How to Create SMART Career Goals

We all have goals that we want to accomplish in life and in our careers. Maybe you aren’t fulfilled in your current job and want a more rewarding career or maybe your goal is to be the first person in your family to graduate from a training program.

Regardless of what you want to achieve, setting SMART career goals can get you there! The most effective goals follow these five guidelines: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Using these criteria to create your SMART career goals gives you a higher chance of success. How exactly do you create SMART career goals? Keep reading as we share with you exactly how!

Specific

First, SMART career goals must be specific, so that you know exactly what to do in order to reach them. Here is a great example of a specific goal: I want to graduate from a Medical Assisting program in Westmoreland County within 18 months in order to begin a more rewarding career. This is a specific goal because it answers the following questions:

Now that you have answered these questions and created a specific goal, you know exactly what to do to achieve the goal.

Measurable

Next, you need to make sure your SMART career goals are measurable. Creating measurable goals ensures that you can track the progress you make toward your goals. As you take steps to reach your goals, you will be able to tell if you’re on track to meet them or if there is something you need to change.

Separating your larger goal into smaller chunks is the best way to do this. With the goal of completing a medical assisting program to start a more rewarding career, you could create milestones along the way for each class that is part of the program. This way, you are one step closer to your goal for each class you complete.

Attainable

As you create your SMART career goals, it’s essential to create ones that are attainable, because it’s hard to stay motivated to work toward a goal that’s not actually achievable. An example of an unattainable goal would be going to Mars next month. While this sounds like a great goal, it’s not actually attainable, because the technology to go to Mars doesn’t yet exist. Setting super high goals can seem like a good idea, but it can actually be demotivating, because you know you can’t accomplish them anyway.

In our medical assisting goal example, some things you should consider to ensure the goal is attainable for you is if can you commit the time required for the program, do you have the support system needed, and do you have any prerequisites that are required.

Relevant

The next thing you must do is ensure your SMART career goals are relevant to you. Here are some questions you should ask about each specific goal: Is this something you really want to achieve? Do you care enough to put in the work? Does this goal align with your other goals? Does this goal fit into your long-term plans?

For example, our medical assisting goal is relevant because it will help reach your dream of starting a more rewarding career. By achieving this goal, you’re working toward a long-term goal of being in a career that brings you more meaning and fulfillment.

Timely

Last, you need to ensure that your SMART career goals are timely. Creating a timely goal means that it has a time frame that you will complete the goal within. If you create a goal with no deadline, there is no sense of urgency to work toward the goal.

Create a deadline to reach the goal, but also create smaller deadlines for the milestones along the way. For example, with our medical assisting goal, you can create a deadline for taking each class, finishing your externship, and passing certification tests.

Achieve Your Goals with United

Now that you’ve created your SMART career goals, you’re ready to achieve your professional dreams! If you want to work in healthcare, helping your community by providing excellent patient care, United Career Institute has the fast track programs to help you get there.

Learn more and request information about our Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Phlebotomy programs to get started today!

What Should High School Seniors Be Doing Now?

With school dances, holiday breaks, and classes with your best friends, being a senior in high school can be an awesome experience. You’ve made it so far and can see the finish line!

For some, it can also be overwhelming and a little frightening. As you finish one journey and prepare for the next, the most important question to ask yourself is, what am I going to do after high school?

Making the decision to continue your education by attending college or a training program is a great investment in your future. People who continue their education beyond high school earn higher salaries and have better job security. With so many options, how do you choose the path that’s right for you? And what can you do to set yourself up for success once you graduate high school? Keep reading as we share exactly what high school seniors should be doing right now!

Research Schools and Programs

The first thing high school seniors need to do is research the various schools and programs you’re interested in. Meet with school representatives that visit your school, read through each school’s website, visit their social media pages, and read online reviews. Doing this will help guide you to a school that is the right fit for you.

Choosing the right school for you is extremely important, but equally important is choosing the right program. When deciding on the program you want to pursue, you need to ask yourself some important career questions, like what field do you want to work in, how quickly do you want to start your career, and what style of learning do you excel at? The answers to these questions will help guide you toward the program best for you.

What Should High School Seniors Be Doing Now

For example, if you want to work in the healthcare field, don’t want to spend 4+ years in school, and prefer a hands-on learning environment, a career training program would be best for you. At United Career Institute, we offer fast track career training programs for in-demand jobs like Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Office Administration. With short-term programs, you can start your career in months, not years.

Other things to consider are whether the school offers job placement assistance, will you have the chance to earn valuable certifications, and is the program direct admission, meaning you don’t have to take unnecessary classes.

After completing your research and choosing a program, contact the school you’re interested in to get more information and ask any questions you may have. You can set up a campus visit and complete a tour to really get a feel for the school you’re considering. Be sure to note the deadline for admission, so you can get a head start on the application process.

Choosing a school is a big decision, so talk it over with family, friends, and your guidance counselor, as they may have insight and advice that you have not considered.

Complete the Application Process

Now that you’ve chosen the school you want to attend and the program you will complete, it’s time to complete the application process! Schedule a time to meet with an Admissions Advisor to complete your application and make a list of next steps. Your Admissions Advisor will work with you one-on-one to help guide you through the process. Feel free to bring a parent or family member to your admission interview to support you along the way.

After applying and being accepted into your chosen program, you will meet with a Financial Aid Representative who will help guide you through financing your education. Questions about the FAFSA, scholarships, student loans, payment plans, and more can be answered during this meeting. You should bring a parent or guardian to this meeting to ensure all their questions are answered as well.

Next, you need to complete your FAFSA, apply for scholarships, and pay any necessary fees. Additionally, some schools and programs require an entrance exam and letters of recommendation, so you will need to complete these as well, if necessary.

Prepare for Success

Congratulations! You have chosen a school, decided on a program, and completed the admissions process! As you finish your senior year of high school, continue to focus on your grades, extracurricular activities, work, and any other responsibilities.

Be sure to respond to all communications from your school promptly, as they may need additional information or have questions for you. Before you begin your chosen program, purchase any necessary supplies that are not provided and ensure you have the proper support from family and friends.

Apply to United Career Institute

If you’re looking for a school that offers fast track career training programs, hands-on learning, personalized attention, small class sizes, student support, and a WE CARE approach to education, then you’ve come to the right place! Request information today to start your path to a great career with United Career Institute!