Exploring Your Career Options | Federal Student Aid

College can help you turn your passions and interests into a career.

Understanding your career goals and options (and their earning potential) will help you find a college or career school that meets your needs.

Exploring Your Career Options

Some people simply have “jobs,” while others have “careers.” What's the difference? With a career, the kind of work you do is based on your interests. It’s a path you've chosen. 

How do I find careers that match my interests and skills?

The first step to finding potential careers is to complete a self-assessment. What do you like to do?  What are your interests and abilities? Are you looking to develop new skills for your current job or for a career change?

The Career Search will help you explore careers by completing a keyword search. If you’re not sure what you want to do, the tool also has an interest profiler that will match your interests with possible careers.  

What if I’m still not sure what I want to do?

Often, students say that college led them to career paths they never imagined for themselves, or weren't even aware of. So, even if you know what courses you want to study, even if you already have a possible career in mind, stay open to new opportunities. If you’re not completely sure what career path is right for you, college or career school can help you figure it out.

Going to college and not sure what to study? Don't worry. Many colleges don’t require you to declare (choose) a major right away. And you can always change your major later on.

How can I figure out how much certain careers pay?

The Career Search provides information on the average annual salary for each career. It’s important that you understand the earning potential of a career because it will help you evaluate your school options. You want to make sure that the school you attend is affordable relative to your likely earning potential. In other words, you need to make sure that your annual salary in your new career will be high enough to cover any student loan payments you may need to make, along with covering your other living expenses, after you graduate.

I have certain careers in mind, so how do I find a college or career school?

Use the career search tool to find out how much and what type of education is required for a particular career, then use our college search tool to find schools that may meet your needs. You can search for colleges based on their type, location, and degrees and programs/majors offered.