The decision to embark on a college education can be so exciting. Your head fills with visions of beautiful campuses, brilliant lectures, walking to class in the crisp fall air, and, of course, the occasional party. But there’s often some trepidation involved as well. Some kids struggle with the thought of leaving home and beginning a new chapter in their lives. Others struggle with what they should study.
If you’ve decided that college is definitely for you but just aren’t sure what you want to do for a career or even study yet, you’re not alone. Thousands of college students don’t declare a major upon entering college. Many have yet to declare after a year or even two. You certainly don’t want to rush into anything since what you study will likely determine your career path.
But sooner or later, you’ll have to buckle down and decide. There are many options available, so it can be overwhelming to pin down one area of study. So, we have organized this list of topics you may want to consider studying.
Have you ever wondered who responds to those celebrity social media posts or how you see the ads you do on sites? It’s usually people with marketing degrees. If you’ve got a knack for critical thinking, and analyzing data, know the ins and outs of social media, and are creative, then studying marketing could be a subject you’d enjoy.
A marketing degree can be earned as an associate’s or bachelor’s, depending on how much time you want to spend in school. You’ll study management, business trends, consumer behavior, and branding for products and services. To be successful in the marketing game, you’ll need excellent communication and written skills.
Marketing professionals can work in a variety of positions. For example, Product marketing is where people study trends and interests and develop advertising campaigns geared toward spreading the word and promoting the product. Another area involves content marketing and SEO specialists. This is where a marketing professional is interested in creating helpful or informative content to lead a consumer toward a particular product or service.
Other areas include research analytics, digital marketing, and public relations. Marketing specialists can work for a marketing firm, advertising agencies, or private clients. A bonus to working in marketing is that most of the time, you can work remotely. The average marketing professional earns between $45,000 to $64,000 a year.
People often ask the question, ‘Is an orthodontist a dentist?’ The answer is yes. Becoming an orthodontist is a long process. Much like becoming a physician with a specialty like pediatrics or cardiology, an orthodontist must have specialized training. It begins with attending a 4-year college where a science-based major will be taken, like anatomy or physiology.
Many colleges offer a pre-dental program that will focus on the basics of dentistry. Then, you’ll move on to dental school, where four years will be spent taking advanced science courses geared toward oral health and the structure of the mouth, head, and neck. You’ll learn about issues and conditions related to this area and how to provide a proper diagnosis.
After dental school, two to three years of residency will be required in orthodontics to practice techniques and procedures related to the specialty. Orthodontists can perform all the procedures that a general dentist can, but they concentrate on correcting irregularities associated with the mouth and teeth. They will fit patients with braces, expanders, retainers, and space maintainers to give relief from things like crooked teeth, overbites, and gaps. While an orthodontist is not a cosmetic dentistry service, many of their practices improve the appearance of a patient’s smile. The average orthodontist makes about $174,000 per year.
Legal studies are something to consider in college if you’ve got a passion for the law. You’ll also need great problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills. While becoming a lawyer is probably the first thing that comes to mind, there are several other areas of the law where you can find employment with a law-oriented degree, including law enforcement officer, paralegal, bounty hunter, bail agent, and forensic investigator.
Depending on your focus, you may obtain an associate’s degree (2-year degree) or a bachelor’s (4-year degree). You can go the pre-law route if you want to be a lawyer, where you can take classes that will focus on specific practices such as DUI attorney, malpractice, or personal injury law. In pre-law, you’ll be given the foundation to move on to law school for three years, and you’ll be immersed in case law, research, and debate. The salary for attorneys varies greatly depending on experience and specialty but averages about $115,000 a year.
If you’d prefer to pursue other forms of law like the law mentioned above, enforcement of the paralegal profession, studying criminal justice, may be the route for you to take. This will familiarize you with the enforcement of the law, the penal system, and the history of policing and law in our country. Within the area of law enforcement, you could work as a local police officer, forest ranger, homeland security, FBI agent, or border patrol agent.
The average starting salary for law enforcement is about $45,000 a year. Paralegals work closely with attorneys, researching, writing briefs, and acting as a go-between for the attorney, clients, and the court. The average salary for paralegals is about $47,000 per year. Studying personal injury law is a great idea if you’re interested!
If you play an instrument, have a talent for singing, or love music in general, you might want to consider studying it in college. A degree in music can lead you down many exciting career paths, including teaching, composing, and the industry’s business side. Depending on what goals you have will help determine specific courses. Still, it could include music theory, the composition of sheet music, learning to read music, vocal training, and instruction on various musical instruments and styles.
You’ll likely have music history classes, including discussions on everything from Mozart to heavy metal. Studying music is not only preparation for a career; it’s an engaging all-around experience that can introduce you to exciting experiences like concerts, club performances, and musicals by a vast collection of artists. A music degree can help build upon the knowledge and talent you already possess or build a foundation for a great career.
Medicine can be an exciting field of study in college, especially if you’re interested in helping others. There are so many areas to choose from, that you don’t necessarily need to focus on becoming a medical doctor. For example, if you’re fascinated by the movement of the body, specifically the neuromuscular system, you may consider focusing on the field of chiropractic, physical therapy, or osteopathy. All of these majors focus on using natural methods to heal injuries and cope with symptoms of chronic illness and pain.
While studying these areas in college, you’ll be exposed to many science courses like biology, anatomy, and physiology. They all require a bachelor’s plus extra studies and internships. Once you obtain your credentials in these areas, you can work in private practice, hospitals, an urgent care clinic, and sports teams. If you’re more interested in comforting patients and being involved in direct care, majoring in nursing may suit you.
As a nursing major, you’ll take many science courses along with psychology, management, and math courses. Other areas of concentration you may choose if you’re interested in medicine include an optometrist (eye doctor), an audiologist (who helps people with ear conditions), or an occupational therapist. If you want to become a medical doctor, your first four years will be spent in a pre-med program where you will study the sciences related to the human body, causes of disease, psychology, communication, and treatment of disease and physical issues.
After that, you must attend four years of medical school and complete an internship. Once you’ve passed the medical boards and become licensed, you can work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, or independently. The average medical doctor makes between $170-$370,000 annually based on experience and specialty.
If you have a knack for sketching and drawing and are interested in the construction profession, studying architecture could be perfect for you. As an architect, you’ll work with clients to develop plans and designs for structures like homes, garages, schools, and hotels. Typically, you’re part of a team that includes a general contractor, home builder, interior designer, and landscape designer.
The team will work to get, following, your drawings to match the wishes of the building owners. Architects typically receive at least a bachelor’s degree, where they study several areas of math, computer-aided design, mechanical drawing, communication, and design software programs. Architecture is an excellent field of study and career because you get to be a part of constructing buildings that will help people, serve as family homes, and stand for potentially hundreds of years.
Physics may seem foreign to some, but in lay terms, it’s the study and theorizing of matter, energy, and basically how the universe operates. Some famous folks with physics degrees include Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and Elon Musk. If you’re considering this complex major, know it is very much math-based. There’s a lot of problem-solving, critical thinking, and theorizing involved.
Physics is also connected to other sciences, so be prepared to study biology, chemistry, and astronomy. Be prepared to do a lot of project-based research in motion, dark matter, and electrons. There are many great jobs you can get with a degree in physics; some of the more unique ones include seismology, oceanography, engineering, and computer science. Some people even transfer their knowledge of physics into other genres. For instance, some physicists work with lighting and electrical installation in the art world for galleries, museums, etc.
Do you love working with various people and assisting them in solving work-related issues? If you answered yes, then a degree in Human Resources (HR) may be worth exploring. As a human resource professional, you’ll work with employees from their retirement onward through their tenure at the company. Your job consists mainly of making sure employees have all they need to be successful and happy in their position.
You’ll ensure employee healthcare plans are in place, benefits, and address any concerns brought to the department about issues employees are experiencing. There’s a lot of need for organization, management, and communication skills in human resources, so you can count on those courses being part of the process. You’ll likely need computer courses, some psychology, and English composition. The average salary for a human resource manager is approximately $86,000 a year.
9. A Word of Advice
Suppose you enjoy helping people and are good at listening and giving advice. You may want to study psychology or counseling in college. Courses in psychology, sociology, communication, and common issues people struggle with, like substance use and self-esteem, are likely to be taught when pursuing this area of study. Most professions, like psychologists and social workers, require post-graduate work in the form of a master’s degree. But others, like peer support specialists, do not need an advanced degree.
If you like, you can take your interest in mental health further and become a doctor of psychiatry. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who treats the psychological symptoms related to medical disorders. Unlike counselors and therapists, these professionals can prescribe medication. The average social worker makes about $60,000 to start, and a psychologist can start anywhere between $70,000 to 120,000 per year.
There are so many great majors to choose from when thinking about college. While it can be hard to narrow it down to one or two (think about a minor, too), it is possible. List your interests and goals, and consider what you see yourself doing in five or ten years. Don’t forget to factor in how long you want to stay in school. Some fields of study take longer than others. The most important thing is to choose something you’re passionate about.