What’s Your Sign? Choosing a Degree Track Based on Aptitude and Career Interest Tests

Is architecture right for you? Take an aptitude test and find out! (Photo by Mosman Council)

You’ve seen all the hoopla about the great salary potential in earning a degree. Your friends have all tweeted about their plans to take online classes to get their degrees and finally earn some real money. You want to join them, but you just don’t know where to start. Looking at all of the choices, you don’t know how to narrow them down to just a few, let alone one. How can you decide which career is best for you?

You could go for the money, but you’re not sure that you’re up for the rigors involved in earning an engineering degree.  You’re keen to go green, but what skills do you have to have to get a job in a sustainability field? If you simply don’t know where to turn, try an aptitude test. No matter where you may have thought your talents lie, you may be surprised at the results.

I know I was, when, as research for this article, I took a 15 question online aptitude test. Based on the results, I was perfect for a career…in the medical field. Not ever what I would have predicted.

Now, it is true that this test was offered by a website that then proceeded to match me with universities that offer degrees in the medical arts. So, based on the results, I think that either these particular schools were subsidizing the test, or the test-givers know that there is a great need for people in the medical field, and that I would easily be able to find a job after graduation. Thus, I would, after the fact, be very happy with their test.

That being said, I don’t think that all aptitude tests are useless. Be aware, though, that the good ones generally are a lot longer than 15 questions, and the answers tend to lie along a scale. The test I took simply asked me to choose one of five responses for each question. The most comprehensive aptitude tests have entire sections on what you do in your spare time; how you interact with other people; whether you learn best by watching, listening, or doing; and how creative you are; among other categories.

If you’ve got an idea of what you’re good at, but don’t know how to correlate that to a particular field, try the career interest test. The career interest test is a specialized type of aptitude test. Full-time freelance writer Anni Sofferet has compiled a list of the five best sources for career aptitude tests, as judged by  professional career counselors. They are: Princeton Review (register, then you can take the test); Carolyn Kalil; Dr. John Holland; the University of Missouri; and the Job Hunter’s Bible.

Anni suggests that people who are interested in a career change, but don’t know to what, take more than one career aptitude test, and average the results together. That will give you a clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses than a single test will do.

I think I’ll go tweet my results to my friends. Won’t they be surprised!

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