Archives for June 2013

How to Chose a College Degree and Find a Fulfilling Career

Here we examine five careers and the required degrees potentially attractive to someone unemployed or seeking a change in their career. The list is a reasonable sample of choices you might be considering for yourself. These careers require different areas of study and levels of education. It is important to consider the data on careers before selecting a course of study for your college degree. Below we examine career data and the professional requirements to build a career in each of these five career fields.

Buzz Today Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report, Help Wanted: Projecting Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, forecasts that by 2018, 63 percent of all jobs will require at least some post-secondary education. Employers will need 22 million new workers with post-secondary degrees – and the report shows that we will fall short by three million workers without a dramatic change in course. This translates into a deficit of 300,000 college graduates every year between now and 2018.

Registered Nurse
Employment (2010) 2,737,000
Projected growth (2010-2020) Faster than average (20% to 28%)
Projected job openings (2010-2020) 1,207,400
Median wages (2012) $65,470 annually

Education Most require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate degree
4% some college not degree
67% Associate’s degree
29% Bachelor’s degree

Market Research Analyst
Employment (2010) 283,000
Projected growth (2010-2020) Much Faster than average (29% or higher)
Projected job openings (2010-2020) 191,000
Median wages (2012) $60,300 annually

71% Bachelor’s degree
25% Master’s degree
4% Doctoral or Professional degree

Health & Medical Services Manager
Employment (2010) 303,000
Projected growth (2010-2020) Faster than average (20% to 28%)
Projected job openings (2010-2020) 141,000
Median wages (2012) $88,580 annually

Education Extensive experience needed
3% Associate’s degree
56% Bachelor’s degree
41% Master’s degree

Art Director
Employment (2010) 74,000
Projected growth (2010-2020) Slower than average (3% to 9%)
Projected job openings (2010-2020) 24,000
Median wages (2012) $80,880 annually

Education In addition to Bachelor’s degree, most require several years of on the job training.
9% Associate’s degree
74% Bachelor’s degree
17% Master’s degree

Executive Human Resources Manager
Employment (2010) 72,000
Projected growth (2010-2020) Average (10% – 19%%)
Projected job openings (2010-2020) 26,900
Median wages (2012) $99,720 annually

5% Associate’s degree
68% Bachelor’s degree
27% Master’s degree

Summary: All of these careers have a reasonably bright outlook. Wages are being determined by the combination of growth in the profession, education and experience requirements. The first step to entering any of these careers would be to get the formal education required by earning a degree from an accredited higher educational institution. The experience required presents a major hurdle for any unemployed person entering any of these careers. Internships are one avenue to secure required experience.

Of all of these careers, registered nurse clearly defines the most feasible entry for a currently unemployed person due to size, growth and the relatively manageable education requirements.

JOBS – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Faced with a rapidly changing world, job seekers are constantly challenged to address the two key factors in any hiring situation. They are: education and experience.  We have already looked at the Department of Labor data that shows the relationship between level of education, unemployment and income (see:  prior post JOBS for details).  In the traditional path shown above, the challenge is to find a job and hopefully a career that fits the degree earned.  In the Your Future path, the link between who you are and career choices drives the major, degree and university decision, not the other way around.  Buzz Today Source:  Your Future is Calling and O*NET    Key elements of a career: Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Personality, Technology, Education

In the post JOBS -How to Compete we look at the reality of the job hiring market and the role bots are playing in hiring decisions. For better or worse, getting a job that pays well and has the potential to lead to a career requires knowledge and work important to deciding on a major and a degree in education.

The topics of education and experience are ones we will explore in great depth in future postings.  For now let’s look at a small sample of how education, experience and knowledge already impacts what jobs employers will consider you for.  Remember the bots.

Here are three very different careers and the technology knowledge you will need to compete. Clearly education and experience will determine whether you get an interview.  The short inventory for each of the highly diversified careers listed below shows why the education you invest in, the experience you gain and the personal knowledge you learn are so very critical to your job opportunities today and even more so, in the future.

Buyer Purchasing Agent Farm Products

Accounting software — Deltek Costpoint
Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access; Product producer databases
Electronic mail software — IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Outlook
Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Enterprise resource planning ERP system software; Microsoft Great Plains software; SAP software
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel

Reporter and Correspondent

Analytical or scientific software — SPSS software; Statistical analysis software
Data base user interface and query software — FileMaker Pro software; Microsoft Access; Microsoft SQL Server; Online databases
Map creation software — ESRI ArcView; Mapping software
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Web page creation and editing software — Facebook *; Social media software

Marriage and Family therapist

Accounting software — Intuit QuickBooks software
Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
Medical software — Anasazi Software Client Data System; Blueberry Harbor Software Clinical Record Keeper; SumTime Software SumTime; Synergistic Office Solutions SOS Case Manager
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Word processing software — Microsoft Word


Accounting software — Intuit QuickBooks software; Intuit Quicken software; Job costing software; KRS Enterprises Service First!
Analytical or scientific software — Elite Software DPIPE; Elite Software FIRE; Klear Estimator; Quote Software QuoteExpress
Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk Building Systems; Elite Software Plumbing CAD; Elite Software Sprinkler CAD; Horizon Engineering Sigma Plumbing Calculator
Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Insight Direct ServiceCEO; PricePoint software; Wintac Pro Software
Word processing software — Atlas Construction Business Forms; Contractor City Contractor Forms Pack; Microsoft Word; Wilhelm Publishing Threshold

JOBS – How to Compete

Traditional: University, Major, Major, Major, Degree, Job, Career?

Your Future: Who You Are, Career, Major, Degree, University, Job

In our last post titled JOBS, we looked at some important data about the relationship between an education and unemployment and income. It provides important evidence about why it is so important to learn.

Buzz Today Source: The Wall Street Journal. Procter & Gamble Inc. got nearly a million applications last year for 2,000 new positions plus vacant jobs. And the Texas Roadhouse Inc. gets as many as 400 resumes for a job opening within 24 hours after listing it online.

What the Department of Labor data in the JOBS post shows, is that it is not only about getting your degree, it is really about learning more in general. That is why I call this blog Learn Prosper. The data shows that for both unemployment and income, more post secondary education is always better. The data shows that an associates degree is more valuable than some education but no degree and that each degree there after – bachelors, masters, Ph.D./professional decreases your likelihood of being unemployed and increases the probability of higher income. The can be no other conclusion than the fact that learning is good for your job and income prospects no matter what the Non-Degree crowd is saying.

In the face of the BUZZ Today information we see here, combined with the data we saw about Starbucks in the last post titled JOBS, it is very clear that merely submitting resumes is not a successful way to compete. When you look at it from the hiring company(s) point of view, you can see why submitting a resume does not work in today’s job market. No one can read 7.6 million or even a million or even 400 resumes for every job.

What companies are doing is using computer software, what are called bots (short for robots) to scan candidate credentials. The approach is to eliminate resumes from consideration to narrow the candidates down to a manageable number. Here are a couple of pointers about this. When the job posting says “bachelor degree required and 3 – 5 years of experience in the field” they mean it. Recent data indicates that as many as 60% of the jobs in the future will require some form of post secondary education.

If you do not have the education and the experience listed, the bot throws your submission out right at the beginning. From there, the bot is looking for matches of key words. The match is between the words in the job posting description and the words in your application and resume. One word of advice. In this case more is not better. What the bot is looking for is matches, not volume. It’s all about the bots.

The harsh reality is that bots are really stupid. They are not designed to interpret and infer. They match key words. If you do not have the key words they are looking for, they do not advance your case to the hiring manager. This is why it is so important to follow the path of Your Future above. Working with O*NET data to understand careers that match who you are is the place to start. From there, the major you chose to study and the degree you earn will put you in area of job opportunities that match who you are. Details on how to best do that are in Your Future is Calling.

From there, it is well worth your effort to really be disciplined about the key words in the job posting to make sure that your submission has the greatest chance of the bot finding the match. Unfortunately the bots are not looking for your potential five years from now. They are looking for what you can do today. It is all about the key word matches.

The other big “gotcha” in the job market is that common phrase: “3-5 years of experience”. More on that in the next post.


Having a well paying job may not be the only goal of an education, but it has to be one of the main purposes for getting an education. But there is a lot to learn about the job market and how it ties to your education decisions.

Buzz Today Source: The Wall Street Journal The Starbucks Corp attracted 7.6 million applicants over the past 12 months for about 65,000 retail and management positions.

The evidence is clear that the level of your education is closely correlated with unemployment (inversely) and income. We have seen the data before in an earlier post.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

More Education Means More Money Chart, see table below

But in addition to this important general information about the relationship between education and jobs, we want to look at some very specific labor market facts. My goal is to give you data that will help motivate you to actually complete your learning. With an education you radically increase your chances of reaching the job opportunity at the end. This is true whether you stay on the Traditional path or move to the recommended Your Future path.

As discouraging as the BUZZ Today data is about the current job market, the department of labor data on education is very good evidence that you should be doing everything you can to complete your education. It will help you to be able to compete for the jobs.

Some additional data should help encourage you. The very useful book, What Color is Your Parachute provides information even in the face of the tight job market reflected in BUZZ Today. What the book tells us is that in 2012 about 140 million Americans did have jobs. What is most encouraging is just how dynamic the overall job market is. Again from What Color is Your Parachute: In March 2012 4,356,000 people found work and there were 3,737,000 vacancies waiting to be filled. That is a total of 8,093,000 opportunities (p.13). The message is that you don’t have to join the crowded space of millions of others trying to get a job at Starbucks. The challenge you face in the jobs competition is not whether there are jobs to be filled – there are literally millions to be filled every month. The challenge is to decide on the career that fits who you are, get the education you need to compete, then learn how to play the game when hiring companies are faced with the numbers we see in BUZZ Today. More on this in Your Future is Calling and future posts on Learn Prosper.