Choosing a career isn’t easy: Some tips for making an informed choice

"What do I want to do in life?" That is the existential question you've likely asked yourself many times since high school. You had to choose the right courses to be accepted into the program you wanted. All those choices could define your career and even the rest of your life! The choice of career is one that weighs heavy, as it will determine your happiness. To be happy, you need to be doing what you like. But can you earn a living from it? In addition to weighing your values and aspirations, below are some tips to help you make the right choice.

Inquire about salary

Since money is a necessary evil, it's not surprising that the choice of career reflects this important factor. What fields pay the best? Science, technology, engineering and mathematics pay more (23.9% more for men with a bachelor's degree and 11.5% more for women with bachelor's degrees) than health, the arts, commerce, humanities, education and social sciences. That does not mean that those fields do not pay well. For example, nursing offers an attractive salary for young people with a bachelor’s degree, with median annual salaries of $75,245 for a full-time job.Footnote 1

Consider labour market opportunities

Even though we naturally give preference to something we like, considering opportunities can be beneficial. In today's aging society, we are witnessing a large demand for skills in the health care field, but there are also opportunities in other fields, particularly professional, scientific and technical services; corporate and business management; wholesale trade; administrative and support, waste management and remediation services; and finance and insurance.Footnote 2

Examine your need for balance

Flexibility is a factor to consider for those seeking work–life balance. If this applies to you, here are some questions to ask yourself: Does the job you want require shift work? Is it suitable for telework? Are you prepared to work overtime on a regular basis or without notice?

Talk to people in the field

Do you want to be an occupational therapist, psychologist, journalist, sound technician, electrician or firefighter? There's nothing better than talking to people in the trade or profession you're after to get a better idea of what your days will be like. Some work environments have "open houses" for students, which are excellent opportunities to learn more.

Also read: Choosing a career isn't easy: What do the numbers say?

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