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Major Monday — Choosing a career path

October 20th, 2014 by

Here is a great graphic representation of how you should be considering your major. The best success lies in choosing something that you love, that pays well enough for you to live and you are good at it.

Dream Jobs Diagram

 

Compromising on any of these three areas can lead to a major in a career that you either find unchallenging or won’t pay you enough to propel you into a life where you can purchase the things you need to be on your own.

Keep these three elements in mind and ask yourself before you commit to a major: Am I good at this? Will it pay me well? Will I love it? Answering with a “not likely” to any of these three is a recipe for disaster. You risk graduating with debt only to be qualified to work in a job you aren’t looking forward to interviewing for.

Choose your major realistically, but also with your heart in mind. The average American works 80,000 hours in their lifetime. Make sure you are ready to enjoy those 80,000 hours.

Source: Pinterest

> For more major and career advice, check out NextStepU.com.

 

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Major Monday – Political Science & Government

October 13th, 2014 by

Stars and stripesPolitics are everywhere, the jobs we do, the classes we attend, the communities we live in and many other aspects of our lives. Do you find yourself actively involved in student government? Are you the political guru of your friend group, always up to date on current events? Political science majors differ from being conservative or liberal, cynical or idealistic, but one common characteristic is their passion for politics. If active engagement in the political system is for you, a political science and government major is for you.

Education
The political science and government major offers not only a wide variety of classes but also encourages active volunteering, involvement with the community and local government and national or global internship opportunities. Majors should be ready to join a political science club or campus political organization in order to stay up to date on current campus events as well as ones in the community. They will also start with ancient political philosophy and cover everything leading up to modern politics. Writing papers and conducting research is a main component of the major and students will find that they write about everything from Plato to modern homeland security. All of this typically leads up to writing a senior thesis, a long research paper where they will spend a lot of time conducting research, forming their own arguments and supporting those arguments.

Majors will have opportunities to work and campaign for local or national candidates, offer political commentary, and come up with their own ideas to modify government.

What to know before you apply?
Students will find that it’s good to be able to argue and support their points because there are many controversial topics in political science and these can often delve into heated discussions. Debate skills are crucial and it’s important to be able to support your beliefs.

Knowing a foreign language can also prove to be useful when it comes to understanding anything from ancient text or choose to study international relations.

Questions to ask before deciding
Will you have the opportunities to study politics abroad? Does the program offer a semester in Washington, D.C.? How helpful is the department when it comes to helping you find internships in government or public policy offices? Will you have the opportunity to pursue your own research and thesis for a capstone project? Does the program require a minor in a related field such as economics or history? Are there specializations in studies such as international relations or political economy? Finally, does the department, professors, or schools itself have a particular political leaning? Is this leaning compatible with your own views?

Colleges offering this major
SUNY Fredonia — Fredonia, N.Y.
Hofstra University — Hempstead, N.Y.
Quinnipiac University — Hamden. Conn.

Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, political scientists make $102,000 per year and political science teachers and professors make anywhere from $64,000 a year to $84,000 a year.

> For more advice on majors or career choices, visit NextStepU.com.

 

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Trendy Tuesday — How to dress like a professional

August 12th, 2014 by

business-professionalFinding appropriate attire for your professional life can sometimes be a struggle. You want to look your best, but what’s appropriate and where do you draw the line?

Miami-based stylist Nikole Powers shares three tips on how to look professional, polished and chic at the office or wherever your day job lands you.

Tip #1: Layers are essential

Got a top that you absolutely adore but don’t think is office-friendly? Make it work-appropriate by layering up with tanks or camis. “A neutral camisole is essential to office dressing for any body type,” says Powers. Adding layers helps your wardrobe go that extra mile by being appropriate for work and play without giving you a reprimand on the job.

Tip #2: Check your hemlines & necklines

An office environment is very different from that of a high school or college campus. While you can get away with wearing pretty much anything while you’re at school, your clothing choices — and how appropriate they are — will be put into consideration once you reach the professional world. That means more than just modifying your outfits with a long tank top to cover up — it might mean investing in some more work-appropriate clothing.

For general length guidelines to stick to, Powers suggests, “Any [skirt or dress] more than a half inch above the knee is inappropriate and should not be worn.” In regards to neckline, she insists that “necklines should never show cleavage [and your] back and bare shoulders are [mostly] off limits too.”

Tip #3: When in doubt ask yourself…

“…Would my boss wear this?” Use this question as a guide whenever you find yourself wondering if your choice of clothing is appropriate or not. Keep in mind, this can be different for every sort of job; some office environments are more casual than others while others require strict guidelines on a daily basis. See if your workplace offers fun incentives like casual Fridays for employees who donate to a worthy cause, or wearing the company’s logo T-shirt for a day if you reach a certain milestone.

The best way to learn how to dress appropriately for your job is to follow the example of others. And, at the end of the day, always dressing to impress never hurt anyone!

> For more career tips and tricks, visit NextStepU.com to start your path to success today!

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Major Monday — Art Therapy

July 21st, 2014 by

colored pencilDo you possess artistic talent and a passion for helping others? If so, consider majoring in art therapy. As an art therapy major, you’ll learn how to use artistic activities to treat patients with mental, emotional, developmental, or physical problems. Prepare to study drawing and other art forms, art therapy history and theory, and art therapy techniques. These courses will prepare you to assess patient needs and design a program of art therapy treatment that meets those needs.

Education
According to the College Board, this major is typically offered at the bachelor’s degree level. You’ll study a variety of artistic techniques including painting, drawing, sculpture, and more. This may require you to spend long hours in the studio working on projects. Your courses will also include studies of human behavior, including psychobiology, abnormal psychology, and psychology ethics. In order to prepare for your future career, you may be required to complete an internship working with patients or at a clinic.

What to know before you apply
Many art therapy programs will require you to create and showcase your artwork. Be prepared to devote a lot of time to your artistic projects. You’ll also want to get to know the faculty in your program. Are they practicing art therapists? Professors who are or have been active in the field will be able to provide valuable insight for your future career. Finally, investigate what kinds of internship opportunities will be available to you. Art therapists work with a wide variety of patients using many different techniques. See that you’ll be able to pursue an internship that fits with the kind of work you want to do.

Colleges offering related fields of study
Mount Mary University: Milwaukee, Wisc.
Springfield College: Springfield, Mass.
Mercyhurst University: Erie, Penn.

Salary
After graduation, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned in a clinical setting, with private clients in their homes, or as part of a program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, recreational therapists earned a median pay of $45,520 per year in 2013.

> For more career and major info, visit NextStepU.com.

 

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Major Monday — Medical Assisting

June 30th, 2014 by

iStock_000005107511MediumMedical assistants play a very important role in medical office visits. If you choose to study medical assisting, you’ll help doctors with basic administrative and clinical tasks. This may include running basic tests, taking vital signs, and asking important questions about what ails each patient. You’ll balance your time between answering phones and collecting blood samples.

Education
According to the College Board, is typically offered at the certificate and associate’s degree levels. It is currently a very popular field of study. The U.S. Department of Labor expects medical assisting to be one of the fastest-growing occupations through 2016. The classes you’ll take while in school will help hone the very specific skills needed to succeed as a medical assistant. Expect to study medical software applications, medical terminology, diagnostic procedures, pharmacology, and administration of medications.

What to know before you apply
If you choose to pursue a career as an medical assistant, you’ll need to get certified—so prepare to study for the national certification exam. You’ll also be working in a doctor’s office as part of your training, so comfort in that environment is vital. Much like your eventual you’re your study will be divided between desk work (building a medical vocabulary) and field work (practicing giving shots). Medical assistants spend a lot of time handholding patients, so it helps to have a knack for putting others at ease.

Colleges offering related fields of study
UEI College: California
Heald College: Hawaii, Oregon, California

Salary
After completing your study and earning your certification, you are ready to work in a medical office as a medical assistant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants earned a median pay of $29,610 per year in 2013.

> For more career info, check out NextStepU.com.

 

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Major Monday — Actuarial Science

June 16th, 2014 by

Actuarial science majors learn how to use math and statistics to analyze risk. These skills can then be used to solve management problems in insurance and other businesses. If you feel at home in front of a computer and enjoy analyzing data, this career path may be a good fit for you. A successful actuary is self-motivated, goal-oriented, and an effective communicator.

Education
According to the College Board, this major is often offered at the bachelor’s degree level. If you choose to pursue a career as an actuary after college, you’ll be required to pass a series of tests in order to be certified. The courses you’ll take as an actuarial science major will help prepare you for that test. You’ll study a mix of math, economics, and statistics — a typical course load looks something like this: calculus, macro and micro economics, probability, risk theory, and statistics. Both in and out of the classroom, you’ll be spending a lot of time solving complicated problems, often on a computer.

What to know before you apply
As you’re looking at schools, take note of the requirements you have to fulfill before declaring your major. Many schools may require a decent amount of prerequisite courses. You’ll also want to learn about the many resources available to you as an actuarial science major. Are the faculty and staff well-connected in the business and insurance worlds? Will you have access to a tutoring center or campus clubs related to your major for help with difficult assignments? These types of resources will help you be successful as you study for exams and work on various social and business problems.

Colleges offering related fields of study
• Quinnipiac University: Hamden, CT
• Elmhurst College: Elmhurst, NY
• Barry University: Miami, FL
• Butler University: Indianapolis, IN

Salary
If you choose to study actuarial science, you may later pursue a career as an actuary, economist, or statistician. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, actuaries earned a median pay of $93,680 per year and $45.04 per hour in 2012.

> For more info about majors and careers, check out NextStepU.com.

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Major Monday — General Engineering

May 5th, 2014 by

iStock_000018002727SmallDo you enjoy working as part of a team? Are math and science some of your best subjects? If this sounds like you, a general engineering major might be right up your alley. Engineering majors engage their math and science skills to solve problems and create all kinds of things, from computers to vehicle components.

Education
According to the College Board, a general engineering major is usually pursued at the associate’s or bachelor’s degree level. An associate’s degree in general engineering provides solid footing for pursuing a bachelor’s degree in any type of engineering. A general engineering major at the bachelor’s degree level will cover a wide range of subjects in engineering and business.

What to know before you apply
Engineering students often work on projects in teams. If you pursue this major, be ready to collaborate on design efforts for projects. Also make yourself aware of additional opportunities offered at each school. Will you have the chance to complete a research project? Does the school offer events to supplement your coursework, such as guest speakers and design competitions? A fulfilling major goes beyond classes. Take the time to make sure your school offers opportunities to get your feet wet outside the classroom.

Colleges offering related fields of study
• UEI College: California
• SUNY Oneonta: Oneonta, N.Y.
• Vaughn College: Flushing, N.Y.

Salary
For a career, you might go on to manage engineering projects, oversee product development, or lend your engineering expertise in a non-engineering field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering managers earned an average of $124,870/year in 2012.

> For more information about careers and majors, visit NextStepU.com.

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What your summer job says about you

April 21st, 2014 by

iStock_000013378918Usually when you think of your summer job, you think that it’s just something to get you through the season, not something that will influence your long-term education or career goals. However, projected data from Snagajob suggests that this summer will see a wage increase (an average of $10.39/hour) and about two million additional people in the work force.  This means you have a little bit more leeway when it comes to applying for and accepting a summer job. In fact, it might even be an important part of a future resumé.

Here are some popular summer jobs and how they might signify what you should consider for your upcoming college major:

• Lifeguard
You enjoy the outdoors and swimming and are good in (rare) high-stress situations. You also are quite skilled at cleaning locker rooms.

Major to consider: Physical therapy. This is a major where you work using your own strength and body and teaches you how to help a person in pain. And, in college, you will be required to clean the clinics during your first year of grad school. The lifeguarding experience will come in handy.

• Camp counselor
You are patient, can manage your anger, have multiple talents and are good with children.

Major to consider: Education. Dealing with homesick children through the wonders of camping and lanyard-making will prepare you for dealing with hyper children through the wonders of reading, writing and recess.

• Sales clerk
You deal with a lot of opinionated customers who require your assistance and expect a listening ear whenever they have a complaint to voice.

Major to consider: Communication & Rhetoric. Knowing how to listen to customers and assisting them in the help they actually need is essential to human communication. After your freshman year, you will have the skills to persuade the customers to buy even more and bug you even less.

• Administrative assistant
Organization, efficiency and time management are embedded in your DNA. The office could not function without you.

Major to consider: History. Sifting through research, analyzing it and synthesizing it within your own arguments will seem like a piece of cake. Your organization skills will ensure that you keep all primary and secondary sources in perfect, chronological order.

• Fast food worker
The customer is always right, even if sometimes their requests can seem excessive.

Major to consider: Psychology and/or sociology. Interacting with every kind of person during the week will give you a curiosity about the way humans think and relate to one another. Social sciences in college can give you some answers. And you will already know how to work with clients since they cannot be any more intimidating than the restaurant-goers.

> For more majors and career info, visit NextStepU.com.

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STEM vs STEAM

March 13th, 2014 by

We stumbled upon this infographic that illustrates a great reminder that being a person of science and technology does not necessarily mean that you have to ignore any creative side you may have.

Do you find yourself having to choose between a graphic design major OR an engineering major? Do you feel like you can’t be both?

UF_MA_AE_02-final

Embrace your left and right sides of your brain to create amazing things!

> To find more info about careers and majors, check out NextStepU.com.

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Major Monday — Advertising

March 3rd, 2014 by

iStock_000017985355MediumAre you someone who notices the different techniques and trends utilized in commercials? Do you appreciate effective design and color schemes? Have you ever wanted to study psychology? If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider advertising as your college major! Advertising majors learn how to promote and sell products/services through the production of messages.

Education
According to the College Board, an advertising education usually leads to a bachelor’s degree. Consider taking classes like speech, journalism and AP Psychology in high school in order to prepare for the major. In college, you will be studying different parts of the advertising process including creative strategy, advertising copywriting and design, advertising research and consumer behavior.

What to know before you apply
Before you decide on a college, find out what kinds of internships or job shadows are available. Will you be contributing to market research, copywriting, or art/design? Depending on your personal interests, this can be a crucial part of your education. Also, ask about the professors’ average experience. Are they professionals in the field or experts in theory and academia? Their past careers will influence your future career opportunities. Finally, research the type of software and computer applications required for the program. If you need to buy certain programs, you’ll need to factor that into your financial plans.

Colleges offering related majors
• Five Towns College: Dix Hills, N.Y.
• Full Sail University: Winter Park, Fla.
• Hawai’i Pacific University: Honolulu, Hawai’i
• Monroe Community College: Rochester, N.Y.
• Pennsylvania College of Technology: Williamsport, Pa.

Salary
A degree in advertising will prepare you for careers in art direction, graphic design and copywriting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, art directors earned an average salary of $95,000 per year in 2011, while graphic designers earned $48,690. Copywriters earned an annual average of $78,250 in 2011.

For more information about careers visit NextStepU.com!

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