Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ask Isa: How do you know which degree to get in community college?

Question from the Ask Isa Inbox:

Hi Isa, I just discovered your page and videos and at the perfect time! I was going to start dental assisting classes at Palm Beach State College in August but the E.D. where I work suggested going for my associate of arts......

Will that open more doors for me? I can always do dental assisting after but I am 40 years old now, I need advice in a bad way and you seem to be the only one who I trust with this matter right now, please help! Sincerely, Which Degree? 

Dear Which Degree,

The best thing you can do when trying to figure out what degree to get is to ask advice from people who are doing your dream job; find out what degrees they got. Don't settle for anything less.

And don't you worry about your age! I've met so many amazing adult students - some in their 60's - who go back to college to get their Associate's degree, Bachelor's degree, and even go onto graduate school.

Anything is possible for you if you want it. I'm not sure what you mean by E.D. but taking advice from people at work can be very helpful if they do jobs you want to do.

As soon as possible, talk to a career counselor and academic advisor at Palm Beach State and dig deeper to find out what you want to do with your life and which educational pathway will help you get there.

Certificates and shorter-pathway degrees are great when you know for sure what you want to do and you've met other people with those degrees who are having success in a job that interests you.

Some people even get a certificate first so they can get a job that will help them pay for their Associate's and Bachelor's. There are many options - the key is knowing what you want and surrounding yourself with people who can help you get there.

As far as your question about the Associate of Arts degree and its options: I love the A.A. because it can lead to a Bachelor's degree, which I think is a wonderful thing to have in this rapidly changing economy. Bachelor's degrees do open more doors (e.g. there are so many jobs you can't even apply for without one), and you can always add a certificate to it.

Keep asking advice from anyone who works at the college and from people whose lives and jobs you'd like to emulate. A shorter pathway can work too, you just want to first make sure it is exactly what you want and get advice from people at the college and the industry that interests you.

Good luck, and go for it!! :)



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