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8 Steps to Choosing a Major or Program

Whether you are getting ready to start your first semester of college or you've already completed a few semesters, it is okay if you don't know exactly which major or program you want to be in.

The following eight steps will help you evaluate everything from earning potential to personal ethics, so you can choose a major or program that gives you the best personal and professional return-on-investment. After all, education is an investment in yourself, and your future self will thank you!


Step 1. Get organized!

Develop an action plan by defining and writing down your goals. Set a timeline to accomplish each task.

Step 2. Assess yourself.

Arizona Career Information System (AzCIS)

Registration

  • Go to https://portal.azcis.intocareers.org/
  • EMCC AzCIS Login:Username: estrellamcc; Password: 4azcis02
  • Click on ePortfolio > New User > Create ePortfolio
  • Create your account and select ‘Submit’

Access Assessments

  1. Access the online assessment under ‘Find Your Occupation Matches’
  2. Select ‘Interest Profiler,’ read through the directions and click on ‘Rate the Activities’ to begin
  3. Once completed, make sure to click on save at the top right hand corner to save to your portfolio
  4. Click on an area and begin exploring career information
  5. If interested, there are many other assessments you can also complete in this area
  6. To access assessments later, go to "ePortfolio" and "Sort and Assessment Results"

Step 3. Explore the possibilities.

After completing the "Interest Profiler" assessment, make an appointment with a career counselor to go over assessment results (located in the Welcome Center or call 623.935.888). Use the AZCiS to investigate careers to see which majors lead to them. Also, take advantage of resources available online to obtain additional information. Reliable online resources:

When exploring, make sure to investigate:

  • How much education is needed for your career
  • Typical task and working conditions
  • Education and training requirements
  • Salary information
  • Future job outlook

Step 4. Prepare to succeed.

Select a major that will develop the skills needed in the employment field of your interest. Some occupations, such as nursing, require a specific major while many others do not. Other professions require advanced degrees. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you make an appointment with an academic advisor to create an educational plan to get you started on your journey (Visit our Welcome Center or call 623.935.8888 to schedule and appointment). Research shows that student who are passionate for and excited about their chosen major are more likely to complete a degree.

Step 5. Make a decision.

Here’s how to approach it:

  • Review your researched careers/majors
  • Are they compatible with your interests, skill, and values?
  • Make a list of pros and cons for each option.
  • Explore the numerous websites that provide detailed career information.
  • Narrow your list to two to three careers/majors.
  • Learn about specific requirements for careers/majors.
  • Make your career choice.

 On Maricopa CareerLink, you can find jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities through our new interface that gives you access to postings, career assessments, and more! Signing up takes just a few minutes: 

  • Log on to maricopa.edu/careerlink
  • Click "Sign up" and add your profile
  • Upload your resume to apply for jobs and be seen by potential employers

Step 6. Get Experience.

Other things you may want to consider are internships, volunteering, service learning, or getting a part-time position related to the field. This will allow you to begin gaining experience and exposure to the field. Opportunities such as these can solidify the decision you are making.

Step 7. Evaluate your decision.

Make sure your choice is both realistic and a good fit for you. Do you feel comfortable with the results? Will this choice fit your lifestyle and responsibilities in 5 years? 10 years?

Step 8. Stay on target!

Set goals to keep yourself on track.

  • Define your goal: I am going to complete a degree in __________________.
  • Choose a deadline and date to finish your degree.
  • Schedule activities that will help you achieve, reinforce, and reach your target. For example, visit with an advisor to create an educational plan. Gain field experience by lining up an internship position, attaining a part-time job, or pursuing a volunteer position. Begin to build a network through informational meetings or by joining a club affiliated with your major.