“Why am I studying this? I’ll never use it in the real world.”
Exact figures aren’t yet available, but about every high school student in advanced algebra class this year uttered the phrase.
However, there are some classes and different capabilities that translate directly to real-life work situations. Here are some that not only enrich your overall knowledge base, but can also enhance would-be workers for their eventual career choices:
Public speaking. It’s not that every high school or college student will eventually address hundreds of people on a regular basis. But public speaking is face-to-face communication writ large, and those communication skills are absolutely critical in an ever-evolving workforce. In short, the ability to convey ideas in an idea-driven society means more than you think. So forget the stage fright – sign up for a public speaking course, even if you’re not required to do so.
Typing class. No joke – that boring, seemingly brainless typing class teaches one particular skill that adds value and productivity to practically every white-collar worker. If you plan on earning a paycheck in an office environment, typing is essential. The transition from classroom to your employer is about as direct as it gets: you learn to type in school, work on your craft (usually for just a 9-week class; many typing classes are elective courses), and the next thing you know, you’re banging out 75 words per minute or so. Don’t knock secretarial skills – typing is a drastically underrated aptitude.
Creative writing. Or, better yet, anything creative at all. A knack for critical thinking has plenty of real-world relevance for the modern workforce. A recent study by researchers in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden concluded that the burgeoning “creative class,” comprised of professions that robots and automation can’t easily replace, will be one of the main stalwarts of the future middle class. The next time you’re signing up for college courses, ask yourself: “Will this class enhance my creativity?” If the answer is yes, it might be worth exploring! Platt College’s 3D Animation, Web Design and Digital Video Production areas of study epitomize the types of skills and knowledge that lead to “creative class” careers.
Shop class. Once a mainstay of American high school coursework, the shop class is now an educational footnote. But it shouldn’t be. A skilled workforce, by definition, is a highly specialized workforce. Vo-tech courses, shop classes, trade schools and other 2-year institutions have gotten a bad rap because they don’t offer bachelor-level education. However, every healthy, robust economy includes a certain percentage of artisans, craftsmen and others who build and fix things. Skip shop class at your own peril.
Dentistry skills. America’s aging population, rapid advancements in medical technology and ever-increasing patient rolls are great news for anyone thinking about a career in healthcare. Specialized healthcare, in particular, holds many promising avenues for students willing to learn valuable skills. Take dental care, for example. A growing number of “sub-fields” within the dentistry realm include Coronal Polishing, Orthodontic Assistant, Radiation Safety and more – all valuable stepping stones toward a rewarding career! The Howard Healthcare Academy offers these certifications and others for a complete, well-rounded skill set profile.
These are just a handful of practical proficiencies that hard-working students can use to benefit their career prospects. Even if you don’t think your current class will pay off in the long run, there’s nothing wrong with becoming competent in another area. Study hard, work harder, and embrace the daily grind – you’ll realize success easier than you think!