What is a Career?
A career is a job that a person spends a significant portion of their life involved in. A career may be one job position that increases in pay and responsibilities over time, or several jobs that follow a "ladder" structure where you move from one job to the next as you gain required skills and experience.
For example, a High School English Teacher may always have the same job title, but their pay scale is guaranteed to increase over time throughout their career.
Conversely, let's say you have a career in Finance. You may transition from being a Bank Teller to an Auditor to a Financial Planner to a Consultant to eventually an executive position such as a CFO.
Explore Majors and Careers (Utah State University)
Career Briefs: Facts About Different Occupations
How Do I Decide on a Career?
Ideally your career should strike a balance between your interests, skills, and lifestyle expectations. A good place to start is thinking about what "Field" you could see yourself working in. Fields are related jobs that often work together and require similar types of education and experience. For example, you may work in the "Medical Field" but your specific job could be Nursing Assistant, Anesthesiologist, Pediatrician, etc. Or you could work in the field of "Computer Science" but your specific job may be Senior Software Engineer, Systems Tester, IT Support, etc. Most college majors prepare people for fields as opposed to specific jobs.
8 Steps to Choosing a Career
Utah Career Pathways
Some Questions to Ask Yourself:
- How much education/training will I need for a particular career?
- Where am I willing to live for a job? How does the population, geography, and weather of a place matter to me?
- How long will it take to get the specific job position I want in a career?
- Can I handle the physical, mental, emotional, and time demands of a certain career?
- Will I enjoy pursuing a passion for a job while having to follow someone else's rules and expectations?
- How to Choose a Major: 5 Key Factors
What if I Don't Know Yet?
Almost nobody knows what they want to do by the time they're 18. Even fewer commit to the first career they choose. 80% of all college students change their major after entering college. Over half change their major 3 or more times. The current estimate is that it is "normal" for Americans to make a career change 3 to 7 times before they enter the job that they'll eventually retire from. The average age of somebody making a "Mid-Career Salary" is 45 years old. What's important is that you know the expectations of whatever career you pursue and that you're always striving towards a situation that you can be comfortable with - preferably one that you enjoy and that provides you with financial stability. Our hope is that GEAR UP can provide you with the foundational tools necessary to succeed in whatever career you happen to pursue.
Other Helpful Links:
- Glassdoor: https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm
- Indeed: https://www.indeed.com
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com
- Handshake: https://app.joinhandshake.com/login
- Career Briefs: Facts About Different Occupations (The Balance Careers)
- Explore Majors and Careers (Utah State University)
- 8 Steps to Choosing a Career (The Balance Careers)
- Utah Career Pathways (Career and Technical Education Options)
Choosing a Major
- How to Choose a Major: 5 Key Factors (Prep Scholar Blog Article)
- Utah Majors (Utah System of Higher Education)
- Degree Finder (Utah State University)
What Can I Do With This Major (University of Tennessee)
- Quick Look: Majors, Minors, & Certificates (University of Utah)
- College Majors (Bigfutures.com)