Careering Into Control – Choosing Your Qualification Path

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Are you thinking about choosing your qualification path? In the latest Whichcollege.ie article, Aoife Rogers explores how you can decide what option is right for you.

Choosing Your Qualification Path – What You Need to Know

As a child, deciding on your future career was an easy business. Your commitment to training was relatively low and you could change your mind at the drop of a mitten. 

Perhaps you took pause while eating worms to decide to become a chef. Maybe you looked up from the Lego house you were building and announced that you wanted to be an architect. No matter what your decision was, your parents smiled at your innocent little face, still tainted by traces of worm guts, and told you that you were great. 

How times change. Now your parents are positively antsy about your lack of direction and are becoming worried about your constant digging in the garden. So what better way to appease them than with a concrete career plan?

Take Note

One way to narrow down your choices is to make lists. First of all, give yourself a confidence boost by writing down what you are good at. Don’t just limit yourself to school subjects – include all of your good points. For example, if you are friendly and confident, then stick it down there. There are many careers where qualities like these are just as important as academic qualifications. 

You should also write down any outside interests that you have, what you enjoy doing and how much time you are willing to put into training for your career. Once you have done this, you should look at a list of comprehensive descriptions of possible jobs. See how your list matches up to the individual career paths. For example, if you are a good all-round student, like children and are patient, then teaching may be calling out to you.

Ask for Help

If you have a careers advisor in your school, then use them shamelessly. These people have access to stacks of college prospectuses and literature and it is all yours for the asking. Courses differ from college to college and they can advise you as to which one is right for you.  They are also specialists in winkling out what career you are suited to. Aptitude tests, in-depth interviews and even just talking can help you discover what path you want to take.  

Once you have identified a career area that you would like to get into, then it’s time to get realistic. If you would like to become a doctor, then ask yourself if you are likely to get enough points to do the course. If you don’t think that you will, then still put it down as a CAO choice but also put down other courses in a related area.

Be Realistic

You should also be practical about your more specialised career dreams. If you want to become a lion-tamer, then ask yourself if the employment opportunities in the area are really that good. Be sure to have a back-up plan, e.g. zoo keeping, at the ready if your first choice doesn’t work out. 

Choosing a career at this stage may seem like a bit of a risk. How are you meant to know at seventeen and eighteen which career is really the one for you? However, the good news is that people are no longer locked into one career for their rest of their lives. Sideways promotions are always an option and people increasingly change careers completely when they find that what they studied really isn’t for them. 

The important thing is to get further training, even if you are not certain what career, or even career area, is going to be the one for you. If you are really unsure, go for a general qualification in the arts or IT and specialise from there. 

And Be Curious

Education gives you options. Many people find themselves drifting into career areas that they have really no interest in and having a recognised qualification can help you avoid this quagmire. Not only will you possess fistfuls of marketable skills, but should also have gained the confidence to apply for the jobs that you really want…

 


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