In a recent survey, Careerbuilder found that 36 percent of workers aren't happy with their college majors. That's an awful lot of people; that means that if you work in a 100-person office, 36 of your co-workers feel they picked the wrong major for their career.
So how can you avoid buyer's remorse after you graduate college? With a little research beforehand, you'll be able to better determine which degree is right for you. In this two-part blog post, we'll explore the factors that can maximize the ROI you get from your degree.
To start, we'll look at different degree types and how to find which one is right for you.
There's a variety to choose from—from an Associate's degree all the way to a PhD, so how do you know which one will fit best with your future career? Some basic guidelines include how fast you want to begin your career, what kind of specialized skills your career will require, and what education level is considered standard in your future industry.
If you want to start working fast …
Earn an Associate's Degree
Typical turnaround time: 2 years
Let's say you need a degree that will help you start your career and start it quickly. If this is the case, an Associate's degree might be the way to go. An Associate's degree can start you in a wide variety of rewarding careers, from nursing to IT, in just two years. As an added bonus, many of your courses may count towards your Bachelor's degree if you decide you want to earn a four-year degree to advance your career later on.
If you want to advance your career…
Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Typical turnaround time: 4 years
If you've rather invest your time in a degree that you know will allow you to advance your career, a Bachelor's degree may be a better choice for you. Many employers consider a Bachelor's degree as a prerequisite these days, and having a four-year degree will most likely help you during the hiring and promotion processes.
If you know you'll need to add to your education …
Earn a Master's Degree
Typical turnaround time: 2 years
No matter what you earn your Bachelor's degree in, chances are it gave you a general overview of your field or industry. For those students who want to pursue a specialization within their field, a Master's degree is the natural next step. It will build on what you learned during your undergraduate program, giving you specific knowledge in an area of your field, which will allow you to advance your career even further.
A Master's degree is also a great option for those who realize they want to make a career change, and that they will need additional education to do so. Some careers, such as advanced nurse practitioner careers, psychologist careers, counseling careers, and physical therapy careers, among others, require a Master's degree as a bare minimum.
If your career requires research or specialized skills …
Earn a Doctoral Degree
Typical turnaround time: 4-8 years
Of all the degrees, doctoral degrees are the most intense. They require the most time, research, and work, but can often result in a big payoff in your career. Before you invest in a PhD, however, make sure your career will benefit. Some fields, such as medicine, psychology, medical research, and teaching (at the university level), require a PhD. For others, it may not be necessary. Where a PhD pays off the most is in careers that require highly specialized skills or extensive amounts of research and analysis.