Higher education and your career
Your choice of career might be a key factor in deciding whether to go into higher education and what course to take. Look at the different options available, and focus on what you think is best for your future.
Research your career
Before making any career decisions you should research the following areas to ensure you make a successful career choice:
- skills and entry requirements
- options with your subjects/qualifications
- are there jobs in the area you are considering
- employment trends – where the jobs are now and likely to be in the future
- vacancies that employers find hard to fill
- where jobs are advertised
Higher education and your career prospects
Higher education develops qualities that are valued by employers, such as problem-solving and communication skills. Doing a higher education course could give you an edge in the fast-changing world of employment. And on average, people with a higher education qualification tend to earn more over their working life that those without. A higher education qualification is necessary for some careers - such as medicine, dentistry, chartered engineering and architecture. For some professions - like law or speech therapy- you will need an additional postgraduate qualification before you can practise.
Exploring your career options
If you decide to go on to higher education you need to make sure the course you take best suits what you want to do with your life. If you’re thinking of applying to university or college, now might be a good time to take another look at your career options. There’s advice available if you need help making up your mind.Careers Service Northern Ireland, is an all age Careers Service offering free impartial information, advice and guidance to young people and adults.
- Careers Service NI (contacts section)
- Planning a career (employment section)
- Finding a career that's right for you (young people section)
Choosing a course to suit your career plans
Going into higher education can open up new career options, and choosing which course and career is right for you can be an exciting process. It’s an opportunity to look at what kind of person you are, what kind of life you want and how you can achieve your goals in the real world.
Changing your career direction through higher education
Higher education isn’t just for traditional ‘high flyers’ with lots of academic qualifications. Whatever you’ve been doing in your working life, a higher education course could give you the skills and recognition you need to begin a new and rewarding career. And you may be able to get on a higher education course even if you’re lacking formal qualifications. Universities and colleges may take your work experience into account if you apply to do an Access course, a foundation course or foundation year.
- Returning to learning
- Routes into university and higher education
- Changing career (employment section)
Finding out more about graduate careers
If you have decided on, or are thinking about, a particular higher education course, you may want to:explore the graduate job market in your chosen field and find out about salaries for particular jobs