What Career Path Is Right for You?

Are you ready for a new career but are unsure of what you want to do? Do you want to make a living doing something you love and are genuinely good at? Then look into associate degree (occupational) careers or professional certificate careers. This career path will take you less time than getting your degree through a community college or traditional university. Most programs will also prepare you to sit for professional certification exams; having certifications generally make you more employable.

Associate Degree Careers are Rewarding and In-demand

You can complete training for associate degree (occupational) careers in only 15-18 months. Explore this sample of six career paths that have positive employment growth:

 

  1. Business Careers
  2. Computer Careers
  3. Medical and Dental Careers
  4. Personal Appearance Careers
  5. Technical Trades Careers
  6. Wellness Careers

 

1 – Business Careers

Are you a problem solver who pays close attention to detail and can remain calm in a chaotic environment? Do you have excellent customer service skills that you want to put to good use? You can have a career in the business field in under two years.

 

  • Administrative Professionals perform a variety of administrative and clerical duties necessary to run an office efficiently.
    • Professional Certification: Be prepared to sit for the MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) certification exam. Remember: certifications generally make you more employable.
    • Employment Growth Projections* – Average: 71-13% increase from 2008 to 2018

 

2 – Computer Careers

 

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If you are someone who loves technology, enjoys tinkering with computers and helping others understand how everything works, consider a career working with computers in one of these two career paths:

    • Computer & Network Systems Technicians provide technical assistance, support, and advice to individuals and organizations that depend on information technology for daily operations.
      • Professional Certification: Be prepared to sit for the Network+, Security+, and the A+ certification exams. Remember: certifications generally make you more employable.
      • Employment Growth Projections* – Much faster than average: 20% and higher increase from 2008 to 2018.
  • Mechanical Drafters prepare detailed working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices using engineering practices and mathematics. They can work for established companies or as independent contractors.
    • Professional Certification: Be prepared to sit for professional drafting industry certification exams. Remember: certifications generally make you more employable.
    • Employment Growth Projections* – Opportunities are good for individuals with at least 2 years of post-secondary training in a drafting program, strong technical skills and experience with CADD systems.

3 – Medical and Dental Careers

If you excel at multi-tasking, communication and organization, you might want to use your talents to help provide care and comfort to people in need.

You can work in a medical or dental environment in one of these three professional career paths:

    • Medical Assistants use basic medical techniques to work with patients in a clinical environment under the supervision of a doctor.
      • Employment Growth Projections* – Much faster than average: 20-34% increase from 2008 to 2018.
    • Dental Assistants use basic dental techniques to work with patients in a clinical environment under the supervision of a dentist.
      • Employment Growth Projections* – Much faster than average: 20-36% increase from 2008 to 2018.
    • Medical Administrative Technicians care for patients by providing a variety of services in a medical office environment.
      • Employment Growth Projections*- Much faster than average: 20-34% increase from 2008 to 2018.
  • Health Information Technicians care for patients by providing a variety of services in a medical office environment.
    • Employment Growth Projections*- Much faster than average: 20-34% increase from 2008 to 2018.

4 – Personal Appearance Careers

If you enjoy making people look and feel their best while being personable, then maybe a career in the Personal Appearance field is the right choice for you.

 

  • Cosmetologists enhance the appearance of their clients by doing hair, but they are also trained in skincare, makeup and nails. Work in a salon, barber shop, high end spa, hotel or resort. Make your own schedule and even be your own boss.

 

Licensure Requirements:

 

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Graduate from a State-licensed barber or cosmetology school
  • Pass written and practical licensure exams
  • Employment Growth Projections* – Faster to much faster than average: 14-20% and higher increase from 2008 to 2018.

 

5 – Technical Trades Careers

Do you have patience, good interpersonal skills and love working with your hands and thinking through interesting problems? This could be your job! Technical trades career paths allow all of this to be possible.

    • Automotive Technicians inspect, maintain and repair a variety of vehicle types. They provide basic care maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations. They also diagnose and repair more complex problems.
      • Professional Certification: Be prepared to sit for the ASE (Automotive Services Excellence) and Snap-on certification exams. Remember: certifications generally make you more employable.
      • Employment Growth Projections* – Job opportunities are very good for those with both post-secondary automotive training and ASE certification.
  • Refrigeration & AC-HVAC Technicians install, maintain and repair heating and air-conditioning systems in residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
    • Professional Certification: Be prepared to sit for the Mech IV licensing, EPA certification, and HVAC Excellence certification exams. Remember: certifications generally make you more employable.
    • Employment Growth Projections* – Much faster than average: 20-28% increase from 2008 to 2018.

6 – Wellness Careers

Are you interested in alternative medicine and wellness, or physical fitness? Do you want to help people work through debilitating physical issues or achieve personal fitness goals? Consider a career in Health and Wellness.

    • Massage Therapists treat soft tissue pain by relaxing tired and overworked muscles, reducing stress, rehabilitating sports injuries and promoting overall general health.
      • Professional Certification: Be prepared to sit for the required state licensure exams. Remember: certifications generally make you more employable.
      • Employment Growth Projections* – Faster than average: 14-19% increase from 2008 to 2018.
  • Personal Trainers work with clients or members of a fitness facility to help them become healthy and maintain or increase levels of fitness.
    • Professional Certification: Be prepared to sit for these 3 National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) exams. Remember: certifications generally make you more employable.
      • Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification
      • Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) credential
      • Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS) credential