Which Degree Should I Get?

You never know where your new degree will take you (Photo by juanpol)

So you thought you were done with classes when you said good-bye to high school. But that job that offered such promise when you started has become old, and the money doesn’t stretch nearly as far as you thought it would. You’re considering distance learning to get a degree, but you don’t know which one will give you the best bang for your buck. Here are some guidelines to help you make a choice.

Research the base salary and the opportunities for advancement in your chosen field. Payscale.com has charted both starting median pay and mid-career median pay for a number of degrees. As they have in recent years, engineering and math dominate the top money-making spots. Just remember that if you struggle with these subjects in school, it won’t get any better when you enter the job market. In addition to sorting through possible degrees for the most lucrative, you should pay attention to your own strengths and weaknesses, as well.

Don’t forget that you don’t have to pick a major the second that you sign up for college classes. There is a set of core courses that all students must pass before graduation. Taking these core courses will give you the opportunity to re-discover which subjects come easily to you, and which ones you’d just as soon pass by. Knowing how well you do in a subject will help you make that major decision. In addition to your school work, think about what kinds of things you are drawn to in your spare time. Sometimes you can combine some of your interests into a degree that you’d never considered before. If you’re going to invest time and money into earning a degree, you should first invest the time to find out what you want to do for the next twenty years of your life.

If you’re still not sure what career you find appealing, check out the  U. S. News List of nine new majors. Those majors are: 1) Biomedical Engineering, which applies mechanical principles to the human body, designing prosthetics, using viruses for drug delivery, and refining robots for delicate work; 2)  Computer Game Design, whose graduates create learning simulators for many different fields; 3)  Environmental Studies/Sustainability, the new watchwords for environmentalists and governments alike; 4)  Health Information Management, to streamline the flow of data on behalf of patients and providers; 5)  Homeland Security, which combines criminal justice with national security; 6) Information Assurance/Cyber Security, providing needed protection to computer networks; 7)  Nanotechnology, which deals with particles at the subatomic level; 8) New Media, which combines traditional journalism with a digital platform; and 9) Public Health, which covers not only governmental applications, but healthcare facilities as well.

Since these are new majors, not all of the requirements for all of these fields are available online. Through distance learning, you could get a lot of the core courses out of the way, then find an onsite university for the last few courses to complete that degree, and get started on your new career!

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