Is Your Career One of the Best or the Worst of 2012?

May 16th, 2012 by admin

When you think of your ideal career, what does it look like? Are you lying on the beach typing emails on your BlackBerry, or are you building lean muscle by chopping down trees in the middle of nowhere? They say perspective is everything, but since we have to analyze and rank everything these days, Careercast.com recently came out with their list of best and worst jobs of 2012.

So, how did they decide what defines a good job vs. a bad one? By weighing several factors, such as physical, environmental, income (of course), stress, and hiring outlook. Now, just because a job is stressful doesn’t mean it’s one of the worst. In fact, last we checked, brain surgeons experience a lot of stress, but probably aren’t worrying about the rent. On the other hand, that butcher job might be low stress, but when you weigh the job outlook, you might want to consider medical school.

What are the top 5 “best” jobs according to Careercast?

  1. Software engineer
  2. Actuary
  3. Human resource manager
  4. Dental hygienist
  5. Financial planner

It’s not surprising that software engineer topped the list. After all, the robots are taking over, and they get paid pretty well.

And now, for the 5 “worst” jobs on their list:

  1. Lumberjack
  2. Dairy farmer
  3. Enlisted military soldier
  4. Oil rig worker
  5. Reporter

Why are these worst jobs? For starters, being a lumberjack is very dangerous work. And when you factor in that they only make about $32,000 a year, it is understandable why most people don’t dream about growing up to be the next Paul Bunyon anymore.

Do you love stress as much as most people? Yes? Great! You might enjoy one of these careers they ranked among the most stressful:

  1. Enlisted soldier
  2. Firefighter
  3. Airline pilot
  4. Military general
  5. Police officer

Is the career you want on this list? While we don’t recommend changing your mind about a career based on what other people are saying about it, it’s smart to do some research to find out median salaries, job outlook, and other factors that might affect your job search – and satisfaction in the future.

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The Numbers Are in – Check Out These Fast-Growing Careers!

May 9th, 2012 by admin

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its updated projections of the 20 occupations with the fastest-growing employment between 2010-20. When you look over the list, you’ll notice that many of the top professions are in the field of healthcare. How many times have you heard that if you want a “safe” career, enter healthcare? Well, it sounds like that refrain is going to continue into the next decade.

Obviously, you should follow the path that is going to make you happy, but if you are on the fence about what kind of education you should pursue, check out this list of the 20 fastest-growing professions:

  1. Personal care aides
  2. Home health aides
  3. Biomedical engineers
  4. Brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters
  5. Carpenters
  6. Veterinary technologists and technicians
  7. Reinforcing iron and rebar workers
  8. Physical therapist assistants
  9. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
  10. Meeting, convention, and event planners
  11. Diagnostic medical sonographers
  12. Occupational therapy assistants
  13. Physical therapist aides
  14. Glaziers
  15. Interpreters and translators
  16. Medical secretaries
  17. Market research analysts and marketing specialists
  18. Marriage and family therapists
  19. Brickmasons and blockmasons
  20. Physical therapists

Is the career you want on this list? If so, then you might be headed in a great direction. If not, don’t worry, there are many other promising careers beyond the ones that made the cut. If you aren’t sure what to do next, search for a college near you that offers programs in your area of interest. They can help you plan a strategy for pursuing your next career.

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Top 10 Reasons Adults Should Go Back to School

April 18th, 2012 by admin

10-reasons-adults-should-go-back-to-schoolSchool isn’t just for teenagers anymore. There are plenty of good reasons why adults, both young and old, can return to school. Here’s ten of the best.

1. Personal investment. Time spent in school is knowledge and experience you deserve. School can help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

2. Make more money. While it’s not guaranteed, you’ll possibly see a hike in salary, having a higher education never hurts. A better degree can lead to any number of job openings all around the world.

3. Brand new experiences. School gets you away from the same old nine to five. If you’re unsatisfied with your career path, pursuing education can set you on a different one.

4. Following your dreams. It’s amazing how many simple life-improving dreams are possible with a little higher education. You may never land on another planet, but you can change your life. A college degree is an excellent place to start.

5. Overcoming fears. College may seem like a frightening place, but it’s full of normal people just like you. You can learn just as much outside of the classroom on a college campus as you can inside the walls, if you’re not afraid to mingle.

6. Create a business. With a little education you can take matters into your own hands and start your own business. You won’t have to work for a boss you hate – you can be your own boss. There are entire degree programs geared to doing exactly that.

7. Networking and connecting. Nothing is more important in today’s connected world than social ties. The people you meet in college today could be tomorrow’s CEOs and superstars. It certainly can’t hurt to be friends with them.

8. Raise self-esteem. College is full of young people and all the hopes and dreams they carry. It’s a place of optimism before the cold harsh world beats them down. Step into their shoes for a while and revitalize yourself with some classes and some social interaction.

9. Be a role model. Especially if you have children, higher education is important. Your kids can see you’re working to improve yourself and they can experience how important college is. That way they’ll be more inclined to go themselves.

10. Endless learning. The world is vast and full of knowledge and experience. It’s worth the investment to give higher education a try. Broaden your horizons.

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Looking for a quick career fix? Try healthcare or IT

April 5th, 2012 by admin

career-search-ts71058796
Okay, so that headline might sound a little misleading. After all, there are no so-called quick-fixes for any serious career-changer. The truth is, you have to dedicate yourself to learning the knowledge and skills to succeed in any career field. However, there are some areas you can choose, such as healthcare and information technology that can offer faster training and higher salaries than you might expect.

What’s so cool about healthcare and IT? Well, since you asked, both fields, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are projected to grow faster than the average rate for all occupations. Healthcare is projected to increase 22% from 2008 to 2018. Employment for computer network, systems, and database administrators is projected to increase by 30% from 2008 to 2018.

Of course, there are many types of work that each field has to offer, with many variables that can affect how much you can earn. But, with projected growth in both fields, now can be a great time to look into programs that can prepare you to enter either field.

While you can earn bachelor’s and graduate degrees in different areas of each field of study, there are many accelerated certification and associate’s programs that can prepare you to get your foot in the door and start working your way up the ladder.

Many people who work at the entry-level in healthcare and IT are managing their busy lives while pursuing higher levels of education. It’s not easy to juggle a job, family responsibilities, and find time to go back to school. But, many people make the time through online learning, flexible class schedules, and lots of caffeine.

If you have been thinking of ways that you can develop skills for real career opportunities, it’s time to see what your options are in the fields of healthcare and information technology.

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Could your Facebook score kill your job search?

March 15th, 2012 by admin

job-search-facebook-score-TS86482088“Whoa, wait – what the heck is my Facebook score?

Is that what you just said to yourself? If so, then you probably haven’t heard about the new tool employers could use to examine your use of social media.

It all started when a team of professors from multiple universities developed a personality score that factors the following five character traits among Facebook users:

  • Conscientiousness
  • Emotional stability
  • Agreeableness
  • Extraversion
  • Openness

Now, how in the heck can your posts, comments, and photos be formulated?

First, let’s look at the Conscientious category. This is where your “OMG! I love arriving to work early to organize my day!” status update would come in handy. Also, if you have pictures of yourself smiling while working on a spreadsheet, this would help, too. However, you might want to take down that pic that shows what a mess your apartment is.

Emotional Stability. Let’s go ahead and remove that post that reads: “I’M GOING CRAZY! AMERICAN IDOL HAS BEEN CANCELLED!!!!!” Why? Well, let’s start with the words “going crazy” in reference to a TV show that has been on the decline for years. Also, using ALL CAPS is a sign of someone who can’t control their emotions very well. This post might also tell your prospective employer that you have a habit of sweating the small stuff.

Agreeableness. Do you start fights on Facebook about politics, religion, or the flavor of cupcakes? This is where the Golden Rule applies. If you don’t have anything nice to post, don’t post anything at all. (Plus, your friends will be less likely to hide you from their newsfeed if you are nice.)

Extraversion. This is how well you interact with your online and real-life community. You can excel in this category by showing yourself at the latest community center groundbreaking or some other event where you are at least posing as a social person. Those pictures of your keg-stand at the last frat party might be a point-reducer in this category.

Openness. When is the last time you announced that you just finished reading The Works of Oscar Wilde or posted pictures of your attempt to free Tibet? Stop being so shy! Show your job prospects that you are a worldly person, and you aren’t afraid to show it.

So why is all this important to employers? Well, most probably know that you can’t judge a book by its cover – but you can tell a lot about a person’s judgment by what they post, and they can make a lot of guesses about you even if you don’t update your Facebook at all.

Is it scary to think that your future boss is going through your photo albums and comments looking for reasons not to hire you? Sure, it is. That’s why we recommend keeping your profile private and explaining that you like to keep Facebook for friends – and separate from your work life.

How can they argue with that? After all, Facebook’s tagline is “a place for friends,” not “a place for companies to weed through applications.”

Ready to begin your online college search? Get started with US College Search today, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Business Careers with Short Educational Requirements

March 1st, 2012 by rebeccac

short-term-business-programs
For adults today, it’s really hard to find the time and money to devote to furthering their education. Many adults may already have jobs, and although they might be considering a business administration school to help promote them further in their career, they think they don’t have the resources to complete a four-year degree.

It isn’t hard to find a business administration college that offers a shorter program, such as an associate or even a certificate program in a business course that can make it possible to get the education to excel at a current or future career. Consider doing a college search online to see all the possibilities there are. Listed below are a few careers with training and experience requirements that many business administration schools would have available.

Administrative Office Assistant
An administrative office assistant will perform a wide variety of task in the office. Two important skills needed for this position are computer and technical skills. Interpersonal communication skills are also very important because the administrative office assistant will be in contact with many people throughout the office, as well as visitors. A degree is not required for this position. A certificate or diploma that includes training in spreadsheet applications or word processing will, however, provide a competitive edge.

Bookkeeping
Bookkeepers keep track of a company’s day-to-day finances, income and expenses. They are responsible for recording transactions in the appropriate account ledgers, keeping up with petty cash, and recording everything in a computerized database system. Businesses usually prefer a bookkeeper with an associate degree in business or accounting. Bookkeeping is a great place to start to go on to a career in accounting, which typically requires a bachelor’s degree.

Payroll/Timekeeping Clerk
The employee in charge of timekeeping and payroll will tabulate all employees’ hours and ensure employees are paid. This is, of course, a very important job in any business and requires great attention to detail and communication skills. Entry-level positions in payroll/timekeeping jobs do not require a degree or certification. However, an associate degree or certification from a business administration school will provide a better chance for advancement.

Loan Processor
Loan processors work with loan officers to help facilitate the loan process. They may help with gathering paperwork, informing customers of what legal documents they will need, running credit checks, and processing other paperwork. An actual degree isn’t needed for this position, but some form of business training is recommended. A college search could turn up a business administration college that could provide a certification program or diploma that could train you for this career path.

Hospitality Supervisor
A hospitality supervisor works for a hotel and covers areas such as the front desk, housekeeping, food preparation, convention planning, etc. They will be in contact with hotel guests to ensure they are happy and comfortable, as well as employees of the hotel to ensure everyone is working hard and everything is runny smoothly. Hospitality supervisor is a great entry-level position that requires either a certification or associate degree in hospitality management.

Employers are looking for potential employees with postsecondary education, and although it can be tough when facing a full- or part-time job, family or other commitment, it is possible. Try a college search just to see all the possibilities; there is bound to be something that interests everyone. Often, a business administration college will offer loans and help with job placement, which could help greatly in paying for school, and get you started on the right track to a better future.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Jan. 23rd

January 23rd, 2012 by admin

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2012 Top Online Education Program Rankings
For the first time ever, U.S. News & World Report has put together rankings of the top online education programs. Recognizing the growing importance of online degrees in today’s higher education landscape, they compiled a list of the best undergraduate and graduate online degree programs.

Ideas on saving higher education merit more study
San Francisco Chronicle
With the California system of colleges and universities one of the largest examples of the struggle of higher education institutions, the San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at the out-of-the-box ideas people are presenting as ways to save money and keep the system going.

7 ways to tackle the nation’s student debt crisis
CBS News
Lynn O’Shaughnessy outlines the recommendations of financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, who recently posted a paper on ways to reduce student debt. They include allowing student debt to be discharged in bankruptcy and boosting the Pell Grant by almost 50%.

Kinder, gentler approach?
Inside Higher Ed
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities is expected to announce former Wisconsin Representative Steve Gunderson as their new president this week. Paul Fain takes a look at Gunderson’s past experience and predicts a more cooperative future for APSCU under Gunderson’s leadership.

How job hopping can hurt your career
CNN
Dan Schawbel, managing partner of personal branding agency Millennial Branding, discusses the trend in younger generations to job hop and encourages a new way of thinking that places values on building a career within a company that gives you new skills and wider networks.

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4 Ways Being Organized Equals More Family Time

January 12th, 2012 by AmyH

ts-75461543Do you find yourself running from home to work to your college class to home again, never catching a breath in between? Sometimes it might feel like your family is a legend: something you’ve only heard of but have never actually seen. It doesn’t have to be that way. Just because you have a busy schedule doesn’t mean you never have to see your family again. I’ve found that careful organization can help me have much more time to spend with my husband and kids. Try out these tricks to find more minutes and hours in your day.

1. Your phone could be your best friend.

Do you use a smartphone? Take advantage of its countless features to help organize your time. Use the calendar, so you never have to miss an important appointment or project due date, and keep your contacts up-to-date, so you don’t have to waste time trying to track down loose pieces of paper. You can also download several apps to help you organize your thoughts, and keep them all in one place. Check out the marketplace for your style of phone, and look for organization and planning apps.

2. Plan out your day.

Each night before you go to bed, take a moment to look at what you need to do the next day. You might be surprised by how much open space there actually is. Have you ever heard the saying “Projects expand to fit the time allotted”? If you schedule a solid chunk of time to get work done, you can schedule playtime to follow. Take advantage of this time; it’s precious and just as important to your well-being as any other activity you might schedule.

3. Enlist your family’s help.

When the house is picked up and dishes are done, you have more time to play and just be with each other. Find a moment to talk to your family about the problem, and ask them to brainstorm ways they can help get the work done so you don’t get stuck with it. Who wants to come home from a grueling exam to a sink full of dirty dishes? When everyone in your family is working together to keep the house in good shape, it gives you more time to spend together.

4. Cook ahead of time.

Schedule an hour or two on the weekend and cook up a few meals that can stay in the freezer until dinnertime later in the week. Having an extra casserole or meatloaf on hand will free up some time on an otherwise busy night and will also prevent you from spending precious minutes in the drive-thru! Your family’s health and your budget will thank you.

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Do you have what it takes to get a job at Google?

October 12th, 2011 by rebeccac

As a major technological player, Google obviously is a big draw when it comes to employment. Add onto that the fact that they’re consistently named one of the best places to work in the country, and you can see why they get around one million resumes a year.

Even more impressive? They’ve developed a system that lets them review every resume that comes in and thoroughly interview candidates to make sure they’re getting the best of the best. But just what does it take? What’s the Google process for going from applicant to new hire?


What does it take to get a job at Google

Infographic by Jobvine Recruitment Network

It’s an interesting (and VERY involved) method of hiring for sure, obviously meant to focus less on your skill set and past experience and more on how you think and solve problems. Which makes sense, really. Sometimes what you need to fill a position isn’t someone who’s been doing that kind of job forever and is set in their ways; sometimes you need someone who can innovate and bring fresh ideas into the office.

Get started on your track toward Google by searching for computer colleges today. Begin your college search at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also start searching by zip code.

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Top 10 most popular career education programs

August 11th, 2011 by rebeccac

If there’s one thing the government always seems to have in spades, it’s statistics. In fact, they’ve got a whole department dedicated to coming up with facts, figures and highly complicated tables just for education: the National Center for Education Statistics. Nifty, right?

Handy, too, if you’re like me and interested in the topics surrounding adult education. Say – for example – what the growing number of non-traditional students are choosing to study and how it stacks up against the most popular majors of the traditional collegiate populace.

NCES to the rescue. They’ve got data for every day of the week, broken down in dozens of different ways – including which kinds of students are studying what and what kind of outcomes they are achieving.* So how did the top 10 pan out?

Distribution of Career Education Programs

Business and marketing

Includes: Management, administration, accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, real estate, sales and merchandising, hospitality

Total number of students enrolled: 3,349,000
Percentage of the total: 28%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

Business nearly always seems to land at the top of the pile – mainly because it’s such a diverse field and ridiculously applicable. A degree in business administration may sound fairly basic and general, but you can leverage it on your resume for thousands of different jobs.

No. 1 with traditional students: Business

This is one place where all students seem to agree: Business degrees are a good way to make yourself valuable and employable.

Health sciences

Includes: Healthcare, dental, health administration, medical records, physical therapy, veterinary care, medical technology, pharmacy, medical research

Total number of students enrolled: 2,970,000
Percentage of the total: 25%
Most common outcome: Associate degree

Healthcare-based fields are hard on business’ heels and probably will be for the foreseeable future. There’s just so much demand out there for health services and so many people needing treatment and care that it’s no surprise that students see it as a job security haven. People will always get sick, after all, so it’s not like that’s going away.

No. 2 with traditional students: Social sciences and history

In general, a lot of traditional college students are still trying to figure out the world and themselves, so there’s a tendency to go for broader liberal arts/humanities types of degrees that allow them to just explore subjects.

Education

Includes: Elementary, middle and secondary education; educational administration; higher education; curriculum and instruction; special education; continuing education

Total number of students enrolled: 1,197,000
Percentage of the total: 10%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

With business and healthcare eating up over 50% of students, it’s no surprise that there’s a big drop to number three, nor is it a surprise that it’s education. U.S. education at all levels has been struggling, but the need will always be there for teachers who feel passionately about it.

No. 3 with traditional students: Health professions

Not too long ago, this spot would’ve gone to education in the traditional market, but like I said, healthcare is HUGE and people are wanting in on the game.

Engineering and architecture

Includes: Architecture, city and community planning, engineering, engineering technologies, CADD/design technology

Total number of students enrolled: 1,123,000
Percentage of the total: 9%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

It was surprising to see this one rank above the computer technology field, but it makes sense from a certain point of view. After all, they are interesting fields with both good salaries and opportunities, and there are a lot of technical careers included as part of these industries that offer the benefits without the need for years and years of school.

No. 4 with traditional students: Education

It’s still holding strong in the top five, although it may be interesting to see if the appeal of education diminishes if the current budget slashes and salary cuts continue.

Computer and information sciences

Includes: Computer programming, data processing, systems analysis, networking administration, software applications

Total number of students enrolled: 694,000
Percentage of the total: 6%
Most common outcome: Associate degree (over Bachelor’s by a mere 2%)

Computers are so vital now that it’s difficult to remember our society before them – and before jobs surrounding them were even an option to study for in school. As they get more complicated, more and more specialized jobs spring up to keep them running and developing, dealing with hardware and software alike.

No. 5 with traditional students: Psychology

A huge difference here between a very tech-y, hands-on career and a “soft science” undergraduate degree to practically requires postgraduate work in order to be applicable to a job.

Protective services

Includes: Criminal justice, corrections, law enforcement, forensic science, fire protection, security

Total number of students enrolled: 670,000
Percentage of the total: 6%
Most common outcome: Associate degree

Essentially encompassing all programs related to criminology, this includes a lot of police officers and firefighters – some of them going back to get their degree in order to advance. It holds a lot of appeal for those with a strong sense of justice and a real drive to make a difference in their communities.

No. 6 with traditional students: Visual and performing arts

Like with social sciences and history, the relatively high ranking of the arts field exemplifies the priority of traditional students to explore and discover themselves through their major.

Consumer services

Includes: Culinary arts, nutrition, fitness training, cosmetology, esthetics, counseling, child care

Total number of students enrolled: 658,000
Percentage of the total: 5%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree (but it’s close to an even 33/33/33 split)

A sort of “miscellaneous” section according to the NCES, this covers a lot of the daily jobs and industries that deal with personal wellness – keeping yourself healthy and feeling good about yourself inside and out. The most random career in this section? Mortuary science. From the cradle to the grave, indeed.

No. 7 with traditional students: Engineering and engineering technologies

This one gets a muddled ranking on the traditional side – I think because the appeal of the industry is negated by the sometimes 5+ years of schooling that are often required for engineering at the university level.

Communications and design

Includes: Advertising, communications, journalism, public relations, visual arts, dance, graphic/fashion/web/game design, photography, film

Total number of students enrolled: 454,000
Percentage of the total: 4%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

There’s a lot of variety in this group – including technology-based art programs like web design and game design that offer a lot of opportunities and good salary potential. It tends to be an area, though, where people are less apt to enroll if they don’t feel they already have a strong talent at it.

No. 8 with traditional students: Communications and journalism

A kind of half-match-up here toward the bottom, since visual arts are separate and actually rank higher. Communications majors are often broad enough to be geared toward either journalism or marketing.

Manufacturing, construction, repair and transportation

Includes: Carpentry, electrical, construction, mechanic, aviation technology, trucking, transportation, repair

Total number of students enrolled: 423,000
Percentage of the total: 4%
Most common outcome: Associate degree (followed closely by certificates)

Very few of these programs really require a Bachelor’s-level outcome, and nearly all of them lead to practical, hands-on, trade-based careers that are vital to society’s comings and goings. Check out trucking for major job opportunities – a lot of veterans are retiring and leaving vacancies that will need to be filled.

No. 9 with traditional students: Biology and biomedical sciences

In direct contrast, the biology field tends to be another major that lends itself to necessary postgrad work – medical school, forensics, etc. Not always – but very often.

Public, legal and social services

Includes: Law, pre-law, paralegal/legal assisting, library sciences, public administration, theology

Total number of students enrolled: 369,000
Percentage of the total: 3%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

It’s got a few random ones in there – library sciences? theology? – but the majority of this deals with the legal system, and it’s not all just students going pre-law. Legal assisting, court reporting and other legal support services are a big deal in this field.

No. 10 with traditional students: Computer and information sciences

Compared to its much higher ranking in the career education listing, computer sciences comes in last here – conceivably because you don’t have to have a traditional Bachelor’s degree in order to get a foot in the door and succeed.

 

 

*Figures for career education from here: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ctes/tables/P43.asp. Figures for the traditional studies from here: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/figures/fig_15.asp

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