OCCC offers degrees in top paying fields

October 15, 2010 Feature Print Print

More than half of the top 20 fastest growing occupations in Oklahoma will pay more than $15 an hour, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

OCCC offers training for some of these occupations with degrees or certificates of mastery, and some through corporate learning, according to the OCCC student catalog.

Some of the fastest-growing occupations in Oklahoma are registered nurses, accountants, and pharmacy technicians, according to the OESC.

“The market is increasing faster than we can graduate nurses,” nursing Professor Linda Cowan said.

“With the aging population, there will always be a job for nurses,” Cowan said. “It will never go away.”

Nursing is a lucrative job field, with a hourly wage of $25.58 per hour, according to the OESC.

Nurses perform many functions, from patient care to administrative work, Cowan said.

OCCC has one of the top registered nursing programs in the state, she said.

The health care and social assistance industry is projected to add 39,350 jobs between 2008 and 2018, with a growth rate of 20.3 percent, according to the OESC.

This industry includes hospitals, ambulatory health care services, health and personal care stores that sell health and personal care products.

Projections for 2008 to 2018 occupations with the most openings include cashiers, retail salespersons, registered nurses, and customer service representatives, according to the OESC.

Some of the top occupations by education level are pharmacists, registered nurses and bill and account collectors, according to the OESC.

Chemistry major Carlos Najera, 19, said his career goal is to be a pharmacist and work in pharmacology.

“I like the idea of knowing that the market shows demand for the field I am interested in,” he said.

Pharmacists dispense medications to patients, at the direction of a medical doctor, veterinarian, or dentist and make an average hourly wage of $46.69, according to the OESC.

Personal and Academic Adviser George Maxwell said he encourages students to research the field of study they are interested in before making a commitment to a major.

“This is vital to student success,” he said.

Nevertheless, students are more motivated to stay in school if their career choice is something they want to do in life, Maxwell said.

Najera agrees.

“My passion for pharmacology is my drive to stay in school,” he said.

Advisers work with Student Employment and Career Services in helping students explore different fields of study and career options to determine their career path, Maxwell said.

When helping students decide on career choices, all OCCC career counselors rely on government websites such as the OESC and Bureau of Labor Statistics for job marketability, Student Employment and Career Services Director Debra Vaughn said.

She encourages students to go after their passion in life, whether the growth rate of their career path has little or moderate growth.

For more information, contact Student Employment and Career Services from 8 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the Main Building or call 405-682-7519.

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