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Make a Wise Career Choice

By: Gary Wixom
Assistant Commissioner for Career and Technical Education
Utah System of Higher Education

There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are finally seeing the end of the “great recession”. Although the U.S. unemployment rate remains high, it dropped by 0.2 percentage points in January to 8.3 percent and there are some positive signs that the economy is getting stronger. Here in Utah the unemployment rate is 2 percent lower than the national figure and we ended the 2011 year with a rate of 6 percent. This lower percent is good news, but here are some interesting facts about the unemployment rate here in Utah.


Did you know that?

  • 10.7 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds with a high school degree are unemployed.
  • 4.9 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds with a bachelor’s degree are unemployed.

But only

  • 3.2 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds with an associate degree are unemployed.

Obtaining a skill after graduating from high school has never been as important as it is today. At least 66 percent of jobs in Utah will require more than a high school diploma by 2018. We know that there will be a skill shortage in many areas unless more students make the transition between high school graduation and postsecondary training. Here are some of the jobs that are growing the most here in Utah.

  • Accountants
  • Allied health occupations
  • Automotive service technicians and mechanics
  • Computer support specialists
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Manufacturing
  • Registered nurses
  • Transportation and distribution

Obtaining additional skill training after high school results in a higher salary and helps to ensure a steady job during difficult economic times. By choosing the right major you maximize your return on your effort. Not everyone must choose a major with a high salary at the other end, but being informed about where your choice of major is leading you is important. Here are two websites and an article that will give you some information that will help you make a wise career choice: UtahFutures.org, CampaignForYoungAmerica.org, and College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings.

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