Before making a decision about which field you'd like to work in, it's important to look at career descriptions for the different types of jobs available to people with the skills necessary to work in that particular occupation. You don't want to spend a significant amount of time pursuing career training or academic studies in a particular field unless you're certain that you are actually interested in seeking employment in a job that is related to the field you are studying.
Choosing a Field of Study
Start With Your Interests
When selecting a field of study, it is certainly important to consider your interests and aptitudes. However, these are not the only important factors to consider when making decisions about career preparation training. If you think only about what you like to study, you could find yourself spending a great deal of time and money learning information that interests you but that will not transfer an occupation that you're interested in pursuing. That's why it's essential to look at career descriptions related to particular fields of study before deciding which path to pursue.
Find Out About the Work
If there are particular fields of study that interest you, it's a good idea to do some research into the types of jobs you'll be qualified for after competing training in that area. This will allow you to make an informed decision about which of your interests might form a solid basis for a career choice, and which ones might be better suited as hobby pursuits for you. Look at more than just job titles, because they don't always paint a complete picture. Looking at complete career descriptions is a much better way to get the insight you need to make a wise selection.
For example, is basic industries a good career path? People who work in these careers, including in agriculture or the gas and oil industry, don't mind physical labor. As another example, the idea of working as an interior designer appeals to many people who tend to be artistic and interested in home design and decor. However, most successful interior designers work as self-employed business owners. Therefore, no matter how interested you are in interior design, if you have no interest in starting, operating, and marketing a small business, there's a good chance that this might not be the best field of study for you to pursue. However, your interest in this field might indicate that computer aided drafting, contracting, or home improvement might be good choices for you. The best way to starting figuring out that jobs in these related occupations might be right for you is to look at career descriptions for the positions that seem to appeal to you.
Where to Find Career Descriptions
Career descriptions are easy to find if you know where to look.
Ask for Professional Assistance
There are several ways to learn details about the career descriptions of specific occupations. If you're enrolled in high school or college, your guidance counselor or academic advisor might be able to provide you with information about what types of jobs are available to individuals who study different types of fields. If you aren't in school, you may be able to get similar information from a counselor at your local One Stop Career Center, or from a career counselor or coach.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
The most comprehensive online resource for job descriptions is the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Provided by the United States Department of Labor, this free resource has detailed information about hundreds of occupations. This easily searchable online guide to careers is updated every year and contains details about career descriptions, training requirements, pay expectations, and many additional facts that can be useful to individuals who are trying to make decisions about their career choices. The Occupational Outlook Handbook site also includes details about state specific job markets, which can be very important information to have when selecting an occupation.
Speak With Professionals in the Field
Once you've narrowed down your career search to a few fields that truly capture your interest, it's a good idea to speak with people who are working in the field to get an ever better picture about what the occupation is really like. People who have experience in a particular field can be the best sources for accurate career descriptions. They can provide you with a unique perspective that can help you get a real sense of the occupation.
Making Your Choice
Conducting throughout research before choosing a career can help you make wise choices about what field of study you should pursue. Having a realistic understanding of what different jobs entail can make it much easier to choose education and training opportunities that best tie your interests and aptitudes to a career field that's right for you.