How to Choose a Career
Having trouble making decisions about your future and the career you want? Many matriculants feel overwhelmed by all the pressure; I mean, I remember asking myself - how can they expect me to choose a career for the rest of my life, when I can’t even decide on what colour sneakers I want to buy? But I conquered my fears and made my choices, and now I can help you do the same!
Firstly, let’s talk about the idea that only some jobs, like doctor, lawyer and accountant, are important. This is untrue. The job market is huge, and you should choose a career that suits your personality and abilities.
How to Choose a Career:
Find out more about yourself
Unfortunately, many Matric students are unsure about what they want to study after finishing school. The lack of career guidance in high school is one of the main reasons why learners delay going to college or university. This is also why many university and college students drop out in the middle of their first year; they realise that they are studying the wrong course.
One of the best ways that you can discover your true calling is by doing a self-assessment. It will help you discover your true personality type, interests, strengths and weaknesses, and help determine which career path suits you best.
Type of questions to ask yourself when doing a self-assessment:
- What type of person am I? (Introvert/Extrovert)
- What are my interests?
- What am I really good at?
- What do I struggle with?
- Do I like taking orders or do I like giving orders?
Speak to career advisers
Speak to a school psychologist or career counsellor. They can help you better understand yourself and the career opportunities suitable for you. You can also consider taking an online career test. Here’s a link to one:
Different types of career fields you can explore
Here is a list of the main career fields that will give you a better idea of what kind of careers there are:
- Architecture, Planning and Environmental Design
- Arts and Entertainment
- Engineering and Computer Science
- Health and Medicine
- Law and Public Policy
- Science - Biological and Physical
What is a scarce skill?
A scarce skill is a career field where there are not enough people who are qualified to do the job. When you decide to study a scarce skill, you not only help your country, but you also help yourself. Scarce skill jobs offer good salaries and job security, because there are so few people working in the field.
Why you should consider studying for a scarce skill job
- Finding a job will be easier.
- You will be paid a good salary.
- You can expect job promotions easily
- Some scarce skill jobs offer international job opportunities
Which jobs are scarce in South Africa?
The following industry sectors require scarce skills:
- Health and Medicine
- Information Technology
Finding the right place to study
Now that you have done a career test, think about how you are going to achieve your career goals. Do you need a degree or will a skills programme be enough to get you into the job you want? Look at various tertiary education institutions and the courses they offer.
Also think about the location of the institution and your time. Will you be able to travel to class every day? If not, you might want to consider distance learning education or part-time study.
Affordability is also very important. When considering a learning institution, take a look at their course prices. Will you be able to afford it? Do they offer any form of bursaries or easy payment options?
Lastly, look at the course requirements. Can you study the course you are interested in with a Matric certificate?
Here's a short checklist of questions to ask yourself:
- Does this institution offer the course/qualification I need to achieve my career goals?
- Do I meet the entrance requirements?
- How long will it take me to complete the course?
- Do I want to study full-time or part-time?
- Can I afford it? Do they have easy payment or bursary options?
- Is the learning institution nearby? If not, are there any distance learning education options for me?
These questions will help you find the perfect institution in no time.
If you are one of the unfortunate students that have no idea what career you would like to pursue after Matric, don’t stress. There is still time to make the right choice. I also struggled to find the right career path, but made the right decision in the end
When doing the self-assessment or career test, be honest with yourself. And when weighing your study options, choose a learning institution that will give you the best possible education, for what you can manage and afford.
Don’t be afraid of the future! Do your research and I know you will make the right choices.
the Distance Learning Diva
Disclaimer: Martin and Desi are fictional characters created by College SA for educational purposes.