Tech Talk: Career Cruising, Part 4 – Education

This is the fourth post in a series delving into the various aspects of the Career Cruising database available through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Digital Library. Read all posts here.

In Career Cruising, the education tab lets you research your post-secondary education path from finding majors and the right school to how to best utilize your four years of high school in order to prepare for college. It contains comprehensive information about schools and provides links to their websites. It’s a perfect one-stop-shop for your college research.

The first feature under the education tab lets you explore colleges and majors. You can search colleges by state or by major.

For Louisiana, the list includes 114 schools, which includes every kind of post-secondary school from career colleges and beauty schools to universities offering graduate degrees.

If you already know what you want to major in and want to find out which schools offer your field, you can search by major. For example, if you want to major in kinesiology or exercise science and want to find a school in Louisiana, these are your choices.

If you want to expand your search to other states, you can easily adjust the search filters.

The next feature lets you compare up to three schools side by side. It compares almost every statistic available for educational institutions. You can compare size, cost, average financial aid packages, which majors are offered, which NCAA sports teams are fielded, and, of course, admissions requirements.

If you have a number of requirements for your college and wonder which schools satisfy all of them, use the School Selector tool. Here you can choose different parameters, such as: public or private school, city, suburban, small town or rural setting, school size, admission difficulty, tuition, athletics, majors offered, and campus services. You can combine any of these criteria and see what’s possible. If it exists, Career Cruising will tell you where.

Last but not least, Career Cruising offers a planning timeline for college admissions. In a detailed description, the database describes which steps toward college choice and admission you should take during which year of high school.

As it did for occupational information, Career Cruising contains an incredible amount of data and information about post-secondary education and institutions. It is an easy-to-use tool for exploration, either to browse “what’s out there” or to do a targeted college or major search. If you are in the market for a college education, Career Cruising should be your go-to site for research.

This resource is free to you with a valid EBRPL library card through its Digital Library.

Written by Anne Nowak

Note: This article was originally published in October 2017. It has been reposted here, with updates, in order to reach a new audience.

Tech Talk: Career Cruising, Part 3 – Careers

This is the third post in a series delving into various aspects of the Career Cruising database available through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Digital Library.  Read all posts here.

This post will be a more in-depth discussion of the careers feature.  The careers tab contains exhaustive information about a large number of occupations. The information is displayed in a very user-friendly way and serves as a great starting point for your career exploration.

You can search occupations in five different ways, either alphabetically, by school subject, career cluster, industry, or using the career selector. The most innovative tool is definitely the career selector. Here you can narrow down your career choice with several parameters: school subject, career cluster, type of education, core tasks, earnings, and working conditions.

My parameters were:

  • school subject – English
  • career cluster – business management and administration
  • type of education – 4-year degree; core tasks – Artistic Expression, Building or Creating Things, Organizing People and Planning Work Activities, Writing
  • earnings – 60,000 or more per year

And these are the matches the career selector found:

It’s fun to play with and see how the results change when you adjust the parameters.

Another interesting way to search is by school subject. Let’s see what the options are if our favorite subject is English and we don’t plan to go to college. There are twenty-seven results.

Each of the occupations is clickable and will lead to in-depth information about the respective occupation. Let’s choose court clerk:

For each occupation you will get two video interviews with people doing that particular job. There is information about typical salaries, the necessary education and qualifications, a sample career path, and links to the respective professional organizations. Another useful feature is the link to closely related careers. For court clerk, Career Cruising considers the following to be related careers.

This is a great tool for people in the career discovery stage as you get a lot of information about careers in a certain area of interest that you might not have thought about otherwise.

Last but not least, you can get great information about all the different military careers that are available in the different branches of the armed forces.

We chose to search by job family, but you can also look alphabetically or by service branch. If you click on a certain job family, it will display the different occupations within, tell you if they are officer or enlisted paths, give you a description of job content, and also show you closely related civilian careers.

Overall, this database can give you comprehensive occupational information presented in a very user-friendly and intuitive way. We highly recommend it as a starting point for anybody who is considering his or her career path regardless of age, education level, and career stage. This resource is free to you with a valid EBRPL library card through the Digital Library.

Written by Anne Nowak.

Note: This article was originally published in August 2017. It has been reposted here, with updates, in order to reach a new audience.

Tech Talk: Career Cruising, Part 2 – Assessments

This is the second post in a series delving into the various aspects of the Career Cruising database available through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Digital Library. Read all posts here.

The first step to any career decision is self-knowledge. You need to know what you want in order to pursue it. Assessments can be a useful first step to help you figure out what career you want to pursue. Career Cruising offers two assessments, the Matchmaker & My Skills and the Learning Styles Inventory.  Before you start your assessments, you will have to create a free account with Career Cruising.

The Matchmaker assesses your interest in certain common work activities. It is very intuitive. You will be presented a number of questions about common occupational tasks, and you choose the answer that applies most: dislike very much; dislike; does not matter; like; like very much.

Before you start you are also asked to indicate the level of education you aspire to or already have. The database will present you only with jobs that match your interests and the indicated education level.

After you finish answering the questions, Career Cruising will present you with a list of occupations that match your indicated interests.

At this point you could change the level of education to see what matching careers would be available with a different degree of education.

You can stop here and explore the indicated careers further by clicking on the link to get to in-depth information about each respective career. Or you can continue the assessment, which now changes scope and asks about the skills most commonly associated with your matching careers. You again answer the questions on a five point scale: highly skilled; skilled; have some skill; don’t have this skill; can’t answer this.

The results of the skills assessment will be incorporated with the results of the interest assessment and shows if you have the skills most commonly associated with those careers. Now, it is important to note that this skills assessment depends on your self-reported answers. Therefore it is not an objective overview of your skills.

Now you can see if you already have the major skills needed for the careers you are interested in. This serves as great input for further research.

The second assessment, the Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) will show you how you best process information. There are three types of learning or ways of processing information: visual (looking at information, graphs, images, etc); auditory (listening to information); and tactile (hands-on learning). Most people prefer one way of learning over the others. This information can be especially useful for students who are still contemplating their further education and career path.

Both assessments are a good start for your career exploration. They are intuitive and quick to take and will lead you to more information about matching careers.

The Career Cruising database can be accessed through the EBRPL Digital Library.

Written by Anne Nowak.

Note: This article was originally published in June 2017. It has been re-posted here with updates in order to reach a new audience.

Tech Talk: Career Cruising, Part 1

This is the first post in a series delving into the various aspects of the Career Cruising database available through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Digital Library. Read all posts here.

Career Cruising is a database that’s a very user-friendly one-stop-shop for all things related to college, career, and job search information. All you need is an East Baton Rouge Parish Library card and a computer with internet connection. Want to find out which university in your area offers a criminal justice major? Career Cruising can do that for you. Want to find careers that don’t need a 4-year degree but pay more than $60,000 a year? Career Cruising can do that (it identifies 20 occupations for these criteria, among them commercial driver, energy auditor, landman, and mortgage broker). Want to know exactly what an actuary does and what it takes to become one? Yes, Career Cruising has that information too. Need to find scholarships to pay for college? Again, check Career Cruising.

You can access the database through the EBRPL Digital Library, which will take you to the Career Cruising home page.

Career Cruising presents ample information divided into five tabs: Assessments, Careers, Education, Financial Aid, and Employment.

You can browse all information without creating an account (except for the assessments and the resume builder — for those you will need an account). While you can use most functions without an account, the database will not save any of your activities and you will have to start over the next time you access Career Cruising. It’s better to create a “My Plan” account with Career Cruising to save your assessments, education plans, and searches. This way you can come back, view your earlier activity, and continue where you left off at any time.

Now you are ready to plan your college or career journey. Not sure about your skills and interests? Start with an assessment. You can take the “Matchmaker & My Skills,” which assesses your interests and matches them with occupations, or the “Learning Styles Inventory,” which measures how you learn best and retain information most efficiently — valuable information for planning your further education.

You can either use your assessment results to research matching careers or skip assessments and jump into the careers tab right away. The careers section is such a treasure trove of easily accessible information that we will explore it in more depth in a future post. For now, here is an overview of the kind of information you can search for.

You can search for occupations alphabetically or by school subject, which will present you with careers related to your favorite school subject. You can also look at occupations by career cluster and by industries, and there is a separate section with explanations of military careers. Additionally, the Career Selector is a tool that lets you choose specific criteria, such as salary, core tasks, and education level, and matches those to occupations that fit your criteria.

The education section is also a one-stop-shop. You can search for universities by region or by major. You can conduct side-by-side comparisons of schools in terms of majors, size, cost, etc. And the database can give you a planning timeline by major, which will tell you which classes you should take in high school to best prepare you for your chosen major.

Now that you’ve chosen a college, you are ready to find scholarships. Use the Financial Aid tab to search among thousands of scholarship opportunities. You can use the alphabetical index to search according to scholarship name. Or you can use the Financial Aid Selector and search according to your specified criteria. For either search method, the result will give you a full scholarship profile and a link to the respective website. The site also features information about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Last but not least, Career Cruising can help with your job search. Under the Employment tab you will find links to information about job search skills such as cover letter writing, interview preparation, resume writing, etc.  There is a job search feature that links you to www.indeed.com, a job postings aggregator that helps you find open positions in your field and location. To help you write a winning resume, Career Cruising also features a “Build My Resume” tool.

There is such a wealth of information in this database that this article can only scratch the surface.  Career Cruising is intuitive and user-friendly, so you will do fine just logging on and browsing the site. However, we will follow up with future posts elaborating on each section of this database.

Written by Anne Nowak.

Note: This article was originally posted in April 2017, and has been re-posted with updates to reach a new audience.

Career Focus: Veterinary Technology

Veterinary technology is a growing field that’s a good fit for people looking to work with animals or in a medical setting. The profession dates back to the 1940s, and today the field boasts a national organization (NAVTA), a robust accreditation process, and careers in specialties ranging from dental to emergency, internal medicine, and anesthesia. If you love animals and want to provide them with medical attention, a career as a vet tech might be for you.

The good parts of a vet tech JOB

  • If you work in a veterinary office (as over 90% of vet techs do), you’ll see your animal patients over the course of their lives, and you’ll get to help their owners be the best pet parents they can be. You’ll provide advice on nutrition, grooming, medication, behavior, and disease prevention.
  • If, instead, you work for a zoo or as a farm tech, you’ll work with larger animals (some of them exotic), many times out-of-doors, and your patients’ owners will have different priorities for the health and safety of their animals. You’ll provide many of the same services to your patients, though, including recording medical histories, monitor behavior, administer medications, and treat animals that are sick.
  • If you’d prefer a more clinical setting, a career in animal research or surgery might be a better fit. Even veterinary office techs assist the attending veterinarian in surgeries at the practice, but you can also be certified as an Emergency or Critical Care Technician to help animals suffering from severe trauma. You can also work in a research lab, developing new medications, testing the safety of pet food, or figuring out best practices for disaster preparedness.
  • No matter which specialty you choose, you’ll have the joy of working with animals every day. You will also enjoy the perks of being in a field with a high demand for certified professionals, including multiple job opportunities, rare lay-offs, and a fairly recession-proof career. Most candidates are considered qualified for an entry-level vet tech position after a two-year associate degree, and with the multiple certifications available, career (and pay) advancements are relatively easy to find.

The not-so-good parts of a vet tech job

  • Your earnings may vary widely.  The median salary is around $35,000, but there’s a wide range, dependent on how big the practice is, how rural your area is, and what kind of vet tech you are. If you’re working for a small practice, you’ll be making less than if you work in research, but you’ll need less education to begin working. Zoos and aquariums pay much less to start, since the entry-level positions are internships. However, the median pay for vet techs has been trending upward, and it’s expected to continue.
  • The job can be physically  demanding. Vet techs can work up to 12-hour shifts, and on weekends and evenings, too. Over the long workdays, techs can be expected to lift and wrangle pets weighing up to 100 pounds. Many animals are scared or hurting when they come to the vet, so they can be guarded or even aggressive. You will have to deal with all sorts of bodily fluids, some of which can make you sick.
  • There can be a heavy mental toll: Since most vet techs get into the field through a deep love of animals, seeing those animals hurt, struggle, and sometimes die can be very difficult. Some techs experience what’s called “compassion fatigue,” where caring about their patients wears them out.

All that being said, many veterinary technicians derive a deep satisfaction and sense of worth from their careers. Even though the work can be hard, it can be equally rewarding.

Becoming a veterinary technician

Generally, before getting a job as a vet tech you’ll need to have a degree from an accredited veterinary technology program, then become certified through a state board. In Louisiana, that board is the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine (LSBVM). There are currently four accredited schools in Louisiana that offer veterinary technology degrees:

There are also accredited online programs. You can find more information at the following websites, and around the web:

After you get your degree, you’ll need to be accredited. For information on accreditation, as well as continuing education and certification, visit the LSBVM’s website.

Further reading

Most of the information in this blog post has been taken from Careers in Veterinary Technology: Vet Tech, a publication by the Careers Internet Database. You can find more information about veterinary technology and other careers by visiting their website.

If a career with animals sounds like something you’d like to look further into, see our Cool Careers blog post about different options.

You can also check out the following links, provided by the Careers Internet Database:

Written by Case Duckworth

New Career Center Books

The Career Center has just received a set of books from the Masters at Work series by Simon and Schuster Publishing. This series of career exploration guides aims to help job-seekers understand their career options.

Synopsis: Each book in this series contains in-depth interviews with  experts in the field, including discussion of how the person achieved success, what the job is like on a daily basis, and pros and cons of working in that field. Described by the publishers as “the best virtual internship you’ll ever have,” these books hope to provide job-seekers with insight into whether the chosen field would be a good career fit for them.

Titles in this series include:

Becoming an Architect by Janelle Zara

Becoming a Baker by Glynnis MacNicol

Becoming an Ethical Hacker by Gary Mivlin

Becoming a Hairstylist by Kate Bolick

Becoming a Life Coach by Tom Chiarella

Becoming a Marine Biologist by Virginia Morell

Becoming a Neurosurgeon by John Colapinto

Becoming a Private Investigator by Howie Kahn

Becoming a Sommelier by Rosie Schaap 

Becoming a Venture Capitalist by Gary Mivlin

Becoming a Yoga Instructor 

You can place a hold on any of these books through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s online catalog. And for additional career path advice, please feel free to call the Career Center at 225-231-3733 to make an appointment for career coaching.

Written by Lynnette Lee

Cool Careers: Video Production and Radio Broadcasting

This past summer, the Career Center hosted a seminar on careers in radio broadcasting and video production. Our guest speakers were Stuart Poulton of Stuart Poulton Productions and Latangela Sherman of Cumulus Media Radio. For those who missed it, here are the main takeaways:

Video Production

Video production is the process of producing video content. It is the equivalent of filmmaking, but with images recorded digitally instead of on film stock. There are three stages of video production: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production is the process in which things are set up in preparation for filming – the location, timing, script, etc..  The initial production phase is where the filming takes place. Lastly, post-production is where the editing of a video takes place. This could include changes to color, editing of scenes, voice overs and graphics.

How do I Get Started in this field?

No formal training is needed, but you will need to learn the necessary skills through hands-on experience. Get practice by creating your own videos. Most smartphones have video capabilities. Look for video editing apps that will help you polish your product. You can also upload your videos to Youtube to be seen by the world.

If you truly have a passion to get into this profession, seek out internships to help you gain critical experience, knowledge, and skills. There are also video production classes at community colleges and universities.

What equipment do I need?

The equipment needed is anything that can capture video and sound. To do more advanced things, you would need the proper software and equipment for editing. The cost can be anywhere from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. More important than equipment is a portfolio of your work. You will need to prove that you have experience and a passion for video production. This will also show off your many talents and expertise.

How much will I Make?

As of Jul 25, 2019, the average annual pay for a Video Producer in the United States is around $55,855 a year. In major studios or production companies, you may earn up to $87,500 and as low as $21,500.

Radio Broadcasting

Do people still listen to the local radio in a world where we now have satellite radio and the internet? The answer is yes! Do people only listen to the radio for music? That is a definite no. The local radio is needed not for just entertainment, but for information and local events that only pertain to the area you live in. The radio is crucial as a free resource which is easy for everyone to access.

Jobs in Radio Broadcasting

There are a number of positions both on the air and in the background, including:

  • Sports Broadcaster/Announcer Radio Show Host
  • Disc Jockey
  • Radio News Reporter
  • TV News Reporter
  • TV News Anchor Person
  • Script Writer
  • Airtime Sales
  • Sound and Audio Technician
  • Lawyer (for legal and copyright issues)

Education

A degree in broadcasting, combined with hands-on experience working in radio, will make you an attractive candidate in this field. Local universities and various community colleges offer a degree in Mass Communication with concentrations in Radio Broadcasting, including LSU, Southern, and BRCC. There are also many internships offered locally with Cumulus Media.

Pay

The salary range for broadcasting careers vary greatly. Those working in a small town for radio station can be as little as $15000-$25,000 per year. Those in bigger markets can make from $45,000 to $90,000 per year. This is why it is important to have a versatile background covering all aspects in the field. If you have this experience, then there is more potential for growth.

Written by Alvin Coleman

Cool Careers: Videogame Design

This past summer, the Career Center hosted a seminar about careers in the video game industry, featuring guest speakers from the gaming company Electronic Arts (EA). Here are the main takeaways from that seminar:

Jobs in the Industry

  • Game Designers: come up with the concepts that eventually become video game productions. Collaborate with other members of the development team including artists, programmers, and audio engineers. A computer science background is required for this position.
  • Programmers: create the code that converts game designs into instructions video game systems can read to make everything function. A computer science background is required for this position.
  • Animators:  make the graphics come to life in a video game.
  • Artists: draw characters, scenery, and box art.
  • Audio Engineers: create/engineer sounds which add depth to the gameplay and atmosphere.
  • Voice actors: make a game come to life by voicing characters and narration, adding dramatic value to help in storytelling. Typically a background in voice-over work or acting is required.
  • Writers and editors: create the story of a game, and proofread all grammatical errors. A degree in English is usually required.
  • Lawyers: deal with copyright, censorship, and distribution rights to make sure everything with the release of a game is legally compliant. Requires a law degree.
  • Video Game Testers: test video games to detect bugs and errors in different levels of the game. Work alongside game designers and programmers to ensure that a game works flawlessly before it is released. Education needed for this is a high school diploma with a keen eye for spotting errors and following directions.

Local Job Opportunities

The easiest way to enter into the industry through EA would be the role of a video game tester. Electronic Arts has a testing center in Baton Rouge on LSU’s campus. They have opportunities for both part-time and full-time positions. You must be 17 years of age with a high school diploma, or equivalent. The presenters of the seminar actually started off as videogame testers and have moved up to receivers and EA brand ambassadors.

Pay

The video game industry has a wide range of salaries. Programmers make between $44,000 to $80,000 a year. Other non-technical jobs, such as customer service representatives, could make up to $35,000 a year.  Videogame testers can expect to start out at $11.00 an hour.

Final Thought

The video game industry is an exciting field that is constantly growing. If you are a person who loves videogames, and would like to work on doing something that you love, then this would be an excellent field to look into. EA has plenty of information listed on their website.

Written by Alvin Coleman

Cool Careers: Criminal Justice and Private Investigations

This past summer, the Career Center hosted a seminar on Careers in Criminal Justice and Private Investigations, featuring two guest speakers. The first speaker was Professor Dan Cain of the Criminal Justice Department of Bossier Parish Community College. The second presenter was Chris McCullough, a Special Investigator for the FBI.

Why Choose Criminal Justice?

Many people enter into a Criminal Justice Career to help others. You can use your skills to aid victims of crime, perform counter-terrorism and surveillance, counsel and rehabilitate criminals, or oversee the progress of a parolee. It’s worth noting that, although most people equate “criminal justice” with “police officer,” there are many more options in this field.

What Careers are there in Criminal Justice?

  • National Security Agency Police Officer:  keep NSA facilities safe and secure. Requires at minimum an associate’s degree; however, pay may be more with a bachelor’s in criminal justice. The average salary for this career is $50,283.
  • Fraud Analyst: follow a trail of clues back to the individuals who steal money or identities from banking customers. Typically requires a bachelor degrees in computer science, finance, banking or a related field. Expect to make an average salary of $46,344.
  • Ranger: Do you love the great outdoors? Do you love National Parks or Wild Life Preserves? Then you can make a career enforcing the law in these places as a ranger. Rangers are the first responders to natural or manmade threats to forest areas and rangelands. They help combat forest fires, respond to criminal activities, and perform search and rescue missions. To become a forest ranger, you must be able to possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in environmental or life sciences. You can expect to earn an average of $57,000.
  • Federal Air Marshal: in a post-9/11 world this career has become much more important to providing the safety of air travel. A federal air marshal is the first line of defense in a threat in the sky. A Marshal must be armed at all times and will be able to recognize suspicious behavior while at the same time blending in with other passengers. A master’s degree in criminal justice, police science, aviation management, or similar specialties may improve their chances of obtaining a job as a federal air marshal. Expect to earn an average of $47,000.
  • Private Investigator: get information for individuals, law offices, and corporations. Private investigators often have histories of police service and are required to have licenses to function legally. A private investigator creates a business and keeps track of expenses as well as organizes information gathered for clients. To become a private investigator, there is no formal education process, but there are some agencies that require a Certificate in the field. It wouldn’t hurt to have a degree in criminal justice. Expect to make $45,000 in this field.
  • Transit Office: make sure subways, busses, and public trains are safe. Transit and railroad police may receive training in emergency preparedness. These individuals must be comfortable working in large groups where accidents and disasters are ever present. The minimal level of education often accepted by most police departments is a high school diploma or a G.E.D certification. However, many departments around the country require at least a couple of years of college coursework, such as an associate’s degree in criminal justice. Expect to earn around $52,000.

Final Thought

Criminal Justice can be a lucrative and rewarding field. One must remember that you don’t have to be a police officer to serve the public. Every career in the criminal justice field is essential. You can find more information on Criminal Justice education programs in Baton Rouge at the BRCC Criminal Justice website.

Written by Alvin Coleman

Cool Careers: Working with Animals

This past summer, the Career Center hosted a seminar on careers in animal science. The presenter of this seminar was Jennifer Godfrey from the LSU School of Veterinary Science. In case you missed it, here are some of the main takeaways:

What Type of Jobs are there?

Veterinarian: provide medical treatment to animals as large as an elephant or as small as a snake. Requires a four-year veterinary medical degree in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Getting into veterinary school is fiercely competitive – LSU’s Vet school is one of only 30 schools in the United States with this program. One must have a very strong math and science background and strive for the highest grades possible to be considered for admission. It is best to have at least have a 3.5 GPA.  Once you finish vet school, you can expect to earn starting off at $80,000 a year. You can find out more information at the LSU vet school website.

Veterinarian Tech/ Assistant:  help veterinarians provide medical and health care for animals. This is a great alternative for people who want to work in this field without dealing with the cost and amount of education that a Veterinarian would require. You would need to pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam to become licensed as a vet tech.  Although technically only a high school education is required, most vet techs go through  certificate or associate degree programs that prepare them for the licensing exam. BRCC offers an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology, based on the requirements of the American Veterinary Medical Association. You can find out more information here at the BRCC vet tech website.

Animal Groomer: help pets look their best by cleaning them and trimming fur. You must have at least a high school diploma. Most training takes place on the job, but some choose to study at a grooming school. The median salary is around $21,260 annually, while those who make the highest salary earn more than $34,000 a year.

Kennel Attendant, Pet Sitter, and Dog Walkers: care for pets in the absent of their owners. Usually requires a minimum of a high school diploma. You can learn additional skills while on the job. Those who work in kennels or shelters can learn more about the job by taking classes through the Humane Society of the United States and the American Humane Association. Pet sitters can obtain additional education through the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

Final Thought

If you are a person who loves animals and providing them care, there are many opportunities to make a living from it. Being a veterinarian isn’t the only way to work with animals. You should always research and see what you feel what would be best for you. As a start, it would be an excellent idea to volunteer at a shelter or even work at a pet store like Petsmart or Petco. The opportunities are out there waiting to be discovered and experienced.

Written by Alvin Coleman