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California State University, Long Beach
Student receiving Career advise on choosing a Major

Choosing a Major or Career

Choosing a Major is Not Always the Same as Choosing a Career

While some careers require a specific undergraduate major, many do not. Nursing and engineering are examples of careers which require a specific undergraduate major. Other majors can significantly increase your likelihood of entering a career field. Journalism, social work, and accounting are examples of such degrees. Meanwhile, a degree in Liberal Arts might take you in several directions. A College Placement Council study found that many college graduates are successfully employed in fields not directly related to their academic major.

You can begin exploring the connection between majors and careers right here. Find a general description of the major, careers, career options, typical employers, and salary and employment outlook information at Careers Related to CSULB Degrees .

If you know what you'd like to study, but aren't sure what careers a given major will prepare you for, check out What can I do with this major?

With this information, you may be ready to declare your major. Or, you may want to make an appointment for Career Counseling for guidance through decision PROCESS by a professional counselor.

My Next Move

My Next Move

  • Research careers, preparation and salary advice, all in one location. My Next Move is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Center for O*NET Development.

Major or Career Decision Process

The following steps provide a systematic process for clarifying career goals and deciding on a major or a career. Following these steps can help you identify a major you'd like to study or occupations in which there is a high probability for success and satisfaction. You move through the process when you are ready to do so, and you may move back and forth between steps at any given time.

The PROCESS involves:

STEP 1: Personal Assessment

  • Identify skills, interests, values and other factors that will influence your decision.
  • Take vocational assessments and have results interpreted by a career counselor.
  • Seek help from the Career Development Center (CDC).

Consider using the following CDC services for Step 1:
Individual career counseling and vocational assessments, Choices computer career guidance program (Assessments: Learn About Yourself section), EUREKA computer guidance program (MicroSkills or Occ-U-Sort section).

STEP 2: Research Careers/Majors

  • Use the CDC's Career Resource Library to research careers/majors
  • Conduct informational interviews
  • Obtain related/internship experience
  • Conduct internet search on careers
  • Learn about job requirements, employment trends, selection of appropriate major

The following CDC services will help you with STEP 2:
Explore Choices (Occupations with Post-Secondary Schools section) and Eureka (Occupations section), visit CDC Career Resource Library, attend job fairs, obtain a Major/Career Profile from CDC, research internships (paid or unpaid).

STEP 3: Organize Your Findings

  • Organize personal assessment and career/major research information
  • Develop systematic approach for analyzing data
  • Discuss findings with career counselor

The following services can be of assistance in Step 3:
Schedule an appointment with a career counselor, visit the CDC Career Resource Library, and/or consult with department academic advisor.

STEP 4: Clarify Options

  • Weigh the information
  • Identify alternatives that offer the best positive outcome
  • Conduct additional research as needed
  • Change, add, delete information if necessary
  • Develop a short list of possible careers

Use the following CDC services and resources: Step 4:
Visit CDC Career Resource Library and Internship Program Office, attend CDC sponsored job fairs, conduct informational interviews, meet with a career counselor, use the computerized guidance programs: Eureka, Choices, and/or Bridges.

STEP 5: Evaluate Information

  • Focus attention on short list of possible careers
  • Evaluate and consider possible outcome, consequences and probability
  • May need to revise, modify or redirect

STEP 6: Select Career/Major Option(s)

  • Select a primary and secondary career option
  • Selection is based on what career is best suited for you at this time in your life
  • Maintain an open mind to new and changing factors that may impact your career choices
  • Seek help from a career counselor
  • Remember: What you decide today will probably not be your lifelong career; it's just the beginning

STEP 7: Set into Motion (take action)

  • Develop and implement a plan or strategy for attaining your goal
  • Meet with a career counselor
  • Set timelines
  • Obtain appropriate education/training
  • Build resume and develop interviewing skills
  • Obtain employment, i.e. internship, part-time, volunteer or full-time
  • Use placement services of CDC, i.e. On-Campus Interviews (OCI), Internship Program, Student Employment
  • Attend CDC workshops on resume writing, interviewing, conducting a job search and/or applying for graduate school
  • Join student and/or professional organization(s)
  • Identify a mentor
  • Periodically re-evaluate your career decision