Thursday 30 June 2016

Have you thought about your tertiary education?

If you're entering your last couple of years of school or are already in Matric, chances are you'll have given some thought to what you want to do after school, in terms of a career or studying further.

Some people are lucky in that they have had lifelong career ambitions; they know exactly what they want to become and what to study to achieve this. However, most of us enter our final years of school not quite knowing what career we want.

How are you feeling about your own future? Here are some things to consider when planning your education.

Get career advice

The smartest thing to do is to match your studies to your career ambitions. Of course, to do this you need to decide what career you want to follow.

One of the best ways of doing this is to attend any career functions that your school organises. They usually bring in different career professionals to talk about what they do and advise you on what to study.

Your other option is to go for some kind of career guidance counselling. There are plenty of people who specialise in exactly this, so it's simply a matter of making an appointment. You'll typically fill in some aptitude questionnaires and have a short interview, after which you'll be given a report on the kind of careers that would suit you best.

If you still have no idea what career you wish to follow, getting a tertiary education is still important, as it creates a solid basis on which to build any career, and any further studies you may want to pursue. Try to choose a course that will leave you with options, like a general degree in communications, for example. The idea is to keep as many career doors open as possible.

Do your research

Whether you know exactly what career you want or only have a vague idea, you need research the courses that you could study in order to prepare yourself.

Some careers have well-defined educational paths, so one simply follows the curriculum as it is set out. These are usually the professional careers, like those in engineering or the legal world. If you decide on a career like this, your educational path will be clearly set out for you.

If you want to pursue a career that doesn't have such a clearly defined study curriculum, it's a case of choosing a course that will teach you the theory and nitty-gritty of the career arena that you want to enter. So, for example, if you want to become a media entrepreneur, you can choose courses from a wide range that will give you a solid basis. This could include topics like communication, media studies and politics, depending on your particular field of interest.

Speak to people who are already pursuing the careers you are interested in - find out what they studied, or what they would recommend that you study. Research courses online, to find out which ones will best further your career ambitions.

Plan an educational path

Now that you have an idea of what type of studies to pursue, you can start to plan your actual courses. You may want to start with a short introductory course to get the feel for the subject, in case you're still not entirely sure what you want to do with your life.

Once you've orientated yourself to the study direction you want, you should plan what your main qualification will be, to begin with. Do you want to study for a university degree, or will you only need a college certificate? Can you do some sort of mentorship that will lead to you studying for a tertiary qualification?

In other words, you need to get a clear idea of what qualifications or certifications you will need in your chosen career. Build up a view of all the possible education options that relate to this career, and create an educational plan for yourself. You don't have to do it all at once - you may find that it will be best to get a basic qualification, then get some work experience before studying further.

Remember, you can control your career through your educational choices. Put a plan in place for how you will get the qualifications you need and you'll find that your career path will be all that much smoother.

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