Whether you’re an adult returning to education or a student taking their initial steps to their dream education, choosing the right qualification and study path is crucial to your success and career. That being said, there is no reason that you can’t make changes along the way or even seek a new qualification down the line, but to give yourself the best chance at achieving the life and qualification you desire, it’s always good to take as many correct steps as possible in the beginning to find something which best works for you.
However — what should you do when you’re not sure which qualification would be right for you, or which path you should take?
Here is a guide for narrowing down your options and choosing the right qualification for you.
Research Any Careers
A great starting point if you have a few specific careers in mind is to do your thorough research. You should do this before you enroll on any course, as this research will be vital in understanding which qualifications you should go for.
In researching your ideal careers, whether it’s one in mind, a few, or even a huge list of them, you can then see which specific qualifications these roles require in order to give yourself the best chance of achieving them.
Some may be non-negotiable in their entry requirements, while others may advise which degrees they would prefer, but not essential. If the latter, it’s important to think about job competition, and what would happen if you weren’t to earn a qualification and your application went up against someone who had earned their qualification.
Therefore, earning your degree may give you a better chance, even if the job role states that it’s only preferable.
Think About Your Own Interests and Passions
If you really don’t know what specific career you have in mind but know that you want to earn a degree or qualification, then you might want to explore any passions you already have. If there is one subject you have always enjoyed and one which you have always excelled in, this can be a great choice for earning a degree, as it means that you’re choosing something you’re naturally good at, and which you already enjoy.
You can then see how this matches up to certain job roles later when you’re seeking more career inspiration. A lot of the time, some roles may be happy to accept any supporting degree, as long as you have one, so choosing something you’re good at and which interests you can set you up in a positive way down the line.
Consider What Levels of Education You May Want to Work Up To
Another important thing to think about when considering which degree is right for you is how you intend your education to progress. You may want to think about what kind of degree you’re hoping to achieve, how long certain degrees expect to take, and also whether you’re looking to have your educational journey end there. For instance, you may even want to build on your foundation degree and earn the next level at a masters or beyond. There are many careers which favor masters highly, or within which you might want to achieve one, such as masters entry nursing programs.
Think About the Time Frame You Want to Work With
Time may play an important factor in your decision, especially if you’re returning to education later in life and feel as though you would rather earn your desired career sooner rather than later. With this in mind, you should try to look into those degrees which take the longest to achieve and study with and those which might have a smaller time frame.
First, decide how much time you ideally want to spend studying and your long-term goals for when you’re hoping to have your studies completed by. This can help you to best match up to those qualifications which fit with your time frame.
That being said, most degrees will have a similar time frame in lasting a few years, but depending on the career you have in mind, you may need to take on additional learning, training, or even voluntary working hours.
Seeking the right qualification for you means doing the relevant research into potential careers, as well as understanding your own lifestyle commitments and the type of study experience you would like to achieve. Always be honest with yourself and make sure that you set yourself up to enjoy your studies, too, rather than them feeling like a burden.