Senior year rolls around, causing students to swell with anticipation. But anxiety also gets the best of them as they realize obtaining a career is the next achievement waiting to be accomplished post-graduation.
Finding a suitable place of employment is a job for Career Services, located on the second floor of Mabee Student Center.
Director of Career Services Don Owens described the job market.
“Certainly the national picture is still double digit as far as unemployment,” he said. “Texas is (in) a little better shape than the nation, maybe close to 8.5, but it is still rather high for our state.”
The unemployment rate for workers with college degrees was 4.6 percent in 2009. The rate for workers without a high school diploma was 10 points higher in 2009 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Owens believes job opportunities are available, but students must be proactive in searching for openings in areas where they would not generally look. He encourages students to network as well.
Owens said at times the media’s portrayal of a harsh job market causes some students to end job searching, neglect attending job fairs and flee to graduate school. Because of this, Owens and other career centers across the nation fear people with graduate degrees will flood the job market, making the master’s degree what the bachelor’s is now.
For now, a bachelor’s degree is still better than having no degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings of those with bachelor’s degrees were $1,137, which is 1.8 times the average amount for workers with only a high school diploma.
Accounting, finance, computer science, information systems, health occupations and the sciences were distinguished as strong fields in the market, and liberal arts and social sciences as weaker employment areas.
Owens thinks that most students are taking steps toward their career.
“I’ve sensed that a little more proactive of students are being concerned a little earlier,” he said. “I still think Career Services is somewhat the best-kept secret on campus.”
Senior elementary education major Rebecca Widmer has visited Career Services, but not for a job. However, she is aware of its resources.
Widmer debated going to graduate school, but it is not high on her list.
“I know … in the education world there is a lot of high demand for a lot of teachers … especially in Texas, so I’m not super worried about being able to find a job,” she said. “But I know it’s not going to be as easy as cake.”
Christian ministry major Brianna Edwards plans to be a missionary, which requires her to attend seminary. She’s looking into various seminaries and plans to get her emergency medical technician license.
“If I’m called to go over to some overseas missions in a closed country, I can go under with medical missions,” she said.
Currently, Edwards is experimenting with the idea of passionate faith.
“God and I have been sorting that out … to where I can live out passionately without worrying about my future,” she said.
Edwards has met many people who have led her to missions, and she knows others attending seminaries.
“Definitely networking amongst UMHB students and faculty is a huge benefit when it comes to your future,” she said.
Senior psychology major Randy McSwain looked into different seminaries and graduate school. He explained why he believes social science careers are struggling in the job market.
“At times, social sciences can be easier to people, but I think the reason why people don’t have a better income or not getting jobs is because they do social sciences and don’t have a passion behind it,” he said.
McSwain thinks that those whose hearts are truly in social science will find jobs.
“It’s a new step, but it’s nothing to worry about. God orders everything that happens.”