Advanced Teachers: 5 Ways to Take Your Career to the Next Level 1

It’s the beginning of another school year and many teachers out there are asking themselves, “How can I move to the next level in my career?” It can be hard to navigate your career in a new direction. However, we will explore how to take your years of experience and wisdom and move into the next stage of your career.


You have likely thought about getting the additional education needed for your Administration License. This will mean additional schooling, but if you desire a move from managing a classroom to managing a school, this is the choice for you.

Online Teaching

Brick and mortar schools will always be necessary and needed, but there is a new game in town and it is online schooling. Whether public or private, online schools are growing at a fast rate and they are looking for experienced educators. These schools offer flexibility, often the teachers can work from home.


If you have earned a master’s degree or higher, teaching at the college level is a wonderful change of pace that allows you to advance your career. If you are interested in mentoring the next generation of teachers, this would be an amazing option.

School Librarian/Media Technician

Schools across the country are desperate for school librarians and media technicians. By earning an online master’s degree in library and information science, you can move your career into an extremely rapidly growing field. As a school librarian or media technician, you will work daily to assist students in reading curriculum and using technology. With many schools now 1:1 with technology, this field is exploding and looking for experienced professionals.

Political Life

There are many elected positions that would benefit from the expertise of a teacher, and not only in education. Who better to lead a congressional committee than someone trained to deal with 30 different personalities and behaviors? As teachers, we often overlook the day-to-day management skills that we perform, but these skills could easily transfer into a career as a public official.

If you are teaching and would like to advance into the next phase of your career, there are choices out there for you. If you feel like you are ready for a change of pace, look into the other options available in your area and what requirements would have to be met to get you there. Believe in yourself and your talents and take your career to the next level.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Connect with her on Google+and (@LizzieWeakley).

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of

Considering Entrepreneurship? The Best Degrees to Help You Succeed Reply

Are you full of ideas for products and services that could make everyone’s lives easier? Do you love reading books about famous innovators who built their own companies? Do you have trouble just following the rules when you’re constantly thinking of ways to reinvent them and make them better? Are you disciplined and persistent? If so, then you might be suited to becoming an entrepreneur.

Not everyone is meant to live their lives as an employee. Entrepreneurship can be a great option for people who get bored of simply doing what they’re told and bringing home a paycheck. Although most startups don’t take off in the way companies like Facebook and Apple did, a few do–1.28% of startups become “unicorns” (less than 10 years old and valued at $1 billion or more)–creating the opportunity for uncapped income.

Where Do You Start?

Entrepreneurship is an extremely difficult career path to take, involving many challenges and failures along the way. Many people just don’t have what it takes. However, it’s also incredibly rewarding to build your own company from the ground up and see your business grow and change. If you think you might have the drive and persistence needed to build a business, then you’re probably wondering how to start. Not everyone who creates a successful company goes to college, but getting your degree can give you a leg up in the process by training you in critical thinking and giving you important skills you’ll need as an entrepreneur. Here are some of the best degrees to help you succeed as a self-employed business owner.


Let’s start with the most obvious. If you’re thinking about starting a business, getting a bachelor’s degree in business will give you an overview of the way companies run, management skills, analysis and communications, and other skills needed to be successful in business. Some schools even offer degrees in entrepreneurship! With that said, a business degree is definitely not the only option for entrepreneurs, especially if you’re considering an MBA after you’ve completed your undergraduate degree–people from all different backgrounds excel in masters’ programs. Business degrees can be great for entrepreneurs, but it’s a good idea to explore other options as well.

Marketing, English, or Communications

No one is going to buy your product or service if you can’t communicate the value of what you’re selling and spread the word effectively. Having a background in marketing is very helpful, because you’ll know the principles of what works and what doesn’t in bringing in new business. English and communications are also good degree options for entrepreneurs, because they require critical thinking and writing skills, both of which are essential for entrepreneurial success. English is one of the most versatile degrees, as quality writing and strong analysis skills are great tools for entrepreneurs to have, no matter what kind of business they start.


Being a business owner involves communicating with others on a regular basis. Knowing the psychology of why people do what they do can help you become a better communicator, negotiator, and leader. As an entrepreneur, you will need to be persuasive and sensitive to the needs of others–a degree in psychology will give you a deeper look into how people think and what motivates them.


The harsh reality is that 70% of small businesses fail within 10 years, and 82% of those failures are at least partially due to cash flow issues. The “lean startup” concept isn’t just trendy–it’s essential. Getting a degree in finance can be a good choice for entrepreneurs, because founders need to have in-depth knowledge and a realistic view of the finances involved with their business, including investment capital and money management. Yes, most founders won’t be fully managing the company’s money forever, but those with a finance degree will understand it and be wiser when it comes to expenditures–which could mean the difference between success and failure.

Beyond the Bachelor’s: Considering an MBA

If you’ve already got a bachelor’s degree and you’re interested in taking your business education to the next level with an MBA, you’ll be happy to know that MBAs come from all different backgrounds. If you’d like to pursue an MBA, the first step is to prepare for and take the GMAT test. Your results are good for five years, so if you want to get some experience in the business world, or even start working on your company, you won’t necessarily have to take it again to get into an MBA program. After you have your results, you can start applying to MBA programs of your choice. Each program has its own requirements, so do your research!

Entrepreneurship as a Career

Just because you hear stories about famous entrepreneurs who dropped out of school, that doesn’t mean that finishing college isn’t worthwhile for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is about trial and error, analysis, fortitude, and creativity–all skills that can be improved through earning a degree.

Ryan Ayers has been a consultant for over five years within multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers. Read more from Ryan: @TheBizTechGuru

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of

Philanthropic Degrees: 4 Programs That Improve the World Reply

Though almost every college student thinks about the earning ability a degree will produce, there are often other reasons that people choose to go into certain fields. Among the most common considerations outside of a pay rate is the amount of good a certain degree will allow people to do in the world.

If you want to make a positive impact with your studies and career, here are four degrees you should consider pursuing in college.

Diplomacy Degrees

The range of degrees surrounding the field of diplomacy, such as international studies and political science, can all be put to good use in promoting peace and understanding internationally. Public service in a diplomatic capacity can be incredibly fulfilling, especially for those who love to travel and learn about other nations and cultures.

Diplomatic careers can improve the world in both political and economic ways. A degree in a diplomatic field can also open the door for you to take part in UN peacekeeping missions in places such as Africa, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.

Social Work

A degree in social work can equip you to help your fellow humans in a variety of different ways. Social workers often work with the poor, the homeless and other disadvantaged people to help them work their ways into better positions in life.

If you are passionate about helping individual people improve their lives, social services may well be the right path for you. Social work offers both public and private sector opportunities, making it a robust career path.


There are few fields that will help you make as large a positive impact as education. Teachers are an integral part in shaping and improving the lives of young people. Great teachers can make all the difference in the classroom, especially in low-income or inner city schools.

A degree in education can give you the opportunity to help children improve their minds and carve out better futures for themselves year after year.

Medical Degrees

When it comes to saving lives, no career or field of study can equal medicine. Whether you go in for nursing, medical support or a full-fledged doctoral degree, healthcare will give you the opportunity to help people either at home or abroad.

Best of all, there are several online programs that can help you enter into the medical field on your own schedule. Bradley University, for example, offers nurse practitioner programs in Indiana, but also has master of science in nursing/family nurse practitioner degrees in an online format. With such degrees readily available online, it is easier than ever for students to start a career in medicine.

If your aim is to make the world a better place with your career, these fields of study will give you the chance to make it happen. If you’re already pursuing another field of study, however, don’t worry. With dedication, almost any career path will give you at least some opportunities to help others and improve the state of the world.

About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of

Educational Outlook for Becoming a Radiologist Reply

Choosing the right college or university isn’t the easiest decision, especially if you’re not sure what career path you want to follow after graduation. If you’re looking to land a lucrative job, then you’ve probably considered getting a degree in the medical field, to set yourself up for career growth and a comfortable income. There are so many different specialties you can choose from if you want to become a doctor—including some you may never have considered, like the growing field of radiology. But what does a radiologist do, and is this career path a good option for you? What does it take to become a radiologist?

Radiology: The Basics

A radiologist is a physician who uses imaging technology and extensive medical knowledge to diagnose, treat, and monitor illness and injury. Devices a radiologist must master include the x-ray, MRI, ultrasound, PET, and CT, among others. Imaging is becoming increasingly important in the medical field as more powerful technology allows radiologists to diagnose more precisely and help deliver patients the best care possible. Imaging also helps to reduce the need for exploratory surgery and other invasive procedures that put patients at risk. Radiology is growing rapidly, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 14% growth rate for physicians and surgeons, meaning that graduates will have excellent career opportunities after graduation. As for most physicians, the average salary is also attractive—the median salary for 2016 was $286,902 annually.

Types of Radiology

The field of radiology involves both diagnostic and interventional work. Radiologists are medical doctors who specialize in radiology, but there are also sub-specialties that radiologists can pursue. Some of these specialties include:

  • Breast imaging
  • Neuroradiology
  • Pediatric radiology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Emergency radiology
  • Chest radiology

Each specialty appeals to a different type of person, of course—people who are interested in helping cancer patients would be suited to radiation oncology, while people who are good with children might like to explore pediatric radiology. No matter which specialty you choose, radiation can be a fulfilling and interesting career.

Traits of a Radiologist

So what traits and skills do you need to be a successful radiologist? As with all medical personnel, a high level of responsibility and compassion are important traits for radiologists. Radiologists take and study complex images, so they must have an eye for detail and the ability to spot anomalies within images.

Becoming a Radiologist

If you are interested in becoming a radiologist, you’ll need to follow all the steps of becoming a doctor. After completing a bachelor’s degree in a scientific major, you’ll need to attend medical school for four years and obtain a medical license. Then, you will need to complete a residency, which takes an additional four years. Additional training in the specialty and board certification are also important steps to becoming an in-demand radiologist. The whole process takes years, and students should expect rigorous demands.

Students who are interested in becoming a radiologist should begin their education by majoring in a subject such as chemistry. Different medical schools have different requirements for admission, but most students will need chemistry (including organic chemistry), physics, biology, and English at a minimum. It’s a good idea to think ahead to medical schools you might want to apply to and check their requirements while earning your bachelor’s degree, in order to help you plan your coursework.

Becoming a radiologist isn’t easy. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work—medical students and residents often have difficulty coping with the pressure. That’s why it’s so important to make sure becoming a doctor is what you really want before you commit.

Not Ready for Medical School?

Getting through medical school is a long, expensive, and difficult process, and if you’re not sure you want to go through all the steps of becoming a doctor, there are other fulfilling career paths you can take within the field of radiology. Becoming a radiologic technologist or radiologist assistant can provide a stable and fascinating career in the growing field of radiology. People in these roles help to take clear and accurate images and work directly with patients and radiologists, without going through the rigor of medical school and residency. Growth in these support roles is strong—20,700 new jobs for radiologic technologists are expected to be created through 2024, and the field will be in need of qualified candidates in the next few years. Other positions are growing at an even faster rate—diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists are expected to see 27,600 jobs added.

These positions do require certifications and education, which can include a certification program, bachelor’s degree, and sometimes a master’s degree. Radiologic technologists, for example, must complete a two-year hospital program or a two or four-year university program before passing certification exams. It’s up to you as to which direction you want to take your education and your career, but regardless of which path you choose, you’ll be helping patients lead their best, healthiest lives!

Ryan Ayers has been a consultant for over five years within multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers. Read more from Ryan: @TheBizTechGuru

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of

How to Decide on a Career Path During College Reply

Going to college can seem scary and confusing. Just when you think you’ve figured out the direction of your life, something new comes along leaving you unsure and more confused than before. You can help avoid this by taking a few easy steps ahead of time.

Start with an Interest Survey

An interest survey is probably the quickest way to get a general idea of career paths you may be suited for. There are plenty of surveys and career assessment tests that you can find online, and they are great at providing insight you may not have realized about yourself. Most surveys as about personal interests, hobbies, and specific activities that you enjoy doing. They may ask you to rate your level of interest in a particular group of subjects or scenarios.

Explore Your Strengths

Some people are born ready to work with the public, while others are more suited for working behind the scenes to accomplish tasks. Perhaps you have skill in keeping people calm under pressure or in figuring out the intricate ways that machinery works. It may also help to look at the groups you participated in during high school or the summer jobs you’ve held.

Experience Is Important

If you think you may have narrowed down your options, look for some sort of internship or part-time job in the industry to get a feel for how things work. Check into opportunities to volunteer your time in order to gauge your ability to make that type of work a long-term career. Perhaps you have friends or family that you can talk to with a similar job title. Lastly, do your research to make sure you aren’t entering into a dying career field.

Above All Be Flexible

According to The New York Times, this is something that should apply regardless of what path you choose. Simply deciding on a career path does not set the rest of your life in stone, and it’s OK to have to tweak it at some point down the road. The most important part is getting started, and the rest will follow.

Going away to college can be an intimidating choice, as can deciding what career you want for the rest of your life. However, these things don’t have to be nearly as terrifying as what they may seem to be at first. Take the process slow and one step at a time and you will be well on your way to a satisfying career in no time.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can follow her on twitter and LinkedIn.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of

How to Narrow Down Your Options When Picking a Major Reply

One of the most exciting experiences in an individual’s life is attaining a degree. Taking this step provides people with a wide range of vocational opportunities that can dramatically improve their quality of life by fostering socioeconomic mobility and self-actualization.

As an individual begins thinking about how to get the most out of college, one of the subjects that tends to come up is how to pick a major. This decision is immensely important because it can determine things like job opportunities, pay rate, and networking ability.

Below you’ll find several strategies you can implement to narrow down your options when picking a major.

1. Consider the Length of the Program

One of the things you should take into consideration when selecting a major is how long the program will take to complete. This is a particularly important question for individuals who are attempting to complete a degree program as quickly as possible so they can enter the world of work and begin generating an income.

As one example, by pursuing an online master’s degree in civil engineering program, you can attain your degree in just 18 to 24 months. Note that this degree could be an incredible resource as it provides the student with engineering competence, management skills, and technical knowledge that will be applicable in multiple fields.

2. Research Job Opportunities

Another thing you should take into consideration when picking a major is the type of job opportunities that the degree program will create for you. For example, individuals who opt to attain a degree in business management can pursue the following positions:

  • Business adviser
  • Actuarial analyst
  • Business analyst
  • Corporate investment banker
  • Data analyst
  • Chartered management accountant
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Insurance underwriter
  • Stockbroker
  • Forensic accountant
  • Operational researcher
  • Management consultant
  • Project manager
  • Risk manager
  • Product manager
  • Social media manager

Keep in mind that each major will make you more marketable within specific fields. For example, individuals who earn an English major may find it easier than others to attain positions such as content writer, editor, newspaper journalist, or proofreader.

3. Consider What Type of Salary You Want to Earn

Make sure you determine what type of salary you can attain with your major before making your final decision. As noted in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical engineers earn an average annual income of $98,340. To work in this field, you need to obtain a degree in chemical engineering.

Another career option you might want to consider is that of an operations research analyst. Individuals who choose this career path can earn about $79,200 annually, and they typically obtain a degree in a field like computer science, math, analytics, management science, operations research, and engineering.

4. Think About Your Deepest Passions

Oftentimes, people pick specific majors because they know that they want to pursue a career path that will entail financial stability. In other cases, individuals select a certain major because their parents expect them to continue the family tradition of pursuing a specific vocation like veterinarian or teacher.
However, it’s immensely important to think about what you’re actually passionate about when it’s time to determine what your major will be. In many cases, people find that pursuing a field that they’re not really intrigued with leads to burnout, frustration, and even mental disorders.

In some cases, people find that they are deeply passionate about a field but fail to pursue it because the pay is low. Yet in these instances, it is often possible to employ unique entrepreneurial or networking strategies to ensure that you can generate a substantive salary while still pursuing a field that you love.

Choose the Right Major Now!

If you want to ensure that you can lead an amazing, rewarding life, choosing the right major is immensely important. To increase the likelihood that you will find the ideal major, review the information and advice outlined in this quick reference guide.

About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Can A Career in Engineering Be Fun? 5 Interesting Jobs for Graduates Reply

When it comes to “fun” college majors, degrees in art, PE or theatre often tend to come to mind—but not usually engineering. Engineers are often portrayed as serious men and women squinting at blueprints and crunching numbers. However, engineering encompasses many different fields, and some people are surprised to learn that engineers can actually find extremely interesting work and have enviably fulfilling careers.

On top of the possibilities for exciting work, engineering can be a stable and lucrative career path, offering graduates the best of both worlds. Overall, engineering employment is expected to grow by approximately 4% from 2014 to 2024—with some engineering specialties growing much faster than this. If you’ve ever thought about a career in engineering, here are 4 interesting jobs engineering students can pursue after finishing their degrees.

1. Roller Coaster Engineer

Ever wonder who creates those stunning roller coasters at Disneyland or Six Flags? These machines are truly a feat of engineering, and they require a great deal of precision to ensure their safety as well as the thrill factor.

There are several types of engineers that work on amusement park rides, but ride engineers (a specialty within the mechanical engineering field) are responsible for working with designers to ensure that the rides are built to be functional and safe. For specialty theme-based rides, this can take engineers as long as 3 to 5 years to complete a single ride.

Fun Fact: Roller coaster engineers who work for Disneyland are known as Imagineers, and their jobs are about as creative as you can get in this in-demand STEM field.

What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, licensure

Average Salary: $88,190

2. Bioengineer

You don’t have to engineer buildings or machines as an engineer; you can engineer plants and animals instead. Bioengineers are responsible for advances in fields like food production and healthcare. Growing new skin and organs, creating genetically engineered plants to be safe for human consumption, and designing artificial joints are all projects bioengineers have been responsible for. This exciting and innovative career path is a great option for people with natural curiosity and a scientific mind.

What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering, or engineering with study in Biology; advanced degrees helpful

Average Salary: $91,760

3. Civil Engineer

“Civil engineering” may sound like one of the most boring jobs in the world, but it doesn’t have to be. Not only are civil engineers essential to global infrastructure, they often get to work on exciting and interesting projects. For example, some of the biggest civil engineering projects in the world have been lavish airports built on artificial islands. The Kansai International Airport in Japan contains a 40 foot seawall and cost $31.9 billion to build.

Civil engineers also work on projects like highways, bridges, and other essential projects that allow us to travel, work, and live. It’s one of the most important jobs to our economy, and demand for civil engineers continues to grow.

What’s required: A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering

Average salary: $89,730

4. Aerospace Engineer

Just about every kid has big dreams of becoming an astronaut, but what most 8-year-olds don’t recognize is how many smart and talented people are needed to support those astronauts in getting them out of Earth’s atmosphere and into space. Space engineers work with the latest, most expensive technology, and are responsible for astronauts’ and public safety while trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe. A knowledge of physics and mathematics are some of the most important skills in a space engineer’s toolkit, and they have to be extremely precise to be successful in the field.

What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, physics, or other related field, master’s degree in astronautical engineering or similar, PhD helpful

Average salary: $107,000

Find Your Calling

No matter what your interests, you’re likely to find an interesting career path within the broad field of engineering. However, becoming an engineer requires dedication and rigorous coursework, so you should think carefully about what subjects interest you before you decide to pursue a career in engineering—it’s a long haul through the coursework if you don’t enjoy what you’re studying. If you find your calling, however, you might be able to make an excellent salary while doing fulfilling work. What could be better?

Ryan Ayers has been a consultant for over five years within multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers. Read more from Ryan: @TheBizTechGuru

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

4 Ways Small Colleges Can Attract More Diverse Applicants 1

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While every school strives to have as much enrollment as they reasonably can, that goes double for small colleges. Large universities attract a greater percentage of state and federal funding, forcing many smaller colleges to rely more heavily on tuition and fees to make up the difference. In a perfect world, this would mean a diverse student body with people from all walks of life, but it does exclude people that are socioeconomically disadvantaged by its very nature.

For that reason, it can be difficult to attract applicants to a smaller school that are truly diverse, but far from impossible. Here are four ways small colleges can embrace diversity and create a more eclectic student body.

Offer Scholarships of Different Kinds

As Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid.” Everyone has a talent to offer, no matter what background they come from, so by creating scholarships for potential students from all walks of life, you attract students from every background.

You could give a scholarship to people majoring in a very specific field, or offer one to those who have gone through an ESL program, such as those at the Interactive College Of Technology, and passed the TOEFL exam, for starters.

Conduct Community Outreach

For many students, an education at a small college may seem out of reach due to the perception of high fees and strict admission requirements. As a result, some may feel that they simply are not “good enough” to be a member of a smaller school. By creating programs that bring the college to the students, even as young as elementary school, you create an attachment within the child that makes them grow up wanting to attend your college.

Offer Something for Free

When Texas A&M University—Commerce in Commerce, TX wanted to boost enrollment in their graduate courses, they did something that many schools would frown upon: offer free tuition. This wasn’t open to everyone—just those who were primary and secondary teachers—but enough people took them up on it that it shifted the demographics of the classes dramatically, creating a new crop of students from all over the area eager to learn, and many of whom graduated.

Change the Local Culture

With the advent of social media, everyone is becoming more conscious of their reputation, colleges included. Use this to your advantage by creating a distinct culture that appeals to a wide variety of students, such as “going green” or offering unusual extracurricular activities. You may not have the powerhouse football team in a larger school, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an identity that attracts people from all over the place.

It’s easy for a smaller school to feel intimidated by the massive enrollment numbers and varied student body of larger, division one colleges, but there’s nothing besides the numbers that a smaller school can’t emulate. By capitalizing on your assets and bringing the experience to students’ doorsteps, you can generate a steady flow of students from every corner of the world that are eager to join your ranks.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can follow her on twitter and LinkedIn.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Getting a Good Education: Why Parents Should Encourage Their Kids to Go to College Reply

High school is approaching a rapid end for your child, and it is time to have that serious talk about what their future plans are. While your child may be considering a job in the local market, it may not be in their best interests to halt their educational momentum. They have always had pretty decent grades, and this will tend to mean they will do well in college also: if they apply themselves. With that in mind, it will be in your child’s best interests to explain to them why pursuing college now is going to help them out in the long term.

What College Has to Offer

When your child was in high school, they were introduced to a general education that was not very skill oriented or specific enough around which to build a meaningful career. In college, they will take courses that move them beyond basic applications of math, science and other key subjects that are central to modern practical and industrial applications. In many cases, a career path can be more easily fortified by a specific college-based curriculum than by simply working jobs that require little to no skills.

Wages Increase with Education

It is unlikely that your child fully grasps the value of having a college degree. Even if they only go as far as an associate’s degree or some niche technical degree, this can translate to a huge increase in wage earnings over their lifetime. In fact, the more in-demand their degree program happens to be, the more they will tend to earn. This makes good sense; since, as with any other system of supply and demand, those who are in demand simply stand to be the most prized for their desperately needed skills. It is important your child starts to see themselves as one whose skills and education should make them part of the in-demand crowd.

Choosing a College

Part of going to college is choosing the right learning institution for achieving your child’s long term educational goals. They may find that what they are interested in is being offered through an online degree, at a regional campus that is run by an organization like College America. Such learning institutions are often able to help students find the career paths that are currently in demand: including degree programs geared for careers in business, healthcare and information technology.

Exposure Matters

Something important that your child needs to understand is that college is an opportunity that opens them up to more than simply earning a degree. Your child will be in contact with professional educators who, in many cases, are thought leaders that help to define the direction of the fields that students like your child are heading into. This is especially true at research-based universities that push their instructors to publish or perish. Often these instructors will take a liking to certain students and want to groom them for high level research in a given field of study. These once in a lifetime opportunities are priceless. They make it possible for someone learning about a field to get their name attached to groundbreaking research; thus, making that student far more desirable and attractive to large corporations who need first-hand, cutting-edge, innovative thinkers on staff.

College is a time when your child will mature as a person. It is also a time when their insights into how they fit into the ever evolving global economy will start to take shape. Since college will give your child new experiences, a higher education and rare opportunities they will not find anywhere else, the decision to go to college is one your child should think about long and hard. This decision should be made with an informed perspective about what a college education can do for them.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Connect with her on Google+and (@LizzieWeakley).

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

How to Thrive in College Programs Geared to STEM Disciplines Reply

STEM careers count among the hottest and best-paying jobs around. A sampling of salaries for engineers on the Glassdoor website shows that the average salary for people working in this STEM field is just above $76,000 per year. It is salaries like these that make these fields attractive to incoming college students. If you’re entering a STEM-related degree program in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, here are a couple of tips to help you thrive in your new college environment.

Prep Courses

Most STEM fields require a foundation in the sciences and in mathematics. The early years of your education should be spent taking coursework in fields like biology, trigonometry, or geometry, (depending upon the demands of your program). If you aren’t sure which of these prep courses you should take for your major, be sure to talk to your guidance counselor or refer to your college catalog.

Specialized Knowledge

According the University of Illinois at Chicago website, regulations may play a role in how software like mobile apps for the medical field gets developed (or not). There can be issues pertaining to unclear regulations or privacy laws. If you’d like to use your STEM career to go into a specific field such as this, it might also be helpful to take coursework that deals with ethics or law in your future field. This specialized knowledge can help you define a career niche as well as help you make decisions about future internships.

Non-STEM Options

If you’re interested in a STEM career, but aren’t sure if you actually want to work in a STEM job, say as an engineer or a computer programmer, it’s possible to work in positions that support these types of jobs. For example, Ohio University offers a Master in Engineering Management.

This field of study builds on an engineer’s education and adds coursework in project management, communication, and engineering process improvement. This is just an example. Chances are there is a management or support position in your STEM field of interest. When you are looking at your STEM field, think about taking coursework that would support a STEM job. These skills allow you to work in your STEM field, but in a different capacity.

Soft Skills

A lack of STEM skills isn’t the only reason people don’t get jobs post-college. These graduates often lack communication, critical-thinking, or even creative skills. (In other words, they need more soft skills). While it’s important for you to get a solid foundation in math and science, don’t completely overlook classes like speech and debate, creative writing, or even art. Having these skills could mean the difference between getting a job after you graduate or not.

People who pursue STEM degrees position themselves to get good jobs and good incomes once they graduate. If you’ve committed yourself to getting a STEM degree, be sure to take coursework in both basic math and science—as they relate to your field—as well as classes in disciplines that teach you soft skills.

Additionally, if you know you want to work in a STEM field, it’s often helpful to know which one specifically in order to build the skills necessary to work within the regulations of that industry. Finally, remember that not all STEM-field jobs require you to have degrees in engineering or math. You might find a job in a support position. Be sure to take some classes that deal with these positions as well.

About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

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