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Career, Major, Area of Study – How are They Different?

In my download, “7 Tips to Selecting a College Major”, I explain that a major is NOT the same as a career. A career is what you do. A major is what prepares you to have a career. An Area of Study is a broad collection of related majors. Let’s look at how this plays into your college major decision.


Example 1: You know you want to teach third graders. That will be your career. To be qualified to teach third graders you will need a degree in elementary education so that will be your major. Elementary education is within the area of study of education.


Example 2: You know you have an interest in engineering but you don’t really know yet the specific type of engineering you want to pursue. Your area of study is engineering. Within the engineering area of study are several types of engineering majors: civil engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and chemical engineering to name some examples. You decide to major in civil engineering and you graduate with a degree in civil engineering. With that degree, you have several career options open to you that include civil engineer, structural engineer, water resource engineer, geotechnical engineer, marine engineer. The same situation is true for education, business, medical science, healthcare services, and others.


When you start college, you often don’t know precisely what kind of job or career you will want to pursue. That’s quite okay. You don’t have to select your major (“declare your major”) until the end of your sophomore year or beginning of your junior year. If however, you start college with a general idea of the field you are interested in you will be ahead of the game. You will likely be assigned a college advisor in your area of study and will be able to get first and second year classes scheduled while also having a chance to get into some lower level classes in your area. All of this keeps you on track to graduate and get into the work force.


I specialize in working with high school students to find their area of study and major for college. The Strong Interest Inventory is the leading career assessment tool and with its College Profile report is ideally suited for high school students looking to identify their college pursuit. As a Certified Strong Practitioner, I will analyze and interpret your results looking for patterns to identify the areas of interest and college majors most suitable for you.


Contact me to schedule an assessment.

Or for more information check out “7 Tips to choosing a college major.”

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