Note: This is the 2nd part of a 4-part article series created to help you decide on what type of natural therapy course you take, taking into account what type of natural therapist you want to be. You can check out Part 1 about diploma courses here.
University life is a prelude to an exciting world of career opportunities. It begins with finding a course that corresponds to your interests and career goals. There are different types of college degrees; each comes with its own prerequisites and expected time for completion. Whether you're fresh out of high school or thinking of taking further studies to enhance your professional career, you can find all the answers to your questions about a college degree in this article.
What is a Degree?
A degree program focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of a specific field of study to prepare the student for the industry they're eyeing to enter, not just a particular job. It covers general education classes in addition to the subjects specific to the student's course of study. Simply put, it doesn't matter if you're taking a course in business, education or complementary medicine in that all of these programs offer classes in social sciences, math, humanities and English.
A degree takes three to four years to complete and consists of lectures, assessments and on-the-job training. Students may opt for on-campus learning or enrol in online courses, depending on their preferred learning environment and education goals. If there's one thing anyone who's aiming for this level of qualification can expect, it's better career prospects.
What are the Requirements for a Degree?
To gain admission into a college degree program, you must have completed Year 12 or a diploma qualification at an accredited learning institution. You must also exhibit proficiency in English, both written and spoken. Some courses may require you to meet certain grade requirements or have relevant work experience, so it would be best to contact the school of your choice and get a complete list of their entry requirements.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Degree?
Earning a college degree takes time, patience and hard work. But the rewards you can enjoy afterwards outweigh the challenges you're likely to face in school. One of the things that give degree holders an edge over other candidates in the job market is the fact that the majority of companies want people who have a bachelor's degree or higher. Here are other benefits to completing a degree course:
- Acquire industry-ready skills
- Increase your chances of landing your dream job
- Make yourself more marketable, especially in fast-growing industries like healthcare, education and engineering
- Earn a higher salary
- Access network opportunities to build your future career
- Open the door to advanced studies
Turning to the disadvantages of taking a degree course, you're likely to encounter two. First, it takes years to complete. Second, it's expensive. Most degree students manage to pull it off with student loans, scholarship programs or flexible payment schemes.
What are the Different Types of Degrees?
Before embarking on your educational journey, it pays to understand the types of college degrees that you can pursue to get to your career goals. Under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), a student may proceed to the next degree level after having completed the first one.
An undergraduate degree is the first step that all university students must pass before they can proceed to a higher education pathway. Depending on what you're majoring in, your duration of study can last three or four years. There are two types of undergraduate degrees - a bachelor's degree and an associate degree. The first is more comprehensive and takes roughly four years to complete. The second is a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree and can be completed in a matter of two years.
Once you have completed your undergraduate qualification, you can go and join the workforce or enter grad school. Graduate school refers to postgraduate courses a college student can undertake to build on the knowledge and skills they gained from their four-year degree in the hope of being more competent in the workplace.
A master's degree is a type of postgraduate course that takes 1.5 years to 2 years to complete. Earning this advanced level of qualification allows students to compete for lucrative jobs that pay more than those that only require a bachelor's degree.
Now, if your goal goes beyond building a nest egg and centres more on becoming one of the industry leaders who plays a pivotal role in academic research, then you'll definitely want to work towards a doctoral degree or PhD, which is the highest level of degree study. A PhD can take four years to complete, so if you're dead set on completing this qualification, you need to work on a timetable starting with your bachelor's degree.
What Career Paths Can You Pursue With a Degree?
Earning a degree at university will lead to a wide range of career opportunities irrespective of industry. If you're considering a career in the area of complementary medicine, for instance, you'll want to look into courses that align with your interests as this field of study has a broad scope. Here's a list of career options for aspiring natural therapists with a university qualification:
- Art therapist
- TCM practitioner
How do You Choose a Degree Course?
Because you'll be spending a lot of time, money and effort in your choice of degree program, see to it that it's something you really want to do. Take the time to weigh all of your options and visualise how you can use your qualification in your future career. If you have many interests but aren't sure which specific pathway will get you to your goals, you may opt for a generalist degree, which covers a wide range of disciplines, or consult a career adviser at your school of choice to help you decide between a wide range of undergraduate courses.
Where you choose to study is just as important as the course you plan to take. Don't settle for what's currently available because you might be missing out on the best. To ensure that you get the most out of your university experience, find yourself a school that aligns with your needs and goals. If you want to be a full-time student and study on-campus, make sure that the school you enrol in is equipped with the facilities to support your education.
On the other hand, if you're like most online students, who work 9-to-5 jobs or are busy running the household during the day, taking a part-time course through distance education will benefit you loads. Not only does it let you fit your study time around your schedule, but it also allows you to learn at your own pace with zero pressure.
Other than the learning platforms, you also want to ask the course provider if they offer student loans or easy payment plans to assist you in paying your course fees. Many schools offer flexible payment terms to ensure everyone, regardless of financial background, who wishes to study with them can do so without a hitch.
The thought of pursuing a college degree can bring about feelings of uncertainty, but having a list of the important things to consider on hand makes the whole process easier and less scary. You can go over the list of Australia's accredited universities and colleges on the Natural Therapy Pages to find out which of them offers your preferred degree program. You can also check out the how-to guides to learn more about each course until you get to the one that's most suitable for your needs and career goals.