Understanding the Education Requirements of Your Career

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Understanding what types of education is available, and what degrees exist can help you determine what education is best for your career goals. Armed with this knowledge, you can prepare for your dream career.

Basic Education Paths

You've always had dreams of your career, knowing what you wanted to do since you were in your teens. But now that you are ready to enter the work force, you are finding that there are educational requirements that are necessary for your dream to come true. As you start to investigate, you learn there are several options:

A certification represents low-level training that teaches you specific skills that apply to a very narrow field. For instance, a dental assistant or legal aid would take a short-term training course that will give him the knowledge to do basic work in the dental or legal field. These certificates are relatively easy to get, both in effort and time required. However, there is little flexibility in how the education can be applied once a student has finished because the coursework is very specific to the topic.

An Associate's Degree is typically a two-year program that offers a basic foundation in many courses. When a student gains an associate's degree, he has likely taken some English, History, Math, Psychology, and Business courses to help him gain a well-rounded, basic college education.

A Bachelor's Degree is often a four-year program that goes beyond the knowledge in an Associate's program, to offer more specialized education. There are many careers that require or request a bachelor's degree, such as a public school teacher, an accountant, or a mathematician.

A Master's Degree is a specialized degree that is earned beyond a Bachelor's degree. This degree allows a person to be more qualified in his skills and do higher level work. An accountant with a Master's Degree may be the manager of the department, or an educator with a Master's may become the principal or superintendent.

A Doctorate Degree is typically the highest degree a person can earn and is highly specialized. A doctorate degree is often required to be a professor and sometimes required to be a high level executive.

Other specialty degrees are available, like law degrees or medical degrees. These are specific to the work the professional will do and require years of study and training.

Determining Which Path Is Best for Your Career

Now that we have an understanding of educational possibilities, let's discuss how these can support you in determining which path is best for your career.

What are your talents and skills?

Think about what you enjoy doing both for work and in your free time. Let's imagine you enjoy spending time with people and you are really good at delegating and motivating people. You also love the hospitality industry. You may determine that becoming a hotel manager is a great option for your career. By doing some research, you understand you will need a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree in hospitality, coupled with several years hotel experience.

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