How To Know If Your Degree Choice Aligns With Your Desired Career Path

Choosing which college degree to pursue is an important decision, and choosing one that aligns with your career goals can be daunting, especially when several options seem similar. The first thing to remember is that it is okay not to have an exact plan for your education and career path when beginning the college application process. Often students learn more about themselves, their goals, and their interests during the college experience, which can help guide them in the right direction. Secondly, the degree you choose will directly impact your career path, so selecting a degree that aligns with your long-term interests is essential.

The University of Cincinnati Online understands how difficult this choice can be, so we’ve put together some steps for you to follow that may be useful when choosing a degree that aligns with your goals.

Step 1: Identify Your Career Goal

To decide if a degree program aligns with your career goals, you must first identify what your career goals are. This step may seem easier than it is; how are you supposed to choose a career when you haven’t had a chance to work in that environment? For example, you may have someone in your life working in a career field that interests you, or there may be a natural career path that aligns with your hobbies and interests. Either way, identifying exciting career options is the first step to narrowing down your degree options. This will help you choose a degree with relevant skills, knowledge, and experience for your desired occupation.

Step 2: Research Degrees that Match Your Goals

Once you’ve decided on a primary or a couple of possible career goals, the next step is looking into degree programs that align best with these goals. You can usually take several different paths when working towards your desired career. For example, when pursuing a business career, you may earn your online associate degree before completing a bachelor’s or even a master’s. Several degree options may align with your career goals, and that’s okay; university resources are here to help you make the best degree choice for you. Some of these resources include our collection of blogs, many of which outline the educational and career paths of current UC Online students and alumni.

Here are some helpful blog examples:

On every program page of UC Online’s website – we provide a careers tab that will give you information such as possible careers for that program, salary estimates and expectations, and other career-related information specifically for that degree. Please see the example below.

Step 3: Review the Common Occupations Associated with a Degree

Certain positions and job titles often require a specific degree or set of degrees to be qualified for the role. Ensuring the degree program, you choose aligns with the career goals that you have laid out for yourself is paramount. You can also check job websites or employment data to determine the projected growth for your desired occupation to get an idea of how competitive your chosen job market might be when you begin job hunting. For example, some business positions may only require a bachelor’s degree in business while others may require you to earn a master’s degree in business administration to be considered for the position. Even if a master’s degree isn’t required for your current or desired position, most MBA graduates switch careers after earning their master’s degree, often doubling their salary in the process. So, expanding your education can create more opportunities and increase your salary potential.

Step 4: Speak to an Enrollment Services Advisor

This step is crucial, especially if you need help choosing a career path or a degree. Enrollment Services Advisors (ESAs) are experts on the degree programs and career paths that derive from them. They can offer insight into the curriculum, requirements for the program, and the skills you will gain by completing it. ESAs can also help you decide which program will help you achieve your career goals or even help you walk through your career options to help you choose which path is right for you.

What’s Next?

Deciding to take the next step in your educational journey, whether earning an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or even a doctorate, is never a small decision. Many factors always go into making these choices, and UC (University of Cincinnati) Online wants to help you every step of the way. Please get in touch with one of our knowledgeable Enrollment Services Advisors today. If you have any questions or want to discuss degree and career path options, contact UC Online to request more information about your desired degree program.

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