Competition to get into some education programs required for in-demand careers can be stiff. Funding is being cut for community colleges and public universities, making the situation worse. Take, for example, these statistics for a top career options like nursing:
American Association of Colleges of Nursing says 75,000 qualified nursing school applicants turned away in 2011.
Dig deep into choosing a career, college major and training program – as early as possible. And once you know what’s involved and the better prepared you are, the better your chances of getting into the program you want.
3 Tips for Career Planning Success:
1. Fully research your career options, including related occupations. Reading these Career Key articles will help:
- Getting Started (3 Steps to Choosing a Career)
- Learn about Occupations
- Learn More About the Jobs that Interest Me
How can you find similar occupations?
- Explore careers in the same Holland personality type and Career Key work group in Career Key’s “Match Your Personality with Careers” article. You can also do that during the Career Key's valid career test. If you are short on time or money, there may be similar occupations requiring fewer years of education. Maybe that career can be a stepping stone on the way to a final career goal.
- Click the “similar occupations” tab at the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) entry for a career. Try it with pharmacist.
On Career Key’s career lists, Pharmacist is found in the “Health Sciences” group under the Investigative personality type. See all the related careers and groups.
|OOH Entry for Pharmacist|
2. Fully research your education options, including different types of degrees/programs and the schools that offer them. The OOH will be a big help, especially the tabs “How to Become One” and “Contacts for More Info.” Make sure the program environment, what we call “college major environment” fits your personality. We recommend many ways to learn more about these environments.
How do you find good quality information about education programs?
Usually under the OOH's tab “Contacts for More Info,” it will link to a national association of the colleges or program providers for the required education and training programs. Rely on that organization website first before consulting commercial sites you find via Internet searches for “_____ degrees”
For example, the OOH's “Contacts for More Information” for Pharmacist links to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Under Resources and Student Center “Is Pharmacy for You?” I found a huge “Admissions” section with lots of informative FAQs and a whole free PDF book “Pharmacy School Admission Requirements” you can download.
CareerOneStop’s “Education and Training Finder” can help you find information about education programs required for specific occupations located in your state, region or zip code too.
3. Have a back up plan if your first choices do not work out.
If you make a high-quality career decision (follow the link for 4 steps to follow and a free Decision Balance Sheet download), you’ll know what your backup choices are, information about them, and their pros and cons.
Even though it may cost more money to apply to more, less attractive schools, it's worthwhile insurance against rejection and disappointment.
And if you are unable to get into any school you are considering, working in the same industry that interests you (say Healthcare) but in a different occupation than you originally envisioned may open your eyes to new careers and opportunities you hadn’t known about.
It’s a challenge to stay positive and confident when career planning in a difficult economy. Adopting the Free Agent Outlook on Work may help – particularly principles 5 and 6:
5. Be Loyal to Yourself and Your Family, and
6. Think “Right Thoughts.”