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I made the decision to attend college and become a skilled welder. I can do this in two year. Should I go to work right after that, or continue to get my BBA in Technology Management before I enter the workforce?

#weldingcareer During the time I did my Eagle Scout Service Project, an accessible bird blind for the Trail of Hope, Lyons, NY, took some welding and blacksmith classes I took at the Rochester Arc/Flame Center, and Technology classes in High School, I learned about the emergency shortage of American skilled welders. I also learned about 100% guaranteed jobs, good pay and career. I know I’m choosing a profession where I will be employed, make a good living, and fill a need in my community. But I wonder if I should begin working right after earning my AOS in Welding Technology at Alfred State, or if I should continue to earn my Bachelors degree in Technology Management, and ensure I have better career options in my field. Thanks for helping me out! ##welding #skilled-trades #career-counseling #career

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Subject: Career question for you

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Ken’s Answer

The answer really depends upon how your personality traits relate to people in those areas and how you feel about the work that you are doing in each. The goal in a career area is to achieve some sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from what you are doing. This can only be determined by getting to know yourself better. Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Pat’s Answer

Just for a moment consider getting some real world work experience by going into the jobforce. By doing this you'll get insights into the trades, experience how your job is performed and what knowledge and skills you'll need to advance all the while earning a paycheck instead of growing your debt.
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Julie’s Answer

Hi Sean, for any continued education considerations, it is helpful to reach out to people in the industry who have established a career. You can request an informational interview from someone in a company which you are considering working for. This is a great way to get perspective on what they look for when hiring someone and whether they think further education is truly worth it.
There is some value to gaining real-world experience right after school, but completing a Bachelors degree will likely provide more long-term opportunities, in case things change in the welding industry or it doesn't end up being a good fit. Reaching out to professionals already in the career you are seeking is a great way to begin networking and understanding what companies expect when hiring. They can share their experience and provide insight that can't always be taught at school.

Julie recommends the following next steps:

Seek out a few companies you would like to work for in the future and set up informational interview(s) - either through your current teachers' connections, LinkedIn searches, or job postings
Treat the informational interview as a chance to ask any questions about skills or experience they are looking for, as well as what a day in the life might look like. This is the best chance for you to gather insight so you can prepare for where to start your career
Build a rapport with that contact so you can reach out again in the future if you find yourself with more questions. You can also ask if they would be willing to be a mentor in some form, but also be respectful that they may not be able to make a commitment for the time.
Follow up with a thank you note to say you appreciate their time and to acknowledge the value they provided
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