Now that you are a junior, you are only one year away from making the most important choice of your teenage life so far: college – to go, or not to go? That is the question.
There are over 4,000 colleges for you to choose from in the United States. In New York alone, there are almost 200! The best way to choose a college is to begin by choosing a general career direction.
You don’t need to decide if you want to be a pediatric neurological specialist this instant, but you can probably make a general statement like, “I want to work in healthcare”, or “I want to work with numbers because I like math.”
On the next few pages, we have highlighted a number of different jobs that are popular and growing in demand. There are successful careers for all students – whether you are getting 90s in Honors classes or maintaining a 70 average.
The key is to start thinking and preparing now, so you can make the best decision for your life next year.
Small Business Owner
Though a college degree is not strictly required to become a small business owner, most people who start their own companies have graduated from a 4-year college, where they learn the basics of business and economics. Even more helpful is an MBA, which is a graduate degree in business requiring two more years of study.
People who specialize in sales must have good written and verbal communication skills and must be persuasive while being charming. Salespeople work in both small and large businesses, and usually have graduated from a 4-year college.
Want to be the boss? Corporate executives run the whole show. In order to get this position, you’ll definitely need the 4-year degree and probably an MBA (another 2 years of study). You’ll start in a company at the entry level and learn all the aspects of the business. If you’re smart, a good team player, and a good leader, you can get promoted and work your way to the top. This job requires a lot of experience and a lot of skill, but the average CEO at a Fortune 500 company makes around $10 million a year! Save up for a few years and buy your own island.
Detectives start out as regular police officers and work their way up to the rank of detective after gaining on-the-job experience for at least three years. Detectives need to be smart, observant, and have great problem-solving skills. You can expect to earn $87k while solving mysteries.
Doctors work with human bodies, dentists work with human teeth, and veterinarians work with animal bodies and teeth! To become any of these professionals, you must first attend 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical, dental, or vet school.
Vet school is especially difficult to get into, as there are only 28 accredited veterinary medicine schools in the country! Compare that with over 150 medical schools and over 65 dental schools.
The average doctor makes at least $120k (and up to $600k for some surgeons), average dentist makes $120k and average veterinarian makes $96k
Note: Medical doctors for humans will need at LEAST 3 more years of residency training after medical school before they can become a licensed doctor.
Let’s take a quick quiz:
Do you like to make things with your hands?
Do you like to create or invent new gadgets that make your life easier?
Are you good at math, science, or computers?
YES??? Check out engineering!
Engineers are people who design all the things that make this world work. They make computers smaller and more powerful. They create tiny surgical equipment that can enter the smallest blood vessel to conduct life-saving surgery.
Engineers need at least a 4-year college degree, after which they can work for a company. Most engineers will also get a 2-year Master’s degree while they are working, because most large employers will PAY for this Master’s!
NYC firefighters must be at least 21 years old and have at least 6 months of work experience or college credits. They must also be US citizens and have a driver’s license. Then there’s a physical test and medical screening. A new firefighter makes $43k, but can earn up to $99k in 5 years!
Lawyers aren’t just the trial lawyers you see on Law & Order. Many lawyers never even step foot into a courtroom! There are many types of lawyers, such as corporate, real estate, business, immigration, divorce, family, and even lawyers for the NYC school district! To become a lawyer, you must first attend a 4-year college and then 3 years of law school. The average lawyer at a corporate law firm makes $160k their first year.
Medical & Clinical Technician (All Fields)
Have you ever gotten an X-Ray? The person who helped you get the X-Ray is an X-Ray technician. Technicians collect patient samples and run medical tests to help understand what’s making the patient sick. The average technician makes $45,000 per year. It usually takes about 2 years to become a technician through certified Associate’s degree programs at vocational schools.
Nurse (RN & NP)
There are two types of nurses: Registered Nurse (RN) and Nurse Practitioner (NP). It takes only 2 years to become an RN, while it takes 6 years to become an NP – you must graduate a 4-year college and then get a 2 –year Master of Science in Nursing. The average RN makes $66k while the average NP makes $92k.
Physician’s Assistant (PA)
PAs are between a doctor and a nurse. While PAs can do many of the same tasks as a doctor, they must always work under a doctor’s supervision. Many people choose a career as a PA instead of a doctor because they want to help people, but want to spend less time in school.
To become a PA, it takes 4 years of college and then 3 years in a PA program while becoming a doctor takes 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical school, then at least another 3 years of residency. The average PA makes $90k.
Anyone can write a blog (even a high school student!) but if you want to write for a popular site or a news outlet, you’ll need a master’s degree in journalism (one or two years after college). This is a competitive field, but if you get good readership, you can expect to make over $50k a year.
NYPD officers have an important and exciting job keeping New York City safe. In order to become a police officer, you must be 21 years old and have at least two years worth of college credits. After passing a written test, a physical test, and a background check, you’ll join the Police Academy, where you’ll train for about 38 weeks total. Then you’re a cop, putting bad guys away and earning about $45k to start!
Do you remember your third grade teacher’s name? How would you like a generation of children to remember yours? If you think you have what it takes to inspire young people, from kindergarteners to high school students, then you might want to consider a career as a teacher.
If you’re thinking about being a teacher, you’ll have to graduate from a four-year college, and then go on to graduate school to get a Master’s degree in education.
By the time you’re done, you’ll be a seasoned professional, ready to take on and inspire a whole classroom of students! The starting salary in NYC for a teacher with a Master’s degree is $45k, and can go above $100k!
Research scientists do experiments and clinical trials to expand the breadth and depth of human knowledge. They can work in any scientific field, from researching diseases to medicines to new forms of energy. They also get to wear lab coats and sometimes goggles. Sound cool? Research scientists are omen employed by large companies or universities and can expect to make about $70k per year. But you’ll probably need a PhD in your field, which can take five years – AFTER four year college. But that’s how it is – cool jobs require education.
Skilled tradesmen work with their hands, but have much more specialized knowledge than your average laborer. Examples include mechanics, plumbers, tailors, carpenters, electricians, and metal workers. Most of these trades can be learned in a trade school (also called a vocational school) in two years or less, after which there may be an apprenticeship, or paid job training. As more and more people become professionals, there’s a shortage of good tradesmen, which means these jobs are in demand!