Monday, January 12, 2009

Before you commit to that major...

Most of us only want to go through college once. The cost alone is a deterrent to return. It can be a daunting task to commit to a major. You might start asking yourself a lot of questions.

Are you going to be able to find a job after graduation? Are you going to be able to afford to live on that job’s salary? Are you going to need special training or certification for that job?

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) can’t answer your questions personally in the ways a career advisor might, it is nonetheless a good source that you can use on your own. The BLS uses your tax dollars, so why not put some of the information to use?

I visited the BLS’ home page ( myself and was able to find out a lot about the field I want to go into. You can enter any career title or general field into the search bar and the database gives you links to pages describing the nature of the work, earnings, job outlook, related occupations, and more. The data provided on the website compiles information from around the country.

If you want to see what the statistics show and what the outlook is for Illinois in particular, you can visit the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s Labor Market Information (LMI) site ( Just a forewarning that LMI Source is not as easy to search on as is with the BLS; LMI posts their data and reports in document form (typically Excel or Zip files) that you have to work through on your own.


  1. Very insightful post. Those links offer some interesting information I wasn't aware of. This is an issue I've been thinking about a lot.

  2. That info is really helpful! I'm definitely going to show this to my roommate--she's been so torn with picking a major, this will probably be able to narrow it down for her pretty quickly!

  3. Thank you Margie for this post. The sites are really helpful and I am about to forward them to my cousin who is still not sure what his major is going to be. This will definitely help him narrow down the field.