Guide to Choosing a Major

16 Dec 2019

Choosing a major is the complex process that involves considering not only personal preferences and already obtained skills but also financial and career expectations along with the major’s relevance in a long-term perspective. While it may appear to be a tough decision accompanied by the fear of making the wrong choice, every student must realize that while the possibility to change the major is always available, it is more beneficial to pay a lot of attention to the initial choice as it will save much time and effort in future.

Steps to Follow While Choosing the Future

  1. Consider your own personality. It is extremely important to choose the professional path that you might follow throughout the entire life based on your own interests and abilities. One could not achieve success in the chosen field while hating a job or lacking the necessary skills to cope with responsibilities. Choose the sphere of occupation where you can be the best.
  2. Think about your perspectives. Will your chosen major be useful for humanity in the near future? What about a distant future? It is hard to predict all turns of events but if you dedicate some time and think about these things, you will make a more justified choice. The usefulness of a profession is an important factor as it predicts employability and, consequently, your safe and wealthy future.
  3. Choose educational institution wisely. If there is a possibility to apply to any of the Ivy League universities, go for it. Do not be afraid of difficulties or any other possible downsides since employers and other influential people do notice the issuer of your diploma. It is always a good decision to have some additional benefits. However, do not make elite schools your only focus as the other ones may be much more efficient in the specific field of study you chose. For example, the University of California, Berkeley, could be a much better choice for young people who want to earn a degree in General Architecture based on the recent data on quality of education.
  4. Ask for help. While the choice of your future is entirely your own responsibility, a fresh perspective and objective estimation of all present factors made by school advisor or counselor, teachers, parents, or other important people might show new horizons for you. There is no need to accept everything they would say for granted. Listen to what other people want to say, synthesize all viewpoints, and come up with your own decision.
  5. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Remember, you are not obliged to stick to the chosen career for the whole life. The modern world is changing so rapidly that the ability to change becomes vital. It is perfectly normal to change your major even during the last year of study if you think that it will be the right decision.

Notable Trends Nowadays

The Most Popular Jobs

The popularity of professions and median earnings per year were always crucial factors while deciding on the preferable occupation. Numerous reports provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) should be one of the primary sources to check while considering the possibilities of the made decision. The number of over 7 million employed people in such spheres as Healthcare, Business, Management, and Education clearly represents the popularity of various related professions. They are very unlikely to lose relevance in the near future as it is impossible to stop caring about health or refrain from being involved in economic operations of all kinds.

Best-Paying Jobs

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gathers data across all industries and young people who still struggle to choose the future career path may consider best-paying jobs to select one of the options as the primary goal.

Some of the most well-paid professions include the following:

  1. Surgeons may earn approximately $265.000 annually.
  2. Dentists’ mean annual salary was reported to be $175.000 minimum.
  3. Information Systems Managers’ mean salary in 2018 was approximately $150.000.
  4. Marketing and Financial managers could earn as much as $145.000 per year minimum.
  5. Attorneys’ mean annual earnings also equal to the same amount of $145.000.

Employment Projections

These are just a few examples of the high-paid professions in the fields where the total number of jobs is expected to increase during the next 10 years from 3% to more than 16%. IT and technology-related spheres might expect even more rapid growth in the near future taking into consideration global plans of humanity to explore the Universe closer.

Future students should pay attention to the projected employment increase in the occupational groups of interest. For example, BLS expects healthcare support occupations to grow by 18.2 percent from 2018 to 2028. The other two fast-growing spheres include occupations in personal care and service, where the number of jobs will increase by 17.4 percent, and computer and mathematical-related occupations will demonstrate a 12.7 percent increase. Moreover, the rapid growth of renewable energy technologies makes the number of future jobs very hard to predict. Choosing a major related to currently underrepresented or developing spheres, such as a wind turbine technician, may be advantageous in the near future.

Extra Insight into Popular Occupational Perspectives

Software development

The main responsibility includes the development of computer and mobile operative systems, various programs and applications. In order to create and test applications properly, a software developer needs to estimate the needs of the target audience.

Estimated annual mean salary: $104.000 - $114.000

Tuition fee: Depending on the chosen educational institution, it may vary from $16.000 to $83.000 per year

Postsecondary education

This profession presupposes multiple possible majors depending on subjects, from Humanities to Marine studies. It also includes variations from graduate teaching assistant to university professor. The main goal of a postsecondary teacher is to give students specific knowledge.

Estimated annual mean salary: $75.000 - $122.000

Tuition fee: Just like salary, tuition fee depends on the chosen major and may vary from $12.000 to $18.000 annually for residents and non-residents respectively.

Registered nurse

Being one of the most popular and respected professions in the Healthcare industry, this profession unites a variety of practice settings. There are always people that need to be taken care of, thus, the opportunities for employment are countless.

Estimated annual mean salary: $75.000

Tuition fee: Ranges from $12,000 to approximately $60,000 per year depending on the chosen college and program as there are many specializations available.

Air traffic control

Primary responsibilities include directing aircraft throughout the entire flight from takeoff until they land paying special attention to safety. Analysis of weather data and adherence to FAA rules is obligatory.

Estimated annual mean salary: $101.000

Tuition fee: Annual total cost may range from $24.000 to $43.000 for out-of-state students.

Fitness Trainer

To become a personal health and fitness trainer one should obtain a degree in kinesiology or exercise physiology. This career opens the scientific perspectives as well, for instance, in the fields of Biostatistics or Epidemiology. What is more, 13% of jobs’ growth is expected per year.

Estimated annual mean salary: $45.000

Tuition fee: up to $39.000 annually including the cost of obtaining certification.

Logistician

Holding a degree in Supply Chain and Logistics will open multiple perspectives for employment in any business model. Those who decide to pursue this career will succeed in project management tasks and master their problem-solving skills.

Estimated annual mean salary: $78.000

Tuition fee: Range includes options starting from $10.000 up to $18.000 annually.

General and Operations Manager

Every organization requires this position to plan and coordinate daily operations related to the use of resources and develop appropriate policies. Functional areas and responsibilities vary depending on the organization and industry in general.

Estimated annual mean salary: $123.000

Tuition fee: The average cost equals $25.000.

Information Security Analyst

Computer networks and systems require constant support and protection and providing necessary security measures could be a very decent and lucrative occupation. Work conditions presuppose constant challenges and difficult tasks to solve which might be an additional advantage for opportunity seekers.

Estimated annual mean salary: $98.000

Tuition fee: $10.000 - $20.000 depending on the chosen college and program.

Additional Resources

Self-Assessment Center

In order to choose the most suitable major, one should spend some time reflecting and estimating all specific aspects of his or her personality. The ability to accept one’s own weaknesses and assess strength objectively will result in a wise decision regarding the major to pursue.

College Admissions Counseling

You may request a one-hour evaluation of your achievements and counselors will provide the list of the most appropriate colleges and suggest a strategy of pursuing the degree that suits you the best. It is also beneficial to request assistance with the admission process as soon as you decide on your future career.

High School Volunteering

Reputable volunteer programs for high school students will be extremely helpful to learn more about yourself, the outside world, and your place in it. What is more, it is a true adventure that helps to gain new knowledge and may even help to find a true vocation in life. It will be easier to choose the college major already having some real working experience.

Academic Advising

If you struggle with determining degree requirements or need consultation regarding undecided majors, an academic adviser’s assistance will be useful to solve the matters. Similar centers are available in many universities across the U.S.

Making Good Choices: A Guide for Teens

This or any other similar book may give you additional food for thoughts regarding both life in general and your plans for the future in particular. Reading books written from a personal perspective may be very helpful as authors usually back up personal experiences with references to psychological studies, which adds value and credibility.

The possibility to make a choice and even change your decision in the future is a huge benefit that many of our ancestors never had during the entire life. The modern world entertains the idea of rapid changes and the concept of adaptability in modern youth as only fresh perspectives can move the development and progress further.