Higher education always needs to be looked at as an investment toward a future career goal. Student decisions about major and minor college course choices should be made mindfully and with the goal of acquiring the greatest skill-sets for their chosen field. A focused and desirable minor can indeed lead to a better financial return on an educational investment.
Choosing a Minor
Decisions on minor courses depend on the college the student is attending, as some colleges do not offer minors. The colleges that do will permit students to add diverse courses of study at usually half the credit hours of the hours needed for their major. Each college looks at minor differently, and a counselor should offer advice on course credits. The college minor is an exploration into other, hopefully related, areas of academic study that hold a special interest or skill development for a student. Technology skills like website development and online marketing development are popular, as well as a foreign language minor.
Do Minors Actually Add Value?
Adding any additional documented learning adds value to a student’s repertoire of learning in terms of personal growth. Whether that additional education leads to greater financial gains depends on numerous variables including choices of a minor, the current need for that skill-set, and how desirable that expertise is to specific future employers. A minor can also be marketed on a resume as additional value to help a student stand out in a pool of applicants who have the same major or degree.
Pairing Minors with Majors
Many students are undertaking dual college majors to increase their employment opportunities. That can be a very costly venture for students already struggling with increasing tuition costs. A minor allows for specialization at half the cost and time while still helping the student gain more knowledge and related skills. A minor that complements the earned major will be especially useful. For instance, a student majoring in business management may want to minor in accounting to add fiscal expertise. One can also do postgraduate coursework or get an associate degree in a technically related field at a less expensive community college. All you’ll have to take are the specialized courses since you already have the first degree.
Minors and Job Opportunities
Minors should always be chosen carefully. A teacher who majors in art but has a minor in psychology may be forced to teach in the less desired minor if that is a school’s current need. However, having additional minors may be a saving grace if your minor is a desired area of job expertise and the major has suddenly become redundant for employment. Minors have increased importance when one needs special expertise to distinguish and promote employment chances whether already employed or seeking a first job.
Pamela Woods is a teacher and certified education specialist based in Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from Michigan State University, a Master of Arts in education and a Doctor of Education from Wayne State University. Woods also earned certifications in university teaching, art education, vocational education, infant mental health and gerontology.