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Choosing the right major :(

I'm currently having a crisis about choosing a college major. I'm a 30-year-old female who moved to the United States 7 years ago, and English is my second language. I work full-time at a large hospital as a transporter, and prior to that, I worked as a patient care technician with a CNA certification. My gpa is 3.9. I'm afraid I will choose the wrong major and also really tired about thinking about it.

I'm torn between three majors: respiratory care, nursing, and radiologic technology.

While working as a patient care tech, I realized that nursing is a very stressful job, and I kind of gave up on pursuing it. However, I know that it comes with decent salary that's why I still think about it, but it is at the end of my list.

I just applied to a Respiratory Care (BAS) program and got accepted. I like the idea of Respiratory Care because it offers more specialization than nursing, but I am not sure %100.

Radiologic Technology is also great option, but the rumors of AI potentially replacing the jobs in the field makes me think twice. Also, I sometimes feel very self-conscious about my accent. Since Radiologic Technology requires less direct patient interaction, it seems like a good option.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Emma !

Thank you for reaching out to us about figuring out the career plan that would be best for you. Considering everything you've said quite eloquently, it sounds as though the nursing and the Radiology are sort of something that you've not only observed first hand but gained knowledge about and that is good that you've been around it to know and see for yourself. The way it seems is that the Respiratory Therapy field may be the winner for you. And the best thing is that you've already been accepted for the program.

I would wholeheartedly encourage you to follow through with the Respiratory Therapy program. You may be tired of thinking about all of this because you're not yet involved in the program so up till now, it's all a lot of thinking and wondering. Once the program begins, you will feel different. You will be focusing your attention on this new skill. It's a blessing that you work in a hospital already because you have had the opportunity to frequently observe the activity and when you complete the Respiratory Therapy program, maybe there are settings other than hospitals that are places you can work at. Maybe a smaller or different hospital for your lab work.

Do not try to predict how things will go. Try to live in the moment. Your grades are very good. As for your accent, just know that native English speakers are so familiar with hearing hundreds of accents from all over the world everyday. It's not unusual or anything negative or cause to worry about. It's rather a wonderful thing that everyone sounds different. It is not a matter of concern for native speakers, so rest assured that you are not alone and that an accent is very usual in the U.S., even among American born people in the South, East, West and Mid West regions. I believe that most people do not think twice about it. What you have to say is extremely important.

Right now is the time to prepare for that Respiratory Therapy program. Get things together for that and know that you have chosen a very interesting, viable and gainful career that will directly help many people. It's important for you to relax now and start your goals. You have a lot in your favor and are sure to be a success in your career. Enjoy each day as it comes !

I hope that this is reassuring and that you come to a decision that is best for you, without worry, with all the successful achievements coming your way !
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Michelle. Emma
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Emma ! Michelle M.
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Maureen’s Answer

Emma,
In both respiratory and radiologic care, there is patient interaction. In radiology, you need to provide patients with instructions when taking X-rays, performing an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. In respiratory care, there is a fair amount of instruction and teaching to patients with oxygen therapy, sleep equipment, treatments, etc.

AI is a somewhat long way from taking over the medical field, we still need people to analyze AI's activities to assure that its answers and conclusions are the correct ones.

P.S. I usually write these answers myself as the AI statements sound very robotic and not what "real people" would say.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Maureen for the advice. Emma
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Kim’s Answer

Hi Emma!

I have observed, in the medical field especially, there are a lot of people from other countries. Yes, they speak with accents. But that doesn't make them any less knowledgeable. Since you seem conscientious about your accent, I encourage you to try to find more opportunities to speak! There is an organization called Toastmasters where people go to practice public speaking. Please try to fit it into your schedule! Also perhaps find ways to interact with people on a more conversational level. Learning some of the American sayings, things that are more cultural vs. true language, might help you feel more at home.

As a police officer, I found a lot of confidence in the uniform. That is, people expected me to be able to solve all the problems, and didn't question me. I believe the same is true in the medical field. So, again, don't worry! Also, as an officer, there were areas where I was weak. Rather than avoiding them, I faced them head-on, looking for more opportunities to strengthen those skills. I encourage you to do the same. Avoiding things we find unpleasant stands in the way of professional growth.

Finally, ALL jobs have some aspect that we find unpleasant. There's no such thing as the perfect job. But, at this point, I have to say, I would also recommend staying with the RT program. Also, congrats on being accepted into that program!!

Best of luck to you!!

Kim
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Emma
Thank you comment icon you're welcome! p.s. I think Patient Transporter is an excellent position, and, when I worked in job placement, was one I often recommended to people looking for an entry into healthcare. I hope you find opportunities to have conversation with the patients! Kim Igleheart
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Joanna Rose’s Answer

Hello Emma,

Choosing the right major involves considering your interests, career goals, job market trends, and academic strengths. It's important to pick a field you enjoy and can excel in, while also offering good career prospects.
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Megan’s Answer

Hi Emma,

I agree with the other comments.

AI is a long way away and I do not think it will replace people in the jobs you are interested in.

Lots of people in health care are foreign/have accents it is no big deal! Own your accent! It makes you awesome.

I think Onet is a helpful resource to look at because it shows you about careers and expected salaries in the area you like.
Here is the link for respiratory therapists- https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1126.00
Here is the link for radiological thech-https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2034.00

I hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Megan! Emma
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