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Choosing a Degree or Certificate

(Choosing a Major)

You may be starting college with only a vague idea of what to choose as a major (i.e., degree or certificate) and what to do as a career. If you do select a major early on, you may find that your choice of major will change as you take courses. That’s OK! 

However, if you have a specific area of study that you know you enjoy, declaring a major gives you a goal, keeps you focused and motivates you to study.

Major vs. Career

Your choice of major should reflect a field of study in which you have a genuine and enduring interest. Use the education you get to develop a career that gives you satisfaction.

Many careers in occupational fields don't require specific majors, so you don't have to choose a career that matches your major.

When deciding on a career or major:

  • Investigate what skills you will learn in specific fields of study and how they will apply to the career choices you might make later.
  • Find something you enjoy doing, and don’t put excessive emphasis on salary and prestige.
  • Consider your own talents and interests, rather than letting career fads or courses rumored to be easy dictate your choice.
  • Follow your passion; learn what you love to do and go for it.

Choosing a Program of Study

Your program of study should reflect an area in which you have a genuine and enduring interest. Developing skills and knowledge in your program of study is the foundation for your career path. 

If you have a specific area of study that you know you enjoy, declaring a program of study connects you with a dedicated PCC academic advisor, gives you a goal, keeps you focused and motivates you to study.

PCC counselors can help you explore and choose a program of study that works for you.  

Other Avenues for Exploring

There are lots of ways to explore your interests and gain experiences that can help you make a decision. Here are some suggestions:

Career Counseling

Take advantage of PCC’s resources to identify and gain insight into your interests, skills, values, personality and other factors that help you choose a major and set career goals.

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions can help you find interesting and exciting careers and majors. Here's how to do the research:

  • If you plan to transfer to a university, look at its upper-division (300 and 400 course numbers) courses and descriptions.
  • For occupational programs, look at PCC courses above the introductory level.

Other Avenues for Exploring

  • Research several career possibilities and academic majors.
  • Participate in student organizations or volunteer at agencies linked to a major in which you're interested.
  • Shadow someone in your career interest.

Contact Career Counseling

Fill out our contact form

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