Around the 1920s Pomona City, which is located in the heart of Southern California, was known as the “Queen of the Citrus Belt” because of the large number of citrus orchards. The city is named after the “goddess of fruitful abundance.” To this day, it remains a beautiful and safe community and a hub for artists, business entrepreneurs, and families. With an estimated population of 151,753 as of early 2017, Pomona City has become a great place to work or start a business. The median income is $49,186 with a 95.2% employment rate. The top industries in the city include education, health care, social assistance, manufacturing, administrative and waste management, arts, food, entertainment and recreation, and retail. Compared to the national average, wage distribution in Pomona City is more evenly distributed.
One of Pomona’s main objectives as a city is to respect cultural diversity. The most common ethnic race is Hispanic followed by white Americans. The heritage of most U.S. citizens in the city is Mexican followed by Chinese and El Salvadorians. Almost 80% of its residents are U.S. citizens. Like most cities, there are several career counseling services in Pomona not just in the universities and colleges but also private and public groups like the nonprofit Pomona Economic Opportunity Center and the city government Human Resources Department. These groups work to provide guidance and tips on jobs around the city that offer fair wages, skills training, a safe work environment, and opportunities to improve quality of life.
Based on the 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report on Pomona, the largest employers were California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, Pomona Unified School District, and the Lanterman Development Center.
Top-Paying and Most Rewarding Careers in Pomona City and Surrounding Areas
From 2007 to 2015, job growth grew by 1.8%. In 2007, most of the job openings were in the area of manufacturing of apparel, food, metal, coal, machinery, transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, and petroleum. However, the number of jobs in manufacturing steadily decreased over the years by 9.9%.
During the same period, construction jobs increased by 4.4%; professional and management jobs increased by 17.6%; and retail jobs increased by 22.3%. According to the Southern Californian Association of Governments, most jobs in Pomona City, it is in the education sector where the most job openings can be found capturing 38.1% of the job market. The industries that followed are manufacturing and hospitality and leisure (10.3% each), and wholesale (8%). The highest paying jobs as of 4th quarter 2016 were fire fighting supervision, health practice, computer and math fields, social, physical and life sciences, and in legal. In short, professionals, sales, tech, and scientific jobs earned the most - all of which require college degree augmented by soft skills and extensive training.
More specifically, the average income in Pomona for specific jobs are:
• Operations Manager - $62,500 a year
• Construction Project Manager - $84,000 a year
• VP Operations - $148,893 a year
• Software Product Manager - $123,163 a year
• Staff Scientist - $103,177 a year
• High School Teacher - $74,497 a year
Other high-paying jobs in Pomona City are in construction ($81,508), Information ($77,000), and Public Administration ($75,000). The lowest paying jobs were in the Hospitality and Leisure industries ($23,668).
To be eligible for a high-paying job in construction, one would need one of the following qualifications aside from actual construction work experience or apprenticeship:
• BS or BA Construction Management or Civil Engineering
• Business Project Management
There are many construction jobs that do not require a four-year education and can be used as a stepping stone to a high supervisory position. These jobs are already high-paying considering the minimal requirements such as high school diploma and apprenticeship or vocational course to be eligible. They are:
• Elevator and other lifts repair and installation ($80,870) – You will need to be trained for this job but most can get by with an apprenticeship. However, to be eligible to work, you will have to be certified by the California Department of Industrial Relations.
• Boilermaker ($60,120) – Formal vocational training is required and be licensed as a “journeyman” by the California Contractors State License Board
• Electrician ($51,880) – To get a job as an electrician, you must have formal training in electrical through an apprenticeship or vocational course. For non-residential lighting technician, you must have at least 2,000 training or work hours before you can take the licensure exam and work for a class C-10 contractor. For residential electrician, you will need at least 4,800 hours while for general electrician, you will need at least 8,000 work hours before you qualify to take the state licensure exam.
• Public Relations and Fund Raising Managers ($104,140) – You will need a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Communications, Business Management, or Journalism. Some employers prefer someone with a Master’s degree, at least 5 years work-related experience, and excellent soft skills. PR and Fund Raising Managers need to be able to multi-task and handle high-level communications with top executives. It would also help to have a strong network and membership to respected organizations.
• Information Technology ($110,620) – You will need a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology and if you specialize, you can earn more right out of college. With so many IT graduates, the key to landing a good job is specialization, updated training and knowledge, and soft skills. You will need to be a team player, able to communicate properly and diligently with superiors, and ready to work in a fast-paced environment.
A career in Public Administration also yields high gain for new graduates. You will need at least a Bachelor’s Degree in PA although higher paying jobs will demand a Master’s degree. A public administration can work in private or public offices. Employers look for the following skills and criteria: strategic and analytical skills, ability to conceptualize and organize groups, events and activities, skill in delegation, well-balanced emotionally, communication skills, and strong attention to detail.
In 2016, based on a Nielsen study, 17.8% of Pomona residents (permanent or temporary) graduated from a college or university which is 5% higher than in 2000.
The top 3 undergraduate degrees choices in Pomona City are:
1. General Business Administration & Management – This program prepares an individual to become a business owner, manager, or corporate officer. It covers all aspects of running a business whether startup or existing. This course is for students who are not yet sure if they want to specialize but know they want to study a business course. The curriculum would cover finance, management, statistics, marketing, communications, social studies, math, and economics. With this program, a student can continue on to further studies and specialize in business financial analysis, accounting, project management, human resource management, e-commerce, real estate, international business, finance, information systems, and investments and trust management.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates of this course can work in business and finance (earning just under $63,000 annually), Business Operations Specialists (earning $64,000 annually), business teachers with additional specialty education (earning $84,000 annually), or be a business manager of a celebrity or athlete (earning $73,00 annually).
2. Specific Business Administration, Operations, & Management – Students enrolled in this program have to choose a business specialty skill like finance, accounting, economics, education, marketing, materials and operations management, or administrative and human resources. The difference between the general and specific business administration program is that generally speaking, the specific business administration program will require the individual to keep updating his knowledge, spot trends, retrain, and consider an advanced career on his chosen specialty.
3. General Hospitality Management – This is a program that prepares an individual to work in restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, travel agencies, resorts, clubs, and casinos. It focuses on professional service to travelers, business executives, families, This program will require on-the-job training in accredited facilities. Graduates of this course can apply for work as a corporate recruiter, sales and marketing for travel-oriented businesses, training coordinator, facilities manager, Director of Operations, Resort Director, Events Manager, and jobs in the food service industry.
California State Polytechnic University – Pomona (Cal Poly)
California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) is a public university less than 30 miles from Los Angeles. Based on the 2016 PayScale College Return on Investment, Cal Poly achieved best college investment rank of 69 out of 962 schools nationwide. Tuition is lower than the national average at $12,135 ($37,356 annually) and the school is able to achieve a graduation rate of 52% which is higher than the country’s average of 44%. Cal Poly strictly follows a schedule for admission and application. You will need to complete the application forms and submit online along with your SAT or ACT scores. High school records and other documents will only be requested if needed. There are entrance exams to take, mainly Math and English even if you are a U.S. citizen. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships accepts online applications for scholarships, grants, and student loans. About 69% of the students are on financial aid and the average grant given to deserving students is $4,678. Some of the scholarships available are:
• Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) renewable every year
• California Dream Application which falls under state bills, AB 130 and 131 also known as the California Dream Act for non-immigrants
• Bronco Scholarship which is a merit-based scholarship
• California Middle Class Scholarship for California residents
• TEACH Grant which is given to those who plan on becoming teachers
• Dr. Keith & Lorna Nielsen Scholarship for Speech Communications undergraduates
The top courses in Cal Poly are:
• Landscape Architecture – The school offers two degrees: BS Landscape Architecture and Masters of Landscape Architecture. Graduates have to pass the licensure exam given by the California Board of Landscape Architects. The department has partnered with design schools in Europe and Japan and students can study there for one term. Experts believe that licensed landscape architects can help save the world and create future cities that are sustainable.
• Hospitality Management – One of the most important areas of the hospitality industry is keeping up with new technology.
• Engineering – Ranked 5th in the country, the College of Engineering offers seven engineering specialties: Aerospace, Chemical and Materials, Civil, Electrical and Computer, Electromechanical Technology, Industrial and Manufacturing, and Mechanical.
• Apparel Merchandising – Cal Poly is ranked 12 in the country in the area of fashion management. The school offers two specialties: Fashion Retailing and Apparel Production
DeVry University Pomona
For-profit DeVry University has six campuses around Los Angeles aside from having an online campus and a total of 16 campuses in California. Established in 1931 in Illinois, it was originally DeForest Training School focusing primarily on radio and projector repair. In 2002, the school officially became known as DeVry University. Application to the university is initially done online with an application form. Submission of documents will follow after application review. The school has a rolling application deadline system.
Tuition to DeVry University for undergraduate courses is lower by $122/credit if you enroll in a tech course as compared to a non-tech degree. However, the tuition for 2015-16 academic year was 4% higher than the national average at $15,835 but 25% cheaper than the median California tuition for a four-year course. DeVry has several financing options such as university, federal and state grants, military benefits, employer reimbursement agreement, group tuition, loans, third party scholarships, and credit via competency assessment.
The most popular courses are:
• Business Administration
• Management and Operations – Also under the College of Business, you can choose to major in Accounting, Global Supply Chain, Hospitality, Project Management, or Information Technology, among others.
• Computer Systems – Under the College of Engineering, the university offers the following majors: Forensics Specialization, Cyber Security, Database Management, Information Systems, Software Programming, Web Development, and Web Game Programming.
• Digital/Multimedia – You have the option of majoring in Graphic and Multimedia Design or Web Design and Development. This is a trending course because of Internet business growth although the job market is much tougher than Business Administration or Computer Information Systems because it is more specialized and supply of talent is growing rapidly.
Claremont Colleges (Pomona College)
Founded in 1887, Pomona College was established in Pomona but moved to Claremont, a 10-minute drive away. Pomona College is a founding member of the Claremont College consortium. Known as a liberal arts school, there are 48 majors with around 1,640 students and a 8:1 student-instructor ratio. Admission to this school is based on submission of application, essay, academic history, personal character, recommendations, and interview. Acceptance rate is very high and tuition is said to be affordable. The application deadline is January 1st. About 11% of the student population avail of financial aid via student loan while 58% are approved for scholarships or grants. The tuition fee falls around $19,205 a year.
Aside from federal (FAFSA, Pell Grant) and state grants, students can apply for private and school scholarships like the Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship which is open to Californian students in their junior and senior years, Downing Scholarship for senior college Pomona students, Pomona College financial package (not a loan) which consists of scholarships, grants, and allowances, Fullbright grants, and endowed scholarships from Pomona College private supporters.
Based on latest 2017 surveys, the top courses in Pomona College are:
• Mathematics – With a degree in Math, you can work in all industries since math is an essential part of business. Some of the high paying positions include certified accountant, systems developer, analyst, or software tester. You can easily step into the world of finance, insurance, meteorology, higher education, and quality control.
• Economics – Did you know that many past presidents have a degree in Economics. In the U.S., Republican presidents Reagan, Ford and Bush Senior took Economics.
• Biological Sciences – The kind of jobs waiting for graduates of Biological Sciences include bio-technician, environmental attorneys or paralegal, manager for medical and health services, financial analyst for specific industries, genetic counselor or researcher, biochemist, and health communications specialist.
• Neurosciences – This is a pre-med course although Neuroscience graduates can find well-paying jobs as a research assistant or consultant.
• Political Science – This course can be used as your pre-law degree or you can work in government, be a lobbyist, international business expert, journalist, or public relations expert.
Graduates of Pomona College enjoy median earnings of $52,600 within six years from graduating and 90% usually find employment within two years of leaving the school.
Claremont Colleges (Scripps College)
Scripps College is part of the Claremont Colleges group and is an all-female undergraduate population of under 1,000. It is a liberal arts college focusing on Humanities with a choice of 50 majors. It is currently ranked #64 of the best colleges in the country. The acceptance rate to this school is 28%. The application requirements include SAT or ACT scores and high school transcript. In academic year 2016-17, the tuition was $35,037 with 8% on the Pell Grant. Around 37% of the students avail of a need-based financial aid package while those under scholarship or grant receive an average of $37,987.Student satisfaction is 93% and 90% of graduates find employment within two years after graduation.
The popular majors are:
• Social Sciences
• Biology and Biomedical Sciences
• Multi-Interdisciplinary Studies – This refers to two or more programs that are related and work together like Computer Science and Accounting in order to qualify for forensic or auditing jobs
Claremont Colleges (Harvey Mudd College)
For those who want to pursue a career in mathematics, science or engineering, Harvey Mudd College is a liberal arts school that focuses on these Bachelor of Science majors. The school has nine majors and each major require a number of subjects in social sciences and humanities for a well-rounded education. The school was founded in 1955 and has around 800 students today with a 8:1 student-instructor ratio. Based on the 2017 US News & World Report, Harvey Mudd College is the most innovative school with the highest freshman retention rate and best undergraduate engineering program. According to Forbes, Harvey Mudd graduates are the top-earning graduates while Princeton Review 2016-17 chose this school as having the best career placement program.
Acceptance rate to Harvey Mudd is 14% and they prefer students with excellent high school GPAs, SAT scores between 1418 to 1570 or ACT scores of 33 to 35. You will also be asked to submit a personal essay and two recommendation letters from teachers. The tuition per year is $52,383 and around 75% of the students avail of financial aid. The school accepts applications for federal and state grants although majority of the students or 70% are awarded institution grant aids mainly because the competition for the federal and state grants is very intense with a complicated process.
The school has merit-based scholarships for freshmen like the President’s Scholar, Harvey Mudd Merit Award, National Merit Award, FIRST Robotics Scholarship, Esterbrook Merit Award, VEX scholarship (Leaderships and robotics), RIF Scholarship (one-time nonrenewable for excellence in maths), and third party private scholarships.
The most popular majors are:
• Computer Science
The 2016 graduates of Harvey Mudd enjoy a median starting salary of $105,555.
University of LaVerne
Three miles from Pomona City is the University of LaVerne, a 66-acre privately run school with a student population of around 2,864. Ranked #152 among national universities in the country, LaVerne, this school has a 13:1 student-instructor ratio and 86% student satisfaction. Quite popular among LaVerne students is what is known as the LaVerne Experience (LVE) which is the school’s academic initiative and mission to enhance each student with more than enough skills to be productive in the work force. Application to La Verne is selective with a 47% acceptance rate. They have a rolling application deadline and require ACT or SAT scores, application form, high school transcript and other documents. Tuition fee for 2016-17 was $39,900 and 83% undergraduates have availed of need-based financial aid, grants, or scholarship. The average amount awarded was $10,832. Financial aid comes in the form of student loans, federal and state resources. The school also offers merit-based Performance and Academic Scholarships which are renewable every year.
The popular courses are:
• Business Management
• Marketing, Support Services
• Social Sciences
Azusa Pacific University (APU)
About nine miles from Pomona City is the privately-run 103-acre Azusa Pacific University, as Evangelical Christian school, established in 1900 by a Methodist and some Quakers. Today, it is a Christian inter-denominational school with 5,883 undergraduates, 61 bachelor’s degrees, associate and certificate programs, 40 master’s degrees, and eight doctoral programs. Among national universities, Azusa is ranked #183 with an acceptance rate of 81%. Application to the school requires online submission of application form, high school transcript, character recommendation letters, proof of US citizenship, and SAT or ACT scores. The 2017-18 tuition fees amount to $36,926 which covers up to 17 units per semester.
Scholarships and grants are mostly merit-based and come from private third party sources. The university only offers federal or state grants and financial aid. The university’s student center offers three scholarships: Multi-Ethnic Leadership, East Los Angeles Community Union, and AGAPE. Five incoming freshmen are chosen every year for the Trustees’ Scholarship and given full ride renewable scholarships. They must have a minimum 3.9 high school GPA, minimum combined SAT score of 1360, and pass character assessment. Other scholarships are Sibling, President’s Scholar I and II, and Science and Math Scholarships.
The most popular courses are:
• Business, Marketing, and Management
• Liberal Arts
According to Complete College America, more than 50% of high school graduates had to attend remedial classes to help them through their freshman year. Many high school graduates have opted to enjoy a gap year before entering college for one of several reasons. For some, they have no idea what course to take while for others, it’s about finances. When you decide to go to college and which school you end up going to will depend not just on the cost of tuition and other expenses but also on your career choice. Here are a few tips that will help you make critical decisions about your future:
Resources in Pomona