Nursing students urged to shift course

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 28 2012 03:52 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2012 11:52 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Shift course now or end up jobless.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued the reminder to more than a million students enrolled in nursing and other “over-subscribed” courses.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said students should try uncommon but in-demand courses.

“Do not stick with the popular (courses), I urge you to consider other related disciplines or fields to mitigate the glut of graduates in these over-subscribed courses,” she said.

Based on data from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the bigger bulk of close to three million students enrolled for academic year 2010-2011 were concentrated in popular courses, Baldoz said.

Of the 2,937,847 students enrolled for academic year 2010-2011, business administration and related courses account for 785,305 students, or 26.73 percent, while education, science and teacher training got 400,912 students, or 13.65 percent; and medical and allied health with 363,147 students or 12.36 percent share.      

Early this year, the CHED already declared a moratorium on the opening of new programs in over-subscribed disciplines, like business administration, nursing, teacher education, hotel and restaurant management, as well as information technology education.

Baldoz said nursing students may consider shifting to occupational careers as dental assistants, medical and clinical laboratory technicians and receptionists/front office agents.

“As the DOLE addresses current employment and jobs mismatch issues affecting our graduates, I encourage our nursing students, for example, to look at other courses as alternatives if they want to land a job in the local labor market,” she said.

“These careers also require graduates with a bachelor’s degree, with PRC-licensed medical and clinical laboratory technicians having an edge against other graduates.”

As alternatives to nursing, these technicians have starting monthly salaries ranging from P11,000 to P15,000, and may even go up to P20,000 per month for those licensed, highly trained, and experienced.

Medical laboratory technicians working overseas earn a monthly income of $36,030.

As for students wishing to enroll in over-subscribed hotel and restaurant management courses, they may consider tourism-related careers, such as front service agents or receptionists, reservation officers, and other frontline occupations.

Baldoz said these careers have starting salaries ranging from P10,000 to 15,000.

Receptionists and front service agents may advance to a better paying job as executive secretaries or any supervisory position.

Other than front service occupations, careers as food servers and handlers, waiters, room attendants, tour guides, bartenders, and other food and beverage service jobs are also identified by the DOLE’s JobsFit as emerging careers to propel in the next 10 years.

DOLE also encouraged students and graduates to take short-term technical-vocational courses that can augment their degrees, or even create vast opportunities for them in the world of work.

Baldoz said computer technicians, bakers, and steam fitters are three of the in-demand technical-vocational careers at this time.

“It’s about time that students get educated with the latest labor market information,” she said.

“Instead of taking popular courses, those less considered courses and training programs may yet prove to be the best paying and most fulfilling. Some of these courses and training program are in the technical-vocational field and offer the fastest turnaround from classroom to workplace, from new skills to paychecks.”