Your Major Isn’t as Crucial as You May Think

As someone that’s going to graduate from undergrad in two weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time applying for jobs. However, something that I didn’t plan on was the fact that I have not applied for one job that is related to my degree in criminal justice. Instead of pursuing a career in the criminal justice field, I’ve decided to go into public administration and nonprofit management, which is something I absolutely would not have expected a year ago.

When I first decided this semester that my passion was actually in nonprofit work and not criminal justice, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find any job without a more relevant degree. However, I quickly came to find out that most workplaces literally don’t care what your degree is in at all, they just want you to have one. As many people have told me, it’s more important to show a passion for the industry you’re applying to, as well as professional connections and experiences, than it is to have a degree in that field.

Now, of course, there are majors that are necessary to prepare for certain careers. For example, most STEM degrees are crucial in providing the background and knowledge for careers in science, mathematics and the medical field. Although, many professional will tell you that as long as you can pass an entrance exam or be accepted into a masters or doctorate program, an extremely specific degree isn’t required.

For example, after visiting with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on a class trip, I was able to speak with judges, attorneys and officers, and I learned that not one of the officials I spoke to had a bachelor’s degree related to law. Their degrees consisted of literature, chemistry and even agriculture. As long as you’re accepted into a post-grad law school and pass the bar exam, the field that your bachelor’s degree is in really wasn’t important.

So as a word of advice, if you’re stressing out about potentially changing your major or not finding a job after graduation with your degree, don’t worry. First, you could always go back to school if you found it absolutely necessary, but chances are, your employer really won’t be that critical. Try focusing more on ways to build references and real-life experiences rather than prolonging school for years from changing your major, because that’s what will really lead you to the job you want anyway.