Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

How do you get there?

You have your short list of occupations you might like. Now you need an idea of how much education you would need.

Where to look:

  • Research online. Oregon CIS lists required degrees for jobs in Oregon.
  • Talk to someone who has the job. Remember informational interviewing from the last step? You can ask: “What educational path do people in this job generally pursue?
  • Read job postings. The desired education will be under “qualifications”. Find Oregon job postings here: Qualityinfo.org.

What degree would you need?

By finding the degree, you’ll be finding out how many years you would be in school. For example, if the job requires a PhD, that’s over 10 years of college! Would you be okay with that? Or do you want to be working in 2 years?

two timelines for two careers: career 1 teacher has 2 years for associate, 2 more for bachelors, and two more for masters - 6 years total. Second career: Drafter has two years for a certificate.

Any special licensing or certifications?

For some careers (especially health care careers), you will need extra training or additional tests to be eligible for employment. Know this up-front so you can identify barriers and factor in extra time.

How much will it add to your timeline?

If you need a special license, this can lead to a longer timeline than just the college degree. Find out how much longer the certification process will take.

Required certifications vary by country and state. Look at the requirements in the area where you want to eventually work. Will earning a license or certification add a month, a year, or more?

List titled My Top 5. Some items are crossed out. 1 Teacher. 2 Art Director. 3 crossed out Microbiologist. 4 Park Ranger. 5 crossed out Writer. 6 crossed out Architect. 7 Drafter. 8 Law Clerk. 9 crossed out Speech Pathologist. 10 crossed out Urban Planner. There is a note next to list: must need 4 years of college or less

Narrow it down more

As you learn more about each career, narrow your list down to your favorites. Ask yourself these questions:

clockTime in school: how long do you want to be in school?

minus circleBarriers: can you work around any barriers? If not, cross that job off your list.

money billCost: the longer you are in school, the more of your paycheck will go to student loans. People usually pay between 10-15% of their income to student loans. If you are in school longer than four years, the percentage will be even higher. Look at the starting salary you found in the last step, and subtract 10-15%. Ask yourself: will you have enough left over to live?

  • Hint: Get help budgeting college costs! Make an appointment with a Financial Success Coach in Student Account Services.

Where to get help

Connecting education to careers is tricky, so double-check with a pro before making a big decision. Visit Career Services to confirm your research.