About writing and life

What Should I Go to School For? (With Career Options)

A teacher works on coloring with a young girl. Early childhood education is rewarding, with the added benefit of summers off work. The downside is the starting pay can be well below median standards.

What Should I Go To School For? All Your Questions Answered

Currently, there seems to be a lot of debate surrounding which college majors are worth pursuing. With a large selection of majors being offered by countless colleges, and a lot of talk about high-paying jobs that don’t even require a college degree, you may find yourself struggling to determine which college major you should sign up for in order to land your dream job. If the big question on your mind is “what should I go to school for,” then follow these guidelines in order to select the perfect major that can benefit your future.

Firstly, ask yourself if there are any fields of study in which you have developed a great personal interest. By pursuing something you are passionate about, you not only give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your studies, but you also decrease the chance of regretting the major you chose or second guessing yourself. Not to mention that you will more likely become motivated to complete your degree.

For example, if you are incredibly passionate about helping others, it may be a good idea to consider majoring in health science. This major will allow you the opportunity to pursue a career in healthcare, and give you the chance to help countless people throughout your career.

A male student preparing for exams at the University of the People

Photo by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

Roles you can pursue after going to school


1. Health information technician

Primary duties: Health information technicians are responsible for maintaining accurate health and medical records. These technicians sort and organize patient records to help ensure effective healthcare. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, public health organizations, and other health-related settings. To become a health information technician, you can complete a two-year diploma or a bachelor’s degree in health information management. Ensure your institution meets the accreditation standards of the Canadian College of Health Information Management

2. Registered nurse

Primary duties: Registered nurses are health professionals who specialize in providing general or specialized treatment to patients. Their duties also extend to health maintenance and promotion of healthy living. The daily activities of a registered nurse include monitoring patients’ vitals, administering medication, organizing files, and treating injuries. Becoming a nurse requires you to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

3. Dentist

Primary duties: Dentists are health professionals who specialize in treating dental illnesses and promoting oral health. They may work in a hospital, dentist’s office, or outpatient clinic. A dentist’s daily activities include inspecting patients, providing health advice, reading patient files, and administering treatment. To become a dentist, it’s necessary you complete a BD, DMD, or DDS degree from a university that has received its accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC)

Information technology

1. Web developer

Primary duties: Web developers are information technology specialists who use programming languages to create websites. While web designers handle website aesthetics, developers are more concerned with the functionality of the website. Their activities include writing website code, creating plans with a team, and running diagnostics. While it’s possible to be a web developer without formal education, a web design certification can aid your career. You can consider a degree in computer science or programming for more specialized roles. Administrative roles may also require advanced degrees.

2. Computer engineer

Primary duties: Computer engineers specialize in designing and building computer hardware and software. Their daily activities include testing software, designing hardware components, and consulting with clients. Computer engineers help to troubleshoot computer systems and resolve issues. To become a computer engineer, you require a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, computer science, or software engineering. Similarly, positions in larger organizations may require advanced degrees. Relevant practical experience is also usually helpful.

Business and finance

1. Accountant

Primary duties: An accountant processes, records, and organizes financial records for individuals or corporations. Their duties vary depending on the size of their organization and their role. Accountants can generally expect to record financial transactions, prepare financial reports, create budgets, and balance financial statements. To start a career as an accountant, you require a degree in finance or a related area. Also, you may consider enrolling in the CPA Professional Education Program

2. Investment banker

Primary duties: Investment bankers are finance professionals who provide various financial services to individuals and corporations. Their role involves advising clients on profitable acquisitions. Investment bankers also monitor financial markets, perform valuations, and make financial reports. To become an investment banker, it’s necessary you obtain a bachelor’s degree. Many candidates prefer to obtain a degree in a related field, like finance or business administration.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background, and location.

Do the Math: Does It Pay To Go Back To School?

No matter what dream career you’d like to pursue, job one is becoming a number cruncher, to confirm that you’re making a sound financial decision, says Corbette Doyle, a lecturer at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education. “To make the best choice about going back to school for midlife career change, I teach people to do a calculation called Net Present Value, one of the most common tools businesses use to make decisions.”

That calculation involves measuring how much you’d pay to go to school (including the cost of repaying a loan, if you’d have to borrow, and the loss of income if you attend school full-time) with the revenue you’ll likely earn in your new field. It also assumes that, because you’ll be earning your new salary several years down the road, that today’s dollar will be worth more than those future dollars. (You could have put that tuition money in stocks or a CD, for example.)

Doyle suggests experimenting with free NPV calculators found online, or using the NPV function in Excel. “Set it up as a table, making the columns with the years (don’t go out more than five to eight years in the future), and the rows what you think your income will be. Then, when you’re done, go back and redo it, using a worst-case scenario (you can’t find a job in your new field for a few years, for example) and best-case scenario, such as landing a job that pays better than the average.”

Yes, this is less fun than the courses you’re yearning to take, Doyle says, and will likely require several informational interviews and hours Googling sites like O*Net and Glass Door to pinpoint salaries in your city. If the calculation is zero or more, it’s cause for celebration: going back to school makes sense, at least from an economic point of view. If it’s zero or less, the traditional rule of thumb is that this is a poor investment decision.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t do it. “Businesses rarely make decisions based just on the numbers, and people don’t either,” she says, adding that a midlife career change that makes you happy can’t be fully measured in dollars and cents. “The point of any analysis is not to find a crystal ball. But if you understand the financial risks and rewards, you are able to make better decisions.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *