Selecting the Right Degree
Your degree choice will affect your future career opportunities and ultimate success. This compact guide will help you choose the degree that works for you.
When making this decision, consider your current career path, future job markets, timeline and flexibility. Here are a few questions you need to answer before you select a degree:
- Do you want to continue on your current career path?
- Does your current career match the future job market?
- Do you want the quickest path to a degree?
- Do you want a specific degree or a degree that leaves your options open?
- What degree level do you want — associates, bachelor’s or master’s ?
Most degrees fall under one of the following areas of study
- Computer science
- Health care or medical
- Criminal justice
- Business administration
- Liberal arts, such as math, science and English
- Psychology/social and human services
These degree areas can be narrowed to very specific areas of concentration. Having predetermined career goals can help make choosing your degree a simple process.
Tip: Career counselors can help you make the career choice that matches your skills and interests by giving you a career skills and interest assessment. This will help you focus on the career options that match your experience, skills and personal interests. Your Current Career
If you plan to stick to your current career path, you simply need to determine which degree is most in line with your career. Since your past experience might count toward college credit, this option can also help you get your degree faster.
Information is available through many sources, including school admissions counselors. You can get free, no obligation, degree counseling by visiting our School Finder. Future Career Opportunities
Although factoring future job growth into your degree choice may mean taking more classes, which in turn will increase your time and expense, it is well-worth the effort. In fact, combining your personal interests with the forecasted job market is a sure way to make the most of your schooling.
According to the US Department of Labor, the future top career fields include:
- Computer engineering, network management and support
- Education (K-12 and higher education)
- Human resources and social work
- Environmental/hazardous material management
Fast and Flexible
If the focus of your degree is less important than the timing, consider a degree that allows you to earn credit through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Associate of science and bachelor of science degrees are often the most liberal when it comes to using CLEPs.
Some degrees are more flexible than others. For instance, business administration degrees are often the fastest and most flexible. In addition, a degree in business administration can be as narrow or as broadly focused as you like, and nearly every college offers business degree programs. Degree Level
It’s important to select your degree level, but it’s not critical. You don’t need an associates degree before going for your bachelor’s. In fact, in most cases, it saves you time and effort to focus on your bachelor’s degree first.
Once you have made your degree choice, you will need to find a school that offers that degree and has programs that fit your needs. Use our School Finder to find schools that offer the program you want.