No matter where you choose to attend college you will eventually be faced with the challenge of finding a job. Some schools do a better job of preparing their students for life after college than others, but in the end, it is really up to you to determine the course of your future. The more effort you put into your job search, the easier it will be to find a job you love.
Going to community college is not the right choice for everyone, but it does have a number of important benefits. For one thing, many students find that community college is much more affordable than a traditional university. Class sizes may be smaller and students may receive more one-on-one mentoring from academic advisors in community college. Still, finding a job after community college can be just as tough as finding one after attending university. In this article, you will receive some useful tips and helpful information to help you find a job after graduation.
What are the Top Community College Degrees?
When it comes to choosing a degree program it is important to select something that you have an interest in. After all, it will likely be what you are doing for the rest of your life. In addition to choosing a field you love, you should also consider the job market in that particular field. As much as you love a particular subject, if there are no jobs available in that field you might be better off choosing another degree program.
According to Forbes, the average growth rate for jobs by the year 2020 is about 14%. High-paying jobs that require an associate’s degree, however, have an estimated growth rate closer to 35%. Not only is it possible to obtain a high-paying job with an associate’s degree from a community college, but the tuition payback period is much lower. On average, community college graduates pay off their tuition in about two years.
Below you will find an overview of some of the top-paying fields for community college graduates who earn an associate’s degree or a technical certificate:
Radiation Technology/Medical Imaging – A two-year degree in this field will qualify you for work as a radiation therapist, diagnostic medical sonographer, or nuclear medicine technologist among other jobs. These jobs pay a median salary of around $70,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are bachelor’s degree programs available in these fields but there is little evidence to suggest that a bachelor’s degree results in a higher starting salary than an associate’s in the same field.
This video offers a profile of nuclear medicine, one example of a high-paying career available to a community college graduate.
Engineering Technology – In the field of manufacturing, employers tend to favor specific skills over particular degrees. An associate’s degree in engineering technology may qualify you for a position as an engineering technician in a number of different fields with a median salary range between $55k and $75k. Many of these positions do not require a bachelor’s degree.
Plumbing and Heating – There is no requirement for plumbing and heating technicians to obtain a college degree – a technical certificate is all you really need. After obtaining a certificate you may be required to complete an apprentice program during which you receive a lower salary but, once the program is completed, your wages increase significantly.
Dental Hygiene – A dental hygienist with a two-year degree has the same chance of obtaining a position as a hygienist with a bachelor’s degree, for the most part. In order to become licensed, an associate’s degree program is sufficient and the cost to obtain this degree is much lower than the cost of a bachelor’s degree. The median salary for dental hygienists is about $70k.
Other high-paying jobs requiring only an associate’s degree may include air traffic controllers, construction managers, registered nurses, operations technicians, electronic engineering technicians, and electrical engineering technicians.
Common Mistakes Made by Community College Grads
Every year the job market gets a little bit tougher to navigate. To make your post-graduate job search a little bit easier, make sure to avoid these common mistakes that many community college graduates make:
Relying only on the internet – While many companies have switched over to online job advertisements, you can still find jobs using the newspaper, through networking connections, or by contacting a recruiting agency.
Being too passive – Even if your community college offers post-graduate job services, you still need to be proactive about your job search.
Using a template resume – Employers view hundred, even thousands of resumes each year so you need to customize your resume to ensure that it stands out.
Failure to follow up – After you’ve submitted an application or completed an interview, it is important to follow up! Following up will help the employer know that you are really interested in the position.
Appearing unprofessional – Nowadays employers have the ability to research potential candidates using their social media accounts. Don’t make the mistake of posting unprofessional pictures on your page or at least change your name so potential employers won’t find it.
Not using every available resource – When looking for a job you need to use every resource available to you – this includes the college career office, your network, even other graduates who might have an “in” at a company that interests you.
Tips for Finding a Job After College
In addition to avoiding the common mistakes listed above, do the following things may help you to find a job after graduation:
Make a list of target companies – While pursuing your degree you should learn a lot not only about the material you are studying but about your post-graduate job opportunities as well. Make a list of the 10 ten companies in your desired field and make an effort to make contact with one person at each company – use your network!
Customize your resume – You should not be sending out a general resume to potential employers, try to customize your resume for each job application. Include information about what qualifies you for the particular position you are seeking as well as any certifications or relevant experiences which make you unique from other candidates.
Create a profile on LinkedIn – This website has become one of the largest networking tools available to modern businesses. Create a profile that showcases your experience. Post your resume as well so that recruiters can contact you.
Take an internship as early as possible – Potential employers prefer candidates that enter the job market with a little experience under their belt. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to gain this experience if you wait too long. Taking an internship (even if it is unpaid) is a great way to advance your career.
This video offers tips for a successful job search.
The harder you work during your years at community college, the more prepared you will be for life after graduation. Finding a job will still require some effort, but if you go into the process as prepared as possible your chances of finding a good job are higher. Be sure to avoid the common mistakes listed above and utilize the tips to help you find a good job.
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