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Figure out what you want a degree for.


To do this, you’ll first need to decide what kind of work you want to do once you leave the Coast Guard.  Keep in mind that to be successful in many fields you don’t have to have a degree.  For example, does an interior designer need to have a degree?  Or a master welder?  Or a home health care worker?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.  The point is, work backwards from your goal.

  • Type of work you want to do

  • training requirements to do that kind of work

  • Schools which provide that kind of training/education

This is much more productive than picking a major and degree and hoping it will help you get the kind of work you want to do or, conversely, that your preferred employer will find it useful.

How do you do this? 

If you’re not absolutely sure which occupational field is right for you, there are a number of tools that may help you figure it out. One is the College Career Workbook, available both in hard-copy format at the TraCen Education Center or on-line at DANTES's web site.

There are also various skill and interest inventories available through the Education Center.

Once you know which occupation you want to pursue, check out an underused tool: the federal Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.  This on-line publication lists hundreds and hundreds of job titles and much useful information about each.  For each job title, there’s a separate article.  All articles are organized the same way (see below), so you can easily compare jobs with different titles.

  • Significant Points

  • Nature of the Work

  • Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

  • Employment

  • Job Outlook

  • Earnings

  • Related Occupations

  • Sources of Additional Information

The section on training includes education and should answer general questions about the type and amount of training and/or education employers want people who do the job to have.


Step 1  Step 2  Step 3  Step 4  Step 5  Step 6  Step 7

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Last Modified 1/12/2016
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