Monday, December 16, 2013

Finding the Best Career For You (Part 1)

Choosing to follow your passion with a career can be a scary decision.  Trust me, I've been there.
Many of you who have read here know that I started out as a business major in college.  It took a little bit of time, but I finally realized that this path just wasn't for me.  I've always had a passion for working with younger children and the dynamics of education, and by the end of my college career, I had realized that this is what I really wanted to do with my career.

And by the end of my college career, I mean the February before I was supposed to graduate with a business degree.  Scary, intimidating stuff.

I've always said that this was absolutely the right decision for me.  Did it pay more money?  Probably not.  Did it mean a little bit more in student loans?  Absolutely.  But I don't think you can put a price tag on being happy with your career.

It can be a difficult thing to change your career path, especially when making a drastic switch like business to education.  I have a few pieces of advice for those looking to make a switch like this…

1.  Sit down and weigh your options.  When I decided to make the switch, I met with an advisor and weighed what path might be best for me in making the major switch.  We looked at classes I had already taken, availability of upcoming classes, and what course path I would have to take with each education degree option. I ultimately decided to pursue my undergraduate degree in elementary education, but there were several options that would have ultimately led to the same career.  It's worth taking a look at what path will use your time most productively!

2.  Make sure you'll be coming out of school at the right time.  This is especially true for education - often, winter and late summer graduates have a hard time finding jobs, just because they are so many available in late spring and early summer.  This is one reason I decided on the education path I ultimately took - it put me graduating in May, the perfect time to get a job for the next school year.

3. Utilize grants and scholarship programs available in your area.  Many areas have grants and scholarships meant for certain degree fields that agree to work in specific areas.  For example, many nursing and education majors that agree to work in rural areas can gain assistance with paying for their education.  Many grants also help pay if you agree to work in specific fields...educators that agree to teach science or math often have this option.  Meet with an advisor and ask if any of these options are available to you.

3.  Realize that it's a marathon, not a sprint.  Even after I switched majors, it was difficult to see friends that graduated when I was supposed to with successful jobs.  Sure, I was happy for them, but it often made me question whether I had made the right decision for myself.  Ultimately, I realized I had made the right decision...keep your eye on the prize and you'll ultimately be much happier while you're in the process of getting that perfect job!

On Wednesday, I'll be back with a few tips for how to find a job in the education field once (or before) you graduate!

Whether you’re seeking further success in your current role or a new opportunity, Kaplan University can help you prepare for the exciting possibilities ahead.*

As an accredited university built on more than 75 years of experience,† Kaplan University offers a wide range of career-focused programs designed to develop the skills and knowledge leading employers seek. Our focus: to offer you the most direct educational path to achieve your goals.

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* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.

† Kaplan University is regionally accredited. Please visit for additional information about institutional and programmatic accreditation.
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