Some people know what they want to be when they grow up from a young age. Others find themselves nearing the end of high school without being sure what they want to do next.
Choosing a major or specialization is an important first step when deciding what you want to do as a career. If you’re not sure which major you should choose or the type of school you want to attend, some personal reflection can help you make a decision you feel confident about.
What College Major Is Right for You?
Your major is the area you’ve decided to specialize in. Some majors lead directly to careers. For example, if you choose a medical assisting program, you’ll be prepared to start a medical assisting career after completion.
With that in mind, picking a major connection to your future career goals is important. If you want to go into health care, choose a specialization in that area. If information technology is more your thing, look for specializations in that subject area.
If you’re not sure what you want to do as a career, take some time to reflect on what you enjoy doing or your interests. Make a list of the things you love and the things you don’t like doing. Also, make a list of your skills and weaknesses.
With your list in hand, get some support. Your school’s guidance counselor can recommend majors based on your interests, skills, and weaknesses.
How to Decide Between Two Majors
You’ve narrowed down your list to two subject areas. Now, you just have to pick one or the other. If you’re having trouble choosing, consider an internship or job shadowing someone in the two fields.
Job shadowing is less intensive. It involves following someone around on the job for a day or longer. You’ll get to see what life is like in the career but may not get actual hands-on experience.
An internship gives you the chance to learn in the workplace. Some internships pay, but many do not. The length of your internship can vary based on the program, but many last for at least a school semester or quarter. Your high school may offer you credit for completing an internship.
Should You Go to a Technical School?
Another thing to consider when choosing a major is the type of school you’ll attend and the type of program you’ll enroll in. You don’t have to attend a four-year college and earn a bachelor’s degree.
In fact, in many cases, a four-year school may not be the best option for you. You can earn a career certificate in less time and less money from a technical school. With a career certificate, you’ll be ready to enter an entry-level career.
Technical schools offer several advantages compared to four-year schools. They are career-focused and will give you the instruction and hands-on training you need to succeed in your chosen field.
They also lay the groundwork for further education, should you pursue it. Once you get your certificate, you can enroll in a two-year, associate’s degree program, then a four-year degree program, if you want.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Program
When choosing your major or program, there are a few factors to remember. Pay attention to:
- Length: Career certificate programs vary, with some requiring just a few months of study and others taking a year or longer.
- Requirements: What do you need to do before enrolling in the program? In many cases, you’ll need to have a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Cost: Program costs vary, but career certificates are always less expensive than four-year degrees. Also, find out about financial aid options.
- Type of instruction: How does the program teach? A mix of classroom instruction and hands-on training is ideal, especially for STEM majors or technical programs.
- Career preparation: Once you finish the program, what’s next? Will you be ready to take a licensing exam? Find out if the program offers assistance in finding a job. Also, ask about employment rates among graduates.
Orange Technical College has many career certificate programs which can put you on the path toward a fulfilling future. Start the conversation with an admissions specialist today for help choosing the right technical program for you.