How Should I Choose a College Degree?

Choosing a degree can be a daunting task for students headed to college for the first time or those making a mid-life career change. Practical steps in choosing a degree include self-assessment and researching career educational requirements. Read further for more help in choosing a college degree.

Importance of Self-Assessment in Choosing a College Degree

A first step in choosing a college degree is to assess both your interest and skills in various careers. Online resources such as MappingYourFuture.org provide advice and assessment tools. If you're making a career change, you may want to assess your goals for changing careers. Be certain that you understand the expectations of both the career and the college degree program before making a choice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information about careers, required educational minimums, job prospects and salary expectations.

Important Facts About Choosing a College Degree

Online Availability Many schools offer fully or partially online programs, so determine if either option is right for you
Financial Aid Consider a school's financial aid options, including scholarships, grants and loans
Accreditation Verify that your choice meets accreditation standards to ensure a quality education
Prerequisites Many degree programs have specific course prerequisites or other significant admission requirements, like background checks, work experience or current professional certification

Matching Your Career Choice

The choice of which college degree to pursue is usually driven by the career that you have selected. Gather information about your career to learn the educational requirements. When choosing a degree, you're deciding on both a degree field (history, chemistry, etc.) and a degree level (bachelor's, master's, etc.). Of course, a student entering college from high school will usually begin with a bachelor's degree, but knowing what level of education is needed for your chosen career will help in making future education plans.

A social worker usually needs a Master of Social Work (MSW). A physician will need a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. In other fields, a student may choose between two or more degrees in the same career. For example, a doctorate in the field of education can mean a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education or a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.).

Other Factors

Consider factors such as time for curriculum completion, cost of the degree program, location of the college or university and potential earnings based on the level of the degree. Plan your career path in advance, but be aware of changing social and economic conditions in the career field you pursue. Additional help in choosing a college degree is available from mentors, professional career counselors, and from family and friends.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The Art Institutes

    The Art Institutes responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The Art Institutes:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Virginia: Arlington
  • Regis University

    Regis University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regis University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Loyola University New Orleans

    Loyola University New Orleans responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Loyola University New Orleans:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Widener University

    Widener University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Widener University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint John's University

    Saint John's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint John's University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Benedictine University

    Benedictine University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Benedictine University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Georgetown University

    Georgetown University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Georgetown University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

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