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Aligning your education with career goals

Rather than attend college to receive a degree, any degree, prospective students should truly think about the career they plan on pursuing. There are many people who apply to college and then end up completing a major because it looks good on paper or because of other influences. Then, once school is complete, they find it difficult to follow a career they don't truly care about. That is why you should consider all of the careers that you feel you're a good fit for and then narrow that list down. The reason is that certain degrees can be applied to a number of different careers or fields, while others are better suited for one career over another. Also, the degree level for certain careers varies widely.

One very popular career that many consider is business. But there are different types of careers within the field of business that will determine the type of program you choose. In general, however, choosing a bachelor's degree in business can help you find a career within the field. Some may actually decide to choose a specific field within business such as marketing, public relations, or international business. All of these degree programs can help you find a job in the business world. Now, if you want to stay truly competitive, especially in today's world, the MBA (Master's in Business Administration) is becoming the new standard. An MBA is useful for not only getting a job in business, but securing higher paying, higher responsibility positions such as manager, president, and eventually CEO.

If your interest is in education, then you must determine whether or not you want to teach, what level you'd like to teach, and if you eventually want to move into other positions within education or remain an educator. In most states, to teach grades K-8, you'll need to obtain a bachelor's in education or related field and then a teaching credential. Many schools actually offer joint programs in which you can earn both a teaching credential and a master's in education, which will be useful later in your career. For those thinking about teaching high school students, the degree remains the same, though the credential will have to be in one specific area such as math, history, etc.

College educators must go further in their education to at least a master's degree. Usually the degree must be within the field they are teaching, though in some cases it can be a related field. To teach at the community college level, a master's and work experience in the field may be enough to earn a position as a professor. At the university level, however, a PhD is typically required unless the candidate has accomplished a great deal within their respective field.

On the other hand, if you are unsure as to what career you will go into and would like to earn a degree that will allow you the freedom to choose, that is also possible. A degree in communication studies, for example, is a broad enough degree that it can be applied toward a number of career occupations. The same goes for a degree in history, though its application isn't as broad as a communications degree. If you have some interest in writing or editorial work, an English degree or journalism degree might suit you well. These are degrees that can apply to a number of different positions within that particular field.

The important thing to remember is to decide on a career and then align your education to fit that goal.