You finally selected a career or at least a career area to pursue, but which specific education program should you pursue?
The selection could have a major impact on obtaining a desirable job.
Below is a list of tips that can make selecting the appropriate program easier:
- Internships: Programs that provide internships are worthy of your attention. Internships provide valuable experience and networking opportunities that may lead to a job. Also, companies often hire interns who perform well. Is an internship a requirement of the program? Does the program provide a variety of internships?
- Alumni: Find out the success rate of graduates from your specific program in obtaining employment in their field of study. Compare the rates of the programs you’re considering. Find out what types of jobs the program’s alumni obtained. Each school’s career placement office representatives should be able to provide you the information. Also, online alumni forums typically provide valuable information about specific programs.
- Instructors: Do some of the program’s instructors have national reputations? Also, do the instructors have connections with local employers? Instructors may reward their top students with a job interview.
- Curriculum: Does the program allow you to specialize in your area of interest? If applicable, does the program includes a substantial amount of hands-on training? Depending on the major, a career-focused program may be the best choice. Some programs focus on theory and don’t provide enough specialized education for a career.
- Program ranking: Look for programs that are nationally ranked. This type of information is available on the Internet and in magazines. You should also consider programs provided by schools that have strong name recognition; an influencing factor with many employers. US News and World Report, the Princeton Review and other organizations publish rankings of schools for particular programs.
- Accreditation: It’s important that the school is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. However, many professional associations provide accreditation or their approval to specific programs which adds assurance that it’s a quality program. Program accreditation or approval enhances a resume.
- Online programs: Online programs are becoming increasingly popular. However, choosing an online program from a highly reputable school is vital. Many high ranking brick and mortar schools offer online programs. Employers are concerned about hiring someone who graduated from a diploma mill. Also, not all, but some employers are concerned that online courses are not as rigorous as on-campus courses. Programs which employers may presume to include plenty of hands-on training, especially if laboratory work is involved, should be taken on-campus.
- Employers’ preference: For some occupations, it’s not always obvious which is the best specific type of program to enroll in. There may be several programs that qualify graduates for the position, but there may be one specific program that the majority of employers prefer. It’s important to ask employers for their preference.
Briang Jenkins writes about Career Education for Braintrack.com.