The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Career growth important in job search, experts report

By Katie B. Martinez/reporter

Choosing a career path is, for many students, a very perplexing decision.

Many career counselors agree that the most proficient career research will begin with an individual’s interests and end with wage and growth statistics.

Career Choices

Each TCC campus provides a career and employment services center where current and former students can meet with counselors who can assist them in making good career choices.

Monica Bettle, career center counselor on South Campus, helps students research careers and secure internships and post-graduate employment through contacts, resume assistance and interview preparation.

The center has recently partnered with collegecentral.com to provide an online database of student resumes and employment information. On any given day, as many as 300 jobs will be posted.

“ I believe the first step for students should be to find something they can enjoy doing. You can make all the money in the world, but if you hate your job and you’re stressed about it, you will not find satisfaction with your career,” Bettle said.

Bettle has been assisting TCC students with career placement for the past seven years and has seen countless students find successful careers after graduating from TCC.

She recognizes that choosing a satisfying and rewarding career is one of the most important and difficult decisions many college students will face.

Comprehensive Research

Once a student has narrowed his options, based on which career paths would be most conducive to his personality, he may begin the comprehensive research needed to make an educated decision.

The projected growth rate of the desired profession is another aspect of the search.

Higher growth rates usually mean a greater ease of finding employment, better job security, more competitive wages, as well as sign-on bonuses and other fringe benefits, according to an article on the U.S. Department of Labor Web site.

It is not uncommon for students to graduate with a degree in their desired profession and then be unable to find work in that field. Such scenarios most often occur in careers that are in a decline.

In most cases if the demand for an occupation is in decline, the average wage and benefits for that occupation will also decline.

Choosing a career that is in demand can provide graduates with a greater chance for success, and information regarding the projected growth rates of many careers are available with just a few clicks on the Internet.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projections of occupational demands and wage rates through the year 2014.

In addition to the projections, the Bureau is responsible for calculating employment and unemployment rates. The Web site also lists other relevant statistical information such as cost-of-living and inflation rates.

The employment projections have been updated bi-annually for the past 60 years.

The projections are utilized not only by government agencies, but by individuals who are entering the job market, changing careers or making education and training choices.

Growth Fields 2004-2014

The Bureau’s most recent report depicts estimated job and wage growth in career fields between 2004 and 2014.

“ By far the greatest demands we are seeing are in medical health and computer professions,” Victoria McCleery, NE Campus career center, said.

Indeed, nine out of the top 10 fastest growing occupations in the nation are from health and computer fields, and individual charts for the state of Texas mirror these projections.

Home health aides hold the number one spot for the fastest growing occupation in Texas, followed closely by network systems and data communications analysts.

Medical and physician assistants, computer engineers in applications and software, dental hygienists and assistants and physical therapist assistants round out the top 10.

“ Texas also needs to hire 82,000 teachers in the next year alone,” McCleery said.

The demand for good educators across the state has led to the largest pay increase for Texas teachers since 2000.

Fields in Decline

While demand for some occupations continues to grow, other professions have become more obsolete.

The Bureau reports that the average pay for some careers is projected to decline by as much as 48 percent.

Across the nation, careers in printing and fabric mills, cut and sew apparel and the manufacturing of basic chemicals, rubber products, electronic components, computers and peripherals are all projected to decline as more of these companies start outsourcing.

Semiconductors and foundry employees are also projected to see declines of 10-20 percent.

Pay Rate Variations

Pay rates for different professions vary from state to state, and even city to city, as does the cost of living.

Wages and cost of living come into consideration as one begins to seek employment.

For example, even driving a short distance into a neighboring town can mean a pay increase of thousands of dollars, which is true in many professions, such as teaching.

This year an entry-level teacher in Cleburne ISD will receive a minimum beginning salary of $38,000 while an hour away in Northwest ISD, the beginning salary tops $44,000.

Many students feel overwhelmed when faced with the daunting task of cementing a career path, but the process does not have to be so bewildering.

Knowing where to begin and what to look for can help undecided students find their majors and start them on the path to a brighter future.

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