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Choosing the Right Degree for Your Career

Making the decision to attend college is a big one. The costs associated with a college degree could remain with you for several years after you graduate.

With that in mind, you might want to work backwards before choosing a degree. That is, figure out the type of lifestyle you want and how much you need to make to sustain that lifestyle.

For example, when I decided to go back to college after graduating with a Spanish degree, I researched top paying majors. I examined top majors like engineering, accounting, finance, and computer science before I settled on finance. I chose finance because I actually enjoyed learning about how money works and I figured it would help me in my personal finances as well.

According to Think Advisor, the top 10 paying degrees in 2014 are all in engineering. One of the top paying degrees is software engineering. If you have an interest in engineering then your degree choice is simple; it is a top paying degree, and you will probably find it enjoyable.

However, don’t choose a college degree just because it is a top paying field. You will be spending considerable time and money on this degree. Instead, choose a degree that will give you work that you will enjoy as well.

Though it may not be appropriate to simply choose the top paying degree, you could still use this method of working backwards to choosing a major. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has an Occupational Outlook Handbook that includes career information and job descriptions for almost any occupation you could want. It is important to take a bit of time and research your options.

Then, think about your personal skills. Not job skills, but the skills that make you, well, you.

Are you a talker?

Communications skills are necessary for jobs in sales. Are you an even better listener? You could be the top salesperson in your company. Do you find that friends often turn to you for advice? How about a career in counseling? Your personal skills can help you narrow down your degree choices.

Finally, remember that a significant decision like this one, choosing a college major, is one that you have to make for yourself. Think about what is most important to you and go from there. I chose to major in Spanish because I enjoyed speaking the language and learning about the Spanish culture. That has not changed. However, if I could do it all over again, I would likely double major in Spanish and Finance to pair my interests with a high paying degree.

What about you? Have you graduated from college? Are you working in your degree field? Maybe you’re on your way to college now. How did you choose your major?

Disclosure: This post was written as part of the University Of Phoenix Versus Program. I’m a compensated contributor, but the thoughts and ideas are my own.

Originally posted 2014-10-09 13:00:56.