Graduation

No Job In Your Major? No Problem!

A Guide to Some of the Best Trades to Pursue

By: Brielle Sparacino

A trade career is a great idea for graduates who decide to change their career path. (Credit: calvin.k12.ok.us)

It’s a pipe dream that upon college graduation, former students start working at a job they actually enjoy.

It’s even more rare for one to secure a job based on their major or in a career they’re passionate about before they even receive their diploma.

Sometimes, however, plans change; the four-plus years you may have put into college may have nothing to do with the career you end up falling in love with or pursuing, and that’s okay.

Changing your major is one thing, but changing your career path is another. It takes a lot of courage to essentially start from scratch, but if you’re really passionate about working with your hands, or you just want to explore a road you’ve been too afraid to travel on, a trade might be the perfect way to go.

One of the best trades for the artistic and creative individuals is cosmetology. One of the coolest things about cosmetology is the amount of career paths that fall under this umbrella, including makeup artistry, hair, esthetics, and eyebrow/body waxing.

Essentially, there’s something for everyone.

Another great aspect about cosmetology is that you don’t have to stick to one subcategory of the career; in fact, the more you learn, the more valuable you’ll be to current and future clients. You can also make your own schedule and charge your own rates.

A downside to this career is that if you aren’t able to get into the makeup artists and hair stylists union or if you choose to freelance in your abilities, you’re without necessities like health benefits, insurance or a 401k. Your workflow isn’t constant either, leaving you to make sure you’re constantly booking clients.

The creative route isn’t for everyone; you might be just the opposite and have a strong desire for order and organization. With that said, a legal assistant, otherwise known as a legal secretary or paralegal, could be the perfect choice for you.

The job of a legal assistant seems pretty mundane, but because you’d serve as administrative support to a lawyer, there are still tons of tasks you’d be assigned on a day-to-day basis. Most paralegals work in law firms, but definitely not all, so you may or may not be in a standard office.

In an article on onlinecollegeplan.com, it states that “As a legal assistant, you would be responsible for maintaining case files and putting that information into a case management system. Keep up with important dates and deadlines, helping with scheduling, and preparing care materials are all things that you would need to do.”

“ …You will also be the person in charge of keeping clients informed about their particular case. You would also be the one filing discovery requests, preparing subpoenas and summons, keeping evidence organized, and preparing exhibits for trial.”

There’s no particular degree one needs to receive in order to be a legal assistant, but attending a career training program will get you prepared for the job. Onlinecollegeplan.com states that most paralegals receive a nearly $50,000 projected annual salary, and the projection for this career shows an 8% rise.

Of course, there are still those who love and want to explore the STEM field. Luckily, the need to fill jobs in engineering, coding and software development is crucial, especially for women who want to learn more about STEM.

Jobs like a sound engineering technician don’t pay much more than $40,000, but if you enjoy music and engineering, you can combine both of your passions into a career that requires your presence at concerts and recording studios, according to an article on stemjobs.com.

Film and video editing is another job in STEM that is overlooked by many, especially if you like more of a behind-the-scenes approach in your work. Video editing requires serious tech skills, but learning the necessary components of the job is half the fun; the other half is being able to create a product that both you and your employer (if you’re working for someone else) can be proud of.

Many underestimate the amount of trades that exist today. College isn’t for everyone, and even if you have already obtained a degree from a college or university, that doesn’t mean you’ll end up using that degree right away or ever if you decide to go in another direction.

The key to success isn’t dependent on the amount of money you make or the school you attended; it’s dependent on whether or not you choose to think outside of the box and how passionate you are about things you enjoy.

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