Are you part of the class of 2017 and need to think about a career? Or perhaps a university student trying to figure out which field to follow? Well, choosing a career is one of those momentous decisions you'll have to make, sooner or later. And the choice you make can basically change the course of your life. It's clear that this is one of the most important decisions you'll have to make. Such a decision deserves considerable time and introspection. Self-examination and ample information are some of the things that might help you choose a satisfying career that you'll enjoy for years to come.

Application deadlines are looming at higher education institutions around the country. Many high school learners still haven't decided which career path they would love to follow. Peter Kriel, Head of the Faculty of Business at The Independent Institute of Education said, "This uncertainty causes a lot of anxiety to both learners and parents at a time when all their energy should be spent on preparing for their final exams.”

Everyone would ideally know their true calling early on in life. They are bound to find total happiness in their careers and reach success. Unfortunately, it often doesn't work that way. And there are better ways to choose the right career than just following in the footsteps of your parents or choosing randomly.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right career path.

What excites and energises you?

It's important to follow a career that you know you'll love and enjoy. When you're in a specific position, the biggest sign you're on the wrong path is if you dread talking about your job. And while passion isn't the only requirement for being content in your career, many would agree that it’s essential. Passion is one of those things that will keep you going even through tough times. It's also important to think about the things you're good at. That might help you choose the right career.

Think about what your ideal career would look like

This might sound obvious but it's important to think about what you see yourself doing after graduation. What do you think your ideal job will be? A mistake many often make is not considering what they actually want to be and do a decade from now. And that will likely cause them to settle for educational opportunities and environments that aren't suitable. This is likely to result in failure and unhappiness. It's important to think ahead about the things you would like to achieve. For instance, do you want to do a human resources and legal course or rather go to drama school? You should at least have a clear idea of what it is you would like to do. That will help you choose the right career path for you.

Conduct proper research

It doesn't matter which career you end up following, it's important to conduct proper research. It's best to identify your field and options according to your current academic direction and performance. You should take a look at the kinds of qualifications which are likely to land you in your field. That might help you narrow down your list of available courses and institutions. It's important to be realistic in understanding that reaching your goal may require a building block approach. For instance, you won't become a senior nurse after two years of employment. It's going to take more hard work to get there. This reality is often overlooked by students.

Take a career assessment test

This is one of the many ways to find out which career works for you. Taking a career assessment test in high school or just before starting university will help you narrow down what you want to do. There are many other evaluations or tests you can take, depending on the field you're interested in. A career test is the perfect way to figure out which way you actually would like to go. It'll likely reflect and identify your values, interests, abilities and personality preferences. And your responses will be the criteria you use to evaluate the pros and cons of different career paths and fields. You'll also have the option to take online quizzes that can help you assess your aptitude for certain types of work. With this you can also take a look at online job descriptions and career information. That will help you understand what the education and training requirements are for the different kinds of jobs. There are also many books available that will help you through the self-assessment process.

Your career is one of those things you'll do for the rest of your life. So, it's important to make the right decision. And remember that your career is a marathon and not a sprint. Besides, it can turn out to be a long, winding road.