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How to Approach a College Education For Job and Financial Security

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How to Approach a College Education For Job and Financial Security

(Photo : Yan Krukov from Pexels)

Going to college used to be a golden ticket. It was the thing that would ensure you had a bright future with a rewarding career. Unfortunately, even college graduates with a good GPA struggle to find well-paying jobs after their education is complete. This happens for many reasons. It's frustrating to discover that when you're done with a very expensive education, you still can't find a job that pays better than minimum wage when you graduate.

The key isn't just to go to college for any degree and expect to magically come out ready for the real world. College is one piece of the puzzle, but there are other factors to consider. If you want a good paying job after college, you need to choose degrees in fields that pay well and have a good outlook. College is still a powerful tool for your success. Here are some ways to help you choose a college degree that will help you better prepare for getting a job.

Don't Get an Obscure Degree

Too many people invest in college with no direction or understanding of what they want to do. They go to try and figure it out, but college is very expensive and if you don't have any clue what you want, you could waste tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, people go and get an obscure degree in something like the history of underwater basket weaving expecting to get a six-figure salary when they graduate. However with no jobs that use this degree, this is not a wise approach.

Choose a degree that will help you get a job. You need degrees in high demand fields or have a plan on how you will use your vast knowledge of underwater crafts to earn an income. Obscure degrees are fun to learn about, but they don't always help get the bills paid when college is over.

Choose Degrees That Prepare You For Certification and/or Licensing

If you want the best chances of getting a good job right after college, choose degrees that will help you get certification and/or licensing. Computer programmers with certifications are more desirable than those with just a degree. The certificates add more weight and make graduates more hireable. Nurses can go to college for two years or four years to prepare them for the state licensure tests. The benefit of a four-year degree is that it can help nurses serve in leadership roles in a way that a two-year degree cannot. Teaching programs in colleges prepare students to become actual teachers.

Additionally, students in college courses should be mindful of internship opportunities. You want to turn your online statistics course and your science degree into a way to make money later. So, you decide to go intern with a hospital as a data analyst. Looking at college as a pipeline to a specific type of job instead of as a magic ticket will help you choose better majors and degrees. 

Figure Out the ROI Before You Start College

Looking at the ROI of college means you need to look at the salary ranges of the field you want to go in. Then evaluate what your education will cost to be qualified to do that work. What will your bachelor's degree cost? Will you need a master's degree? Are there any additional certification or licensing tests you need to do the work? Compare these two numbers.

If it's going to cost you upwards of $100K to get all the education necessary to work in that field but you'll only be making $35K per year, that may not be the best option. Additionally, if it'll cost you a lot for college, but there are not a lot of jobs in the field you want to go into, it might be wise to think of other options.

Part of evaluating the ROI also forces you to look at the different colleges you want to attend with a more critical eye. Unless you're looking at a Harvard level education, most state colleges and universities offer a fantastic education for a fraction of the cost of private colleges. While a private university might have a more high-class feel, odds are that it won't help you any more than a state school in getting a job when you are done. Networking, internships, and working during college are all ways to help you boost your resume.

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