A Guide to Selecting Your Degree
Your degree choice directly affects your future career opportunities and ultimate success. When making this choice, consider your current career path, future job markets, what you like to do, and what you would like to do.
Your degree options are virtually unlimited, however many degrees fall under one of the following areas of study:
- Computer Science
- Health Care or Medical
- Criminal Justice
- Business Administration
- Liberal Arts - Math, Science, English, Etc.
- Psychology / Social and Human Services
As you can see these areas cover most of your career options. In addition these degree areas can be further narrowed down to very specific areas of concentration. Having pre-determined career goals can help make choosing your degree a simple process.
Choosing A College Major
When you attend college you will be required to select a major in the first or second year.
- A major is a coherent group of courses that will focus and shape your intellectual skills, development, and experiences.
- A major should interest and excite you.
- A major will take a significant portion of your academic time and course work.
- A major is only one component of your total education.
- A major is an intellectual partnership with faculty and graduate students in your department.
- A major will not necessarily define your career path.
Some students enter college knowing exactly what they want to study, some think they know, and some have no idea. Most will change majors at least once. Nearly two-thirds of undergraduate students change majors before graduating and might consider up to four or five majors before finally deciding on one.
If you need help choosing a college degree or career path, there are several free aptitude tests available to veterans that can help you determine your best career fit.See more information about these programs.
We have also created a 4 step guide to Making Career and Education Decisions.
Future Career Opportunities
Although factoring future job growth into your degree choice may mean taking more classes, increasing your timeline and expense, it is well worth the time and effort. In fact combining your personal interests with the forecasted job market is a sure way to make the most of your education benefits.
Overall, the annual income of someone with a bachelor's degree or higher is much higher than someone with only a high school diploma. This difference adds up over a lifetime - over $1 million dollars more for a college graduate than an non-graduate.
Which Degree Level Should You Choose
Although it is important to select your degree level, it's not critical. You don't have to have an associate's (lower level) degree before you go after your bachelor's. In fact, in most cases it saves you time and effort to focus on your bachelor's degree first. Getting your associate's degree first may mean you will have to find a school that will accept the transfer of your lower level credits before you can start working on your upper level degree.
Once You Choose a Degree, Choosing A School is the Next Step
Choosing your degree is only one step toward your education goal. Once you have made your degree choice you will need to find the school that offers your degree and has programs that fit your needs.