All Posts by Janice Friedman

Budget Analyst Description

Budget analysts are mainly responsible for analyzing budgets, ensuring that resources are efficiently used, and looking for ways to increase the profitability of a company. They help in the identification of budgetary issues and notify the top management. They also make recommendations on new strategies that the organization should use in drafting budgets or using funds. Budget analysts are important as they ensure that the finances of a company are on track.

If this sounds like the career you would like to pursue, it is important to know the educational and certification requirements. You might also be interested in the career outlook and job prospects. This article highlights all that you need to know about becoming a budget analyst as it highlights what they do, the education requirements, job outlook, and salary information.

What Is a Budget Analyst?

Budget analysts help private and public institutions, organizations, or companies to organize their finances. They are mainly involved in preparing budget reports, which allow these entities to keep their finances on track. They also develop financial forecasts using past spending data and current economic trends. This means that budget analysts are essential in reaching the set short-term and long-term financial goals and ensuring that a firm is maintaining profitability and attaining growth.

These professionals work in a variety of industries with companies that may be large or small, including financial firms, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Duties and Responsibilities


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  • Analyzing and interpreting accounting records
  • Preparing, maintaining, and analyzing company financial statements including income statements, balance sheets, as well as other financial reports and records
  • Working with project and program managers in the development of budgets
  • Preparing internal financial management reports, monthly financial metrics reports, and external regulatory reports
  • Monitoring how a firm spends its money to ensure that it is within the allocated budget
  • Monitoring disbursements, for example, payments reimbursed to vendors and research budgetary allocation and financial usage problems so that they can identify issues, identify viable recommendations, and adopt potential corrections
  • Helping CEOs, agency heads, or any other top manager in analyzing proposed plans and finding viable alternatives if they establish that the projected results are not satisfactory
  • Conducting research on complex accounting issues and errors so that they come up with viable solutions to financial problems
  • Informing program or project managers of the status and availability of funds
  • Presenting financial data and progress, as well as the performance metrics information for company presentations, meetings, and briefings
  • Estimating future financial needs

Budget analysts are also required to ensure that the bookkeeping, along with other finances comply with company standards, laws, and regulations. They also make recommendations to the management and other stakeholders on how to efficiently use company funds. Some additional duties include monitoring the company spending patterns to reveal variations, preparing annual reports, and providing technical analysis of financial information.

Skills


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Successful budget analysts should have a lot of financial knowledge to be able to make accurate financial data and calculations. After looking at the latest data to uncover the in-demand skills for these professionals, we found that employers look for the following skills:

  • Accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Detail-oriented
  • Communicant skills 
  • Financial management
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Financial analysis
  • Forecasting
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Financial reporting
  • Spreadsheets
  • Business administration

The listed technical skills are important in this career. However, there are also a handful of other soft skills that make budget analysts more valuable to employers. These include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Active listening
  • Speaking
  • Complex problem solving
  • Reading comprehension
  • Judgment and decision making

Work Environment


According to the BLS, budget analysts had approximately 58,400 jobs in 2016. The largest employers were:

  • The federal government: about 20% of the jobs
  • Educational services (these include state, local, and private): about 15% of the jobs
  • State government (BLS excluded hospitals and education): about 11% of the jobs
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services: about 11% of the jobs
  • Local government (BLS excluded hospitals and education): about 10% of the jobs

Even though most budget analysts typically work in offices, some are required to travel to obtain budget details firsthand or when they need to verify the allocation of funds. Pertaining to the work schedules, they mostly work on a full-time basis. However, they may work overtime when making final reviews of budgetary allocations. In most cases, the pressures of tight working schedules and deadlines are usually stressful for most of the professionals.

Education and Job Requirements

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For you to become a budget analyst, you need to first get the required education. Most of the budget analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree. However, employers prefer hiring professionals with advanced degrees, such as a master’s degree. Since strong analytical and numerical skills are important in this profession, the programs usually encompass coursework in economics, accounting, and statistics.

Local, state, and federal governments have varying requirements, but they mostly require a bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields: business, accounting, economics, statistics, public administration, finance, sociology, or political science. In some instances, knowledge acquired from finance related or budget-related work experiences can be substituted for education.

Employers also seek candidates who have strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as those who pay attention to detail. The entry-level positions are very important as they provide opportunities for learning. You can also benefit from taking on additional responsibilities, which will lead to better experience and upward career mobility. This means that from there, it is possible to get career advancement and move to a financial manager or budget manager position, or even a senior budget analyst.

Certification


When you work in government institutions, you may earn the Certified Government Financial Manager credential, which is given by the Association of Government Accountants. For you to earn this certification, you must have a relevant bachelor’s degree,  24 credit hours studying financial management, and an additional 2 years of professional experience in a governmental financial position. Besides this, candidates must also pass a series of certification exams. You will also be interested in keeping your certification by taking 80 hours of continuing education after every 2 years.

Salary and Job Outlook

Salary Information

Job Outlook

Conclusion

Budget analysts help private and public entities organize their finances and prepare budget reports, which makes it possible to keep finances on track. Their duties include analyzing and interpreting accounting records, preparing, maintaining, and analyzing company financial statements, working with project and program managers in the development of budgets, monitoring how funds are used, informing program or project managers of the status and availability of funds, and estimating future financial needs. The skills they need include accounting, budgeting, communication, financial management, financial analysis, forecasting, reporting, and business administration.

They can work in various sectors including the federal government, educational services, state government, professional, scientific, and technical services, as well as the local government. For you to become a budget analyst, you should first get a bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields: business, accounting, economics, statistics, public administration, finance, sociology, or political science. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for a budget analyst in May 2017 was about $75,240 and the employment of the analysts is forecasted to grow by about 7% between 2016 and 2026. We hope this article has adequately addressed what budget analyst do, the education requirements, job outlook, and salary information.

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Appliance Repair Job Description

There are many jobs available in the technical field, all of which have distinct advantages and disadvantages. One of these jobs is that of an appliance repair technician. This job requires having a special combination of mental and physical aptitudes as well as interpersonal and administrative skills. Such a combination, with the right training, provides access to a job that is interesting, challenging, and rewarding. There are a lot of factors to consider when contemplating whether to enter upon a career in appliance repair.

What Is Appliance Repair?

appliance repair technician doing his job

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Appliance repair includes the repair, servicing, installation, and inspection of many household appliances. These can include smaller appliances like dishwashers, oven ranges, washers, and dryers. It can also include larger appliances such as refrigerators. This job also requires the ability to connect and maintain water and gas lines and the ability to repair leaks if they are found.

Job Description

There are many general duties involved in this job description, such as reinstalling and cleaning parts, diagnosing and repairing appliances, and reassembling units after repair. Any technician will need to have both technical and problem-solving skills as well as dexterity and a knowledge of appliance systems in order to be successful.

Technical Skills

An appliance repair technician must first have the basic knowledge and abilities needed to complete assignments successfully. This field requires a lot of hands-on work. All technicians should be able to complete the following:

  • Test electrical components or circuits for proper functioning
  • Replace defective and worn parts such as transmissions, switches, belts, bearings, defective wiring, transmissions, gears, or circuit boards
  • Level machines or equipment
  • Connect hoses to piping or equipment
  • Install piping for maintenance or installation activities
  • Use hand tools, power tools, or heavy equipment to position equipment

Depending on the appliance, the duties of a technician may vary. Though technical skills and knowledge are important, a skilled repair technician will also have a variety of impersonal skills and analytical capabilities.

Troubleshooting

A large part of a repair technician’s job requires the ability to diagnose and plan solutions to problems. Because so much of the job involves finding what repairs are required to fix an appliance, a technician must be able to gather information from all relevant sources, identify the underlying cause or reason for a defect, and develop long-range objectives and a course of action to repair the issue.

Interpersonal Skills

Most of the work of an appliance repair technician will deal directly with clients and the general public through a contract with an organization. Some interactions may include:

  • Selling or convincing others to buy appliances
  • Communicating with persons outside of the organization
  • Promoting the organization to the public
  • Providing personal care or help to others
  • Developing cooperative working relationships with others
  • Educating clients on equipment maintenance

It is important for the technician to have strong interpersonal skills to maintain good relationships with supervisors, coworkers, and clients.

Administrative Duties

An appliance repair technician must also perform many duties on the administrative side of the business. Many times, an experienced technician will be in charge of controlling and monitoring resources, including finances, and performing inventory management. A technician will also ensure that all processes and solutions comply with laws, regulations, and standards. Many times, the appliance repair technician will document and record information and transactions, whether in electronic or written form.

All in all, an appliance repairer needs to have a good combination of technical, interpersonal, and administrative skills in order to be truly successful and to maximize the possible financial benefits of the job.

Types of Jobs

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There are a variety of specialties and fields within the appliance repair industry. Depending on the education, certification, and experience of a technician, they may qualify to move from one field to another. Appliance technicians can work in or with:

  • Appliance and Electronics Stores
  • Building Equipment Contractors
  • Natural Gas Distribution
  • Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance

These are just some areas that require appliance repair and skilled technicians to carry out those repairs. One of the major advantages of this industry is the room for growth and variety in choosing employment. Some technicians get hired under companies or organizations and complete assignments. Others may choose to become independent contractors, servicing clients whether stores, at job sites, or in homes.

How to Become an Appliance Repair Technician

becoming a certified appliance repair technician

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Depending on the type of job, the income for an appliance repair technician can vary. This may lead to several questions as to expected salary, education requirements, and certification requirements.

What Education Is Required?

Typically, only a high school education is needed in order to become an entry-level appliance repair technician. However, there are a variety of other options offered for those looking to begin a career in this field.

One option is an apprenticeship program. There are several avenues to complete apprenticeship programs. One avenue is to work under the direct supervision of a trained technician. Some appliance manufacturers may offer training seminars that will equip each person with the ability to complete all tasks required. Employers may also provide courses where trainees can learn and sharpen their craft. Often, an apprenticeship may be all that is required for small appliance repair.

Another option is to complete more formal training. In order to do this, prospective technicians need to enroll in vocational or technical programs that focus on electronics courses. By means of this more formal training, technicians can reduce the amount of on-the-job training required and enter the workforce sooner than they would otherwise be able to. Through this training, they can also more quickly obtain the certifications needed to become an appliance repair technician depending on what specialty they choose.

No matter which avenue they choose, all technicians need to continue their training and education throughout their career to remain successful as new technology is developed and industry laws, regulations, and standards continue to change.

What Certifications Are Needed?

Generally, certifications are not required in order to become an appliance technician. However, depending on the specialty chosen- such as refrigeration and cooling- some technicians may require certification to be employed in their field. These certifications can only be earned after graduating from an electronics program and gaining an adequate amount of on-the-job training. There are several certifications that can be obtained through official government agencies or organizations, such as the:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Certified Appliance Professional (CAP)
  • International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET)

By gaining certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, technicians can legally and safely specialize in working with major appliances. Through this agency, they will gain a Section 608 Technician Certification, which allows them to work on all types of appliances.

The Certified Appliance Professional (CAP) program allows technicians to certify their skills as either a Certified Technician or a Master Technician. This certification is maintained by the National Coalition of Electronics Education (NCEE) Graduate Technician program, which measures the skills of graduating technicians against set industry standards and qualifies them to enter the work force as an entry-level technician.

After two years of being an employed Certified Technician, the appliance repair technician can become a Master Technician at the recommendation of their employer, therefore qualifying for higher-paying jobs.

The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET) is a nonprofit society that provides administration, scoring and analysis of NASTeC exams. NASTec is a national certification program for technicians who service major home appliances. It measures the skills, ability, and knowledge that technicians will need to use daily to complete their job successfully. This exam is the highest level of professional recognition in the appliance service industry. By offering exams in numerous fields, such as industrial electronics and consumer electronics, the ISCET serves a critical need in both the service industry and the appliance repair industry.

What Is an Appliance Repair Technician’s Salary?

According the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2015 an appliance repair technician was projected to make anywhere from $10.41 per hour to $29.19 per hour. This adds up to a median annual salary of $36,200. Wages vary depending on type of equipment repaired, location, and the skill level of technicians. It also depends on the type of technician: for example, natural gas distribution and wholesale electronic brokers and markets were the top-paying industries.

Job Outlook and Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a decrease of 3% in employment opportunities for appliance repair technicians over the decade-long span of 2014-2024. This adds up to a total loss of 1,600 jobs. However, an increase in the average pay is projected along with the decrease in jobs, making this a worthwhile industry to consider.

Conclusion

The appliance repair industry offers many things worth looking forward to. It is a well-paying industry that offers variety, flexibility, and growth. It also includes such practical advantages as the possibility of certification and promotion. Whether you go through an apprenticeship or undergo more formal training, there is always opportunity for employment and potential for advancement.

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Physical Therapist Description

A physical therapist plays a huge role in ensuring that patients return to their optimal functioning level after an accident or an illness. They can perform a wide range of tasks such as teaching people to walk again and relieving the pain associated with certain conditions, such as severe arthritis. The daily tasks and responsibilities of physical therapists can be challenging, but that’s what they have to sacrifice for an immensely rewarding career.
This is especially true if you are interested in pursuing a career where you’ll Practice hands-on care and want to empower people in the healing process and in bettering their overall health. So what does it take to become a physical therapist? This article highlights the career overview of physical therapists, the educational requirements, the career path, and salary information.

Physical Ther​apist Career Overview

They aid people with physical illnesses or injuries to regain their range of movement and also control their pain. They help individuals who have lost their motor function due to age, illness, or accidents, and determining the root cause of the trauma. They create a rehabilitation plan and counsel them through the recovery process. The plans support strength training, stretching, and physical manipulation to help them recover.

Physical therapists are experts in what they do and often educate patients and their families or guardians about what is possible and keep the patients motivated during the ongoing therapy. They are involved with tracking the progress made by the patients over time and report their progress to them and their families.

In the initial appointment of the patient, the therapists ask about the patient's medical history and evaluate the symptoms. After doing this, the therapist will develop a rehabilitation plan that aligns with the needs and goals of the patient. They are involved in every step of the treatment process. A physical therapist works directly with the patient to teach them a variety of functional tasks and exercises that are mainly intended for strengthening or stretching muscles and also for alleviating pain associated with the illness or injury.

Duties and Responsibilities of Physical Therapists

Physical therapists diagnose any dysfunctions as far as the patient’s movement is concerned. With this information, they come up with a treatment plan. They consult with patients or their families so that they can learn about the patient’s symptoms and physical condition in order to do so. Physical therapists also teach patients how to properly observe the treatment or rehabilitation plan and particularly how to use the recommended therapeutic exercise techniques, and they assist patients with the use of moving aids, for example, walkers, and/or wheelchairs.  

Additionally, they provide stimulation or massage the affected limb to promote faster healing, advise the patient and family about treatment options and exercises for at home, and they maintain and keep patient records and keep track of the progress and whether goals have been met.

Work Environment

A physical therapist is an important member of a healthcare team. Therapists work together with other medical practitioners in helping patients with both chronic and acute conditions in several settings. They can wok in a nursing home, hospital, or a rehabilitation facility. In these settings, the therapist coordinates the treatment plan of patients with a variety of care providers on site, including occupational therapists, nurses, physicians, physical therapy assistants, and speech therapists.

The therapist may also work in an outpatient clinic where they communicate with the patient’s primary care provider in developing and modifying treatment plans. They may also work with massage therapists or supervise physical therapy assistants or exercise specialists. Therapists can also work in schools, research centers, sports and fitness centers, government organizations, and home health services. They usually have a common goal of ensuring that the patients gain their range of motion and return to performing duties and tasks normally.

A physical therapist draws on many disciplines to perform their job duties. Therapists apply knowledge of exercise physiology, neuroscience, kinesiology, biomechanics, anatomy, cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, and pharmacology among other areas. For you to succeed in the career, you will need to be an effective communicator and have strong interpersonal skills since you’ll be interacting with patients and their families. You will also need to have compassion and patience for you to care for the patients optimally and motivate them to achieve their goals.

On average, therapists tend to spend more one-on-one time with patients compared to other types of healthcare practitioners. This means that they have to build trust and a positive rapport.

Unlike physicians and nurses, physical therapists do not have to work overnight shifts. They usually work from 8 am to 5 pm although some may start earlier or work late depending on the work demands to accommodate the busy schedules of patients. Therapists who work in nursing homes or hospitals may need to work hours on the weekends or even on holidays to provide patients with continuous care.

Educational Requirements

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The road to becoming a physical therapist (PT) entails a thorough education and clinical experience so you can develop skills and knowledge of dealing with all types of patients. The education of a PT is designed to prepare you to work in any setting after graduating. Additional specialization and training are also available if you would like to build your expertise in a certain area.

In the past, one could qualify as a PT with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, students should complete advanced training to enter the field. The American Physical Therapy Association states that professional physical therapy programs only offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree to new students as master’s programs are no longer offered. The DPT program takes three years. The program usually begins with classroom-based learning and then transitions to clinical experience that allows students to gain hands-on skills.

You should ensure that you enroll in a DPT program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Besides, you will also need to pass the national therapy exam and apply for a state license for you to practice. After graduating, you can apply for a fellowship or residency program to develop expertise in a certain area. The program provides advanced mentorship and training and can fast track you to earn a board certification.

Career Path & Salary

After graduating from a DPT program and enrolling for a residency or fellowship program, you should obtain certification for you to practice. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists points out that board certifications can help therapists develop specialized skills, knowledge, and build a stronger reputation in the field. This can open up new leadership and employment opportunities as well as a higher pay.

Board certifications narrow down to the following areas:
  • Pediatrics
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary
  • Orthopedics
  • Geriatrics
  • Women’s Health
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Electrophysiology
  • Sports Physical Therapy
To be board certified, licensed therapists must complete 2,000 hours of clinical experience in a specialty area and pass a written exam.

Career Paths

The physical therapy career path comes with a variety of opportunities for advancement. You can practice in several healthcare settings and can develop one or more specialties as you advance your knowledge. You can even take on a management role, work as an educator, or even obtain a position as a professor. The specializations include:
  • Orthopedic PTs: focuses on the musculoskeletal system
  • Geriatric PTs: concentrates on the needs of older adults
  • Neurological PTs: treats conditions and impairments related to nervous system
  • Cardiopulmonary PTs: helps patients who have diseases of heart and lungs
  • Pediatric PTs: serves infants, toddlers, children, and teens
You are required to renew the license and also pursue continuing education.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the 2017 median pay for physical therapists was $86,850 annually or $41.76 per hour. There were 239,800 jobs in 2016. The BLS reports that the job outlook between 2016 and 2026 will grow by up to 28%, which is faster than the average growth for all professions. This translates to an additional 67,100 jobs within the same period.

The demand for physical therapy will come from aging baby boomers who want to stay active later in life but are more susceptible to conditions such as a stroke. Therapists will also be needed in treating individuals with mobility issues due to chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a career where you’ll derive personal fulfillment each day, you should become a physical therapist. In fact, Forbes ranked the physical therapy profession as one of the top 10 happiest jobs. This is because you will usually spend time socially interacting with patients, families, and other medical practitioners. It is rewarding to help others and see them get better. You will work in different settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, research centers, and schools.

However, you will need to meet educational and certification requirements. You should graduate from a DPT program, get a state license, and earn board certification. You can specialize in one or more areas as you advance your knowledge. The salary is great as you will earn about $86,850 annually. The job outlook is also promising, as over 60,000 additional jobs will be created between 2016 and 2026. We hope that this article has adequately addressed the career overview of physical therapists, the educational requirements, and the career path and salary information.

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Fashion Designer Job Description and Overview

Have you ever been glued to the television watching Project Runway marathons while following along with the challenges, sketching along, and perhaps even sewing your own designs? When you were a kid, did you use your allowance to purchase all the top fashion magazines (and perhaps, you still do)? Has becoming a fashion designer all you have ever wanted to do, but besides having the ideas and talent you are not sure how to go about it? Then this article is the perfect read for you.

Can You Become a Fashion Designer?


A woman making clothes

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Who can become a fashion designer? You must be creative. You must be able to not only sew, but enjoy doing it, because you will do a lot of sewing. Designers need to understand pattern making, cutting, grading and garment construction. You should have an eye for textures, textiles, colors, and patterns. A designer should be able to visualize in three dimensions, see the movement of the fabric, different fabrics together, and the entire garment as a whole. You should be able to take an idea and execute it into a final project that impresses and inspires something new and exciting.

Mixing the Past with the Present and Building a New Fashion Forward

You should love following not only the latest trends in fashion, but also have a love and appreciation of the history of fashion. You should be innovative in the creation of new fashion-forward ideas while saluting the past and paying homage to the pioneers of trend and textile. Embracing the nostalgia of fashion brilliance from decades past and recycling the creative ideas by folding them into your own brilliance will give you an edge above your fellow designers.  

A fashion designer is an artist, but someone who is also able to see the future. Fashion is a cutthroat business. In order to succeed, a designer must be able to create new trends. He or she must be able to innovate new pieces that are not only attractive but also wearable and unique. A designer should evoke passion and contribute to the constant revolving evolution of the fashion industry.

How Does One Become a Designer?


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After realizing the desire to become a fashion designer, you have to study. The first step towards a career for a designer is to attend a college that has a bachelors program in fashion design or merchandising. Some of the most prestigious fashion designer program schools include Parsons, The New School for Design, (FIT) The Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt University, Kent State University, Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, and The Academy of Art University.

Education

In the right program, you will learn how to construct various types of garments from ladies to menswear and from everyday fashion to Couture. You will learn how to create fashion illustrations by hand and using the most up-to-date digital illustration design technology. You will learn about textiles and how important and crucial they are to a successful designer.

Your fashion design courses will teach pattern making both forwards and backward. This means you will be able to create a pattern and then make a garment, but you will also be able to take an existing garment, deconstruct it, and then make a pattern from it. You will also learn about the fashion industry's business side. You will study how to solve problems, plan shows, execute designs on a budget, promote yourself to fashion houses and buyers, and you will learn how to communicate your designs to others.

Starting Your Portfolio

One of the most important things you will do while attending school is start building your portfolio of designs. Your class projects are a great place to begin. Your beginning portfolio will show your growth as a young designer. It will also represent your own unique voice as an artist. If you don't have a niche yet, that is okay. It will come with time as you learn the different styles and genres of fashion design and where your own view and creativity fits in.

Your portfolio will help you get your first internship. It will help you get jobs and be invited to guest design for fashion industry events. It will help you get an apprenticeship or get into the top graduate programs as well.

Career Path Surprises


designer clothes display

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There are many types of careers in the designer business world. Studying fashion and design can lead to a life path you may have not set out on at the beginning but could easily step into as you learn the daily happenings of a fast-paced, inspiring, collision course of an industry. You may have the idea that you want to design your own collections, for example, but then work as the head stylist on The Bold and the Beautiful and win an Emmy.

Fashion Designer Career Avenues

As a fashion designer, you fill a role with the highest profile in the fashion industry. You are the genius behind creations of clothing, handbags, shoes, hats, socks, stockings, and more. You may design children's wear, menswear, ball gowns, women's lingerie, or any other clothing design focus. You may work for a big fashion house, in large retail branding, or small boutique design. You may also be a freelance designer.

Besides designing garments, there are other avenues for fashion designers to find work in. There are jobs as fashion illustrators. Illustrators use the top digital fashion design technology to convey the ideas and creations of fashion designers. You can also work as a merchandiser, pattern maker, a textile designer, a fashion buyer, costume designer, a fashion stylist, or a personal stylist. There are also careers in garment technology, fashion public relations, fashion editing, and fashion writing. If you are brilliant at construction and design, you may also want to teach.

Job Duties and Responsibilities


White Measuring Tape Wrap on Body Form

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What are the main job duties and responsibilities of a fashion designer? There are several markets in the fashion industry and depending on where you fit in as a designer, some duties will include visualizing an idea and conveying it to a design by hand or computer, being able to select appropriate fabrics, making patterns, constructing garments, inspiring others, being able to market your designs and promote yourself, and also being able to find a voice in your artistry that is unique and will get others to take notice.

You also may study the latest and emerging trends of fashion by following the media, social networking, magazines, television, and movies and knowing what is popular among all ages and locations. Additionally, you will most likely find yourself needing to know the latest trends involving color, shapes, and textiles and being able to communicate clearly with those aiding in the execution of your designs.

Fashion Designer Income in Reality


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Unless you catch a really big break, you are not going to start out your first year or even first five years as a fashion designer making a lot of money. The lowest range for beginning designers is between $30,000 to $40,000 a year. The median range for fashion designers is just under $60,000 a year, with the top designers raking in anywhere between $100,000 to $450,00 a year. As with any artistic career, a fashion designer must pay her dues.

Only 10 percent of fashion designers will actually be able to launch their own brand and have it sold in a retail market. Many designers will work under other designers who are already successful. For example, some of the most famous fashion designer brands such as Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld, and Stella McCartney all have numerous fashion designers working for them to continue to convey their design vision.

Follow Your Dreams


A fashion designer preparing her design model

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If you want to become a designer for fame and fortune, you may be disappointed. If you want to be a fashion designer because you used to make the coolest Barbie clothes out of tinfoil and yarn when you were ten years old, or you used to knit sweaters for your dogs and parade them in runway shows in the backyard, then you probably have a good shot in the fashion industry.

The number one requirement to be successful in the fashion business is to have passion and a true love for it. There are going to be a lot more disappointments than successes. However, if you don't care because you know being a fashion designer is being true to who you are as an artist and you accept that you may not be famous and are okay with it, then go full force. Follow your dreams and see what the industry throws your way.

Make a Checklist and Get Started


A person holding a tablet while watching a fashion show

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Set up some goals for yourself. Make a checklist to accomplish those goals. Visit some schools. Visit some fashion houses. Go speak to some fashion buyers. Walk through a fabric store and touch as many different fabrics as you can. Attend as many fashion shows as you can. Work some internships or jobs in every different area of the fashion design industry. Take a leap and become a fashion designer.

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Wedding Planner Description

Remember the last wedding you attended? If you're a romantic type, you might describe it as beautiful, magical, or surreal. Even if you aren't, weddings should have a smooth and practiced feel, with all the pieces falling perfectly into place. Behind the veneer of lights, dresses, and champagne is a wedding planner who has been working for weeks, if not months, to make this day go off without a hitch.

The flowers, the caterers, the outfits, the venue—every detail in a wedding is the responsibility of this hero behind the scenes, down to making sure the toilet paper is stocked. A good wedding planner addresses all the little details, makes sure no part of the wedding is overlooked and will put in the hours necessary to ensure a perfect and memorable day.

If you believe you have what it takes to be a wedding planner and want to know more about this profession, stick around as we give you the rundown on the job duties, salary, and what it takes to become one.

Wedding Planner: Job Description

A wedding planner is a specific event planner that deals entirely with nuptial celebrations. Generic event planners have many of the same responsibilities and deal with a variety of celebrations whereas wedding planners specialize in the many unique and nuanced aspects of a wedding.

Before the Wedding

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Nearly all the work that goes into planning a wedding takes place far in advance. Clients will hire a wedding planner perhaps months in advance to help find venues and send invitations. The responsibilities of the planner vary from client to client. Some couples will elect to pass off nearly all responsibility to a planner while others delegate specifics they would like the planner to handle. The wedding planner can be expected to fulfill many of the following tasks:

  • Finding and securing a venue
  • Hiring staff, vendors, and other personnel
  • Helping plan guest lists
  • Sending out invitations
  • Negotiating rates with various merchants
  • Helping select outfits
  • Overseeing set-up and decorations
  • Scheduling and overseeing rehearsals
  • Liaising with anyone involved with the wedding
  • Budgeting the wedding

This list is not definitive. Clients will often keep some of these tasks and will assuredly come up with additional tasks they would like taken care of. Many wedding planners have years of experience, and as they build confidence in their abilities, they can offer more services and advice.

Veteran planners become more of a mentor and intuitive resource for the couple, knowing what has worked and what hasn't in past weddings. Some clients may trust their planner with more personal decisions, deferring to their expertise in choosing dinner options, table settings, or music—things they may not have intended to seek advice on originally.

During the Wedding

Newly wed couple doing a heart shape through their hands

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The day of the wedding, a planner is constantly on alert, making sure any hiccups that arise are fixed quickly. They are responsible for delegating duties to the many people involved in the wedding, ensuring bathrooms are functioning and waste disposal is sufficient, and coordinating musicians, videographers, and photographers throughout the proceedings.

A good wedding planner knows of any area where something could go wrong and is prepared with a contingency. He or she is also the last word on many decisions that need to be made quickly and must bear responsibility for how those decisions play out. With good planning, a wedding should feel natural and progress smoothly, but it is the wedding planner who bears the burden of the chaos and keeping it out of sight.

Education and Skills

There are a few different routes to choose when becoming a wedding planner. Many weddings are planned informally without the use of a professional planner, so the requirements to be one are not fixed and vary wildly. More necessary than any formal education is the skill set necessary to plan a large and multifaceted event.

Degrees and Certificates

It is unnecessary to have any formal training to begin work as a wedding planner. However, many established event planning services exist and to compete with or be hired into one of these companies, you may need training or formal education. Many wedding planner and other event planners/venue managers have degrees in fields related to the industry.

Beach wedding decoration

Degrees in business, marketing, or management can be helpful. Not only does the job require that you be ready to handle price negotiation, hiring staff and vendors, and managing the budget for the wedding, planners are often self-employed and must manage their own finances and the many challenges of running a small business. Similarly, hospitality and hotel management degrees can be useful as there is much overlap in the planning process and customer service.

With the rise in popularity of large wedding events, there are now certification programs for wedding planners. Many colleges and university extensions offer programs that teach the many sides of wedding planning. Students can expect to learn the basics of wedding structure and scheduling, bookkeeping, and customer service skills. These can provide much-needed information and build skills necessary to the profession as well as help with marketing oneself to prospective employers or clients.

Skills and Abilities

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More important than any degree is the skill set and temperament needed for managing a wedding. Many planners have no degree and go into the service alone, building up their competency and reputation as they go. Others will work for another planner; either as an employee in a larger company or as an apprentice to another wedding planner. Regardless of the path, there are certain skills needed in the field:

  • Ability to adapt to challenges and deadlines
  • Ability to work well in fast-paced and high-pressure situations
  • Strong communication skills, written and verbal
  • Leadership ability, coordinating many moving parts
  • Scheduling and time-management skills
  • Interpersonal skills, understanding the desires of clients
  • Confident in negotiating and pricing for services
  • Extremely detail-oriented
  • Event-management experience
  • Able to foresee potential problems
  • Problem-solving and improvisational skills under duress
  • Conversant with latest pricing/trends/etiquette in the wedding market

Many of these things cannot be taught in a classroom environment which is why there is no one educational path to becoming a wedding planner. Many planners start as servers, restaurant managers, or hospitality workers. The best planners are those with a proven track record, who have experience with the inner workings of the service industry, the food industry, the flower industry, etc.

Weddings are the intersection of so many disparate businesses, professionals, musicians, and cultures, that it takes someone with an ability to learn, understand, and adapt. These qualities are more valuable in the wedding planning profession than memorization of facts.

Table with plates and flowers

It is also useful to have a good eye for beauty and decorating skills. Not all planners involve themselves heavily in the aesthetic process of the wedding. They may defer to decorators and contractors whom they trust to make decisions. However, there are several aspects to a wedding that require an eye for aesthetics (invitations, table settings, clothing, etc.), and it is difficult to coordinate a wedding without one.

Salary

Compensation depends on each wedding planner's business model. Typically, the planner will receive a percentage of the cost of the wedding as opposed to a fixed rate or hourly wage. This percentage can change but is usually around 10%. With this model, a wedding planner must be diligent with their time, ready to work difficult hours, and accepting of any errors on their part (for which they won't be compensated). The more skilled and efficient a wedding planner, the less stressful and more rewarding the job becomes.  

The most well-known professionals in the wedding-planning industry can often command a high price tag. Celebrities and other wealthy clients will turn to those at the top of the industry, trusting them to provide a seamless and unique experience.

Factors Affecting Salary

There are a few factors that heavily impact the salary and job outlook for wedding planners, including season, locality, and social media.

Wedding couple figurines on cake

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First, weddings are seasonal events and most planners will be busy in the summer months while the winter months will bring scarcity. Most clients prefer not to schedule a wedding around the holidays as other spending and travel habits get in the way. Also, the winter months are colder and typically less predictable regarding weather. Those who plan weddings for a living need to be financially prepared for hills and valleys in terms of work and income.

Second, weddings are a large expense, made larger by hiring a planner. Wedding planners often struggle more in rural areas and areas with a lower average income. Weddings in rural areas also tend to have fewer guests and a smaller price tag in all regards, making it less lucrative for a planner.

The last factor to consider regarding salary is the role social media is playing in the wedding planning industry. With social media being such a popular avenue for advertisement, most bakeries, musicians, and venues are marketing directly to the public in ways they haven't in the past. As a result, many couples are doing their own wedding planning.

Conclusion

Bouquet and white shoes for wedding

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To make a profession out of planning weddings, one must have a very diverse list of skills and qualifications in addition to possessing the traits of a business owner, decorator, manager, and friend. The bride and groom rely upon their planner to ensure that their special day is everything they envisioned. It comes with many pressures but also the joys of seeing hard work come to fruition.

Featured image by Natasha Fernandez via Pexels.