Q. Which college courses would you take right now in order to get a high paying job in when you graduate?
A. Education has been shown to increase earning power, whether you are in college or on the job. But there will be a broad range of high paying jobs and your skills and interests, in addition to your education, will play a role in your ability to be successful.
Successful careers and high paying jobs are achieved through a combination of education, experiences, ambition, skill, and personal attributes, not just one course.
If your question about courses refers to which course of study, or major should you pursue, consider utilizing The Occupational Outlook Handbook. The OOH (www.bls.gov/oco) is the government’s source of career guidance providing information on hundreds of occupations including the responsibilities of the role. You can browse occupations by categories including highest paying, projected fastest growing, and projected most new jobs. The occupation finder can help you narrow your search and add criteria like entry level education and on the job training, including apprenticeships.
The OOH shows that fields like civil engineering, computer systems, IT security analyst, and biochemists lead the way in projected job growth and compensation, while other fields show a decline or no growth, and limited earning capacity. Taking courses in any of these fields can help you determine if you have interest, aptitude and the desire to continue with additional coursework in the field.
Most college counselors will encourage you to broaden your education by taking coursework out of your major. Courses that are considered valuable by most employers include pubic speaking, and writing. Many careers have been derailed by a lack of skills in these two areas. Courses which develop analytic and quantitative skills, whether in business, math, science, or statistics, are highly valued. Develop skills to read the financial pages of your company, and the economics of the global marketplace. You will be at a disadvantage if you do not develop computer proficiency as demonstrated by everyday use. Courses exposing you to information technology and technology management can be valuable, as can a psychology course showcasing behavioral styles, or a general understanding of motivation of self and others. Make sure your course work includes project based work so you develop team and leadership skills. Etiquette courses may no longer be offered, but find a way to gain this knowledge.
All of these can be enhanced greatly by related work experience. School activities, internships, and summer jobs showcase how education and experience can make you a valuable part of any organization.