Career Spotlight: Reporter

Dreams of being on air or publishing articles for the world to read are common for students with a natural talent for communication.  The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) describes the work of reporters, pointing out that these positions can be in television, radio, online, and print media.  Reporters must be effective at meeting deadlines, since there is pressure to be the first reporter to break a news story.  The OOH suggests that job prospects in television, radio, and newspapers are expected to be hard to come by, particularly in major markets.

Since education and experience are vital components, students should seek out ways to obtain the professional skills they will need in college.  Baylor offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism-News Editorial, a program that also requires a minor of a student’s choosing.  A minor is available in News Editorial, for those students in majors other than Journalism.  Media-minded students might also be interested in courses in Film and Digital Media.  Students interested in on-air broadcasting who would like to beef up their presentation and interviewing skills might also choose to take classes in Speech Communication.

This wraps up our posts for the 2011-2012 academic year.  Thanks for your readership during our inaugural year.  We will resume posting on the first day of classes this fall, August 20.  We hope you will take the summer to peruse our old posts, explore career possibilities, and get some real-world experience.  Summer jobs, internships, study abroad, and volunteer work are all excellent resume-builders.  The Career Counseling office will be open during the summer sessions and between semesters, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions during that time.  Finally, best wishes on your final exams!

Careers in Music

Music can inspire emotions, dreams, and actions.  Many students find so much meaning in music that they want involvement in music to be their life’s work.  Classical musicians usually train from childhood, then go on to major in music at a university or study at a conservatory.  What about the rest of the musicians and music fans out there?

The Berklee College of Music has put together an extensive list of various roles within the music industry.  You can learn more about the occupations of musicians and singers, as well as many related occupations, by visiting the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  The University of North Carolina-Wilmington and Northern Illinois University have compiled list of links pertinent to students with interests in careers in music.

Students are required to audition in order to major in music at Baylor.  However, an audition is not required to minor in music or church music.  Non-majors may also participate in bands, orchestras, and choirs, as well as registering for music classes as a non-major.  For more information on programs through the School of Music at Baylor, visit their website.

How to Become a Librarian

Does this image look like your ideal work setting?  When a student talks to me about an interest in being a librarian, it is usually due to their strong interest in books.  Let’s dive deeper to learn more about the day-to-day work of a librarian, as well as the educational requirements.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) summarizes a librarian’s work as “help[ing] people find information from many sources. Most librarians, such as those in public and academic libraries, maintain library collections and do other work as needed to keep the library running.”  Sounds a little different than getting paid to read books all day, doesn’t it?  Follow the OOH link to learn more about this profession.

“Most librarians need a Master’s degree in library science” or information science, according to the OOH, but the good thing is that no specific undergraduate major is required.  An exception would be school librarians, since a teacher certification, work experience, and a school librarian certificate are typical requirements.  The OOH indicates that students who complete a Master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association will likely find better job opportunities.

Scribe: An Ancient Profession Adapted for Modern Medicine

When I hear the word scribe, I picture someone in ancient times writing on parchment, with an inkwell by his side.  Imagine my surprise when I was invited to a meeting this semester about scribe jobs for students!  With the same intent, but a modern twist, scribes are changing the way emergency medicine is practiced all across the country.

Scribes are hired and trained to provide medical charting for physicians.  This frees up the physician to focus on the patient, rather than getting bogged down with documentation.  The physician reviews the scribe’s work before approving it.  Not only do scribes help increase the efficiency of emergency departments, but scribes gain valuable experience in preparation for application to medical school.  Medical schools expect that a student has spent many hours observing in a medical setting.  Working as a scribe offers the added benefits of learning medical terminology and getting paid.  PhysAssist Scribes, Scribe America, and Emergency Medicine Scribe Systems are three companies currently hiring pre-healthcare students for scribe positions.  Even more organizations can be found by doing an online search.  Some students are able to scribe as a summer job.  Visit the company websites for more details.

*Update:  Toby Mulligan, Chief Executive Officer of ProScribe, called our office to let us know that ProScribe hires and trains scribes for the Waco market.  Click here for more details.

Career Spotlight: Registered Nurse

An essential part of the healthcare team, registered nurses make up the largest healthcare occupation.  According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for registered nurses is projected at a rate faster than average.  It is actually the occupation expected to add the most jobs between 2010 and 2020.  The list of specialties within the field of nursing is almost endless.  Registered nurses can specialize by type of patient, employment setting, disease, organ or body system.  Hospitals employ 60% of registered nurses, so students who particularly enjoy volunteering in the hospital setting might consider this a viable career path.

Baylor students can declare a Pre-Nursing major.  Students must complete a series of prerequisite courses (including chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and statistics) and earn a grade of C or better to be eligible for admission to the Louise Herrington School of Nursing.  The Undergraduate Catalog states that “admission is competitive and not guaranteed.”  Students should be aware that the last two years of nursing courses are completed at the campus in Dallas, Texas.  An alternative to the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is the FastBacc program, designed for students who complete a Bachelor’s degree in another area.

For additional information on a career in nursing, such as many of the areas of specialization, visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Career Spotlight: Sociologist

The Occupational Outlook Handbook states that,

“Sociologists study society and social behavior by examining the groups, cultures, organizations, and social institutions people form. They also study the activities in which people participate, including activities conducted in social, religious, political, economic, and business organizations. They study the behavior of, and interaction among, groups, organizations, institutions, and nations, and how they react to phenomena such as the spread of technology, crime, social movements, and epidemics of illness. They also trace the origin and growth of these groups and interactions. Sociologists analyze how social influences affect different individuals and groups, and the ways organizations and institutions affect the daily lives of those same people. To analyze these social patterns, sociologists usually begin by designing research projects that incorporate a variety of methods, including historical analysis, comparative analysis, and quantitative and qualitative techniques. Through this process of applied research, they construct theories and produce information that attempts to explain certain social trends or that will enable people to make better decisions or manage their affairs more effectively. The results of sociological research aid educators, lawmakers, administrators, and others who are interested in resolving social problems and formulating public policy. Most sociologists work in one or more specialties, such as social organization, stratification, and mobility; racial and ethnic relations; education; the family; social psychology; urban, rural, political, and comparative sociology; gender relations; demography; gerontology; criminology; and sociological practice.

Most sociologists work as researchers, administrators, and counselors for a wide range of employers. The industries that employed the largest number of sociologists in 2008 were scientific research and development services, social advocacy organizations, and State and local government. Many sociologists—about 37 percent—teach in colleges and universities and in secondary and elementary schools.

Many sociology students can benefit greatly from internships. While in college, aspiring sociologists should gain experience gathering and analyzing data, conducting interviews or surveys, and writing reports on their findings. This experience can prove invaluable later in obtaining a full-time position in the field, because much of the work, especially in the beginning, may center on these duties. 

Candidates who hold a master’s or Ph.D. degree will have the best employment prospects and advancement opportunities. Employment growth of sociologists is projected to grow much faster than average.”

Helpful website:

New Podcast: Medical Humanities

Are you interested in a healthcare career?  More specifically, do you want to view each patient as more than just a number or a body of cells?  You might be interested in studying medical humanities.  Click here to listen to the latest installment of the Meet the Majors Podcast Series.  Our featured guest is Dr. Lauren Barron, a medical doctor who is also the Associate Director of the Medical Humanities program at Baylor.

Pan Am?

Some of you may have caught a glimpse of this new show on ABC portraying flight attendants working for Pan American Airlines in the 1960’s.  Word on the street is that the television network has pulled the plug on this drama, but watching just the pilot episode caused me to wonder what a current flight attendant’s job is really like.

For a good general overview, stop by the following two websites listed.  The first link offers a great .pdf that has general information about the career field.  The second link is a great video.  Both of these resources are available from the O*NET.

For more details, continue reading.  Almost all of the information, especially everything in italics is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook website.  I’ve bolded key concepts and bulleted some lists for easier reading.  They have tons of detailed information to tell you all the ins and outs of this career field.  Even more info is available on the website that I didn’t list here, so definitely check it out.

OOH <–Click here for the complete info

·  Competition for positions is expected to remain keen because the opportunity for travel attracts more applicants than there are jobs.

·  Job duties are learned through formal on-the-job training at a flight training center.

·  A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement, but airlines prefer applicants with a college degree and with experience in dealing with the public.

Why flight attendants?

Major airlines are required by law to provide flight attendants for the safety and security of the traveling public.

  • Primary job: ensure that security and safety regulations are followed
  • Attendants also try to make flights comfortable and enjoyable for passengers.

What happens before passengers board?

At least 1 hour before takeoff, attendants are briefed by the captain—the pilot in command—on such things as emergency evacuation procedures, coordination of the crew, the length of the flight, expected weather conditions, and any special issues having to do with passengers. Flight attendants make sure that first-aid kits and other emergency equipment are aboard and in working order and that the passenger cabin is in order, with adequate supplies of food, beverages, and any other amenities.

As passengers board the plane, flight attendants greet them, check their tickets, and tell them where to store carry-on items.

What are the hours?

Because airlines operate around the clock and year round, flight attendants can work nights, holidays, and weekends. Scheduled on-duty time usually is limited to 12 hours per day, however flight attendants can be scheduled up to 14 hours per day, with somewhat greater maximums for international flying. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that flight attendants receive 9 consecutive hours of rest following any duty period.

Attendants usually fly 65 to 90 hours a month and generally spend another 50 hours a month on the ground preparing planes for flights, writing reports following completed flights, and waiting for planes to arrive. Most airlines guarantee a minimum of 65 to 85 flight hours per month, with the option to work additional hours. Flight attendants receive extra compensation for additional hours.

After reading this info, I did a little math.  Flight attendants working a max of 90 flying hours and 50 ground hours would work an average of 7 hours a day over 20 working days.

How does this all work in real life?

Flight attendants may be away from their home base at least one-third of the time. During this period, the airlines provide hotel accommodations and an allowance for meal expenses.

Flight attendants must be flexible and willing to relocate. However, many flight attendants elect to live in one place and commute to their assigned home base. Home bases and routes worked are bid for and awarded on a seniority basis, so the longer the flight attendant has been employed, the more likely he or she is to work on their preferred flights. Almost all flight attendants start out working on reserve status, or on call. Flight attendants on reserve status usually live near their home base, because they are required to be able to report to their home base on short notice. On small corporate airlines, flight attendants often work on an as-needed basis and must adapt to varying environments and passengers.

Cost/Benefit Analysis:

The combination of free time and free or discounted airfares provides flight attendants the opportunity to travel. However, the work can be strenuous and trying. Flight attendants stand during much of the flight and must remain pleasant and efficient, regardless of how tired they are or how demanding passengers may be. Occasionally, flight attendants must deal with turbulent flights which can cause difficulties regarding service and cause anxiety among passengers that flight attendants must address.

Working in a moving aircraft leaves flight attendants susceptible to injuries. According to BLS data, full-time flight attendants experienced a much higher than average work-related injury and illness rate. Various physical injuries can occur when opening overhead compartments or while pushing heavy service carts. In addition, medical problems can arise from irregular sleeping and eating patterns, dealing with stressful passengers, working in a pressurized environment, and breathing recycled air.

Education and training.

  • A high school diploma minimum
  • airlines increasingly prefer applicants with a college degree.
    • Applicants who attend schools or colleges that offer flight attendant training may have an advantage over other applicants.
    • Highly desirable areas of concentration include people-oriented disciplines, such as communications, psychology, nursing, travel and tourism, hospitality, and education.
    • Flight attendants for international airlines generally must speak a foreign language fluently.
    • For their international flights, some of the major airlines prefer candidates who can speak two major foreign languages.

I got the job, what’s next?

Once hired, all candidates must undergo a period of formal training.

  • Ranging from 3 to 6 weeks,
  • New trainees are not considered employees of the airline until they successfully complete the training program.
  • What is taught in training?
    • emergency procedures
    • how to deal with disruptive passengers and with hijacking and terrorist situations
    • flight regulations and duties
    • company operations and policies
    • personal grooming and weight control
    • instruction in passport and customs regulations
  • Trainees must perform many drills and duties unaided, in front of the training staff.
  • They also take tests designed to eliminate unsuccessful trainees.
  • Toward the end of their training, students go on practice flights.
  • Upon successful completion of training, flight attendants receive the FAA Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency.
  • Flight attendants also are required to go through periodic retraining and pass an FAA safety examination to continue flying.

Salary info:

  • Median annual wages of flight attendants were $35,930 in May 2008.
  • The middle 50 percent earned between $28,420 and $49,910.
  • The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,580, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,350.
  • According to data from the Association of Flight Attendants, beginning attendants had median earnings of $16,191 a year in 2009.
  • Some airlines offer incentive pay for working holidays, night and international flights, or taking positions that require additional responsibility or paperwork.


  • Flight attendants and their immediate families are entitled to free or discounted fares on their own airline and reduced fares on most other airlines.
  • medical, dental, and life insurance
  • 401K or other retirement plan
  • sick leave
  • paid holidays
  • stock options
  • paid vacations
  • tuition reimbursement
  • “per diem” allowance for meal expenses while on duty away from home.
  • required to purchase uniforms and wear them while on duty. The airlines usually pay for uniform replacement items, and may provide a small allowance to cover cleaning and upkeep of the uniforms.

Be sure and explorer specific airline websites for more detailed information about their available positions and what their particular requirements are.

Career Spotlight: Medical Illustrator

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook,

Medical and scientific illustrators combine drawing skills with knowledge of biology or other sciences. Medical illustrators work digitally or traditionally to create images of human anatomy and surgical procedures as well as three-dimensional models and animations. Scientific illustrators draw animal and plant life, atomic and molecular structures, and geologic and planetary formations. These illustrations are used in medical and scientific publications and in audiovisual presentations for teaching purposes. Illustrators also work for lawyers, producing exhibits for court cases.

Medical illustrators must have both a demonstrated artistic ability and a detailed knowledge of living organisms, surgical and medical procedures, and human and animal anatomy. A bachelor’s degree combining art and premedical courses usually is required. However, most medical illustrators also choose to pursue a master’s degree in medical illustration. This degree is offered in four accredited schools in the United States.”

The annual salary range is $41,933-$79,547.

A helpful website is:

Purchasing Agent

Have you ever wondered how companies get all the things (supplies, raw materials, services, etc.) they need to function? provides this great definition of what purchasing agents do:

Purchasing agents are in charge of all buying for their company. They buy the raw materials, goods, and services their company needs to maintain operations. Purchasing agents, or buyers as they are sometimes called, see that their company has a sufficient supply of the materials it needs to operate. However, agents must avoid tying up too much of the company’s money in supplies. Their job is to balance quality with cost to ensure that the best purchases are made. It is vital that purchasers stay up to date on overall market conditions and price trends that affect what they are buying. They use the latest pricing information available on the Internet to compute the price of items, the cost of handling and transportation for those items, and the cost of time spent by workers who unload the stock and fill out shipping paperwork.

Be sure to check out their .pdf file here for more details including salary, math classes needed, and helpful majors.

According to Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Opportunities should be best for those with a college degree in engineering, business, economics, or one of the applied sciences.”

It appears that a variety of major paths could lead you toward this career field.  You may want to meet with several Baylor departments of interest to discern more clearly which path is right for you.  Feel free to make an appointment with a career counselor for further guidance along your journey.