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    Senior Member Smilephantomhive's Avatar
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    Default How getting a college degree helps you in your career

    Okay, so I keep hearing about how a college degree is necessary for most jobs, yet you do not have to major in something that relates to your future career. I think I'm missing part of the picture because that makes no sense. So yeah does anyone have an explanation/video/article article on how exactly your major helps with your career?
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    alight magpie's Avatar
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    I don't have an article but it seems that even customer service jobs and the like require a degree. Doesn't matter what degree, just that there is one. What degree you have starts to matter if you want to go into something more specialized. So if you want to be an analytical chemist, you should have a biomedical degree. If you want to be a therapist, you should have a psych degree.

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    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Senior Member Smilephantomhive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    Oh that makes a lot of sense. I guess try to get a degree in what you think you might want, and if your career goals change then try and persuade them how your degree will help their business??
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    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smilephantomhive View Post
    Okay, so I keep hearing about how a college degree is necessary for most jobs, yet you do not have to major in something that relates to your future career. I think I'm missing part of the picture because that makes no sense. So yeah does anyone have an explanation/video/article article on how exactly your major helps with your career?
    This is a question with many facets, and answers. Wrapped up in all of it is the way in which university education has changed over the past century or so. A university education used to prepare one to become a scholar, to study one's field in depth so one might teach, write, research, and generally contribute to the field and passing it on. Nowadays, it seems to function more as job training, and sadly as remedial education, covering what most of us should have learned in high school. A college degree is replacing a HS diploma as the baseline education credential in indicating that the recipient has had a well-rounded education and is prepared to enter the adult/career world.

    I disagree with this state of affairs for a number of reasons, but it is the status quo, so let's press on. Exactly how your college major helps depends strongly on what your job is. The first, most superficial and most generic benefit of a college degree is that it checks that box for employers, as @ceecee's link describes, so you can get hired to begin with. Beyond that, there are some jobs where you really will benefit from the content learned in college. Good examples are jobs in STEM, business, languages (e.g. translation and interpreting), and teaching. You will learn the specifics on the job, but the foundation provided by your college coursework makes it possible for you to absorb that OJT quickly and become productive.

    Other jobs seem much less dependent on the specific content learned in college: e.g. many administrative jobs, retail management, etc. Here actual experience doing similar work would be more beneficial. This may also be true for some of the jobs I listed above. In other words, employers expect you to have some foundation in the basics, whether that be math, coding, accounting, Spanish, etc., but a college major is not the only means of getting it. Unfortunately it is much easier for employers to evaluate the single entry of a college degree on your resume, than to parse through a handful of work, volunteer, and self-study activities that gained you the same knowledge and skills.

    All of which brings us to another related issue: the tendency across the board to prefer certifications over qualifications. Pieces of paper attesting to this or that, rather than the demonstrated ability to DO this or that. Childcare providers, for example, used to need good references, experience, and a patient, caring disposition. Now they need umpteen certificates that, of course, they have to spend time and money collecting. (I wonder whether this preference for paper certifications is driven by the educational establishments who profit most directly from it?) This very much applies to many of those jobs that list "college degree required", with no clear link to the nature of the work being done.
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    It got my foot in the door easily, granted it wasn't some high sought position. Just an equipment tech. Real learning and growing starts on the job with hands on reality. That's when you escape theory and have to merge what should be with what is and really learn how things work in real life.

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    Marshmallow Heart thepink-cloakedninja's Avatar
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    Here is a brief article which gives a quick overview of when you need a specific major and when you don't (though most of it I think was covered by Coriolis and in a much more professional manner ... )

    Majors and Careers

    Here is a questions and answers section on the same website with career counselors and some business-y people providing answers.

    How will my major affect my career? | CollegeXpress

    Here is a resource with a list of majors that tells you the various careers each major will help you with.

    ADVICE | Choosing a Major or Career Path

    College Board is also a great resource for exploring majors and careers.

    Big Future - College Search - Find colleges and universities by major, location, type, more.
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    Get a better g-factor as well/instead.....oh wait...you have no choice over that.
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    Senior Member Blacksheep2017's Avatar
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    I tell you what, a college degree gets you in the door, but nothing compares to on-the-job training. I look back at my college education and think "wow, that was a waste of $100k." I learned more about my field and obtained skills that they never taught me in college.

    I have a graphic design degree and I look back on the projects I worked on for classes and none of them were relevant to real world experience and jobs. Creative projects where you get to brainstorm and execute a branding idea from beginning to end just don't exist. When I was in school, they taught us that we needed to learn web cause print was becoming obsolete and the only jobs I've had have been in print production.

    So honestly, I think the United States needs to focus more on technical school training for high school students...but that will never happen. Cause let's be honest...privatized for profit colleges are sitting pretty behind politicians. And rich business owners and CEOs are benefiting from the middle class' misfortune of paying for a college education to make a basic living wage that sometimes isn't even enough to afford living and student loan repayment.

    Best advice I could give - 1. Go into healthcare. or 2. Utilize affordable community college education.
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    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    It might even be seen as a rite of passage in today's society. It shows that you can meet deadlines and challenges and work for a variety of types of people because you have to work with so many different professors. I wasn't aware of the issue of it not mattering what your degree is in, so I'm somewhat backwards reasoning the point. I did think that most jobs want you to have a degree related to the job and two years work experience, which is always a catch-22 for people just graduating.

    College degrees do cost a crazy amount of money these days, so it can be useful to start with an associates degree from a community college and then transfer the credits to get a bachelors at a state school or higher up institution if you want a competitive career.
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