Which classes should I choose?

After getting laid off two years ago and getting government aid to go back to college I graduated two months ago with an Associate’s degree in Network Technology. But that and my CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification haven’t been able to land me a job.

So a few weeks ago I get a letter stating that Obama has a plan where if you go to school (for anything under a Bachelor’s degree) you don’t have to look for work, and I’m seriously considering it. This new program doesn’t pay for schooling, but since I’ve been living on unemployment for a while, I can probably qualify for a PELL grant or similar.

If I qualify, there are three types of certificate of completions I’m considering. The con to all of these options is that they are career changes for me so I don’t have on-the-job experience. Also, for my second and third choices chances are that I would run out of unemployment before completing my cert, so I’d have to land a job while still taking classes.

I’m considering some IT certs because for a few of them, I’ve already taken most of the classes and could get them quickly. My local career center is also seeing about helping me train for, and pay for my A+ certification, so if I went this route and got colleges certs as well, then maybe my Associate’s degree, CCNA, A+, Computer Systems Administration cert, Web Developer cert, and maybe a Computer Support Specialist cert would help overcome my lack of a bachelor’s degree.

If I can’t get into IT, I would like to get into clerical work, so I am considering getting one of these Business Technology certs - Office Fundamentals, Business Technology, and Business Software.

The largest career field right now is medical, and my local college has three one-year certs - Health Information Technology, Medical Coding, and Medical Transcription. Actually, looking at the catalog I’d probably either choose Coding or Transcription (the info on classes for HIT is confusing).

I guess my best chances are either IT certs, if having a lot actually helps, or a medical cert because that’s where the jobs are.

IMO getting another certification is worthless. You already have an associates degree and a certification but unfortunately you graduated in a time where it will take more than 2 or 3 months to find a job. Besides, if these new class options would divert you to a career where you have no on the job training when you are done with those classes you will most likely again be stuck looking for work for months on end after graduation. My recommendation would be to keep looking for work and if you must take a class take one in resume writing or something that would help you in that way.

I’m curious about where you found that statistic. Also, I live in Oregon, where the unemployment rate is around 12% and is higher than the national average, so I bet finding a job will take longer still.

Well, I could still look for work. It’s just that it wouldn’t be a condition of getting unemployment. Also, I already took a resume writing class.

Jobs are going to exist for people who know how to do administrative work in medical offices, and don’t have bachelor’s degrees. I am skeptical about the opportunities for people in IT without a bachelor’s degree. There are a lot of people with bachelor’s degrees also fighting for those jobs.

I am very skeptical about opportunities in medical transcription and coding. This is something that gets shipped overseas. Unless your school has some really high and credible placement numbers for those programs, I’d look elsewhere.

Are you already the kind of person who can make a PowerPoint that looks professional, use Excel to solve business problems, and use the advanced features of MS Word? If not, taking classes to get you to that point and going after medical clerical jobs might be a good idea.

Thank you for the advice. It helps me narrow down my options.

Generally speaking up it takes about a month to find a job up to $25,000. Then you need to add a month for each ten thousand you go up. That is considered the wide gauge in “normal” times. So I expect you’d have to adjust that somewhat.

My personal advice is the longer you are out of work the harder it is to get the next job. H/R managers know how difficult it is to get a job yet in the back of their mind’s they think “lazy.”

I would at least try a temp agency and see if you can get a few hours, that way it can show you’re working while doing something else.

In times of economic woe, the IT jobs are generally relegated to the office secretary who will just sustain the data base till times get better, the company goes under or they can hire someone else.

I’ve worked in IT and most of these jobs are filled by people who got them by going into accounting, or admin and then taking classes and applying from within the company. This is because it’s cheaper to hire from within, and pay someone less and get similar quality.

It’s the top of the line “director” positons that seem to be hired from right out of college with a lot of certifications and such.

Here’s an example in 2003 I was the system admin for a huge hotel. The things I did then, like setting up networks that I handled could now be handled by any Joe Schmoe who did a home network.

As technology advances many of these duties don’t need college grads because every other person is getting the knowledge from his home computer.

Here’s another example, when I left the positon as system admin for the hotel, no one took my place. They just quit doing all I did. For instance, I balanced the various database, they just stopped doing it. They took the incentive plans and changed them to one data base.

They just said “OK now manager’s instead of using your own databases for your department and having Mark balance them, when you do budget and forecast you give them to accounting and THAT database will be the one who counts.”

For the networking, the hotel simply said “We no longer provide networking assistance, please have your own people when you book a convention”

You see what I’m saying IT people are important but they are not so needed that most of the time you can shift the burden and not use them.

So… I wasted two years of my life then. Nice.