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  • March/2017

How to pick a degree program: Get started with these 5 questions

by South University
March 23, 2017

Deciding to earn a degree is a big decision. Especially if you’re earning your first undergraduate degree or you’ve been away from school for a while, choosing the right a degree program can get complicated quickly. Even knowing where to start can be tough. To help, we’re walking you through some of the biggest factors to consider—from how to find a degree program that aligns with your strengths and interests, to researching career growth potential and industry needs.

1. What are your strengths?

If you feel lost, start with what you’re good at. Make your own list, and then ask a few of the people who know you best what you’ve missed. Consider which traits your bosses and colleagues have praised and dig up your most recent job evaluation. Or think about when you’re asked for help. Maybe your manager keeps asking you to plan office lunches or outings. If so, perhaps you have a natural talent for organizational leadership and you should search for a Bachelor of Business Administration or other similar business degrees. Maybe your friends always want your insight on family and relationship problems because you have a knack for listening and providing guidance that could translate to a psychology or counseling career. For that, you’d want to start with earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Discovering your strengths and how they translate to appropriate careers can help narrow down programs that you can excel in.

2. What fields most interest you?

Don’t be afraid to look outside your current strengths. They’re an excellent place to start, but the whole point of going to school is to learn new skills, so it’s perfectly okay to try something you’ve never done. If you enjoy helping people and caring for others, it’s fine that you’ve never worked in a healthcare setting. Healthcare degrees are built to prepare you with the skills and knowledge needed for the field. Perhaps you enjoy working with numbers or computers – a degree in Accounting or Information Technology may be right up your alley.

3. Which careers have the best job outlook?

Once you’ve picked a few possible career fields based on your strengths and interests, find out which careers have a strong job outlook. The Occupational Outlook Handbook from US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a great place to start. You can easily find data on employment growth, salary, job responsibilities, and more for hundreds of occupations. You can also work in reverse and identify careers that have the best outlook in your area and see which seem interesting to you and align with what you are already good at doing.

4. What level degree program is the right fit?

This question has two parts. First, what are the best degrees for preparing for the career you’re considering? Some jobs require bachelor’s degrees, others prefer or require master’s degrees, and, in some cases, you can get started right away with an associate’s degree. Again, the BLS is a trusted source for this information. The second thing to consider is how long you are willing to spend in school. While some schools may offer accelerated or dual bachelor’s to master’s programs, anyone who knows they don’t want to devote the time required for bachelor’s or master’s degrees can easily cross certain careers off their list.

5. What is the right format for earning your degree?

You may be able to adjust your schedule some when you go back to school, but realistically you’ll still need to balance multiple priorities. As you narrow down your list of the best degrees for you and your top colleges offering those programs, find out what type of flexibility those schools offer and what learning format might work best for you. A typically campus experience may be right for you with many schools offer evening and weekend courses to appeal to working adults. Depending on the nature of the degree program, you may be able to earn your degree fully online or in a hybrid campus and online format. Base your choice on your schedule and learning preferences, but keep an open mind. While online learning can sound intimidating, the web-based classrooms for online degrees are typically built to facilitate and encourage high-levels of faculty and student interaction, support, and discussion.

Your Next Move: Contact Your Top Colleges and Programs

Before finalizing your choice, reach out to representatives at your top colleges. You’ll learn a lot by inquiring about their program outcomes, faculty, and alumni. If you’re interested in online learning, ask what it’s like to pursue one of their online degrees. To learn about any of South University’s associates, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees, you can request information anytime on our site or call us 1.800.688.0932.

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South University Launches Human Resource Management Master’s Program

by South University
March 17, 2017

Looking to prepare for your next career move? South University is excited to introduce our newest program in the College of Business—a Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MS in HRM), now accepting applications for classes starting in June.

In this master’s degree HRM program, you can study the roles of HR professionals, as well as the concepts, strategies, and structures that impact organizations and their stakeholders. Designed to equip you for roles in HR management across a variety of organizations, the curriculum explores functional areas of HRM (from staffing to performance management), employment and labor laws, business practices, ethical principles, HR metrics and measurement, and change management.

Who Should Earn an MS in HRM

A career in Human Resources Management is ideal for those who are driven by both their heart and head. If you enjoy business strategy and analytical thinking as well as have a passion for mentoring and helping people grow, human resources could be a natural fit. Continuing your education with an MS in HRM program could prepare you to focus in on professional staff development and leadership and take your career to the next level.

What Human Resource Managers Do

Human resources managers hold many responsibilities, serving as an essential link between an organization’s management and employees. For starters, HR managers define, direct, and evaluate company staffing, training, development, retention, and performance management processes and policies. They also play a key role in determining compensation and benefit packages that align with organizational and industry factors. In doing so, they can help companies attract, develop, and retain top talent to maintain a competitive advantage.

HR managers also commonly consult with top executives on strategy planning, relying on ethical principles, general business expertise, and employment and labor laws to guide decision-making around new initiatives. The insight and leadership of HR managers can be especially valuable during times of significant organizational change, such as a company merger or the introduction of a new branch.

Industry Needs for Human Resource Professionals

With demand driven by the rise of new companies and the expansion of existing organizations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 9% employment growth rate for HR managers, faster than the average for all occupations. As the complexity of laws around occupational safety and health, equal employment opportunity, healthcare, wages, and retirement plans continues to evolve, organizations will also turn to the expertise of HR management. Currently, technical services, manufacturing, government, and healthcare are among the industries employing the most HR managers, and, in 2015, the median annual wage for HR managers was $104,440.

While the BLS anticipates strong competition for many HR management positions, those with a master’s degree in human resources management can expect the best job prospects.

Rounding out South University’s College of Business

South University’s College of Business offers a rich selection of online and campus undergraduate and graduate degree business programs. Built around the College’s core values of ethical practice, student success, and quality education, these programs have been strategically designed to prepare students for the management of people, processes, and systems across diverse public and private companies. The new MS in HRM program aligns naturally with these core values and opens up even more career opportunities for students in the College of Business to pursue upon graduation.

The MS in HRM degree program is available at our Austin and Tampa campus locations. Request more information online today or call us at 1.800.688.0932.

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Easiest Ways to Do Your Taxes for Less

by South University
March 3, 2017

Want to find ways to save time and money during tax season? Here are some quick accounting and tax tips for making it fast, easy and affordable to complete your taxes and make sure you’re not leaving extra money on the table.

1. Shop Around to File Your Taxes Online

Still going to see an accountant in person every year? Don’t be afraid to shop around online and change it up. TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct are just a few of the companies offering online tax filing solutions. Free federal and state online filing options may be available to you depending on your total adjusted gross income, your military status, or your eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you need to go with a more robust, paid version, keep a close eye out for promotions and online discounts that can help bring the cost down.

2. Make Tax-Planning a Year-Round Habit

Keeping organized and complete records of receipts, invoices and other relevant documents can help save time when you are ready to file your taxes. If you haven’t done so in the past, now is the time to start saving those receipts and keeping better track of where your money goes for next year. Did you know that if you’re unemployed and looking for a new job, you may be able to deduct job-hunting expenses? Or, if you move for a job, those costs can be deductible too. In some cases, even your medical expenses can be tax-deductible.

Of course, don’t forget about that student loan interest either, and current students may also qualify for education-related tax credits or deductions. Luckily, the software mentioned above can walk you through claiming many of these credits and deductions as you file. The catch? You’ll need to make sure you have the paper trail to back up your claims.

3. Become a Tax Expert Yourself

This option won’t be right for everyone, but if you find yourself enjoying planning and filing your own taxes, why not consider pursuing a career in accounting? The BLS predicts an 11% job growth for accountants and auditors by 2024—a rate faster than average growth anticipated across occupations. On average, in 2015, accounting professionals had an annual wage of more than $67,000. The best part is you can skip paying someone else to file your taxes and even earn extra income during the tax season by offering your services to others.

At a minimum, accounting and auditing positions typically require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Other employers prefer applicants with a master’s degree in accounting. To become a Certified Public Accountant, you’ll also need to pass a CPA exam as well as meet your state requirements. If you’re serious about preparing for a career in accounting, South University can help. Call 1.800.688.0932 or request information today to learn more about our online and campus-based Business Administration and Accounting programs—including a new, online BS to MS in Accounting dual-degree program.

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