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The Ultimate Guide on How to Choose a Career Path

Hussain Ali

Would you believe a staggering 60 percent of Americans feel unfulfilled in their careers? Only a very small percent of people are satisfied and completely engaged in their work. With such statistics in mind, it becomes even more important to choose the right career path from the onset.

Now, if you’re like most people, the idea of choosing a career is pretty overwhelming. It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, so you need to weigh all your options and make the right one.

Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on how to choose a career path.

What Is A Career Path?

A career path consists of all the jobs or occupations that a person may have over their entire lifetime. Some people have one or two careers while others have several throughout their lives. While some careers require formal education, not all of them do.

A career path is identified using keywords associated with that career, such as a registered nurse, teacher, paramedic, or insurance agent. Say you choose to be an insurance agent, with time, as you advance your career, you may become an independent life insurance agent.

If you choose to pursue education, you may start as a teacher then move on as an assistant principal and later a principal. If you choose to pursue retail, you could start as a sales associate then advance to assistant manager, store manager, regional manager, and eventually owner.  These are career paths.

How Much Time Will You Commit to Education?

The amount of time you’ll have to devote to going to school will affect how easy it’ll be for you to pursue a particular occupation. For instance, becoming a doctor requires extensive schooling.

Not everyone can afford the time off from work/family/school obligations needed to go through with it full-time. Everyone has different circumstances that may limit how much formal education they can receive before they need to begin working full-time.

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How Much Money Will You Need to Pursue Your Goals?

With student debt at an all-time high of $1.75 trillion, you need to figure out how much education you can afford. About 43 million Americans owe an average of $39,351 each. While people may not be sure how much money they’ll need, this will eventually need to be taken care of.

It’s important for your future financial well-being and security that you know how much money you’re going to spend on school and how soon it needs to be paid off. Figure out whether you can get scholarships to pursue your career path to lessen the burden. If you can take out loans, determine how soon they need to be paid off, depending on how long your schooling will take.

Figure Out How Many Hours a Week You’ll Have to Work

For instance, working as a doctor or lawyer requires extensive schooling. That means that these occupations usually involve at least eight-hour days for several years before they’re able to begin working. These careers also require attending lectures, studying on their own time, and spending countless hours researching in the library.

Even when you start working full time, how many hours will you need to be available? Certain doctors, for instance, are almost always in the hospital full-time. Police officers may be called to work any time of day or night. Other jobs may require you to be out of town or in different countries for a time.

It’s important that you’re aware of how certain arduous jobs maybe before committing to them. If you know how many hours a week you’ll be working then, you’ll understand how it may affect your family’s lifestyle and how much free time you’ll have.

Does the Career Path Align With Your  Passions?

It’s imperative for you to love what you do every day. Some people are okay with unfulfilling careers because it allows them to live comfortably and take care of their responsibilities. Other people go through life without ever finding work they truly enjoy.

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However, having the right job and one you love and enjoy can make all the difference in how fulfilled you feel throughout your life. Still, you have to consider whether landing a job in that career path will be easy. Some people spend so much time applying to jobs after graduating because those careers are saturated and jobs are hard to come by.

How Much Emotional Distress Will Come For Your Career Path?

Consider how much emotional distress may come from working in a certain occupation. For example, doctors have all sorts of stressful encounters with patients throughout the day. On the other hand, lawyers constantly deal with tight deadlines, and their work affects how the law stands in society.

Sometimes proving guilt or innocence is not that easy, and you may have to live with the guilt of defending or imprisoning the wrong people. Gauge how well you can handle yourself in such careers. Your mental health is very important, so figure this out while looking into how to choose a career path.

How Much Will the Career Path Affect Your Self Worth?

People tend to define themselves through their jobs. You see, how well you feel about yourself can impact how you feel about your role in your family or within society. People who hate what they do every day tend to think very negatively about themselves most of the time.

They think about how different their lives would’ve been had they made a different decision and chosen another career path. If you’re currently excited about a certain career path, think about how much you may still like it five or ten years from now. Do other life goals like raising a family or traveling align with this career path?

How Much Money Will You Make?

Do more research on how much different occupations pay throughout their lifetimes and how satisfying these jobs are. Some occupations can indeed have a high starting salary but little pay growth throughout an individual’s life.

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Others have very little pay at first but, over time, become highly lucrative. For instance, working in theatre may be fulfilling, but it typically doesn’t pay well enough for most.

On the other hand, being a scientist or researcher may not be an industry that people consider “fun.” Still, it offers long-term stability through its competitive salary and generous benefits packages. Beyond that, consider whether your career path will eventually allow you to be a successful business owner so you can leave employment.

How to Choose a Career Path: The Only Guide You Need

Now that you know how to choose a career path, it is time to buckle down, choose one option, and go for it. More often than not, people consider what they think is practical or what their families want rather than choosing an industry that truly speaks to them.

There is no better feeling than working in an industry you are passionate about and one that makes you happy. For more informative and valuable guides, head over to our blog today!


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