Not sure what you want to be? Research can help you decide.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s good to have a clear sense of your career goals before you start college. But what if you’re interested in many things? Or aren’t sure what you want to do? ThreeSixty reporter Sinthia Turcios shows how to get good information to guide your decision.

When people ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I tell them maybe a journalist, a chef or a nurse. I know I can’t be all of them, but each appeals to me in a different way.

I love writing, and as a journalist I would be able to write stories about things I believe are important, meet new people and go new places. I have always loved cooking and tasting new foods, and as a chef I would work and get paid for doing something I love. Being a nurse appealed to me because I believe I could do the job, and the pay looks good.

I also want a job that will still exist years from now. If I’m going to spend a lot of time and money on college, I want to be sure I can get a good job when I finish. So when I began hearing that nursing is always stable, my interest grew.

Sinthia Turcios investigates whether
or not becoming a nurse would be
a good career choice for her.

I checked out information from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows the jobs that are going to grow the most through 2018. They are: Registered nurses, home health aides, accountants, elementary school teachers, computer software engineers, medical assistants and construction laborers, among others.

My next step was to find out what I would have to do to become a nurse and what the job involves.

I found out that RNs can choose from three different training paths: a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing, a two-year associate’s degree in nursing or a three-year diploma – which isn’t available in Minnesota.

I liked the idea of a two-year degree from a community college because I wouldn’t have to pay as much as for a four-year school. When I visited Sarah Hover, the director of the Career and Employment Center at Inver Hills Community College, she explained, “Nurses with bachelors are able to get higher positions and pay than someone who only has an associate’s because of the amount of knowledge and practice.”

Nurses with two-year degrees will usually earn between $19.55- $25.06 an hour, she said, while nurses with four-year degrees will earn from $20.93-$27.32.

THINKSPOT: What jobs appeal to you? How could you find out more about them and see if they are a good fit for you?

Hover told me about another option: After working for the same hospital for a few years, the hospital “may pay for school if you have a two-year degree and want to go back to college to obtain a four-year degree.”

She added that some hospitals might prefer to hire nurses with less training because they’re cheaper, and experienced nurses can train them.

That sounded promising, so I asked another admissions counselor how many nurses are graduating and whether they’re finding jobs.

Casey Carmody, who also works at Inver Hills Community College, told me, “There are more people going into nursing because there’s the assurance of jobs in the future.”

The aging population is one reason. With the recession, many people are changing their majors or are going back to school. Schools have been putting out more nurses to meet the growing demand.

But that doesn’t mean jobs are guaranteed. I did some more reading and found out that Minnesota may be producing more nurses than it will need and that every state except Nevada and Alaska would have excess of RNs in the next five years.

Because of that, many nurses now have difficulty finding a job or must work part-time. Hover said the number of part-time nurses has to do with “how the economy is at the moment and personal needs.”

Some people prefer to work part-time, but the pay is less and they may not have medical coverage.

The more I learned about the job, the less certain I felt that it would be good for me. Nursing is for people who really care for others and don’t mind cleaning up their messes, giving them medication like shots, checking their progress, and working at hospitals or doctor’s offices.

I don’t like hospitals. And I’m scared of needles. I guess the good pay just doesn’t cut it for me.

I’m not sure exactly what I want to be, and I realized that I don’t have to do one thing forever. I might be a journalist and later own my own restaurant. However, I know now that a nursing career is just not a match for me, and I’m really glad I took the time to check it out.

My best tip for teens is to choose something you love to do, not something that pays you the most. I would highly recommend doing some research of your own about careers you’re thinking about.

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