If you are dreaming of earning a big salary, you need to research the projected salary bracket of the career field you want to work in. Many college graduates get a shock when they start job hunting. Sometimes job opportunities are limited, and the entry-level salary is not what they thought it would be. When choosing a college course, also consider course accreditation. Ensure that the course you want to study is enough for the job you want to apply for. Some job positions require a recognised qualification where others are more lenient. Choosing a college course is not as simple as it may seem. You have to do a bit of digging before jumping on the study wagon. Continue reading further to learn more about how to choose a course.

What career fields
are you interested in?

With so many courses and colleges to choose from, you cannot help but get confused when choosing a course. Before looking at courses, consider your interests, likes and dislikes and future goals. Be careful not to get your hobbies and goals mixed up. For example, even though you enjoy taking photographs on weekends, it does not mean that this is a suitable career for you. The photography industry is extremely competitive, and few people can make a full-time career out of it. However, if you are serious about photography and have a natural talent for it, you could pursue it as a career if you really want to.

What are your interests?

Ask yourself what you are interested in. Some people enjoy being creative, where others are more business driven. Some people love chaos, and some love structure and rules. If you have a knack for numbers and business, then a career in the business or accounting sector would seem an appropriate fit. If you love writing or designing your own creations, then a career in a more creative field may be suitable. Identify your interests, and you’ll be one step closer to choosing the right course and career.

What are your likes and dislikes?

Not everyone can handle pressure. If you dislike working long hours or being stuck in a boring office space all day, then you should consider a job that’s flexible or gives you the opportunity to travel or meet with people outside the office environment. If you are a work junkie who loves working through the night or sitting in meetings all day, then a career in the corporate sector might seem a good fit. Some people like to sit still behind a desk, where others prefer to move around or work with their hands. Identify your likes and dislikes and research your career options before applying for a college course. You might discover a dream career you never even thought of.

What are your future goals?

If your primary goal in life is to earn a stable salary, own a house and live comfortably, then you must consider a career that offers exactly this. However, achieving all of this in one go might be challenging. Think carefully about what you want to achieve in life, and ensure that the career you are interested in can help you accomplish this in the future. Also, consider career development. Does the job that you are interested in offer career growth? Working in one position or earning the same salary for the rest of your life will have a massive impact on your future goals and life.

How to choose a course
What courses do you qualify for

What college courses do
you qualify for?

Ensure that you meet the entrance requirements for the college course you are interested in. Some tertiary educational institutions have higher entrance requirements than others, especially for diplomas or bachelor's degrees. Colleges mostly offer certificate, higher certificate and diploma courses up to NQF level 6. To check the entrance requirements, visit the college website or give them a call. Their support team will be able to assist you. Check the entrance requirements of the course you are interested in. If you do not meet the basic entrance requirements, search for an alternative. You might have to study a short course first to qualify for the course you really want to study, or you must search for an alternative course or qualification.

What if you don’t meet the entrance requirements of the course you want to study?

If you do not meet the entrance requirements of the course you want to study, do not give up. You can always study a course at another college. College SA, for example, offers courses suitable for students who do not have a Matric certificate, so there is always an alternative.

Can you get a job with the career/
course you are interested in?

Many South African students struggle to get a job straight out of college, especially in the field they studied. This is because not all career fields have lots of job opportunities, and some entry-level positions require candidates to have two years' work experience, which can be considered absurd. How can a graduate have two years’ work experience, right? Do your research before choosing a career path. Look at South Africa’s list of scarce skills. This list identifies all the career fields that are short on skilled staff, meaning more job opportunities for you. Also keep in mind that job opportunities and potential salaries depend on the industry, the job position and location. For example, the entry-level salary for a qualified marketing manager in Cape Town may vary to an entry-level marketing job in Johannesburg. Location plays a big part in earning potential. If you are keen on making an above average salary then you might have to consider relocating. It all depends on your career goals and dreams, and sometimes just a little bit of luck.

can you get a job with the career field you are interested in