More from Graduate Survey

According to Sokanu, degree programs posting high levels of satisfaction were
Women’s Studies, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Social Psychology,
Applied Mathematics and Philosophy and Religious Studies. Degrees in
Operations Logistics and E-commerce, Medical Assisting, Automotive Repair,
Medical Administration and Accounting placed as the least satisfying degree programs.

Coming Soon

LearnProsper will soon come to you in an all new format. This valuable source of content on Careers and Colleges will have weekly posts of 50 words or less and the entire data base will be searchable. This will give you bite sized nuggets as well as searchable access to the large LearnProsper data base. “SEE” YOU SOON.

What Employers Are Looking for in Degrees and Credentials

Some are arguing that it is possible to get a good job without a college degree.  It’s true.  It is possible.  But the fact is, having the right credentials vastly increases your chances to have the future you desire.  This blog post gives you  facts about why this is the case and what you need to do about it.  Buzz TodaySource:     Higher education is one of the most important investments that people make. And most students make this investment because they want a better chance to land a good career and higher earnings. Because college credentials are usually associated with higher earnings, taking on reasonable debt or paying high tuition are not necessarily bad choices. But as they enter the labor market, some graduates earn far more than others. Graduates with the same major but from different schools can take home substantially different amounts of money. And earnings vary widely among graduates from the same school who have chosen different majors.

In BUZZ Today we see what researchers show us about careers, majors and schools.  The site is full of valuable salary information from thousands of jobs and tens of thousands of college graduates in five different states.  The data is well worth the effort to understand it.

But looks at actual market data for degrees and careers.  What we want to do here is look at the issues from the employer’s perspective.

For better or worse, this is a JOB market.  Markets are the connection of buyers and sellers.  Employers are hard nosed decision makers and you are a seller and employers are buyers.  To get a sense of the employer perspective as a buyer think about the situations where you are the buyer and someone else is the seller.  An example might be when you are buying a house or a car. What you want as a buyer is a quality product that fits your needs, a competitive price and some assurance that what you are buying has some staying power.  Employers want the same things you do as a buyer.

So what do employers want when they hire you?  They want to have some assurance that you can actually do what they are hiring you to do.  That is what your major is all about.  It is extremely unlikely that they will hire a biology major for a $125,000 a year petroleum engineering position.  Because our world of work is becoming ever more specialized and complex, what you are qualified to do becomes more important every year.  The difference in pay reflects the growing need for skills and knowledge.  The market salaries on CollegeMeasures document the demand for such skills and knowledge in the job market.

A degree communicates more than merely skills.  To an employer, someone with a degree is a person who has demonstrated behaviors that employers value.  Earning a degree is a long term commitment and someone with that degree has proven to be up to the challenge of such a long term commitment. Employers value that.

So, for better or worse, the resume software that will screen your resume with your job application will be screening for the credentials valued by the employer.  A large number of those job postings will have something like:  “Bachelor’s degree required and 3-5 years experience”.   It may not be fair but it is a reality.  In a world where each job opening can get thousands of applications resume screening software is a reality of today’s job market.  Without the credentials job applicants never even get the interview needed to prove themselves.

In the end, degrees and credentials are the price of entry to  many attractive job opportunities.  Winning the lottery is a possibility but having the credentials employers are looking for produces a much higher probability of success.

Good Paying Jobs That Do Not Require a Bachelor’s Degree

There are good paying jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree but they do require skills that are changing as our world changes. Learning is still key to a better future. But how do you decide what to learn?  The answer is that you should begin with “who you are” then decide what to study that can lead to a better future for yourself and your loved ones. Buzz TodaySource: O*NET  The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Every occupation requires a different mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and is performed using a variety of activities and tasks. The data base defines the set of occupations across the world of work. Based on the Standard Occupational Classification the O*NET-SOC taxonomy currently includes 974 occupations 

With so many occupations to select from, it is no wonder that readers are challenged to find just the right combination of factors needed to fit exactly “who they are”.  In this post we explore the important characteristics of a few of the 974 choices to show how a new career can be chosen.  I recommend that you look at several important characteristics for any career you may be considering.  These are:

* The size of the profession. This gives you an indication of how many jobs in this profession there are in the US economy. Here size matters. Larger professions provide more opportunities.

* Growth in the profession is another important parameter for you to consider.  As our world changes opportunities in different careers are changing as well.  Some careers attractive just a few years ago have already been impacted by changes.  A good example is desktop publishing.  Only a few years ago this was a growing job opportunity.  Today this profession is much less attractive with a very limited growth prospect.

* Earnings are another important piece of information in your career choice. Incurring student debt to earn credentials in a poorly paying occupation is a path to a dismal future.

* How well the occupation fits you is another important factor. This is the part about “who you are”.  Here again you need good data about personality and the characteristics of those already in the profession.

Here is data on a few of the 974 careers.  All of these require less than a bachelor degree and are reasonably accessible through education at a community college at a reasonable investment level.

Patrol Police Officer

This is a profession that, with the right personal history, is relatively easy to enter.  42% of current officers entered the profession directly from high school but an associate’s degree provides better prospects.  It is a large profession with 664,000 current positions growing by 249,000 (2010-2020).  The median pay is $55,270 per year.  This profession requires personal attributes that include integrity, self control, stress tolerance and attention to detail.

Dental Hygienist

This is a reasonably large job classification with 182,000 current positions with over two thirds occupied by professionals with an associate’s degree making it a relatively easy profession to enter through a very affordable path at a local community college. Growth is projected to be over 29% (2010-2020) and compensation in 2012 was highly attractive with an annual median income of $70,210.  In addition to technical training required, personality attributes that align with the requirements of the job include a good-natured and cooperative attitude.


This is a large employment category with employment of 256,000 with good growth projected over the next decade.  The median salary in 2012 was $46,990 annually. Apprenticeships by state are available.  In addition, certificates are available from The Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals.   Personal attributes including attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Registered Nurse
This is a huge profession with 2010 employment at 2,737,000 with projected openings by 2020 of 1,207,400 professionals. This size and growth are being driven by new medical technology and the aging of the baby boomers. Compensation is attractive at a 2012 median level of $65,470 annually. Personality attributes important in this profession include concern for others, dependability, stress tolerance, self control and attention to detail.

Summary:   All of these careers can be entered with learning that is less than the traditional bachelor’s degree.  This makes learning a key but manageable entry to these attractive professional careers.