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What do people in my educational program actually end up doing for a living?

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Answer

This is a really interesting question! If only you had a crystal ball and could see what career choices await you after finishing your educational program.

In reality, while most of us initially pick a program with a particular career in mind, many people find that, eventually, their chosen path takes a turn and they end up doing something they never would have foreseen. The more general your program of study is, the more likely this will be true.

For example, if you pursue a university degree in engineering, it’s likely you’ll work as an engineer. If you enter a college program in early childhood education, you’ll probably work with children. But what if you get a bachelor’s degree in history, math or general arts? There will be interesting work for you, no doubt, but it’s hard to predict what it will turn out to be.

The Canada Job Bank Career Tool

You can take a pretty good guess at the line of work you might end up in if you use the tools available through the Government of Canada Job Bank Career Tool. It lets you enter an academic subject and achievement level (for example, college, bachelor’s or master’s), and see results that include

  • what percentage of graduates are working in jobs related to that field of study
  • how many would choose that field of study again
  • how satisfied they are with their job security
  • what the typical (median) earnings for people with this educational background are
  • what percentages of people with this background are employed or unemployed
  • what typical wages and job titles are for people with this background

You can also see job market reports for regions across Canada, as well as a list of the varied and specific occupations that people with a particular education have ended up working in.

Information Interviews

Information interviews are another excellent way to find out what certain jobs are like “in real life.”

In an information interview, you ask the questions. First you need to find people who took the same program as you, or who work in occupations you discovered through the Career Tool. If they are willing to sit down with you for an hour to chat about their work, ask them what it’s really like to do their job. This can be a great way to get information and make decisions.

By combining information interviews, the Job Bank Career Tool and other forms of labour market information, you can begin to understand where your path may take you—and whether you’d like to stay on it or explore something new.