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University of Phoenix – Bridging the gap between education & careers with Phoenix Career Services #LetsGetToWork

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One of my biggest regrets in life (aside from ex-boyfriends – ha ha) is dropping out of college when I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter. My college was a two hour drive from my home (each way!). The commute and trying to squeeze behind those itty bitty desks with my great big pregnant belly was not easy. I made the decision to drop out of college TEMPORARILY until my daughter was born and return to college the following semester. My daughter will be 16 in May. I never went back to school. :-(

Initially I didn’t regret my decision. I was happier being a stay at home mom. I tried not to think about what I could have been. Having a career didn’t cross my mind again until both of my kids (my son was born 2 1/2 years after my daughter) were in school full time. When I started to think about re-entering the work force I realized that I really messed myself over by dropping out of college. I could have had a Master’s Degree (that was my “game plan”) and the opportunity to have a career, rather than a job.

Right now I am not the type of person employers are looking for. I only have an Associate’s Degree in Community Mental Health Assisting (yes, that is an actual degree). I was working on my Bachelor’s in Social Work when I dropped out. After that I was going to get a Master’s in Forensic Psychology.

With my Associates degree, the fact that I haven’t had a “real” job in almost 16 years, my age (40 something) and my weight don’t exactly make me marketable. I feel that if I had a Bachelor’s degree I’d have more opportunities available to me than without one.

Going back to college is what I really need to do. But what degree should I explore? What types of jobs are available to me? How do I form a career plan? How can I afford college?

I am grateful for Phoenix Career Services. The various services they offer has helped me to not only explore different career and degree options but has also opened my eyes to what kind of jobs are available with certain degrees, salaries, available jobs local to me and so much  more. Best of all these career and job market tools are open to EVERYONE, not just the Univeristy of Phoenix students or alumni.

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Let’s start with the Career Interest Profiler. If you are not 100% sure what kind of career path you should travel, this is a great starting point. With just 18 questions (should only take 5 minutes), the Career Interest Profiler will compile a list of careers you can explore based on your answers to the questions.

The questions are easy. There are four options for each question. Simply use the up/down arrows to put each one in sequence from most desirable to least desirable.

Based on my answers I’m artistic, social and enterprising. My top career matches are in the Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media category, followed by Community & Social Services and then Education, Training and Library. If I would have taken this profiler test 16+ years ago I guarantee that Community & Social Services would have been the top category. I’m not surprised that Entertainment and Media is my top career area now. Ever since I became a blogger I’ve really gained a huge interest in the entertainment industry and being a blogger I am often considered media.

Under each category there are possible career paths. For example, under Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media some possibilities include;

Public Relations Specialist

Reporter and Correspondent

Editor

Radio & Television Announcer

Along with possible career paths the profiler also tells you what your course of study should be such as Bachelor of Science in Business with a Concentration in Marketing or Bachelor of Science in Communication with a Concentration in Communication and Technology.

You can click on each degree option for more information. When I clicked on Science in Business with a Concentration in Marketing you can learn about what is costs to obtain the degree, the types of courses you’ll have to take and what kind of jobs most student with the degree have.

University of Phoenix Job Market Tool

Once you have an idea of what type of career and/or degree you want to pursue, or if you have a general idea of what type of job you want, you should check out University of Phoenix’s Job Market Research Tool. The Job Market Research Tool allows you to upload your current resume for more personalized service, or you can simply answer a few questions (such as where you want to look for a job – city/state) and what type of job are you looking for.

I put in Social Media Specialist, because I’m interested in a job where I can put my blogging, Facebook and Twitter skills to use. In the state of NY I learned that the salary range for a Social Media Specialist ranges from $49,450 – $91,600 per year. Nice! I also learned that 85% of the available positions require that you have a Bachelor’s degree, and 67% require 2-5 years experience. :-( Needless to say I don’t qualify.

The Job Market Research Tool also shows you what skill employers are looking for as well as other careers that are similar. Maybe I can’t qualify for a Social Media Specialist, but I can qualify as a writer/editor as per the tool. Blogging, Social Media and Content Development are some of the qualities employers look for with this degree, all of which I have experience with. So that is something I might want to consider exploring some more.

I also like how the tool shows you what types of careers people have before becoming Writer/Editor and what types of advancement many people move on to. As a Writer/Editor some people have moved on to become an Editor, Journalist/Reporter and Public Relations Manager.

Remember, these career services from Phoenix are not only for Phoenix students, past or present. They can be very useful for anyone who is interested in attending college, returning to college or looking for a career change and not knowing where to start.

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Here is a handy list of the available “tools” from University of Phoenix.

Phoenix Career Services PortalTM

Career Interest Profiler

Job Market Research Tool

Tools Page

Employer Page

Financial Plan

You can click on any of the links to explore each page and learn more.

Right now it’s hard for me to look into going to college and working on finding a career. We’re in the process of selling our condo and hopefully buying a house. If/When we are able to move and settle in then I am most certainly going to explore each and every one of these tools from University of Phoenix. I fully plan on getting a job once we have settled in and ideally I’d like to go back to school and finish my degree so that I can hopefully find the perfect job for me that will allow me to use all my skill and abilities to their fullest.

If you would like to learn more about the University of Phoenix please visit www.Phoenix.edu.

The University of Phoenix provides higher education that enables students to develop knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the productivity of their organizations, and provide leadership and service to their communities.

You can also find University of Phoenix on Twitter or you can “like” them on Facebook.

Kimberly

*This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and University of Phoenix blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.