Do you live in the state of Virginia and you are beginning to do some research regarding possible collegiate options that may suit you and your goals? If you have already obtained your high school diploma and you have a potential career path in mind, then you are well on your way to securing your future. Take some time and do thorough research in order to choose the most appropriate college or university that will help you achieve your academic and career goals. The state of Virginia is very strong when it comes to post secondary schools; there is a broad range of academic choices that are offered to prospective students. According to recent online research, the majority of the jobs that will be available in the state of Virginia over the next several years will require an individual to hold a post secondary degree. In fact, between 64-71% of the jobs will only be appropriate for individuals who have completed some level of a post secondary degree or training program.
Keep in mind, the higher level of degree or training program that you have completed will only make you more marketable in the work place and will also help to increase the amount of pay that you can expect to receive. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, if you have only completed your high school diploma requirements you can only expect about 19-27% of the jobs in this state to be appropriate for you and your skills set. Continue reading below for a brief introduction to a few of the most popular collegiate choices in this state. It is important to note that this list is not conclusive; in fact, there are many other choices that may actually suit you better depending upon your intended career goals.
The College of William and Mary, which is located in Williamsburg, is one of the country's best public universities. Despite the fact that this college was founded in 1693 and is the second oldest college in the United States, it still maintains its highly selective admissions process. This college offers prospective students many different strong academic programs to choose from. Currently, the College of William and Mary is home to nearly 8,000 students, with the large majority working to complete an undergraduate degree program. Another top public university that you can choose from is the University of Virginia, which is located in Charlottesville.
This public research university is recognized as having the largest endowment of any public university in the United States. According to recent online research, the University of Virginia has a total enrollment of about 25,000 students. Currently, about 15,000 of these enrolled students are working to complete an undergraduate degree program. Despite the fact that this university has been recognized for strong degree programs in the areas of science and the liberal arts, there are many other viable fields of study for interested students to consider pursuing. Virginia Tech (located in Blacksburg) is another great choice for prospective students to check out.
This post secondary learning institution is categorized as a public university and a senior military college. In addition to being known as one of the country's top public universities, Virginia Tech is also recognized as having one of the top engineering programs in the country. In addition to a strong engineering degree program, this educational facility also has great degree programs in science and the liberal arts. Recent online research shows that this university is home to about 30,000 students, with the large majority of these working on an undergraduate degree.
You will certainly want to check out George Mason University, which is located in Fairfax. According to a recent report by U.S. News and World Report, this university is ranked number one among up and coming schools. Although the primary campus of this university is located in Fairfax, there are several branch campuses located throughout the state. This public university is home to approximately 32,000 students; of this total enrollment, nearly 20,000 are working to obtain their undergraduate degree in the area of their choosing. If a small educational setting is more your speed, then you may want to check out Randolph College. Located in Lynchburg, this private liberal arts college only has about 500 students enrolled. Despite the fact that nearly one hundred percent of the total enrolled students are working on an undergraduate degree program, it is possible for interested students to work on a graduate degree program at this facility.
Virginia Tech becomes the second largest public university in the nation with other colleges also growing in the state. One of the issues facing college however is some are seeing only a slight decrease in their enrollment numbers but only because the economy has bounced back. When the state experiences a good economy people go out and find jobs but when the economy dips people go back to school. This isn’t anything new according to state representatives at the colleges however they still see room for improvement.
Virginia has one of the higher percentages of high school graduates with 82% graduating which his up 1% from last year. Another reason some of the smaller colleges in the state are seeing lower enrollment number is the increased cost of tuition isn’t attractive as the cost of vocational schools. Even lowering admissions requirements by college isn’t enough as the price simply is too high for most and they would rather pay 75% less and earn a trade.
The middle class that is the backbone of Virginia is feeling the hurt of high enrollment numbers at the state colleges. This is due to the fact that graduates from 4 year colleges don’t end up being electricians, HVAC technicians or entry level healthcare jobs.
For those just now entering college or thinking of a great entry level career you should consider those in a medical related field. In Virginia the healthcare industry is expected to grow over 32% over the next 5 years which means brand new jobs to an already struggling industry. Like with most states Virginia has had a hard time complying with all the new medical laws and the massive influx of new patients has put a stress on hospitals and doctors’ offices. Some of the areas that need the most employees include.
Nursing – Both Registered Nurses and RN to BSN nurses are needed. As the population ages in Virginia and older nurses start to retire the need for registered nurses increases, especially in hospice care. The state has 624 nurses per 100,000 people which is far below the national average of 746. The state has continued to allow more individuals to enroll in nursing schools and have recently increased that number to 3,228 last year. The annual salary for RN’s in Virginia is $63,150.
Massage Therapy Diploma – Richmond, VA has the highest annual salary median for the state ranging from $42,147 to $54,092. Training programs were found in Lynchburg, VA, Roanoke, VA, Manassas, VA and Norfolk, VA. This is one vocational career that can be done out of your home by owning your own business or you can work for spa’s, health clubs and even cruise ships.
Dental Assistant Certificate – Some of the training programs we found can train you in as little as 13 weeks, however the average is 9-12 months (unless you plan on earning your degree). The average salary ranges from $25,000 to $32,000 depending on your experience. You will need to be certified in radiology in Virginia if you are going to be taking x-rays.
Medical Assistant Diploma – Most positions are in the Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Richmond, VA area of the state. Entry level positions have salaries ranging from $28,000-$34,000 per year. According to the Virginia Society of Medical Assistants the state is going through a need for MA’s as current employees have been changing careers as they gain more practical experience in the field.
Pharmacy Technician – The state exam is a multiple choice exam administered by the state. The training can be completed at any trade school usually taking 9 months. Be sure to shop around as tuition costs can range from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the length of the program. It is not recommended to take an online program for your career training.
Surgical Technology – If you want to be part of the surgical team that sets up equipment operates lighting and diagnostic equipment for the doctors then this is a great career to enter. Most will earn their Associates Degree in Surgical Technology which can be completed in less than 2 years. The media salary in Virginia is $47,000 for this career but we have seen job postings reaching close to $70,000 with experience. This is typically not an entry level salary.
Getting trained in a skilled position will allow you to enter the workforce quicker than those who choose to take a more traditional college route. Trade schools in Virginia area designed to train you in a field in less than a year. It is estimated than Virginia will need more than 2 million new skilled workers over the next 10 years as 20% of the work force in the state is over 5 years of age and set to retire. These trade careers require more than just a high school diploma. Below are several areas to research that have above higher average salaries for the state. With over 25% of the state in a poverty level vocational schools play a vital role in Virginia.
Auto Mechanic – If you are looking for a hands-on career then becoming an auto mechanic could be the right fit. Trade programs in heavy vehicle, diesel and even small engine repair are available. Many of the community colleges offer 2 year training programs so you can earn your Associate’s degree at the same time. This allows you to continue on with school and even receive your Bachelor’s degree. Most companies you work for will want additional certifications once you get hired so you can specialize in the specific model of cars or trucks they service.
HVAC Technology License – To become a Journeyman or Master HVAC technician will require you to get training from a vocational or trade school unless you have enough practical experience as a contractor. Most training programs last 2 years. It is recommended that you become NATE certified as well which is an industry standard.