By Chris Awuah
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Many UTC graduates have realized that finding a job after graduation isn’t easy. As of October 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor estimated that an average of 5.8 percent of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree were unemployed. That is the highest rate since 1970.
Sean Whitehead from Murfreesboro, Tenn., graduated from UTC in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He planned on finishing school and going into the field he once always dreamed about. Instead he was unemployed for more then five months until he found a job at Best Buy.
“I just couldn’t continue to sit around and wait to see if jobs in my field would open up, so I had to settle for less,” Whitehead said.
This has been a recurring problem for many first-time college graduates. The post-college life is an uncertain picture for not only present but also future college gradates because of a recovering economy and fewer job openings. Many have decided to pull the books back out to advance their education and get a leg up on their competition.
Some graduates like Whitehead, think if they had more education on their resume, it would help them qualify for the job. “I sometimes wish I would have continued on to graduate school after graduating” Whitehead said. “I know it would have been more time and less money being made, but it would have probably been for the better for me.”
UTC Head Athletic Advisor Lisa Tarr has been in the field of helping students find their way through school on all levels from middle school to college. When it comes to giving advice about future career plans, Tarr said she tells her students it’s sometimes better to get a degree in a field that you would enjoy even if you were not getting paid.
“From the way recent numbers are leaning, it’s better to have a higher degree towards your major because how competitive the market has become,” she said.