research you do when deciding on a degree the more efficient your time and money will be spent.

Too many college kids get to school not knowing what they want to do when they graduate wracking up the bill while they wrack their brain. They can postpone their graduation and extend their time in school while draining their wallet. Don’t be that statistic… do your research, know your goals and plan it out so you know what you need and do not need. Most of us cannot afford the luxury of trying and failing. You can avoid this and be successful in your education by knowing BEFORE you go.