How to Become a Nurse: The Backbone of Medicine

Nurses are responsible for the lion’s share of patient contact and patient care in hospital settings, a critical role that daily receives more recognition in the healthcare field. Registered Nurses (RNs) treat and educate patients, advise and support patients’ families, record patient data, administer medication and treatment, perform and analyze diagnostic tests, and aid in rehabilitation and follow-up. Typical educational paths to becoming a nurse range from vocational certification to bachelor’s training, but advanced work and specialization can offer nurses increased independence and pay with the help of further study at the master’s and doctoral level.

Nurse Education Degree Requirements

Different educational paths into nursing offer distinct advantages and drawbacks to the potential future nurse. Whichever you choose, you will emerge with proper certifications and the knowledge to compete for an entry-level position as a staff nurse. That means studying anatomy and physiology, psychology, behavioral science, chemistry, nutrition, and also gaining supervised clinical experience in hospitals and other care settings.

A Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) requires the greatest time commitment, generally four years. An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) at a career college will take two or three years to complete, and like BSN programs, will also offer candidates additional communications and liberal arts training. Also available are diploma programs offered through hospitals, which although formally the mainstream method of training to become an RN, are harder to find today, but tend to emphasize training in the workplace more heavily, which may be attractive to candidates who want to spend less time stuck in a classroom.

In addition to becoming an RN, there is also the potential to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) for those who would like to enter the workforce quickly. LPNs work under the direction of RNs and physicians to provide basic bedside care, and generally, only a year-long program is required for certification.

You will need to be careful to choose the educational route that best suits your needs. BSN holders have better prospects for advancement, and particularly, if they wish to move into administration, teaching or research. However, ADN and diploma holders are often able to convert their early entry into staff nursing positions into tuition benefits in RN-to-BSN programs or through accelerated master’s programs, which result in both a BSN and an MSN, and typically take three to four years.

Programs are also available for career changers who already hold a bachelor’s degree to complete an accelerated BSN or MSN to enter the nursing field. Upon completing an approved program, future nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination. Other eligibility requirements for licensure vary by state. A host of additional credentials, usually voluntary, are also available for nurses in a variety of specialties.

Becoming a Nurse: Career Outlook

Demand for nurses continues to grow, with a projected growth rate of 22% between 2008 and 2018. Of this 22%, there is an anticipated 17% increase in positions in hospitals, up to 48% for nurses in physician offices, and 33% for home health care services. Wages for an RN vary by employment setting, but in 2008, the median annual salary was $ $62,450, with the highest 10% having earned $92,240.

The financial rewards of nursing are also reflected in the strenuous demands made upon nurses. Hospital nurses often have to work nights, weekend, and holidays to ensure continuity of care. Specialized nurses may also have to be on-call around the clock. Nurses also work in environments, which may expose them both to infectious disease and high levels of psychological strain. Finally, nursing is a physically demanding job, and nurses spend much of their workday on their feet. Nurses can also find employment with fewer demands or on a part-time basis through schools or home care.

Beyond staff nursing, the nursing field offers a variety of opportunities for advancement, whether in management or administration from assistant unit manager to chief of nursing or as an advanced practice nurse, with a master’s degree and additional certification. Advanced practice nurses fall into four categories:

    • Clinical nurse specialists, who provide direct care and consultation within a nursing specialty
    • Nurse anesthetists, who provide anesthesia care before, during, and after procedures, and provide emergency services including pain and airway management

Nurse-midwives, who provide reproductive care to women ranging from gynecological exams to delivery and neonatal care

Nurse practitioners, who provide primary care in a role similar to that of a family physician and are given the authority to write prescriptions.

With demand for nurses surging, becoming a nurse offers not only a competitive salary for a challenging and rewarding job, but great job flexibility and portability. Getting started on your path to healing begins with an education. Learn more about how to become a nurse, by exploring nursing programs on our site today.

How to Become a Medical Billing/Coding Worker: Data Matters

If you are interested in getting involved in the medical field quickly, you may be wondering how to become a medical billing/coding worker. Medical billing/coding workers can be separated into two career paths: coding specialists, who take patient history and treatment information and translate it into code for the purpose of appropriate billing, and medical billers, who take the data coded by the specialist and file the claims to insurance companies in order to assist healthcare providers in receiving payment.

Billing/coding is one of very few health-related fields with no hands-on patient care contact—an important factor to consider depending on your motivation for pursuing such a job. However, medical billing and coding offers you an excellent way to get involved in the medical field, employ your computer software and organizational skills, and enter a profession with only a short-term education required.

Medical Billing/Coding Worker Education Degree Requirements

Educational requirements for medical billing/coding workers typically include a one year certificate or two-year associate’s degree. A competitive candidate will have completed coursework in medical, billing, and coding or health information technology, which might covers topics, such as anatomy, medical terminology, pharmacology, diagnostic procedures, clinical classification, and the coding systems for Medicare/Medicaid, insurance, and various settings including ambulatory, physician’s office, and long-term care.

In addition to the roles of coding specialist and medical biller, within the billing/coding field, there are specialties available. For example, a cancer registrar works specifically with databases of cancer patients from the facility to the national level, coding diagnoses and tumor types, and tracking patient outcomes and mortality—information which is critical to advancing cancer research and identifying candidates for experimental treatments. With a degree in medical, billing, and coding or health information technology, you could also pursue a career as a health information technician, who organizes and manages patient history and treatment information to ensure its accuracy and security.

After you have completed your schooling and chosen your career track, you will likely have to sit for a certification exam administered by American Academy of Professional Coders, and those interested in a career as a cancer registrar can earn credentials through the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA). Additionally, if you would like to become a Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT), there is an exam provided by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

No matter your role, the increasing prevalence of electronic health records (EHR) will make significant demands on workers to keep current with the latest in software and data management, and workers may have the opportunity to contribute to improving HER software usability and information networks.

Becoming a Medical Billing/Coding Worker: Career Outlook

Many medical billing/coding workers use the position as a stepping stone towards further education or as a way to test the waters of the medical field, and it is also an excellent job for filling a gap in your education while deciding on a final direction. However, salaries in billing/coding are quite competitive given the level of education required. In 2008, the median annual salary for medical records and health information technicians (the field encompassing health information technicians and coding specialists) was $30, 610 a year, with federal workers in this profession earning median annual salaries of $42,000. Like most health-related professions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects significant growth in employment, with 20% more positions expected to be created between 2008 and 2018.

Furthermore, careers in medical billing and coding also offer opportunities for advancement in the administrative components of healthcare. With experience and further education at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, a person who begins as a medical billing/coding worker might chart a course towards becoming a hospital manager. Start you educational journey to becoming a medical billing/coding worker today!

How to Become a Medical and Health Services Manager: Keeping Care on Track

For healthcare workers with a bent for business and management savvy, becoming a medical and health services manager can be a great way to advance with the help of a master’s degree. Coming from a clinical area, experienced healthcare workers who want to move away from the clinical setting into a higher paying position outside patient care will need to plan for additional education to compete in this field, but as the healthcare sector grows, the Bureau of Labor statistics anticipates a 16% increase in the number of medical and health services management positions between 2008 and 2018, making the investment in time and tuition a strong one for candidates with the right background.

Medical and Health Services Manager Education Degree Requirements

Basic requirements for becoming a medical and health services manager is a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field and significant experience in the healthcare sector. Not only will candidates with experience better understand the problems they are likely to face, but they will also have an easier time gaining the trust of the healthcare professionals they will be managing. Education also counts for a lot, as medical managers need to combine a command of the world of care with management and business principles.

Degrees in healthcare management and administration are available at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels through schools of public health, medicine, allied health, public administration, and business administration. As of 2008, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education accredited 72 master’s programs in health services administration. For candidates interested in administering a clinical department, experience in the field and a relevant bachelor’s degree are often enough to secure a position.

In addition, managers in nursing and managed care facilities are required to secure appropriate state licensing, which vary by location. Health information managers can also add to bachelor’s or post baccalaureate qualifications with certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator from the American Health Information Management Association.

Becoming a Medical and Health Services Manager: Career Outlook

There are a number of career tracks available in the medical and health services management field. Clinical managers with training in a specific clinical area establish policies, manage budgets, evaluate work quality and coordinate with other managers on behalf of their departments. Health information managers take charge of the security and maintenance of medical records, making sure databases are both complete and accessible while being restricted to authorized viewers. Group practices also require managers to coordinate the workload of physicians and formulate business strategies for the practice group. Practice groups and small hospitals are also more likely to favor candidates with on-the-job experience instead of formal education, and these settings are a good way to enter the field preparatory to formal study.

Additionally, beyond academic credentials, a competitive medical manager needs to be able to balance conflicting demands from patients, physicians, hospital administration, and budgetary concerns to create effective compromises and make tough judgment calls.

In 2008, earnings ranged significantly across the field; managers of large physicians groups earned the most, with a median income of about $105,000, followed by those in general medical and surgical hospitals at $87,000. Managers in outpatient facilities, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities had median salaries ranging from $70-75,000. If you would like to learn more about how to become a medical and health services manager, request information today from the schools listed throughout our site.

How to Become a Massage Therapist: Healing Touch

Massage therapy is physical, personal, and often spiritual. Massage therapists use various hand-on techniques to manipulate the soft-tissue muscles of the body in order to stimulate circulation and relieve tension. Massage therapy is often used to reduce pain and stress, treat overworked muscles, and rehabilitate individuals after injury. Becoming a massage therapist can be an excellent way to start an independent business, supplement your income on a part-time basis, fill a gap between longer-term professional commitments or add variety to retirement after your formal career.

Massage Therapist Education Degree Requirements

Massage therapists can specialize in over 80 massage modalities, and most practitioners are trained in more than one approach. A massage therapy program can either result in a certification, which takes from six months to one year to complete, or a two-year associate’s degree. In addition to extensive hands-on practice, a typical massage therapy program will have courses on massage theory, anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology (the study of motion and body mechanics). Since so many massage therapists operate their own businesses, business management is often a frequent topic, and ethics courses are also critical in instructing students how to professionally handle the demand for close physical contact with clients.

Training standards vary by state and by technique, but education and certification matte—most states require that training programs be approved by an independent accrediting agency, and certification may demand 500 hours of study and practice. Two national bodies administer tests required or accepted by most state boards: the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. Additional standards and legal requirements vary significantly from state to state, and if you are interested in pursuing this career, you should thoroughly research legal requirements for licensing in your area.

Becoming a Massage Therapist: Career Outlook

For massage therapists, variety is the name of the game, and depending on the kind of work environment you prefer, you may end up working at a spa, hospital or out of your home, traveling to clients, serving on the training staff of a professional sports team, helping elderly manage chronic pain or working with pregnant women and infants. It is quite likely that, as a massage therapist, you will work in several different settings to serve a wider client base.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that massage therapist positions are expected to grow by 19% through 2018. About half of all massage therapists work part-time, although adding in time for business functions like billing often pushes a self-employed massage therapist past 40 hours a week. As in any part-time independent work, there’s a trade-off between freedom and flexibility on the one hand, and opportunities for advancement, benefits, and security on the other. Median hourly wages (tips included) ran about $17 an hour in 2008. Top earners in the field, who tend to own their own business and have built an extensive client network through personal initiative, can look forward to seeing $33 or more an hour.

Whatever you choose to do in the field, massage therapy places a premium on sensitivity, comfort with your own body and the bodies of others, and people skills. In addition to these mental attributes, massage therapy careers can also be physically demanding, requiring long hours of standing, repeated motions that can lead to repetitive stress injuries without proper precaution, and significant physical exertion.

In all, massage therapy demands hustle from people who want to make it their career or a significant addition to their livelihood, but if independence, building relationships, and using your body are important to you, then massage therapy can be a perfect fit. To learn more about how to become a massage therapist, search for a massage therapy school, and request for more information today.

How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager: Keeping the New Economy Running

If you already work within information systems and computer programming and are looking to move forward in your career, you may be wondering about how to become a computer and information systems manager. As the American economy grows ever more based in technology no matter what the industry, businesses of all kinds will continue to require more and more qualified managers to handle their IT needs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 17% increase in these management jobs through 2018. Growing your qualifications in this direction will demand both extensive targeted experience and academic training, and you will need to develop a strategy for building those qualifications.

Computer and Information Systems Manager Education Degree Requirements

Computer and information systems managers generally start in a computer occupation, and a strong educational background, as well as technical expertise, are common prerequisites. That usually means a bachelor’s degree in a field like computer science, information systems, business IT, computer technology or technology management, although students with backgrounds in fields like economics, econometrics, statistics, applied mathematics, and other areas that require extensive computer skills are also in a good position to enter the field.

However, technical experience and undergraduate study are just the beginning. Because IT problems involve all aspects of a business, employers will also want potential managers to understand human resources decisions, sales, marketing, accounting, and any number of other issues, which are handled by a company’s computer systems. Often, this means going beyond your work experience with an MBA, which demands two years of study and covers typical business topics like finance, marketing, accounting, and management, as well as specialized material for IT professionals like database management, electronic business, and systems management and design.

Becoming a Computer and Information Systems Manager: Career Outlook

With a good working background, appropriate undergraduate study, and MBA training with an IT emphasis, computer and information systems managers can look forward to a diversity of career paths, including some of the following positions:

  • IT directors, who manage a company’s computing resources to make sure they are available and secure for users throughout the organization.
  • IT project managers, who develop standards, budgets, and schedule the implementation of tech projects for their employers.
  • Chief technology officers (CTOs), who evaluate new technologies and their applicability to an organization, develop technical standards, supervise a company’s IT workers, and communicate with top management
  • While becoming a computer and information systems manager represents a substantial investment in time and tuition, the rewards can be significant. Although earnings vary substantially by industry and specialty, median earnings for computer and information systems managers clock in around $112,000 a year, with the middle 50% earning between $88,240 and $141,890 annually.

    Increasingly, the higher rungs of corporate hierarchies are opening up to managers from the IT field, as more and more business functions run through IT channels. Education in information systems management today will enable a strong candidate to compete for top positions of an entrepreneurial nature in the future. Ready to begin you career as a computer and information systems manager? Start your search for computer schools on our site today.

How to Become an Auto Body Technician: More than Fixing Dents and Dings

An auto body technician, also known as a collision repair technician, repairs the vehicular damage resulting from collisions, including dent removal, repainting, part replacement, and the straightening of bent bodies. Some technicians also choose to specialize specifically in installing and repairing glass. Auto body technicians can work on vehicles of all sizes from cars and small trucks to tractor trailers and buses.

Becoming an auto body technician was once basically a matter of apprenticeship, but changes in automotive manufacturing have altered the educational demands for workers seeking to enter the auto repair field. While on-the-job experience remains absolutely vital, advancing past entry-level work now often requires national certification. Because trainees typically earn between 30 and 60% of a skilled technician who can expect a median wage of just under $19 an hour (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), it pays to get an edge through formal education. Since many technician jobs pay per task, the skills and proficiency available through formal training are important to earning a competitive wage.

Auto Body Technician Education Degree Requirements

Whether you are moving towards certification as an apprentice in a body shop, looking at entering a technical school or trying to add relevant skills through your career college curriculum, these are some abilities a competitive auto body technician will find indispensible:

  • good reading ability, especially with technical manuals
  • basic math skills, including geometry, and good spacial sense
  • solid computer skills

In order to enroll in a collision repair program, you must have earned your high school diploma or GED. Some programs result in a certificate after six months of training, while others are more in-depth associate’s degree programs, which require two years of study to complete. Coursework for collision repair programs might include classes in paint and refinishing, structural repair, plastics, shop management, and metal welding, among others.

Additionally, certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has become an industry standard for those working in auto repair. The ASE offers several certifications, which demand some combination of technical training and practical experience in addition to passing exams. ASE Certifications are good for 5 years, which is meant to insure that technicians return to study developments in automobile design periodically and keep current on changes to the vehicles they will be working on. Beyond credentials though, you should be prepared to put in three or four years of training on-the-job to become skilled in all aspects of auto body repair.

Becoming an Auto Body Technician: Career Outlook

While the number of auto body technicians is not expected to rise significantly in the coming decade, job prospects are excellent for potential employees who can combine work experience with technical training and certification as older repair personnel retire or seek to turn over their small businesses to new ownership, and as changes in metallurgy, safety standards, and manufacturing techniques demand specialized knowledge.

Auto body technicians have a wide variety of options for job environments and opportunities for independence. Whether working for a car dealer, climbing the hierarchy of a chain repair store, opening your own shop, taking over from a mechanic who has grown a local business into an institution or doing custom body work, an auto body technician can look forward to branching into retail, finding the stability of a senior position in a large company, building a reputation for creativity or simply earning a good wage for a job well done. For more information on how to become an auto body technician, explore the collision and repair schools we have featured throughout our site.

Why Career Colleges are an important part of Higher Education.

The day you step in your kindergarten school,you are not aware that where this journey will lead you. Children cry while going to school but they slowly adapt that there is no other option.

The journey which starts on an unclear note starts navigating in proper direction as soon as you grow in your life both mentally and physically. The time finally arrives when you have to choose the last spot of this journey to achieve your ultimate destination.

After graduating from high school you can make a decision as to go to a community college, enter a full university program, take up a job or enhance your candidature through career colleges. Whatever option you choose that will obviously depend upon your family background and preferences. The university program and a community college may prove to be quite expensive while career colleges offer a fair deal. The courses in these colleges have reasonable fees and provide the knowledge which is quite vital from career point of view. Here are some of the top reasons which would make you think about Career College. Take a look!

  1. PRACTICAL STUDY: In career colleges the focus is on training rather than education. The works which you would be doing after you graduate are the part of courses in these colleges. In the full time university programs there are lot of subjects which have no practical relevance but still are part of the academic course. This disastrous thing luckily doesn’t exist in career colleges. You should not pile up your brain with the things that are not ever going to benefit you!
  2. INDUSTRY RELEVANT TRAINING: Every career college has a certain period which generally ranges between five to six months where students have to go under internship program with an organization. This training period is to make the students familiarize with the actual working culture of an organization so that students should learn to maintain a balance between professional and personal life.
  3. SOCIAL CULTURE: It is difficult for an introvert and socially handicap person to fit into job. The culture is quite challenging and demanding which requires only the social, extrovert and adaptive people. The career colleges increase your social involvement as you get a chance to meet so many students and involve yourself in so many student oriented activities which make you a socially capable person.
  4. LESS EXPENSIVE: unlike other colleges, the fees and charges of career colleges are quite low. The tenure is also less than the other regular programs so it puts very less burden on you as a student. You may not take up any educational loan but even if you do then you can be assured of a job so repaying the loan won’t be an issue. It provides an opportunity to the students to earn while learning as students are left with ample of spare time in which they can undertake so many activities.
  5. BUILD A SKILLED WORKFORCE: Career colleges have tie-ups with many such agencies which can boost up the candidature of student. The faculties are engrossed in practical experience and contribute in personality development of the students. These colleges know what the industry demands and what are the things that employers look into their prospective employees and this is what is injected into the students during their session. It builds a skilled workforce which is professionally competent and mentally balanced.
  6. DIVERSIFIED COURSES: You may not be able to count the number of courses provided by career colleges on your fingers! Oh yes, it’s true! There are so many versatile and diversified courses which can be pursued in these colleges. From healthcare, information technology, finance, accountancy to sociology, psychology and various others are there. This means that there is enough food for everybody who is hungry for professional education!
  7. GET TO JOIN THE MOTIVATED AND SATISFIED STUDENTS: a positive environment plays a very important role in growth of positive attitude of the person. The students of these colleges are quite motivated and satisfied because they are sure that their hard work would pay off! This positivity helps the students to become smarter and happier as they have a reason to be happy. The regular college students are not sure that they would land into a job after completion of their study and therefore they fail to grow as a young and energetic candidate.

All parents send their children to school so that one day the child grows up to become a matured and rich man. No parent would ever say it but they want their kid to be placed at a position higher than them. It gives them immense pleasure and satisfaction to boast that their child is a successful man. Career colleges are blessed to be worthy of such success stories each session. It is true that you get the fruits of the seed you sow! But there needs to be some direction where you should heed. YourCollegeZone helps you in finding the appropriate career college. After all it is one time decision and therefore it needs to be absolutely correct. You can’t take risk at this point! It is the matter of whole your life! This portal helps in clearing all the ambiguities or doubts persisting in your mind about the field, college or the course. It provides information about the most liked colleges and the careers which are fast growing. The information about universities which recognize these colleges and those career colleges having a high rate of placementand such other things are given in detail at this portal.

All these factors highlight as to why career colleges play a very important role in higher education.Career colleges certainly make the education ‘higher’ by including the innovative and unique methodologies.The taste and choice of everybody is different and therefore to meet the demands of everybody the career colleges have spread its branches in many fields. The bottom line is that Career College has everything which can give you a successful career. So start thinking about career colleges today!

Different College Entrance Exams

Exploring College Entrance Exams: The Different Types of Admissions Tests

Different College Entrance ExamsFor many schools, a large part of the college admissions process revolves around standardized test scores. While all parts of an application are important—transcripts, essays, interviews—college admission test scores often carry some weight. As you consider enrolling in college, it is important to be aware of the different types of college entrance exams you may encounter. Below we have provided an overview of some of the more popular tests.



Administered by the College Board, the PSAT, or the Preliminary SAT, is one of the first college admissions tests that students typically take. It is also a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. The test measures writing, critical thinking, and math problem-solving skills. It is a multiple choice exam with two 25-minute reading sections, two 25-minute math sections, and one 30-minute writing skills section. The scores range from 20 to 80.



Also administrated by the College Board, the SAT is the “most widely used” college admission test that is given to students. The SAT has three sections—reading, math, and writing—and takes three hours and 45-minutes to complete.


The critical reading section tests your reading comprehension and vocabulary. The math section asks questions based in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability. The writing section includes both a short answer component and a multiple-choice grammar section.


Each section is scored out of 800 points, with a total possible 2,400 points, and a quarter of a point is taken off for each incorrect answer. Starting in 2016, there will be a redesign of the SAT that will change some of the current testing practices.


Scored on a scale from 200 to 800, the SAT IIs are hour-long subject tests administered in a multiple-choice format. There are 20 subject tests spanning English, history, math, science, and languages. The SAT IIs are more in depth than the SAT, as the exams focus on specific areas of knowledge. Although sometimes colleges specifically request the SAT II, these tests are often a voluntary way for students to round out their admissions materials.

PLAN Test and ACTs


The PLAN test is a precursor to the ACT, much in the way that the PSAT is a precursor to the SAT. The PLAN test is a multiple-choice exam made up of four sections including a 30-minute English section, a 40-minute math section, a 20-minute reading section, and a 25-minute science section. Typically given in the sophomore year, the test is meant to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses.



Much like the SAT, the ACT is a college standardized tests that is primarily for undergraduates. Some students, particularly those applying to schools in the Midwest, may choose to take the ACT test in place of (or in addition to) the SATs. Students can score from a 1 to 36 on the ACT.


The ACT is made up of four required sections. First, there is a 45-minute English test that tests grammar and written English. Next, there is a 60-minute math section testing the math skills that high school students in grade 12 should be able to complete. The third section is a 35-minute reading comprehension test. The last required section is a 35-minute science test that focuses on scientific analysis and reasoning.

Optional 5th Section

There is also an optional fifth test for writing. The 30-minute writing section is not officially required, but some colleges do require you to take it, so keep that in mind when signing up for the exam.


The TOEFL test is primarily for international students looking to study abroad. It tests English-language skills at a university level and is accepted by many colleges. The test is broken down into sections for listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills, specifically targeted towards performing academic tasks. Each section is out of 30 points for a total of 120. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test is taken.

Determining the Right Test for You

With so many different types of college entrance exams, it can be difficult to keep straight which tests are scored in which way, what they measure, and how they are formatted. However, familiarizing yourself with the different types of exams available can help you to determine the tests that are right for you.

Types of Financial Aid

What are the Different Types of Financial Aid for College Students?

Education savingsCollege is a worthwhile endeavor, but figuring out how to pay for it can feel overwhelming. The cost of a college education includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and other expenses. Fortunately, there are many types of financial aid available to help people pay for college. However, navigating the financial aid process can often be confusing for students and their families. A good starting point is to first learn about the different types of financial aid that is available,  as well as how that aid is funded.

Where Does Financial Aid Come From?

The four main sources for financial aid are the federal government, the state government, postsecondary institutions, and private organizations.

Federal Aid

The federal government is the largest financial aid provider in the nation. Types of financial aid for college that the federal government offers include loans, grants, and work-study funds. Anyone who wants to apply for federal financial aid must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

State Aid

State governments offer grants, scholarships, work-study funds, state loans, and tuition assistance. You can learn more about the financial aid for your particular state by contacting your state’s financial aid agency. The financial aid counselor at your school may also have information about state programs.

Institutional Aid

Institutional financial aid consists of aid that individual colleges and universities provide to their students. Colleges and universities typically offer scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Talk to the financial aid officers at the colleges and universities you are interested in attending to determine what type of aid is available through the institution.

Private Aid

Typically in the form of loans and scholarships, private financial aid comes from corporations, religious organizations, cultural organizations, professional and service organizations, and more. To find out about the types of financial aid available from private sources, get in touch with college financial aid offices, a high school counselor or someone at a public library or school. There are also a number of websites, which provide search tools that can help you identify potential scholarships.

Four Types of Financial Aid

There are four main types of financial aid for college students including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study funds.


Grants are a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Offered by the federal and state government, as well as by some institutions, grants may be merit-based, need-based or student-specific. Examples of student-specific grants might include grants for minorities, women, and students with disabilities. The competition for grants is usually fierce since no repayment is required. The federal government offers the following grants:

  • Pell Grants– Pell grants are usually awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree or professional degree. The amount of aid you receive depends on your financial need, the school’s cost of attendance, and other factors.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)– FSEOG are grants for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. FSEOG are administered directly by the financial aid offices of participating schools.
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants– TEACH grants can help you pay for school if you plan to become a teacher and teach in high-need fields in low-income areas. In order to qualify for a TEACH grant, you must commit to teaching for a certain length of time.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants– Iraq and Afghanistan service grants provide money to students whose parent or guardian died during military service in Iraq or Afghanistan.


Like grants, scholarships do not require repayment. They are typically offered by individual institutions and private organizations and can be awarded based on a number of factors, such as academic performance, athletic ability, religious affiliation, and race, among others. In order to apply for a scholarship, you will often be asked to write an essay.


Offered by both the federal government and private institutions, loans are money that you borrow to attend college. You must repay your loans with interest. Loans provide students and families with immediate access to funds to help cover the cost of college.

Federal Loans

The two main types of federal loans available for college students include:

  • Subsidized Loans– Subsidized student loans are available for students who have demonstrated financial need. They have slightly better terms than unsubsidized student loans, because the US Department of Education pays your interest while you are in school and for a six month grace period after you graduate.
  • Unsubsidized Loans– Unsubsidized loans are available to students regardless of financial need. Students are responsible for repaying interest during all periods.

There are also specialized student loans available, such as PLUS loans and Perkins Loans:

  • PLUS Loans – PLUS loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for expenses not covered by other financial aid options.
  • Perkins Loans– Perkins loans are school-based loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need.

Private Loans

Private loans are granted by private banks and may help to bridge the gap between the cost of your education and the amount of financial aid you receive from the government. Eligibility for private loans often depends on your credit score, and private loans tend to have higher interest rates than loans that the government offers. Students are encouraged to pursue all options for federal student aid before entering into a private loan.

Work Study

A work-study program is a work program where you can earn money that helps you pay for school. Work-study programs provide students with federally funded jobs on campus or at other approved locations. The campus facilities at many colleges and universities, including the student center, career center, athletic department, and residence halls, employ work-study students. However, the positions available and the pay offered vary widely.

Exploring Your Financial Aid Options

The financial aid you receive could make a big difference in the school you attend and the amount of debt you have after graduation. It is important to be resourceful and explore all of your options if you want to maximize the amount of financial aid that you are able to receive. The sooner you start researching your options for financial aid, the better. Now that you know a little more about the types of financial aid available, start checking out your financial aid opportunities, so that you can capitalize on all of the available resources for funding your college education.

How to Write a College Application Essay

How to Write a Good College Application Essay in 8 Easy Steps

How to Write a College Application EssayWant to learn how to write a college application essay? Writing a college admissions essay is one of the more challenging aspects of the college application process. Unfortunately, writing a great college essay is not like writing a term paper. If you want to submit an effective essay, you need to make an effort to breathe life and personality into your writing. Below are 8 steps you can take to ensure that your college essay is the best it can be.

1.) Take the Time to Understand the Question

Most college application essays are written based on a question or prompt. Colleges typically provide essay questions that suggest one or two topics to focus on. One of the most important aspects of writing a college application essay is to make sure that you truly understand the question and properly address it in your essay. Read the question carefully and let it sink in. Think deeply about what is being asked before you start brainstorming and consider how the question applies to you, personally.

2.) Brainstorm Ideas

Brainstorm all of your ideas, so you know exactly what you are going to be writing about. There are many experiences and events in your life that you can draw from when writing. Reflect on those experiences and jot down any and every idea that comes up. It is important to take good notes when brainstorming, so you can come back to thoughts that you would forget about otherwise.

3.) Pick a Topic

Once you are done brainstorming, comb through all of your ideas and narrow them down to three options that you think are the best fit for the essay prompt. Pick an option that demonstrates your abilities, perseverance, beliefs, and other redeeming qualities.

4.) Write an Essay Outline

The next step to writing your essay is to create an outline. A college essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion, so it progresses naturally and is easy to read. An outline will help to give your essay structure and allow you to determine where each idea should be placed.

5.) Start Writing

After you have created an outline, start writing your essay. At this point, you should already know what you are going to write and how you are going to write it. Write in your own voice and keep the focus of your essay personal. Be specific and avoid clichés. You should strive to maintain focus on the main idea of your essay by supporting it with vivid details, facts, quotes, and events.

6.) Proofread Your Work

The last thing you want is to submit an essay riddled with typos and grammatical errors. You should let your writing sit for a while before proofreading it in order to approach it with a fresh perspective. It is best to read your essay out loud, because it increases your chances of finding errors.

7.) Get a Second Opinion

Once you have finished editing your essay, you should ask another person, such as a parent, teacher or essay editing service to read over your essay. This second party will be able to ensure that your writing is clear to an outsider. He or she might be able to provide suggestions on how you can make certain parts better, and they may pick up on grammar mistakes that you originally overlooked.

8.) Make Revisions

After you have gotten feedback, go back to your essay and apply all of the corrections that you received. Give it another review to make sure that you are satisfied with your work. You might also want to pass it back to your parent or a friend for a second once-over just to make sure that your changes are on point before you go on to submit it.

If you want to learn how to write a good college essay that sets you apart from the crowd, follow the above steps. Writing a college application essay requires significant time and effort, but when you are done, you will feel extremely accomplished. Good luck, and good writing!

College Application Essay Tips

9 College Application Essay Tips to Stand-Out from the Crowd

College Application Essay TipsNearly all colleges and universities require applicants to submit a college application essay. However, the thought of writing an essay makes many college-bound students break into a nervous sweat. After all, a poorly written essay is enough to cause students with stellar grades to be rejected from their top choice universities. Below are some useful tips for writing a college essay to help you through this crucial aspect of successfully applying to college.

1.) Write Your Own Essay

While this bit of advice may be obvious, it is important that you write your own essay. Although it is okay to get some outside help in editing your essay, some applicants will have one of their parents or a professional essay writing service write their essay for them. When you submit your essay, like with all college coursework, it is assumed that it is your own personal work, and there could be long-term repercussions down the line if your misrepresentation were to be discovered.

2.) Don’t Just Repeat Your Resume

Writing a college admissions essay about your academic accomplishments and the extracurricular activities you are involved in will read like a list and bore admissions officers. Not only is your college application essay a chance to expose your personality beyond your test scores and resume, it is also an opportunity to tell a story that helps you stand out from other applicants. For example, you could talk about a very difficult time in your life and how you overcame it. This tells admissions officers a lot more about who you are as a person than a list of achievements.

3.) Make Sure You Answer the Essay Question

This college essay writing tip may also seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of students find it difficult to talk about themselves. In writing your college essay, you might start out answering the question but get off track along the way. Before you begin your essay, make a brief outline of the points you would like to convey, so that you can ensure that you have fully answered the question.

4.) Write About Yourself, Not a Hero

College admissions officers want to get to know the person behind the transcript, and your essay gives you a chance to reveal who you are. Many college admissions officers warn applicants against writing about a hero in their lives, because it often does not tell admissions officers enough about the applicants themselves. For example, if you write about how big of an influence your mother has been in your life, a college admissions officer would only learn about your mother and not you.

5.) Keep it Clear and Concise

A great college essay does not have to be long. Admissions officers have to go through a stack of applications every day, so they expect to spend only a couple of minutes reading each essay. If your essay is over the set word requirement, you run the risk of losing their interest—some admissions officers may not even finish reading.

6.) Toss the Thesaurus Aside

Do not use a thesaurus to write your admissions essay. If you use the synonyms of a word incorrectly in your essay, you are not impressing anyone. Be true to your own writing style, and stick with words that you normally use so that your essay is readable.

7.) Don’t Reuse Your Essay

Your personal statement is not a one-size-fits-all essay. Each college will ask you to respond to different essay questions. While some parts of your essays may be applicable to a variety of questions, it is important that you tailor your overall answer to each school.

8.) Check for Errors

Although it goes without saying that a college application essay should be error-free, plenty of applicants submit essays riddled with grammatical and spelling mistake. Run your essay through spell check and ask someone with strong editorial skills to review it.

9.) Showcase Your Writing

Lastly, make sure that your essay showcases your writing ability. Part of your success in college relies on strong writing skills, which is why it is essential to ensure that you submit your best work.

Your college application essay reveals something important about you that your transcripts and standardized test scores cannot—who you are as a person. An application essay also illustrates your writing skills. At selective colleges and universities, essays carry even more weight since, on paper, applicants are all very similar in terms of their academic achievements and extracurricular activities. If you want to craft a winning essay that gets you into your top-choice colleges, follow the above college essay tips.

Thins to consider when choosing a college

15 Things to Consider When Choosing a College

Thins to consider when choosing a collegeChoosing a college is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. While there is a lot of information available to help you decide, knowing what to consider when choosing a college is crucial. We have gathered 15 key factors that can help you evaluate potential schools before you apply.

1. Accreditation

Accredited universities have been recognized by official local, state, and national agencies as providing a high-quality education (US Department of Education). Accreditation is important to applicants who intend to attend graduate school, especially those who will need to obtain advanced degrees in medicine, law, and education, as well as applicants whose financial aid requires that they attend an accredited school. If you intend to transfer credits from one university to another, accreditation can also be a factor. Your new school will only accept your previous coursework if it recognizes your old school’s accreditation.

2. Types of Majors and Degrees Available

No matter how good the school, it will not be the right one for you if it does not offer your preferred area of study or desired degree level. A school’s admissions office would be able to answer any questions you may have concerning the availability of the type of degree you would like to pursue. Their website or brochure will also have a wealth of information. Be sure to read about the available programs and take note of the curriculum, credit requirements, and typical rate of completion.

3. Location

A college’s location can really matter. If you intend to live at home and commute to college, you will want to attend a campus that is located nearby. For those who would like to go away to college, you must get a feel for the college and surrounding area. Are you a city dweller or more relaxed in the country? Try to visit the college in order to see what the area has to offer, both on and off-campus. Also, when choosing a campus, consider companies based nearby, as they may be a valuable source of summer internships and future job offers.

4. Cost

Cost is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a college, and you will need to determine how much tuition you can afford to pay prior to selecting a school. The cost between public and private universities has risen considerably in recent years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the 2011-2012 school year, undergraduate tuition, room, and board cost an estimated $14,300 at public institutions, $23,300 at private for-profit institutions, and $37,800 at private non-profit institutions. Total costs will also vary by the length of program you choose.

5. Financial Aid Opportunities

Although the cost of higher education has risen dramatically, so have financial aid opportunities. Financial aid can be in the form of a federal or state grant (money you do not have to pay back) or a federal student loan (money you must pay back), which can accrue interest starting the day you enroll or a few months after you graduate. Individual college and universities may also award institutional grants and scholarships.

Schools will typically publish information on the percentage of currently enrolled students who have received financial aid, as well as the average amount awarded. This data can be a useful way to estimate your own potential for earning financial aid if you choose to attend that particular institution. While the competition might be fierce, starting early and talking to the financial aid office at your perspective school can help you navigate this process.

6. Admissions Rate

The admissions rate of a college, or percentage of applicants who are admitted, can indicate your odds of getting into the school. Schools with higher acceptance rates will typically enroll students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, even those who may not have received the best grades in high school, while colleges with lower acceptance rates choose only the strongest candidates. The competitiveness of a school’s admission rate often reflects a school’s reputation, and in some instances, may even correlate with the quality of education that students receive.

7. Admissions Criteria

The admissions criteria of most schools will typically involve a minimum GPA, prerequisite course requirements, and standardized test scores. They might also ask you to write a personal statement or interview with an admissions officer. Information about a school’s admission criteria can typically be found on the school’s website. Schools will often post the average GPA and test scores of previously admitted students, which is a good way to measure your own chances of getting accepted.

8. Graduation Rate

Even though graduation may be the last thing on your mind as you begin your college search, knowing the graduation rate is important when evaluating your potential college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 59% of students attending college full-time for the first time in the fall of 2005 completed their bachelor’s degree within six years. A school’s graduation rate provides solid data on the number of students who have successfully finished their education, which can give you an idea of what your own likelihood might be.

9. Flexible Scheduling Options

As many students are enrolling in part-time degree programs and have to balance work, family, and other obligations, flexible scheduling options may play a particularly important role. Many colleges post their course catalogs, as well as their schedules for different types of courses on their websites. Look for evening and weekend classes, online options to augment your classroom experience, and large lectures with multiple discussion sections.

10. Class Size (Student to Teacher Ratio)

Schools will typically publish information regarding their average class size. While colleges vary greatly in size, do not assume that small colleges will have the smallest classes. If you are the type of student who would prefer to have individualized attention, class size can be an important factor in your education. Students who prefer to learn through discussion and those who want a more intimate learning experience may also benefit from smaller class sizes.

11. Internships and Hands-on Opportunities

For many people, the most exciting part of a college education is applying what they learn in the classroom to practical experience. Many programs will incorporate hands-on training into the curriculum through simulated lab work, a practicum or an internship. Although you can find your own internship with a little initiative, it is worthwhile to consider schools that provide you with direct placement into a position.

12. Campus Facilities

Whether it is a state-of-the-art laboratory, expansive computing center or a gym worthy of an Olympic athlete, the campus facilities can make all the difference when it comes to enhancing your educational experience. Determine what matters to you, and find out if those facilities are available.

13. Academic Support Resources

The academic demands of college often catch even the most confident student by surprise, so prepare now by identifying the types of academic support resources offered by your potential schools. Many colleges provide peer tutors for any student, as well as a designated building for academic support staff. Finding out what help is available ahead of time may help you down the line.

14. Career Services

Having an active and supportive career services office is essential. College can open your eyes to careers you never knew existed, and the career services center can be instrumental in preparing you for your professional life after graduation. Career services include interview preparation, counseling, resume reviews, job placement support, and much more.

15. Job Placement Rates

Knowing the cold, hard facts about how many graduates in a particular field find a job, and how quickly, will help you evaluate a potential college. Many colleges publish data about the percentage of students receiving a job offer within six months of graduation. Some colleges will offer more assistance to graduates seeking employment than others. Finding out the job placement rate will help you make sure that your tuition dollars will be well spent and can influence your decision regarding the institution you choose to attend, as well as your area of study.

While deciding where to apply to college is often a stressful experience, knowing what things to consider when choosing a college can give you the confidence to apply wisely and end up at the school that best meets your needs. Start your college search today!

Top High Paying Jobs with an Associate's Degree

The 25 Top High Paying Jobs with an Associate’s Degree

Top High Paying Jobs with an Associate's DegreeContrary to popular belief, you do not have to spend many years in school to qualify for a high paying job. By pursuing an associate’s degree instead of attending a four-year college, you could spend as little as two years in school and get a great job after graduation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly salary for all workers in the US was $827 in 2013, which amounts to an annual income of $43,004. Below we have listed 25 high-paying jobs that require only an associate’s degree. Each of the featured jobs garnered a median annual income above the 2013 national average.

1. Air Traffic Controllers

  • Job Summary- Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of air traffic to ensure that aircraft remain a safe distance apart and to minimize delays. They issue take-off and landing instructions, monitor and direct the movement of aircraft, and so much more.
  • Median Annual Wage- The median annual wage for air traffic controllers was $121,280 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of air traffic controllers is expected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022.

2. Radiation Therapists

  • Job Summary- Radiation therapists administer radiation treatments to patients with cancer and other diseases. They operate machines called linear accelerators, which are used to deliver radiation therapy.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for radiation therapists was $79,140 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of radiation therapists is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate of 24% from 2012 to 2022.

3. Nuclear Technicians

  • Job Summary- Nuclear technicians work in nuclear power production or assist engineers, physicists, and other professionals in research. Their role is to monitor the performance of equipment used in power generation or nuclear experiments.
  • Median Annual Wage– The median annual wage of nuclear technicians was $72,610 in May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Projected Growth– The employment of nuclear technicians is projected to grow 15% from 2012 to 2022.

4. Nuclear Medicine Technologists

  • Job Summary- Nuclear medicine technologists create images of various parts of a patient’s body using a scanner. They also prepare and administer radioactive drugs for patients who undergo the scans so that the abnormal areas of the body can be differentiated from the normal areas.
  • Median Annual WageThe Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for nuclear medicine technologists was $71,120 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of nuclear medicine technologists is projected to grow 20% from 2012 to 2022, which is a rate that is faster than average.

5. Dental Hygienists

  • Job Summary- Dental hygienists clean patients’ teeth and examine their teeth and gums to check for signs of disease. Dental hygienists also provide preventive dental care and teach patients good dental hygiene habits.
  • Median Annual Wage- The median annual wage of dental hygienists was $71,110 in May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Projected Growth– The employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow 33% from 2012 to 2022, which is a much faster than average rate.

6. Funeral Service Managers

  • Job Summary- Funeral service managers organize and manage all of the details of funerals. Their duties may include preparing remains, providing emotional support to the bereaved, and filing death certificates.
  • Median Annual Wage- The median annual wage of funeral service managers was $68,420 in May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of funeral service managers is expected to grow 12% from 2012 to 2022.

7. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

  • Job Summary- Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians operate special imaging equipment to create images or conduct tests. These images and test results help doctors assess and diagnose medical conditions.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for diagnostic medical sonographers in 2013 was $66,410. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians earned $53,210.
  • Projected Growth- The BLS reports that the employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow 46% from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than average, while the employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians should grow 30%.

8. Registered Nurses

  • Job Summary- Registered nurses provide and coordinate patient care. They also educate patients, their families, and the general public about health conditions, as well as provide emotional support and advice.
  • Median Annual Wage- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for registered nurses was $66,220 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of registered nurses is expected to grow at a faster than average rate of 19% from 2012 to 2022.

9. Web Developers

  • Job Summary- Web developers design and build websites and web applications. They are responsible for determining the technical features, as well as the look and feel of websites and web apps.
  • Median Annual Wage- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for web developers was $63,160 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of web developers is expected to grow 20% from 2012 to 2022, which is a rate that is faster than average.

10. Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians

  • Job Summary- Aerospace engineering and operations technicians operate and maintain equipment used to develop, test, and produce new aircraft and spacecraft. They often use computer-based modeling and simulation tools in their work.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for aerospace engineering and operations technicians was $62,680 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of aerospace engineering and operations technicians is projected to show little to no change from 2012 to 2022.

11. Computer Network Support Specialists

  • Job Summary- Computer network support specialists support IT employees within their organization in the use of computer software or equipment. They may test and evaluate network systems, perform maintenance, and troubleshoot network problems.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer network support specialists was $60,180 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of computer network specialists is projected to grow 7% from 2012 to 2022.

12. Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

  • Job Summary- Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help engineers design and develop computers, navigational equipment, communications equipment, and other electronic equipment. They evaluate and test products with diagnostic and measuring devices.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was $58,540 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of electrical and electronics engineering technicians is expected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022.

13. Respiratory Therapists

  • Job Summary- Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing. They use tests to evaluate patients, perform chest physiotherapy to remove mucus from the lungs, connect patients to ventilators, and more.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of respiratory therapists was $56,290 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022, which is a rate that is faster than average.

14. Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

15. Radiologic and MRI Technologists

  • Job Summary- Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging exams, such as X-rays, on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for radiologic technologists was $55,200 in May 2013. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists earned $66,050.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of radiologic and MRI technologists is projected to grow 21% from 2012 to 2022, which is a rate that is faster than average for all occupations.

16. Geological and Petroleum Technicians

  • Job Summary- Geological and petroleum technicians support scientists and engineers in exploring and extracting natural resources, such as gas, oil, and minerals. They analyze samples of soil and minerals with the goal of finding these valuable resources.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for geological and petroleum technicians was $53,410 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of geological and petroleum technicians is projected to grow 15% from 2012 to 2022.

17. Mechanical Engineering Technicians

  • Job Summary- Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture mechanical devices, including engines, tools, and machines. Their duties may include making sketches and layouts, analyzing data, and making calculations and estimates.
  • Median Annual Wage- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians was $52,390 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of mechanical engineering technicians is expected to grow 5% from 2012 to 2022.

18. Electro-mechanical Technicians

  • Job Summary- Electro-mechanical technicians work closely with electrical and mechanical engineers. They install, troubleshoot, repair, and upgrade electronic and computer-controlled mechanical systems.
  • Median Annual Wage- The median annual wage for electro-mechanical technicians was $51,330 in May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of electro-mechanical technicians is projected to grow 4% from 2012 to 2022.

19. Industrial Engineering Technicians

  • Job Summary- Industrial engineering technicians work with industrial engineers, helping them implement designs to effectively use personnel, materials, and machines in various settings, such as healthcare organizations, factories, and stores. Industrial engineering technicians prepare diagrams showing how machines are used and materials are handled.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for industrial engineering technicians was $52,020 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of industrial engineering technicians is projected to decline 3% from 2012 to 2022.

20. Drafters

  • Job Summary- Drafters use software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into plans and drawings. Drafters may specialize in electrical, mechanical, civil or architectural drafting.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for drafters was $49,630 in May 2012.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of drafters is expected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022.

21. Civil Engineering Technicians

  • Job Summary- Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers in planning and designing the construction of utilities, bridges, highways, and other major infrastructure projects. They also assist with commercial, residential, and land development.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for civil engineering technicians was $47,780 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of civil engineering technicians is expected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022.

22. Paralegals and Legal Assistants

  • Job Summary- Paralegals and legal assistants perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, such as maintaining and organizing files, drafting documents, and conducting research. They help lawyers prepare for trials, hearings, and meetings.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $47,570 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17% from 2012 to 2022.

23. Environmental Engineering Technicians

  • Job Summary- Environmental engineering technicians are responsible for carrying out the plans that environmental engineers develop. Their responsibilities may include collecting samples for testing; mitigating sources of environmental pollution; and testing, operating, and modifying equipment used to prevent and clean up pollution.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for environmental engineering technicians was $46,160 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of environmental engineering technicians is expected to grow 18% from 2012 to 2022.

24. Medical Equipment Repairers

  • Job Summary- Medical equipment repairers install, maintain, and repair equipment used for patient care. They may replace and repair parts, test and calibrate parts and equipment, and perform preventive maintenance, among other tasks.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of medical equipment repairers was $44,180 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of medical equipment repairers is projected to grow 30% from 2012 to 2022, which is a much faster than average rate compared to all occupations.

25. Chemical Technicians

  • Job Summary- Chemical technicians use special lab equipment and techniques to help chemical engineers and chemists research, develop, and produce chemical products and processes. Their duties may include preparing chemical solutions, setting up and maintaining lab instruments and equipment, and compiling and interpreting test results.
  • Median Annual Wage- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for chemical technicians was $43,310 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of chemical technicians is expected to grow 9% from 2012 to 2022.

Start Pursing Your Associate’s Degree

Earning a college degree is not a decision to take lightly. It requires years of time and effort and can be expensive. Skyrocketing tuition and high unemployment rates have led many families to rethink their plans of sending their kids to four-year colleges and universities. As the above list demonstrates, earning a bachelor’s degree is not the only way to get a high-paying job. Oftentimes, it is possible to achieve a higher return-on-investment by pursuing a two-year degree and entering the workforce sooner. An associate’s degree in the right field can open doors to a number of well-paid job opportunities. Now that you know more about the available jobs with an associate’s degree, consider pursuing an associate’s degree to start on the path to a fulfilling and lucrative career.

Interior Design Schools

Interior Design Schools

Interior Design SchoolsAt the apex of science and art lies interior design. Interior designers make the places we live, work, shop, and visit more beautiful, comfortable and functional. If you have a love of design and enjoy working with people, being an interior designer might be right for you!

Having a degree in Interior Design is the first step down the path to a successful career in the field. We want to provide you with all the information you need about pursuing a college degree—from how to pick the right college, to choosing your specialty, to applying for financial aid.

You’ll find all that and more here at On this page, you’ll find a list of the top Interior Design Schools with links to more information. Be sure to visit often—we update our information frequently.

Find colleges with top interior design degree programs at a location near you. Schools are sorted by state and city below.

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Pharmacy Schools

Pharmacy Schools

Pharmacists don’t spend their days just counting pills—they process complicated medical and scientific information to best serve their patients, both in a retail and hospital setting. Pharmacists and pharmacy assistants and technicians are more in demand than ever—but to work in this fast growing field, you need a Pharmacy Degree.

Taking part in a Pharmacy Degree or a Pharmacy assistant or technician program is the first step down the path to a successful career in the field. It will also increase your salary and improve your job stability. We want to provide you with all the information you need about pursuing a college degree—from how to pick the right college, to choosing your specialty, to applying for financial aid.

You’ll find all that and more here at On this page, you’ll find a list of the top Pharmacy Schools with links to more information. Be sure to visit often—we update our information frequently.

Find colleges with top pharmacy schools and training at a location near you. Schools are sorted by state and city below.

[showSchools schoolsorderby=”campus” school=”” campus=”” location=”” degree=”” category=”Health & Medical” subject=”Pharmacy” state=”” schoolshide=”category”]


Photography Schools

Photography Schools

Photography SchoolsIt takes a lot more than just pointing and clicking to make a good photograph. Toss in today’s available digital technology, the art and science of photography is extensive. In order to understand all that goes in to a good photo, you need to earn a Photography degree.

Having a degree in Photography is the first step down the path to a successful career in the field. We want to provide you with all the information you need about pursuing a college degree—from how to pick the right college, to choosing your specialty, to applying for financial aid.

You’ll find all that and more here at On this page, you’ll find a list of the top Photography Schools with links to more information. Be sure to visit often—we update our information frequently.

Find colleges with top photography degree programs at a location near you. Schools are sorted by state and city below.

[showSchools schoolsorderby=”campus” school=”” campus=”” location=”” degree=”” category=”Art & Design” subject=”Photography” state=”” schoolshide=”category”]

Working as an EMT

Working As An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Working as an EMTYou’ve pulled over and let ambulances, with their lights flashing, pass you by. But have you ever dreamed of being the hard working lifesavers inside? A career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) might then be just the job for you.

What Do Paramedics and EMTs Do?

EMTs and paramedics are the first on the scene in any accident or other incident where a person is injured. EMTs not only provide immediate emergency medical treatment—more specialized care can be provided by EMTs with extra training. All of this care is usually performed while transporting the patient to the hospital.

Once an EMT arrives at the scene of an incident, their primary focus is to determine the injured persons condition and medical history. They then provide medical care based on pre-established norms. When possible, emergency medical personnel provide care at the patient’s home or at the scene without taking them to the hospital. However, when more serious medical attention is required, specialized doctors may talk the EMTs or paramedics through the procedures over the radio en route to the hospital.

EMTs and paramedics usually work in teams—one drives the ambulance while the other takes care of the patient, who has been placed on a stretcher and secured to the ambulance. In some situations EMTs and paramedics work as part of a helicopter crew that rushes patients to hospitals when extreme medical attention is required more quickly.

Once they transport their patient to the hospital, emergency medical personnel report what care they have provided, as well as information regarding the patient’s condition and injuries. They then prepare their vehicle for the next call by replenishing their supplies and cleaning the interior.

Types of EMTs

There are several levels of EMTs and paramedics that determine the level of care they may provide. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) designates four levels:

  • First Responder
  • EMT-Basic
  • EMT-Intermediate
  • EMT-Paramedic

Many emergency professionals like police and firefighters are certified first responders. They provide the most basic level of medical care because they usually are the first people to arrive at the scene.

EMT-1s, or EMT-Basics, are trained in basic cardiac, respiratory, and traumatic injury emergency care. They care for the patient en route to the hospital.

EMT-Intermediates, comprising EMT-2s and EMT-3s, have additional training that allows them to use defibrillators to restart a heart that has stopped, give fluids intravenously, and clear the airway using sophisticated techniques and equipment.

EMT-Paramedics, or EMT-4s, may perform all of the procedures the lower levels can plus give oral or intravenous drugs, read EKGs (electrocardiograms), do endotracheal intubations, and use a variety of complex equipment.

Emergency medical care is required 24 hours a day and is in high demand, so choosing a career as an EMT means wonderful job security.

How Do You Become An Emergency Medical Technician?

Formal training and certification is needed to begin a career as an Emergency Medical Technician. All 50 states have a certification procedure. EMT Training programs are available at many colleges across the country, and training typically takes about two years. Basic coursework typically emphasizes emergency skills such as managing respiratory trauma and cardiac emergency and patient assessment. Formal courses are often combined with time in an emergency room or ambulance. Programs often also provide for instruction and practice dealing with bleeding, fractures, airway obstruction, cardiac arrest, and emergency childbirth. Students learn how to use and maintain common emergency equipment such as backboards, suction devices, splints, oxygen delivery systems, and stretchers. Once you are certified as an Emergency Medical Technician, you must also meet continuing education requirements.

If you want an exciting career saving lives, becoming an Emergency Medical Technician is the job for you!

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How to Become a Healthcare Support Worker: Providing the Care in Healthcare

Healthcare support worker is an umbrella term for a variety of professions involved in keeping healthcare services working. Positions include, home health aides, nursing aides, pharmacy aides, occupational and physical therapy assistants, medical assistants, dental assistants, and veterinary assistants, among others. In general, support workers can receive on-the-job training for their roles and do not require extensive certification. Becoming a health support worker can allow candidates to enter the workforce with minimal qualifications to pursue jobs in a sector experiencing significant growth and to gain hands-on experience, which can be used later in combination with additional training and education to advance into various branches of health service and administration

Healthcare Support Worker: Education Degree Requirements

Although all healthcare support workers participate significantly in the care process, requirements and duties for healthcare support workers vary. Typically, a high school education is usually required, along with a good math, science, and health background. Many positions will also require candidates to undergo a formal training program and pass a certification exam, while still others, such as positions as medical assistants and occupational therapist assistants, suggest that candidates earn either a six-month certification or two-year associate’s degree. Also important for healthcare support positions, are good communication skills, the ability to closely follow directions, and a strong sense of empathy and sensitivity to the needs of patients.

  • Home health aides and personal and home care aides help the aged, chronically ill, disabled and cognitively impaired with the tasks of daily life in their homes, residential care facilities, hospices, and day programs. Home health aides generally do not need a high school diploma and are trained in basic safety and to respond to emergencies. Home health aides whose wages are covered by Medicare/Medicaid are required to complete 75 hours of training and a state certification or competency evaluation. Other state requirements vary.
  • Nursing and psychiatric aides help in the care of the mentally and physically ill in hospital, nursing care, and mental health environments. Like home health aides, nursing and psychiatric aides provide direct care to patients, but in addition, they are part of the formal chain of medical care, reporting to and performing routine tasks under the supervision of nursing and medical staff. Aides may be responsible for taking vitals, preparing equipment, escorting patients to and from procedures, and observing physical and mental conditions of patients to report to supervisors. Nursing and psychiatric aides can receive training in high schools, vocational centers, nursing care facilities, and community colleges, covering body mechanics, nutrition, infection control, communication, and personal care skills. Some states demand formal training, but most learn skills on the job. Aides in nursing care facilities must complete 75 hours of state-approved training to qualify as Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs).

  • Occupational therapist assistants and aides assist occupational therapists in rehabilitating patients to improve quality of life and the ability to perform the tasks of daily living with exercises and activities described in a treatment plan. Assistants monitor clients to make sure activities are conducted safely and correctly, record results, help with paperwork for insurance purposes, and perform basic clerical duties. Occupational therapist assistants must complete a two-year associate’s degree through the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, which includes topics in mental health, adult physical disabilities, gerontology, and pediatrics, as well as 16 weeks of supervised fieldwork.

  • Dental assistants assist with patient care, office, and lab tasks, including sterilizing and preparing instruments, maintaining dental records, and readying patients for treatment, as well as aiding dentists during procedures and providing oral hygiene instruction. Most states do not require formal certification or education, but the Commission on Dental Accreditation accredits about 280 programs nationally for those wishing to complete dental-assisting programs, which include classroom, lab, and preclinical material and culminate in either a certificate or associate’s degree. On-the-job training will probably be necessary, with or without previous formal instruction. Depending on the state, a Certified Dental Assistant credential, administered by the Dental Assisting National Board, may also be required in some states.

Becoming a Healthcare Support Worker: Career Outlook

These are just a few of the many options within the field of healthcare support work, and while figures for each job vary somewhat, like most jobs in the healthcare sector, significant growth is expected over the next several years. In fact, 10 of the 30 fastest growing occupation though 2018 are in healthcare support. Median wages across this wide range of jobs ran around $24,760 a year in 2010, but may vary by occupation and work setting. Healthcare support workers are the backbone of the healthcare industry, and while direct opportunities for advancement are limited, work in healthcare support can offer valuable experience useful for workers considering higher education in the field to advance to greater levels of responsibility. To learn more about how to become a healthcare support worker, begin exploring healthcare schools today.

How to Become a Graphic Designer: Communicating Visually

How to Become a Graphic Designer: Communicating Visually

Becoming a graphic designer offers people who are interested in the arts, communication, consumer behavior, computer technology, and advertising a cross-disciplinary career, which rewards creativity and independence. In our increasingly visual culture, graphic design is everywhere, from information kiosks to concert posters, websites to billboards, fashion to skateboard decks, if it needs to communicate to the eye, it needs a graphic designer.

Because graphic design is so involved in so many aspects of our culture, it offers potential students with wide-ranging interests a chance to be involved with almost any kind of enterprise, and many career colleges and traditional universities offer excellent graphic design programs. Graphic design study develops a definite series of techniques and marketable skills to be used in future career pursuits.

Graphic Designer Education Degree Requirements

A four-year bachelor’s degree in graphic design, web design, the fine arts, animation or media and communication studies is required for most entry-level positions. A typical graphic design curriculum will include exposure to studio art, computerized design, production, printmaking, and web design, but liberal arts subjects like writing, cultural studies, and psychology, as well as business topics like marketing, are all important to the graphic designer, as they enhance the ability to understand how information and emotions can be conveyed to the viewer.

Many two or three-year programs are available for students who have already completed a degree in a different area of study, but would like to master the technical material involved in graphic design or to qualify for an assistant’s position. In all, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 300 postsecondary graphic design programs, so no matter where you live you are likely to have access to a quality program.


Becoming a Graphic Designer: Career Outlook

Because graphic design increasingly involves the heavy use of computer design programs like InDesign, DreamWeaver, Photoshop, and Illustrator, as well as various kinds of media including video and animation, continuing education and on-the-job training are important to maintaining an edge. Because a graphic designer’s output is the ultimate rubric for gauging his/her worth, maintaining an up-to-date portfolio will remain critical throughout your career


The flip side of the importance of technology in current graphic design is that the field offers increasing opportunities for freelance work, part-time employment, and running your own small design business—features which are especially appealing to jobseekers with a creative and independent spirit. Graphic designers can often work from home, in a relaxed studio environment or opt for more structured corporate work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for graphic design positions is about average at 13%. Graphic designers with website design and animation experience will have the best opportunities. Median incomes for graphic designers come in at about $42,000 a year, while advanced positions like creative heads at design firms or partnerships in small independent design houses top out at about $95,000. After starting your career as a graphic designer, you might want to pursue an MBA degree in order to gain exposure to entrepreneurial functions and management opportunities within graphic design. If you want to learn more about how to become a graphic designer, explore the graphic design schools featured on our site.

How to Become an Executive Manager: Cream of the Crop

How to Become an Executive Manager: Cream of the Crop

At the top of every formal organization—business, non-profit, or governmental—a small group of people is responsible for devising the goals and strategies the organization will pursue. If you have extensive experience in an organization, find yourself called upon to contribute to important policy decisions, and feel you have outgrown your current managerial or technical role, becoming an executive manager may be the next logical step in your career. Competition for these prestigious, high paying positions is stiff at any level in all sectors of the economy, but adding advanced education to your experience can significantly improve your odds of landing such a position.

Executive Manager: Education Degree Requirements

The educational backgrounds of those in executive management roles differ significantly from four-year bachelor’s degrees to doctoral degrees and may cover a range of disciplines from business to IT. Regardless of their educational credentials, it is possible for managers to rise to the executive level by building an excellent track record, through experience, intelligence, and efficiency or even through election or appointment, as is the case for many executive mangers in government.

However, if you are planning to use education as a lever for securing an executive management position, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is almost certainly the degree you will want to pursue. There are a wide variety of MBA programs available, and you should carefully consider which program type is best suited for your needs. Other related degrees, such as master’s programs in finance, accounting or supply chain management, are also important options depending on your target job and industry.

  • Two-year MBA programs, the most common and most standard programs, cover advanced material in a student’s first year in topics like accounting, management science, organizational behavior, project management, and strategy, before specializing in their second year in an area particularly suited to their professional goals; entrepreneurship, operations, non-profits, small business management, information management, and international business are several concentrations among the many available.
  • Accelerated MBA programs take the basic structure of the two-year program and compress it by removing breaks and increasing class loads.
  • Part-time MBA programs are usually held on nights and weekends and target working professionals, who complete the MBA curriculum over the course of three years or more. Part-time programs are excellent alternatives for senior managers and are often prestigious programs, because of the caliber of experience students bring to the classroom.
  • Executive MBA (EMBA) programs are designed for highly experienced executives and managers who are currently working full-time. Candidates complete the entire curriculum within a year or two while continuing with their work responsibilities. EMBA programs offer students exposure to peers from the government, private, and non-profit sectors. Tuition is often sponsored by a candidate’s organization as an opportunity to invest in a manager with a proven track record.

Becoming an Executive Manager: Career Outlook

With experience and a business education, a variety of executive management jobs are available to qualified candidates:

  • Chief executive officers are at the top of the pyramid, directing a firm’s activities toward its goals, but a large team of executives generally works with the CEO to ensure practical implementation of policies.
  • Chief operating officers oversee the executives in charge of different departments and the daily running of a firm.
  • Chief information officers handle the technological management of a firm’s resources and direct the construction and maintenance of a firm’s IT infrastructure and the handling of business-critical information.
  • General and operations managers handle human resources and other matters that extend beyond and between departments.
  • Whatever direction you choose to pursue in executive management, you will need to be a creative organizational thinker and a persuasive communicator, able to withstand significant job pressure and long hours, and to formulate long-term strategies for dealing with the rapidly evolving demands of the market.

    Salaries for executive managers are high, but vary widely by experience, job tenure, and sector. For executives in the private sector, median salaries came in around $113,000 a year in 2008, but these can be ballooned substantially by incentive-based bonuses. Government and non-profit executives tend to take in smaller salaries in general and receive fewer perks. Little job growth is expected among executive managers in the coming years, and competition is fierce, so those who invest in education and bring additional skills like multilingualism to the table with have a decided advantage in the job hunt.

    Now that you have read about how to become an executive manager, take the next step in your career. Start by searching for schools today.

How to Become an Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mechanic: Power Plants to Passenger Liners, Cars to Cranes

If you enjoy working with your hands and are looking for a job with good pay and a significant amount of flexibility in working environment, than you might consider learning about how to become an electrical and electronic equipment mechanic. Electrical and electronic equipment mechanics fall into two broad categories: Field technicians, installers, and repairers, who generally travel to business and homes to perform their work and also perform regular maintenance tasks on capital equipment, and bench technicians, who perform repair work at a service center or in-house for companies, dealing with repairs where their work comes to them.

Electronic Equipment Mechanic Education Degree Requirements

When it comes to beginning a career as an electronic equipment mechanic, basic knowledge of electrical equipment is a must for finding a job, although beginning techs often work with more experienced co-workers to gain necessary skills to work independently. As for obtaining formal education, you can opt to earn either a certification in electronics, which can take form six months to one year to complete, or a two-year associate’s degree.

Electronics technology courses might include study in electricity and electronics, semiconductor devices, digital electronics, computer hardware, computer software, communications electronics, and microprocessors. Another related degree is a bachelor’s with either an electrical or mechanical engineering focus, which could greatly broaden your job opportunities within electronics and lead to a position as a electrical or mechanical engineer.

Technical certification counts for a lot in the electronic equipment mechanic job hunt, so it is important to invest your time and money in a reputable program. The Electronic Technicians Association offers over 50 certifications in a variety of specialties, as does the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, both of which provide extensive career information for opportunities in this broad field.

Becoming an Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mechanic: Career Outlook

What kind of work might you actually do as an electrical and electronic equipment mechanic? Job settings and the scale of equipment involved can vary widely. Depending on your specialization, you may choose to:

  • Work in transportation equipment, installing or maintaining security, navigation or communication equipment on ships or trains
  • Maintain, repair, and install the essential equipment of the power grid as a powerhouse electrician or relay technician in a generating station or in-service relay
  • Become a motor vehicle installer and work with the burgeoning complexity of demands in electronic systems in cars, solving custom audio problems, installing seat-back DVD players, and addressing the mechanical issues that accompany the pursuit of bigger and better sound systems.

Wages vary significantly by specialty, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Technicians working for building equipment contractors pull down a median wage of about $22.50 that falls to about $17 for electric motor and power tool repairers and climbs to over $29 for powerhouse, substation, and relay techs. While the number of electrical and electronics mechanic jobs is more or less static, this field offers few barriers to entry and a skill set that can be transferred towards future education in an engineering field, making becoming an electronic equipment mechanic a worthwhile pursuit to get on your feet in the working world. Take the next step in your career, and enroll in an electronic technology program today.

How to Become an Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mechanic – Career Information, Education & Degree Requirements –
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How to Become a Controller: King of the Accountants

If you would like to pursue a management position in the finical industry, you might be wondering about how to become a controller. Controllers direct finance and audit department personnel in preparing financial reports – balance sheets, income statements, earnings forecasts, and the like. Controllers are also the point of contact with regulatory authorities, responsible for preparing and conveying documents required by regulators. Controller positions are a likely career track for candidates with an academic background in business administration, and they share a number of job requirements with other financial managers.

Controller Education Degree Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in a business-related field (accounting, economics or business administration) is the minimum academic requirement for controllers, although MBAs are increasingly sought by employers. Courses are designed to shape a well-rounded business professional and might include study in finance, economics, accounting, marketing, statistics, business ethics, leadership and decision making, and organizational management.

Practically speaking, a controller will almost always be expected to hold a CPA credential, and many also choose to earn Certified Management Accountant (CMA) status from the Institute of Management Accountants to boost their employment and salary prospects. Experience also counts for a lot in positions like that of the controller, where intimate knowledge of a firm’s operations is absolutely necessary to ensure compliance with regulatory authorities and proper fiscal reporting.

Controllers should expect to spend a significant amount of time and energy on continuing education to stay current with regulatory demands, accounting practices, professional certification standards, and advances in accounting software. Because a competent controller can mean the difference between compliance and mistaken non-compliance with regulatory demands, employers commonly cover the cost of continuing education activities for controllers and other financial managers.

Becoming a Controller: Career Outlook

Controllers need to understand the financial structures of their industries, be conversant with relevant tax law and regulations, have command of risk management and profit maximization strategies, and be up-to-date with accounting standards and practices. This base of knowledge makes controllers and other financial managers invaluable business advisors to executives, and exposure to executive decisions through the roll of advisor is one of the major benefits of pursuing a position as a controller. Because so much oversight responsibility already falls on the controller, controllers are often placed in charge of budget, audit, and accounting departments in a firm.

The wages of controllers vary significantly by sector and size of company, but median wages for financial managers come in at about $100,000. Job growth in the financial management sector is expected to be about that of the rest of the economy, and this translates into strong competition as senior accountants and financial personnel vie for controller positions, which stand at the threshold of executive leadership. Competition is fierce, and those with the most experience and education will be best placed to find positions.

Becoming a controller offers candidates with an educational background in business, accounting, and finance an opportunity to advance towards executive leadership by taking on added management responsibilities. A career as a controller starts by building your academic credentials. Begin exploring business degree programs today.

How to Become an Accountant: Mom and Pop Shops to the Fortune 500

Broadly speaking, accountants help businesses run efficiently, keep and audit financial records, ensure that incomes, profits and losses, and tax liability are assessed properly, and make certain that critical information about the firms they work for is communicated accurately and ethically. Becoming an accountant offers stability, high hourly wages, professional challenges, and a gateway towards involvement in higher business functions and entrepreneurship. By 2018, the number of positions available for accountants is expected to rise by 22% (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), making education in the field an excellent practical pursuit.

Accountant Education Degree Requirements

At whatever level you want to work in accountancy, you are likely going to need a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related discipline. But there are also plenty of practical opportunities to get into the field, particularly as a bookkeeper’s assistant, and experience of this kind is also a significant plus when applying to an academic program. In terms of accountant education degree requirements, you can expect to study basic business functions and ways to assess the value of a business, financial operations, and the intricacies of tax code. Increasingly, accounting programs also place a premium on ethics, a response to scandals stretching back to the days of Enron, and more recently, the Lehman collapse and the Great Recession.

The program you choose will depend in large measure on what you want to do with your degree. Studying accounting can be an excellent choice if you want to formalize your work experience, but you should be realistic about what your goals are in pursuing a given academic program. Offering tax advice to private individuals, evaluating the profit potential of the tech sector in India, and positioning yourself for a management position at an automotive manufacturer will all demand different program emphases. Research counts, and as you look at programs you should be sure to figure out what career tracks alumni can look forward to.

For some entry-level positions as an in-house accountant or accountant assistant, work experience and a degree may be enough, but for most jobs entailing independent responsibility, you will need some level of certification, as well. The most important and most widely accepted of the credentials is recognition as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Requirements vary from state to state, but always require passing the Uniform CPA Examination, a massive four-section two-day test of accounting knowledge. After achieving this certification, you may also choose to pursue a two-year master’s or MBA program in order to improve your chances for a supervisory position.

Becoming a veterinary technician or assistant

Becoming a Veterinary Technician or Assistant: More Than Just Puppy Love

Becoming a veterinary technician or assistantIt was many thousands of years ago when humans first discovered ways to domesticate animals. Dogs were the first pets, and sheep became our first livestock. Many centuries later, animals are still a huge part of the human experience.

As medical technology has changed for humans, it has also changed for animals. Now, working in the field of veterinary medicine is a skilled position that requires expertise far above the ability to muck out a stall or clean out a cage. A Veterinary Technician can perform diagnostic tests, dress wounds, and assist in surgery. A veterinary assistant handles clients and records and assists with basic medical care.

If you love animals, you will find a career in veterinary medicine to be deeply rewarding. Here is a more in-depth look at non-veterinarian careers in veterinary medicine.

Veterinary Technician

A veterinary technician (also called a vet tech) is a person trained and licensed to assist veterinarians. They usually complete an associate’s degree in their field and then take a test to be licensed in their state (requirements vary by state—be sure to check yours). Once they begin working in the field, they find that their job is similar to that of a nurse.

Common tasks performed by a veterinary technician include, taking histories, providing treatment to routine problems, and giving counseling to clients. Remember, animals are the patients—the owners are the clients.

Technical skills include the following:

  • Drawing blood
  • Collecting urine
  • Performing skin scrapings
  • Performing routine lab procedures and tests in hematology, chemistry, Microbiology, urinalysis, and serology.

They also assist the veterinarian with physical examinations that help determine the nature of the illness or injury. Veterinary technicians also administer medications, anesthesia, and blood products to the animals as prescribed by the veterinarian.

Tasks in patient care include the following:

  • Recording temperature
  • Pulse and respiration
  • Dressing wounds
  • Applying splints and other protective devices
  • Cleaning teeth

Veterinary technicians also perform catheterizations, both urinary and venous, ear flushing, intravenous feedings, and tube feedings. Equipment use includes operating electro-cardiographic and radiographic equipment.

Veterinary technicians commonly assist veterinarians in surgery by providing correct equipment and instruments and by assuring that monitoring and support equipment such as anesthetic machines; cardiac monitors, scopes and breathing apparatus are in good working condition. They also maintain treatment records and inventory of all pharmaceuticals, equipment and supplies.

In a sadder turn, Veterinary technicians also assist and sometimes even perform euthanasia. While this can be often be difficult, it is usually a relief to clients to not have to see their beloved pets suffer. In order to be a veterinary technician, you must be comfortable with this fact of the field.

Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary assistants are an important part of the veterinary medical team. Working with veterinarians and veterinarian technicians, they help provide medical care to sick and injured animals. If you were to draw a comparison with human medicine, you might compare them to physician assistants. Unlike physician assistants, veterinary assistants often get on-the-job training, although courses in animal science are helpful.

A typical day in the life of a veterinary assistant includes giving medicines, feeding and bathing animals, cleaning up after them, and assisting with examinations and tests. Vet assistants play a very hands-on role. They take a pet’s pulse, temperature and monitor respiration. Some even assist with surgery. Also, many do office work and act as receptionists.

While many veterinary assistants work with veterinarians in private practice, many others work in animal shelters, animal control facilities, pet stores, kennels and veterinary drug companies.

Because sick or injured animals need constant care, the work is sometimes hard, repetitious, and dirty, but people who genuinely love animals can find it both interesting and deeply rewarding.

Like all health professions, veterinary care is highly regulated, and licensed veterinarians or veterinary technicians can only perform most kinds of treatment or testing. While veterinary assistants assist with a number of medical procedures, they do not perform any of them completely on their own.

Here are some of the duties that fall to the veterinary assistant:

  • Preparing examination or treatment room
  • Holding or restraining animal during procedures
  • Preparing equipment, and instruments for surgical procedures
  • Assisting veterinarians during surgery
  • Assisting those who take and develop x-rays
  • Setting up basic lab tests
  • Maintaining hospital cleanliness
  • Answering telephones and scheduling appointments

Once again, veterinary assistants also find themselves occasionally facing the reality of euthanasia as a part of their job. They are often the ones having to help a family make the choice and schedule and appointment, or caring for the remains of a beloved pet. Be sure that this is a factor of the job you are comfortable with before making the decision to work in the field.

But all in all, working in veterinary medicine is a job that is full of joy and fascinating science. Unlike a human nurse, you will learn about and treat several species of animals—from dogs and cats to rabbits and iguanas, or from cows to sheep to horses. It is a fascinating and diverse field, and a rewarding one.

Easy colleges to get into

Easy Colleges to Get Into: Your GPA Doesn’t Have to Hold You Back

Easy colleges to get intoIf you think that you cannot get a solid post-secondary education because of your grades or test scores, you might be overlooking some gems within higher education. There are many excellent schools that will accept lower test scores and GPAs, including colleges that have a 100% acceptance rate. Despite their lenient admissions process, these institutions still have accredited programs that might help you advance in your career. Explore our breakdown of easy colleges to get into to learn more about your options for higher learning.

Junior and Community Colleges

The best known option for those who graduate from high school with less than stellar grades are junior colleges. Junior colleges, also known as community colleges, are two-year, post-secondary, public educational institutions that serve the local community. Providing both academic and vocational training, junior colleges offer a broad range of programs, which typically culminate in an associate’s degree. They will generally accept any student with a high school diploma or GED. Also, if you have not yet earned your GED, community colleges usually have strong GED preparation programs that will help you achieve this first goal. Preparation programs for standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT, are often available as well.

Offering high quality education in a more relaxed environment, there are many reasons why students choose junior colleges over four-year public or private institutions. Some students may only need an associate’s degree to pursue their chosen career. Others are seeking to take basic courses in a way that is flexible and cost-effective before transferring to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree. As a result, nearly half of all students enrolled in college attend a community college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Career and Technical Schools

Another option for those who might have difficulty getting into a four-year school are technical schools, which provide career-focused training in a hands-on environment. Like community and junior colleges, most career and technical schools only ask that you have a high school diploma or GED. Instructors at career colleges are generally professionals who have practical experience in the field. In addition, these schools typically offer small class sizes with individualized attention.

Programs at career and technical schools can generally be completed in one to two years and have the added benefit of flexible course scheduling on the evenings, weekends or online. Many schools will also have a strong, program-specific career placement service to assist students in finding work after graduation, which can prove valuable when you begin your job search.

Schools with High Acceptance Rates

Finally, if you are looking for a four-year program, you might want to examine colleges and universities that have high acceptance rates. US News and World Report provides a list of the top 100 schools with the highest acceptance rate—the first 27 of which have an acceptance rate of 100%. Knowing that you will most likely be accepted to a university can save time, stress, and money.

These colleges and universities generally have smaller campuses, which can be a huge benefit for students who are looking for more personal attention and a sense of community in their school experience. While some of these colleges and universities are private schools, others are part of large state school systems. Therefore, students who may not have high test scores or GPAs can find respected and challenging programs that suit their career goals and learning style.

Community and career colleges, as well as those with a high acceptance rate, make a college education accessible to all students regardless of their previous academic background. Although easy colleges to get into may be less selective than top tier universities, it is still possible to receive a quality and accredited education—often at a lower cost. Your high school GPA does not have to hold you back. Rather than focusing on your academic troubles in the past, take the next step towards achieving your educational and career goals so that you can reach academic success in the future.

Top criminal justice schools

Top Criminal Justice Schools: What Do They Have in Common?

Top criminal justice schoolsCriminal justice continues to be a popular major due to the demand for police officers, probation officers, and crime prevention program administrators. Schools have responded to this demand by offering a broad range of options for students. From forensics to law enforcement, there are a variety of disciplines available. For individuals who are seeking to switch careers, a program that has weekend classes or an online component might offer the right level of flexibility. With so many programs to choose from, researching top criminal justice schools can be challenging, so it is important to evaluate your options fully.

View detailed information about schools

What is Criminal Justice Education?

Criminal justice degrees typically explore the political, cultural, social, and economic aspects of crime and crime prevention. Ethics are emphasized within criminal justice education, and the focus is usually balanced between theory and effective application of theory to the criminal justice system. Students might specialize in law enforcement, corrections, criminology or forensic science depending on their particular career interests.

During your criminal justice program, you may take courses such as management of criminal justice agencies, theories of crime and delinquency, contemporary issues in criminal justice, counseling in criminal justice, and sociology of law. You will likely be required to develop an ability to comprehend, analyze, and resolve problems as they are related to the criminal justice system. Students might also have the opportunity to complete an internship that will expose them to the day-to-day work of their chosen specialty within the field.

What are Some of the Best Criminal Justice Schools?

Colleges with criminal justice majors typically offer programs at the two-year, four-year or graduate level. While most programs are campus based, part-time, online, and accelerated programs are also available. These programs can be particularly attractive for those who are looking to advance their careers in criminal justice and working individuals who are seeking to change their career. According to US News and World Report, the schools with the top five criminology programs are:

  • University of Maryland – College Park
  • University at Albany – SUNY
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Missouri – St. Louis
  • Pennsylvania State University – University Park

In addition to these highly rated schools in the east and Midwest, there are also excellent programs across the nation. Although the specifics of each program vary, there is generally a core set of skills that students are expected to have learned by the end of their criminal justice education. Evaluating criminal justice schools really comes down to whether or not the individual program meets your needs. It is important to not only assess the curriculum and reputation of the school in terms of your career goals, but also to examine the time and financial commitment involved.

Criminal Justice Careers

Job growth in most criminal justice positions is expected to be slower than average in the coming decade. Openings in local departments tend to be the most prevalent, while those in state and federal agencies are typically more competitive, as they generally offer more opportunities for advancement. Individuals who are bilingual and have either a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or military experience will likely have the best prospects.

Although positions are competitive, criminal justice jobs generally have good pay and benefits, as well as long-term job security. In 2011, the median annual salary for various criminal justice careers were as follows:

The growing population and the large number of current professionals that are projected to retire in the coming decade will likely mean that pursuing a career in criminal justice will prove rewarding, both financially and professionally. If you have the desire to help protect and serve your community, start by exploring top criminal justice schools today. Whether you prefer flexible course scheduling or a curriculum that encompasses hand-on training, it is possible to find a program that responds to your individual needs.

Online medical assistant programs

Online Medical Assistant Programs: Keeping the Doctor’s Office Running

Online medical assistant programsIn order to focus their energies on treating patients, doctors hire medical assistants to complete supporting tasks that keep an office running. Depending on where the medical assistant works, they may perform a range of clinical and clerical duties. Typically, medical assistants take part in patient examinations and may ask the patient general questions about their health. They also schedule appointments for patients and are responsible for maintaining patient records. Exploring campus and online medical assistant programs can help you join this fast growing profession.

What is a Medical Assistant Certification Program Like?

Although the requirements for medical assistants vary from state to state, a larger number of employers are asking that medical assistants have a post-secondary certificate. Vocational schools and community colleges typically have medical assistant programs, which usually take approximately one year to complete. Many colleges offer flexible course scheduling on the evenings or weekends, and online medical assistant programs are also available for those who would like to avoid the campus commute. Some courses you might take include:

  • Clinical procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Computer keyboarding
  • Medical office procedures
  • Anatomy & physiology
  • Medical terminologyli&gt

Medical assistants generally need to be familiar with electronic health records (EHR) software and have knowledge of patient privacy regulations, such as HIPAA. While certification is not usually required by the state, most employers prefer certified medical assistants. There are many certifying agencies available, including the Medical Association of Medical Assistants.

Along with your coursework and certification, becoming a medical assistant also requires an attention to detail for accurately recording patient information, good interpersonal skills for working with patients and other healthcare professionals, and strong technical skills for taking blood pressure and assessing the patient’s heart rate.

Medical Assistants in High Demand

Medical assistants can be found not only in doctor’s offices, but also clinics and hospitals. They typically work full-time hours in office environments, but some may work on the evenings and weekends or even overnight. Medical assistants can choose to specialize as clinical, ophthalmic or podiatric medical assistants. A clinical medical assistant, depending on the state where they live, might be allowed to draw blood, remove stitches or prepare patients for x-rays. Ophthalmic medical assistants may assist an ophthalmologist during surgery or instruct patients in proper use of contact lenses, and a podiatric medical assistant might make casts, take x-rays or assist during foot surgery.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth for medical assistants should be much faster than average in the coming decade, at an anticipated rate of 31%. In 2011, medical assistants earned a median annual wage of $29,100. While the lowest 10% earned less than $20,880, the highest 10% earned over $40,810. Those with formal training and certification generally command the highest wages. Medical assistants can advance by becoming medical office managers or pursing further education in the healthcare field.

With the growing baby-boomer population and the increasing demand for preventative medical services, medical assistants will typically find their skills in high demand. Join this dynamic healthcare profession by exploring campus and online medical assistant programs today.

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Medical billing and coding schools

Medical Billing and Coding Schools: Coding Your Future

Medical billing and coding schoolsMedical billing and coding schools provide the educational foundation to work as billing and coding specialists. A specialty within health information technology, medical billing and coding specialists assign clinical codes to medical procedures for reimbursement from insurance providers. This process lets doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals bill insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, and receive payment for the services that they provide to patients. They might also bill individual patients who do not have insurance, take payments from these individuals, and negotiate a payment schedule with the patient. If you have an attention to detail and would like to work on the clerical side of healthcare, consider exploring medical billing and coding programs today.

Variety in Medical Billing and Coding Training

Although not always required, employers typically prefer medical billing and coding specialists to pursue post-secondary training. Short-term certificate programs in medical billing and coding generally last between 12 and 18 months. You could also elect to pursue a two-year associate’s degree in health information technology, which can qualify you to become not only a biller and coder, but also a medical and health information technician, who organizes and maintains patient records. During your program, you might take some of the following courses:

  • Medical billing
  • Civil litigation
  • Medical coding
  • Medical office technology
  • Medical terminology
  • Insurance claim procedures

Becoming a medical billing and coding specialist requires analytical skills for understanding different diagnoses and records so that they can be coded accurately in the patient’s file, good technical skills for using electronic health records (EHR) software, and interpersonal skills for working with healthcare professionals and insurance companies.

Additionally, many employers prefer those who acquire professional certification. Among the certifications available is the Certified Professional Coder Credential offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Those who pursue a health information technology degree can earn a Registered Health Information Technician Certification (RHIT) through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

What to Expect in Medical Billing and Coding Careers

Medical billing and coding specialists work in office environments. Some may work on evenings, weekends, and holidays as patients need healthcare at all hours. At larger facilities, such as hospitals, health information technicians might need to know the codes for a broad range of diagnosis, tests, and other health data. They are also responsible for protecting patient confidentiality.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for health information technicians as a whole will likely increase faster than average at a rate of 21% through 2020. In 2011, the median annual wage for medical records and heath information technicians was $33,310. Those in the lowest 10% had earnings of less than $21,680, while the top 10% earned more than 55,170.

With more doctor’s offices and hospitals switching to EHR systems and insurance companies requiring more specific diagnostic codes for reimbursement, demand for medical billing and coding specialists will remain in the coming decade. The growing population, higher number of insured individuals, and desire for preventative healthcare will likely also contribute to this demand. Start your healthcare career by exploring medical billing and coding schools online today.

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Best colleges for computer science

Evaluating the Best Colleges for Computer Science

Best colleges for computer scienceFrom creating state of the art video games to conducting cutting edge research, a growing number of jobs require a computer science education. However, with so many programs available, it can be challenging to decide on the best colleges for computer science. Therefore, it is important to know what your goals are and what each program has to offer. While this research may take a little bit of extra time, the payoff is big in terms of satisfaction with your chosen programs.

Degrees in Computer Science

Computer science degrees are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate level. Many people begin their careers with a two-year or four-year degree and then earn a graduate degree as they find their niche in their chosen field. Becoming a computer scientist requires a PhD, so those interested in this line of work may complete their doctoral studies before beginning their full-time career. Graduate degrees in computer science typically take between two and five years to complete and usually culminate with an original research project. After earning your formal degree, continual educational development within the IT field is almost always required in order to keep abreast of advances in technology.

Degrees in computer science are designed for students to acquire a core set of skills. This includes gaining an understanding of contemporary computer topics and applying computing fundamentals and mathematical principles to solve computer science problems. You will also likely be required to learn more than one computing platform and programming language.

Throughout the program, you may be asked to design and test increasingly complex software systems within a team environment. Most programs expect computer science students to have an understanding of computing within a global context including professional, ethical, and social responsibilities.

Choosing a School

According to US News and World Report, the best colleges for computer science are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), University of California, Berkeley (UCB), and Harvard University. However, these schools tend to be extremely competitive. Depending on your career aspirations, it is not always necessary to enroll in a top tier university. There are many excellent schools available, and a different school might better suit your needs and provide you with more opportunities to engage in the specific niche you are seeking.

From the type of curriculum offered to the experience of the faculty, when selecting a computer science program, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. A strong program at a smaller school might allow you to have more individualized attention from instructors and build more meaningful relationships with your classmates. Some students are concerned with the school’s facilities or whether they are on the forefront of research, while others focus on tuition rate, location or the option for convenient course scheduling. Pursuing a program with an online component can provide flexibility for those who are already working full-time and looking to improve their credentials or change careers. Before deciding on a school, it is important to determine, which criteria is most important to you and to select the program that will best help you achieve your goals.

Computer Science Careers

After completing your degree in computer science, you might find that your skills are in high demand. Many jobs within the computer and IT field tend to pay quite well. For example, the median annual wage for applications software developers was $89,280 in 2011, while systems software developers earned $96,600, and computer and information research scientists earned a whopping $101,080.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions for software developers are predicted to grow much faster than average at a rate of 30% through 2020. The BLS also claims that employment for computer scientists is expected to grow 19% in the coming decade, which is a rate that is about as fast as average. However, employers report difficulty in filling computer scientist positions, as there are a limited number of computer science PhD graduates each year, making the job prospects excellent for this role.

Starting Your College Search

If you are excited by the career opportunities in the computer science field, consider taking a look at the best colleges for computer science and finding a degree program that meets your needs. It might be at a top ranked university or it might be at a lesser known school that has the program and reputation you require for your particular interests. Only you can determine which school will be the right fit for you.

How to become a software engineer

How to Become a Software Engineer

How to become a software engineerSoftware engineering is a fast-growing occupation with a high salary potential. From computer operating systems to video games, many of the products we rely upon today are supported by software. Software engineers specialize in either computer software applications or computer software systems. They analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software by applying the theories and principles of computer science and mathematical analysis. Computers and information technology play a prominent role in our daily lives and in the business world, so there is a constant need to develop new software.

Software Engineer Education Degree Requirements

Depending on the employer, software engineer education degree requirements range from an associate’s degree to a master’s degree. An associate’s degree might be sufficient for some entry-level positions, but a bachelor’s degree is required for most software engineering jobs, while more complex jobs might require a master’s degree. Employers place a high value on relevant experience, so it is recommended that you participate in internships while pursuing your degree.

Aspiring software engineers usually major in computer science, computer information systems, software engineering or mathematics. Some students take programming and software engineering classes to supplement a degree in another field, such as accounting, business or finance. You can also pursue relevant certifications offered by software vendors and training institutions.

Software engineers must have strong problem-solving and communication skills and an aptitude for math and science. They should also possess good programming capability; an in-depth knowledge of programming languages, like C++, C#, and Java; an attention to detail; and an ability to handle multiple tasks at once.

Becoming a Software Engineer: Career Outlook

Software engineers are involved in all aspects of software creation, from writing code to debugging programs to overseeing the launch of new software. They often start out writing code but eventually advance to senior positions, working as software architects or project managers. In a software engineer career, it’s essential to keep up with the latest advancements, because technology is constantly evolving. Having strong interpersonal and management skills is also crucial since software engineers often collaborate with marketing, manufacturing, and design professionals in creating new software.

Job opportunities for software engineers are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of computer software developers is expected to increase by 30% percent from 2010 to 2020. The demand for software engineers is increasing because of the Internet’s expansion and the growing complexity of data-processing systems used in business, telecommunications, healthcare, and government. Some worry that offshore outsourcing may put a damper on employment growth for software engineers, but there will still likely be a need for skilled software developers domestically, because the job requires significant research, development, and innovation.

Software engineering sometimes involves long hours and tight deadlines, so it can be stressful. Software engineers work in comfortable settings, however, and telecommuting is becoming increasingly common. The salaries of software engineers vary depending on education, experience, and skill level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of computer applications software developers was $89,280 in 2011, while computer systems software developers earned $96,600.

Named one of the 50 Best Careers by US News and World Report, software engineering is a fast-growing occupation with a promising future. Consider becoming a software engineer if you like computers and want to work in a well-compensated field with excellent career prospects.

How to Become an RN

How to Become an RN

How to Become an RNRegistered nurses (RNs) make up the majority of workers in our healthcare system, holding 2.6 million jobs. RNs collaborate with physicians in treating and examining patients, administering medication, and providing rehabilitation. They may also be involved in educating the public about medical conditions and promoting health. The specific duties of an RN vary depending on the work setting and patient population. RNs may specialize in specific health conditions (eg, diabetes management nurse), settings (eg, perioperative nurse), populations (eg, pediatric nurse) or organs/body systems (eg, cardiovascular nurse).

RN Education and Degree Requirements

Degree Types

There are many educational paths that you can pursue to become an RN. RN education degree requirements range from a diploma to a bachelor’s degree. Diploma programs are offered at hospitals and typically last three years. Associate’s degrees in nursing are offered at community colleges and take two to three years to complete. Bachelor’s degrees in nursing are offered at colleges and universities and take four years to complete.

Associate’s Degree vs. Bachelor’s Degree

Diploma programs and associate’s degree programs prepare graduates for entry-level nursing positions in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Many nurses with a diploma or associate’s degree later enter bachelor’s degree programs, so they can prepare to take on a broader range of roles. RNs with bachelor’s degrees are also qualified to work in community health promotion and disease prevention.

Curriculum Overview

All nursing education programs combine classroom instruction with supervised clinical experience. Courses that nursing students may be required to take include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, and psychology. Nursing students may also be required to take courses in liberal arts subjects. Students gain clinical experience in nursing homes, public health departments, and hospital departments.


Graduates of nursing education programs must pass a national licensing examination called the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to obtain a nursing license. Further requirements for licensing vary by state.

Career Outlook for Becoming an RN

Work Environment

Around 60% of RNs work in hospitals, but many nurses also work in nursing homes, schools, offices, and community centers. Patients in hospitals and nursing homes require care around the clock, which means nurses often have to work nights, weekends, and holidays.


Tasks that a RN may be responsible for on any given day include:

  • Taking a patient’s medical history and symptoms
  • Assisting physicians during surgery or treatment
  • Establishing a care plan or contributing to an existing care plan
  • Explaining home care procedures
  • Providing emotional support to family members
  • Performing diagnostic tests and analyzing results
  • Operating medical machinery
  • Helping with patient follow-up

Employment Projections and Salary

Registered nursing is a fast-growing career field, so RN career prospects are projected to be excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of RNs is expected to grow at a rate of 26% from 2010 to 2020. The highest growth rate for RN jobs will be in doctor’s offices and home healthcare services. Employment growth at hospitals will be slower. Opportunities will be the best for nurses with advanced education and training. The median annual wage for RNs and advanced practice nurses was $65,950 in 2011.

Beginning a Career in Nursing

Nurses work to promote health, prevent disease, and provide the best possible care for patients. If you are a caring, responsible, and detail-oriented person who is capable of directing or supervising others, a career in nursing may be right for you. Learn more about becoming a nurse today to establish a lasting career in this challenging and rewarding field.

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How to become a police officer

How to Become a Police Officer

How to become a police officerPolice officers are charged with keeping the peace. They pursue and apprehend individuals who break the law, enforce traffic laws, arrest suspected criminals, resolve community issues, respond to emergencies, and investigate crimes. Police officers are typically assigned to patrol specific areas in a geographic district and have to become familiar with their patrol areas when investigating suspicious circumstances. Training to become a police officer could be a smart career move if you are looking for a challenging job that exposes you to new situations every day.

View detailed information about schools

Police Officer Education and Degree Requirements

Preferred Characteristics

A police officer career is suited to anyone who thrives on challenges. You must be at least 21 years old and pass competitive written exams in order to become a police officer. Being agile and in good shape is also important, because police officers have to be fast on their feet. Participating in sports and taking physical education classes can prepare you to meet the rigorous physical qualifications of police officer jobs. Developing strong interpersonal skills is also a must since you will have frequent contact with the public.

Education Requirements

Police officer education requirements range from a high school diploma to a college degree. The minimum requirement is usually a high school diploma, although an increasing number of police departments require applicants to complete at least one or two years of college coursework or have an associate’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for federal police jobs. In urban police departments and federal agencies, knowing how to speak a foreign language is considered a plus.

Relevant Areas of Study

Most aspiring police officers pursue degrees in criminal justice. In criminal justice degree programs, students learn about every aspect of the law and justice system. Criminal justice is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates the study of law, psychology, sociology, public administration, and more. Other relevant majors that students thinking of joining the police force may pursue include police science and political science. Most police departments prefer applicants with a degree, regardless of their major.

Police Academy Training

Prior to taking on assignments, police officers go through training at a police academy. The training program generally lasts around 12 to 14 weeks and includes classroom instruction in state laws, local ordinances, constitutional law, civil rights, and accident investigation. Police officers also learn about traffic control, self-defense, first-aid, firearms, and emergency response.

Career Outlook for Becoming a Police Officer

Employment Projections

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of police and detectives is expected to grow 7% percent from 2010 to 2020. Job opportunities in local police departments will be favorable for qualified candidates, while state and federal positions tend to be more competitive. Police officer jobs in urban areas with high crime rates and local police departments with modest salaries are the easiest positions to secure. Those who are bilingual and have relevant college training will have the best opportunities.


The median annual wages of police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers was $54,230 in 2011. Police officers often work nights, weekends, and holidays. They generally work 40 hours a week, but overtime is common. The job can be dangerous, because police officers must confront criminals and deal with a variety of threatening situations. It can also be stressful to constantly observe the death and suffering that result from crimes and accidents.

Starting Your Police Officer Career

If you want to work in a respected profession and thrive in a fast-paced environment, consider becoming a police officer. You will have to face challenging and potentially dangerous situations on a regular basis, but you will likely experience the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping others and making your community a safer place.

How to Become a Paralegal

How to become a paralegalParalegals assist lawyers in preparing for depositions, meetings, and court trials by performing a variety of tasks related to the documents that are needed to research and complete a case. Attorneys turn to the services of paralegals in order to meet the increasing demands of documentation and take on more complex cases. In addition to creating new documents, a paralegal might conduct original research; be responsible for organizing documentation from opposing counsel, physicians, and law enforcement offices; and also accompany an attorney to court to provide support during the trial.

What is a Paralegal Degree Program Like?

Paralegal programs are available at the certificate, two-year, and four-year level. Schools generally require that applicants have a high school diploma or GED. Two-year and four-year programs might ask that applicants also have standardized test scores for the SAT or ACT. During your program, you may take classes such as:

  • Legal writing
  • Civil litigation
  • Common law jurisprudence
  • Criminal law
  • Legal ethics
  • Drafting legal documents
  • Contracts
  • Tort law
  • Advanced legal research

While some paralegals begin their career simply by getting a job at a small legal office, this is becoming much less common as the technical skills required for paralegals increase. Most employers ask that paralegals have completed at least a certificate program or two-year degree program. Some ask that paralegals have a four-year degree and a paralegal certificate. Those who have a four-year degree in a field related to the type of law practiced may be able to secure a job and then complete a certificate program after they are hired.

What Does a Paralegal Do?

When a paralegal works in a small legal office, they might be the only paralegal and work directly with the attorney. In larger offices, paralegals work as part of a team of paralegals, and there is often a managing paralegal. The manager is responsible for ensuring that all work is assigned and milestones are met. Paralegals may give presentations to an attorney or groups of attorneys working on a single case to give their findings.

Paralegals typically work in office environments. However, they may need to work long hours, including weekends, when a trial date is approaching. They may also need to travel within a local area to conduct research. Paralegals can advance their career by specializing in a particular area of law, such as international law. Paralegals might also take management positions not only in law firms, but also corporations and local, state or federal government.

Ready for Practice: Paralegal Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for paralegals are projected to grow about as fast as average in the coming decade. The top five states with the highest paralegal employment rate are California, New York, Florida, and Texas. In 2011, paralegals earned a median annual wage of $46,730, while the bottom 10% earned $29,390 and the top 10% earned $75,400. The highest paying states for paralegals included the District of Columbia, California, New Jersey, New York, and Illinois.

With the growing complexity of laws, both national and international, professionals involved in legal affairs, from attorneys to governments, will need paralegals to provide support. Learning how to become a paralegal can be the beginning of an exciting new career in law.

How to become a medical transcriptionist

How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

How to become a medical transcriptionistMedical transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings from doctors and medical professionals and transcribe them into written reports, correspondence, and other materials. They use a headset to listen to the recordings, a computer or word processor to transcribe the recordings, and a foot pedal to pause the recordings as needed. As they listen to the recordings, medical transcriptionists are responsible for editing grammatical errors. Medical transcriptionists who work in doctor’s offices and clinics may also have administrative duties, like scheduling appointments, checking in patients, and answering phone calls.

Medical Transcriptionist Education Degree Requirements

Medical transcriptionists are not required to have postsecondary education, but most employers prefer to hire those who do. Vocational schools, community colleges, and online schools offer medical transcription training. Although medical transcriptionist education degree requirements vary from one employer to the next, many aspiring medical transcriptionists would likely benefit from completing a one-year certificate program or associate’s degree program in medical transcription.

Medical transcriptionists must be familiar with medical terminology in order to comprehend and accurately transcribe recordings. Students in medical transcription programs may be required to take classes in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, legal issues related to healthcare documentation, and English. Students also gain on-the-job experience under the guidance of experienced medical transcriptionists. It is important for medical transcriptionists to have good listening skills, strong grammar and writing skills, normal hearing ability, and advanced typing speed and computer proficiency.

Voluntary credentials for medical transcriptionists include the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) and Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) designations. The RMT credential is open to those who have graduated from medical transcriptionist programs and have less than two years of experience in acute care. The CMT credential is appropriate for those who have at least two years of experience in acute care using different format, dictation, and report types in various specialties. To earn either credential, a candidate must obtain a passing score on a written exam.

Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist: Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to grow slower than averages from 2010 to 2020, at a rate of 6%. The demand for medical transcriptionists will increase as the population continues to age, but technological advances have made transcriptionists more proficient, which will limit the overall growth in the field. Transcription work is increasingly being outsourced abroad, but there will continue to be a demand for well-trained domestic medical transcriptionists, because reports transcribed overseas usually require significant editing before they meet quality standards in the United States.

Medical transcription is becoming a popular career choice because of the flexibility it offers. Although many medical transcriptionists work in doctor’s offices, some are able to work from home. Medical transcriptionists earned median hourly wages of $16.10 in 2011. They typically work a standard 40-hour work week. Self-employed medical transcriptionists may work irregular hours, such as evenings or weekends. Career prospects are expected to be best for those who hold certification.

If you would like to become a vital member of a healthcare team and are interested in healthcare documentation, consider becoming a medical transcriptionist. Medical transcription is an ideal career path for “word nerds” who are interested in the healthcare field and want to have the freedom to work remotely.

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What do graphic designers do?

What Do Graphic Designers Do?

What do graphic designers do?Through hand drawings or computer software, graphic designers convey concepts visually with strategic use of images, color or logo designs in order to promote a product or idea. Anywhere that an individual or an organization needs to convey a message, you will likely find a graphic designer at work to help get the message to the target group. Although graphic designers are typically employed by advertising or marketing firms, they can also be found working for schools, non-profit organizations, and the government. Discovering more about what graphic designers do and the education required can be your first step toward an artistic and increasingly popular career.

Designing Your Education: Campus or Online Graphic Design Degree?

Employers typically ask that graphic designers have a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree. A four-year degree is generally preferred and might give you an edge in the employment market. Traditional daytime programs at ground campuses are widely available. However, there are also many online graphic design degree programs, which offer partly-online or fully-online formats for those who wish to continuing working while earning their degree.

In your graphic design program, you might take classes like graphic design history, contemporary issues in design, color theory, graphic design processes, typography, web design, digital layout, and interactive media. Colleges for graphic design typically also give you the opportunity to build your portfolio—something that employers almost always ask for when interviewing graphic design applicants. This portfolio can demonstrate not only your artistic skill, but also knowledge of relevant computer software.

After Your Graphic Design Program

Along with your graphic design courses, a graphic design career typically requires an artistic ability for creating ideas that will appeal to clients. Technical skills are also helpful for using graphic software programs, and strong interpersonal skills are advantageous for communicating with clients and translating their needs into strategic designs.

When meeting with a client, the graphic designer will typically ask the client questions about the message that the client wants to convey. The graphic designer and the client might discuss specific strategies, aspects of the intended audience, and the scope of the project. Next, the graphic designer will usually create images that reflect the client’s desire to either convey a message or identify a product. While the graphic designer might create an initial sketch by hand, they will almost always use computer software to refine the design into a digital format that can then be used to create other items such as packaging, advertisements, and publications.

Visualizing Your Future: Employment Projections

Graphic designers usually work full-time in office environments. They might advance their careers by taking management positions or opening their own design studio. Approximately one-third of all graphic designers are self-employed. In 2011, the median annual wage for graphic designers was $44,010.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for graphic designers are projected to grow about as fast as average in the coming decade at a rate of 13%. However, there are vast differences between industries. Graphic designers in printing and publishing will likely see no growth or even decline, while employment for graphic designers working in computer systems design and other related services is expected to grow by 61%, which is a rate that is much faster than average. Due to this, prospects will generally be best for those with interactive media and website design experience.

Discovering the answer to the question, “What do graphic designers do?” can help you get started with a creative career. If you think you have what it takes to create visual representations that are used to inspire or inform target groups, start exploring campus or online graphic design schools to find one that is the right fit for you.

What is a Career College?

Career Technical CollegeDesigned for adults who are interested in pursuing higher education in order to start on a new career path, a career college offers post-secondary schooling in technical or professional fields. Depending on the area of study, attending a career college can result in earning a diploma, certificate or two- or four-year degree.

Benefits of a Career Technical College

Career technical colleges, also sometimes referred to as trade or vocational schools, administer career-focused programs that provide students with a concentrated curriculum so that they are able to enter the workforce as quickly as possible. Like traditional universities, in order to be eligible to attend a career college, students are required to have earned a high school diploma or to have passed the GED exam. Some advantages of career colleges are that they offer:

  • Flexible scheduling (weekend, evening, and online courses),
  • Emphasis on practical training,
  • Short-term programs (some can be completed in as little as a year), and
  • Job placement opportunities.

Career College vs. Traditional University

A career college differs from a traditional university in that it supplies career-specific, practical training in fields such as automotive repair, cosmetology, and medical billing and coding, whereas a traditional university will often impart a theory-based education beyond the major, encompassing a wider range of areas, which might include courses in history, literature, philosophy, sociology, and the sciences.

Due to the specific nature of the programs at a career technical college, these types of schools are ideal for students who are certain about the career they want to pursue and would like to start working in a relatively short amount of time. Traditional schools provide a more broad academic background and are suitable for students who are interested in being exposed to a breadth of subjects and can afford to attend college full-time for four years.

While some may say that traditional colleges carry more weight with employers due to name recognition, this is debatable and will vary from job to job. The most universal indicator of whether a degree is valid is accreditation.

Importance of Accreditation

The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that institutions of higher learning are providing students with a quality education. In order for a school to earn and maintain their accreditation, they must adhere to standards set by the accrediting body. Accreditation is important when trying to transfer credits from one university to another and also when attempting to obtain an advanced degree.

Schools can either be regionally or nationally accredited. Based on geography, there are six regional accreditation agencies that are recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Nationally accredited schools are not classified by location, but rather through the type of education they provide. For example, a career college may be accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges or if they offer online courses, they might be accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council.

Although both national and regional accreditation have a strict review process, nationally accredited schools are not federally recognized, and so credits earned at a nationally accredited school may not be as easily transferable as those earned through a regionally accredited college.

Available Areas of Study

From the healthcare industry to business and IT, career technical colleges offer a variety of disciplines to choose from. Below we have listed some of CollegeQuest’s most popularly requested career college programs:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Cosmetology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dental Assisting
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Graphic Design
  • Healthcare Management
  • Information Systems
  • Nursing
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Pharmacy Technology
  • Physical Therapy
  • Web Design & Interactive Media

Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time, are interested in advancing your current position or would like to switch careers altogether, if you have a particular job in mind, applying to a career technical college might be a sound option for you.

How to become a business analyst

How to Become a Business Analyst

How to become a business analystBusiness analysts, also known as management analysts, analyze an organization and propose ways to improve its structure, efficiency, and profits. Business analysts determine an organization’s needs or objectives and then improve its ability to meet them. They help an organization solve its problems by analyzing relevant data, reporting their findings, and recommending a course of action. As businesses grow increasingly complex, so do the challenges that they face. By pursuing a career as a business analyst, you can help organizations remain competitive in today’s global marketplace.

Business Analyst Education Degree Requirements

Business analyst education degree requirements vary widely. For entry-level business analyst positions, you may only need a bachelor’s degree. Some employers require business analysts to have a master’s degree in business administration. You may also need to have experience in the industry in which you plan to consult. Few schools offer formal training for business analysts, but many fields of study provide a suitable education for aspiring business analysts, because the occupation encompasses a wide range of disciplines.

Common college majors among business analysts include business administration, accounting, economics, statistics, computer science, and engineering. There is also a non-mandatory certification for business analysts called the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation offered through the Institute of Management Consultants, which may give job seekers a competitive advantage.

Self-motivated people tend to do well in a business analyst career, because the job requires you to work with minimal supervision. You also need strong interpersonal skills, oral and written communication skills, creativity, and time management skills. In addition, business analysts need project management, analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking ability, as well as the capacity to work well with different types of people.

Becoming a Business Analyst: Career Outlook

The rise of information technology has expanded employment opportunities for business analysts. Other areas in which a business analyst may specialize include human resources, marketing, and logistics. Both public and private organizations employ business analysts. Business analysts may work as solo practitioners or as part of large organizations that employ numerous consultants.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of management analysts is expected to grow 22% from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Despite rapid growth in this sector, the competition for business analyst jobs is expected to be significant, because the pool of applicants is so large and people from diverse educational and career backgrounds can qualify.

Business analyst jobs are attractive to many people, because they are challenging, allow you to work independently, and have a high salary potential. The median annual wages of management analysts was $78,490 in 2011. Business analysts working at large firms in major metropolitan areas typically tend to earn the highest yearly salaries.

If you are considering becoming a business analyst, keep in mind that there is no road map. While there are many “soft” skills that you need to develop, such as organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills, it is not necessary to pursue a specific educational or career path to become a business analyst. One of the best ways to build a career as a business analyst is to pursue a degree in a related field and then gain experience working in the industry in which you wish to consult.

2010 Eductation Pays

Does Education Pay?

2010 Eductation Pays

2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics Research: Unemployment and Salary

As a potential student, you may be wondering whether or not a post-secondary degree can actually help to increase your earning potential. While geographic location, prior work experience, industry, and specific job roles are all factors that make a significant impact when it comes to your career—your level of educational attainment also plays a strong role.

According to 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics research (pulled from their current population survey of annual averages for full-time wage and salary workers across all occupations age 25 and over), there appears to be a direct relationship between level of educational attainment and the median unemployment and salary rates.

Unemployment Rate and Education

The above graph indicates that the average unemployment rate in the US in 2010 was 8.2%, with unemployment decreasing as qualifications increase. Those with less than a high school diploma had a 14.9% unemployment rate, while at the other end of the education spectrum, doctoral degree holders had only a 1.9% unemployment rate.

At 7.0%, the associate’s degree is the lowest level of education below the average, while bachelor’s degree holders had a 5.4% unemployment rate and master’s degree holders had an impressive 4% unemployment rate.

Median Weekly Earnings By Degree Level

In reverse of unemployment rates, as educational attainment increases, so does income. According to the BLS, education pays in 2010. For median weekly earnings across degree levels, the average stands at $782.

While the median weekly earnings are $444 for those with less than a school diploma, the salary more than triples to $1,550 for those with doctoral degrees. Associate’s degree holders are only $15 dollars shy of hitting the average, while bachelor’s degree holders earn $271 more per week than the average worker.

Although the doctoral degree is considered to be the highest level of education attainment, it is interesting to note the those with professional degrees earn $60 more than doctoral degree holders per week, amounting to approximately $3,120 annually. Professional degree holders also earned $338 more than master’s degree holder’s and $572 more than those with only their bachelor’s.

What Does This Mean For You?

Based off the 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics research, education pays in higher earnings and lower unemployment rates. Even just getting an associate’s degree moves individuals below the average unemployment rate by 2.2%, while a bachelor’s degree can help workers to exceed the median weekly salary by 33%.

Types of Business Degrees

Types of Business Degrees: From Marketing to Business Administration

Types of Business DegreesAs our economy becomes increasingly specialized and reliant on technology, degrees in business are quickly eclipsing liberal arts as the “do anything’” degree. With their focus on building relationships, innovation, and improving the bottom line, employers tend to view business degree holders as individuals who are ready to contribute to their organization and fulfill an array of roles, especially those at the management level. Adding a business degree to your credentials might help you move into higher levels of management or switch your career trajectory altogether. Learn more about the types of business degrees available to find out which direction in your business education is the best course to take.

Business Degree Levels

Business degrees are provided at all levels of post-secondary education, from certificate programs through a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). Due to the broad variety, admission requirements can differ greatly. Certificate programs usually last less than two years and are open for individuals at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Two-year associate’s degree and four-year bachelor’s degree programs in business typically ask applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Some undergraduate programs may also require standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT.

Both Master of Business Administration (MBA) and DBA schools require a four-year degree and might ask applicants to submit GRE scores. While most graduate business programs accept applicants from numerous undergraduate majors, students are often expected to have acquired a few years of real-world business experience prior to applying. Depending on the school, some doctoral programs may also require candidates to have first earned a master’s degree. MBA degrees usually take two years to complete, whereas DBA programs can take 3-4 years, but the exact timeline will vary by program.

Business Degree Concentrations

In addition to the traditional business majors of business administration or business management, business degrees are also offered in a variety of specialized disciplines as separate majors within the business college, such as majors in finance, accounting or entrepreneurship. Additionally, many programs include concentrations within business administration programs, such as an MBA with an emphasis in human resources management, where students can take classes that will better help them in the particular field where the student would like to work. These types of programs have the benefit of providing not only a solid business foundation, but also a career-focused curriculum in a specific discipline within business. Among some of the more popular specialized business areas are:

  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Healthcare management
  • Human resources management
  • Information systems management
  • International business
  • Marketing
  • Public administration

Business Degree Course Formats

While traditional programs are still popular, larger numbers of schools are offering degrees in business administration with flexible scheduling. Business schools are reshaping their programs to accommodate working individuals in meeting their education goals. Options include part-time and accelerated programs; online business administration degree programs; hybrid programs, where some courses are online and some are on campus; and weekend and evening programs, which meet at times that are convenient for the busy adult.

Marketing Your New Skills

After completing your degree in business administration, the possible career paths range across multiple industries, including finance, healthcare, marketing, and IT. Salaries generally depend on education level and the demand of the field, with roles at the managerial level typically commanding the highest income. As such, supervisory positions tend to be competitive and usually require extensive work experience in addition to strong academic credentials. In 2011, the median annual salary for the following careers were as follows:

With the many types of business degrees offered by universities today, there are a number of options available to assist you in taking the next step in your career, regardless of your desired industry. Whether you are hoping to enroll in a full-time, on campus program to help kick start your education or are hoping to earn a part-time, online business management degree to move into a supervisory role, there is a business program that will fit into your lifestyle. Open yourself up to an assortment of opportunities by beginning your business education now.

NCES Associate's Degrees.

How Many People Earn College Degrees?

NCES Associate's Degrees.Degrees, by Level of Degree and Sex of Recipient

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has gathered research on the number of degrees conferred by degree level and age, across three time periods: 1993–94, 2006–07, and the projection dates of 2018–19.

Continuing growth in enrollment in degree-granting institutions over the years has been reflected by an increase in the number of degrees conferred. While the number of degrees conferred increase during each period for both sexes, it appears that women are dominating, more so than men, when it comes to pursing higher education.

Between 1993–94 and 2006–07, the number and proportion of degrees awarded to women rose at all levels. In 2006–07, women earned the majority of associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, and 50 percent of doctoral and first-professional degrees.

NCES Bachelors Degrees

Three Alternative Sets of Projections

Between 2006–07 and 2018–19, continued increases are expected in the number of degrees awarded to women, as well as men, at all levels. Middle, low, and high sets of projections were developed for the total number of degrees conferred at each level—associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and first-professional—as well as for the number conferred at each level, by sex of recipient. However, in our charts we have used only middle alternative projections.

Associate’s Degrees

Generally, a two-year undergraduate degree, in the middle alternative projections between 2006–07 and 2018–19, the number of associate’s degrees is expected to:

  • increase 25 percent overall,
  • increase 16 percent for men, and
  • increase 31 percent for women.

Bachelor’s Degrees

In the middle alternative projections between 2006–07 and 2018–19, the number of four- year bachelor’s degrees is expected to:

  • increase 19 percent overall,
  • increase 14 percent for men, and
  • increase 23 percent for women.

NCES Degree By Level and Sex

Master’s Degrees

Typically, a one to two year graduate degree, the number of master’s degrees is expected to:

  • increase 28 percent overall,
  • increase 23 percent for men, and
  • increase 31 percent for women between 2006–07 and 2018–19.

Doctoral Degrees

Between 2006–07 and 2018–19, doctoral degrees, the highest and most prestigious academic degree available, are expected to:

  • increase 49 percent overall,
  • increase 35 percent for men, and
  • increase 63 percent for women.

First-Professional Degrees

First professional degrees are earned after the bachelor’s degree and are required to begin practice in fields, such as dentistry, medicine, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine, chiropractic, law, and theological professions. Between 2006–07 and 2018–19 in the middle alternative projections, the number of first professional degrees is expected to:

  • increase 24 percent overall,
  • increase 22 percent for men, and
  • increase 27 percent for women.

If you would like to stay competitive in the job market among the growing population earning post-secondary degrees, get started on your path to higher education today.

Fastest growing careers

Which Careers are the Fastest Growing?

bls-research-fastest-growing-occupations.ashxAre you thinking of switching careers? Before you do, you might want to consider which types of jobs are expected to have increased openings within the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has comprised a list of the top 20 occupations anticipated to be the fastest growing from 2008 through 2018.

Healthcare Industry Dominates

Half of the 20 fastest growing occupations listed by the BLS fall into the medical/ healthcare category, with many of the positions requiring post-secondary education or training. One of the reasons healthcare is experiencing such a large growth is because, as the baby-boomer generation gets older, they are seeking more medical care.

Additionally, with healthcare becoming more expensive, many of the tasks that used to be conducted routinely by doctors or nurses are now being delegated to healthcare professionals who receive a lower salary, such as physician, medical, and dental assistants, in order to cut costs.

There has also been a recent rise in home healthcare aids, as more individuals choose to be treated at home, rather than at hospitals or long-term care facilities. In fact, home health aides had the highest increase in terms of numbers and are anticipated to have 460.9 thousand more jobs through 2018.

Bio and Information Technology Projections

Along with the growth in healthcare, there is a need for more advanced medical technologies, such as new healthcare devices, treatments, and pharmaceuticals. Two of the fastest growing occupations are in the biosciences; biochemists and biophysicists (grouped as one occupation) and biomedical engineers.

Earning the number one spot on the list, employment for biomedical engineers is expected to grow by 72%. Although with their small starting number, this is only leading to an increase of 11,600 jobs, with biochemists and biophysicists adding 8,700 jobs.

Table Fastest Growing Occupations

Also, making the top 20 list are two computer occupations; network systems and data communications analysts and computer applications software engineers.Due to the need for organizations to upgrade their IT systems on an ongoing basis, at a 53% growth, network systems and data communications analysts are expected to be the second-fastest growing occupation.

Similarly, as the Internet continues to expand, employment for computer applications software engineers is anticipated to increase by 34% to keep up with the demand.

Overall Trends

A majority of the jobs on the list reflect societies’ enhanced healthcare and technologic needs, and although the employment projections differ across categories between 2008 and 2018, the top five occupations remain the same.

Within the list, thirteen of the 20 occupations require formalized post-secondary education, with five requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, stressing the importance of education when it comes to one’s career.

According to research by the BLS, the average level of education tends to correlate with salary, and while the national annual median wage was $32,290 in 2008, eleven of the top 20 occupations exceeded this by a minimum of $10,000.