As the final years of high school and the first moments of adulthood approach, ideas of what you might want to do when you “grow up” are bound to start swirling in your mind. You may find yourself longing for the simplicity of your favorite sitcom, where every main character seems to end up with a career they love. That might seem unattainable, but if you have enough ambition and you’re willing to put in the work, you may surprise yourself with the possibilities. Here are five careers from popular television shows and how you can attain them in the real world.
1. Chloe Decker, homicide detective on Lucifer
Netflix’s Lucifer, originally produced by Fox, introduced us to Chloe, a down-to-earth and incredibly clever homicide detective for the Los Angeles Police Department. Her job of hunting down clues has been known to get her caught in her fair share of dangerous situations, but the risk only adds to the excitement. If you’d like to be a homicide detective, getting involved in a police cadet program in your area is the perfect option to gain experience before enlisting in the Police Academy, which typically requires its applicants to be at least 21 years old. A bachelor's degree isn’t required to apply to the Police Academy, but it can definitely set you apart from other applicants. If you choose to invest in a degree, Criminal Justice is the way to go! This program will give you an in-depth look into the minds and psychology of criminals and give you all the necessary law background you’ll need to excel. The average annual salary for a homicide detective is $67,290.
2. Ross Gellar, paleontologist on Friends
Ross was everyone’s favorite awkward, nerdy dinosaur lover in NBC’s classic sitcom Friends. Though the show usually poked fun at his job, being a paleontologist is actually pretty cool! The specifics vary quite a lot based on your area of specialization, but in the most basic of terms, paleontologists study fossils. For example, a paleobotanist focuses on examining fossil plants like algae, while a palynologist is more involved in studying remains of fossilized pollen and spores. It can be helpful to narrow down your specialization before pursuing your bachelor's degree so you can choose your major accordingly, though the most common ones are Animal Biology, Ecology, Plant Sciences, and Earth Sciences. You’ll also need a master’s in a related field as well as a PhD, but don’t despair! You’ll be able to intern at places like museums under more experienced paleontologists during your schooling, and you’ll end up with an average annual salary of $93,580 when all is said and done.
3. Jessica Day, elementary school teacher on New Girl
If anyone is known for their jubilant personality and deep-rooted passion for kids, it’s Jess from Fox’s New Girl. Through the show, Jess shows a consistent commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of her students, which can be incredibly inspiring to future teachers! If you want to have a career similar to Jess’s, the first step is a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Keep in mind that you’ll also have the option to double-major in a specific subject like English or Art, which can give you a sort of specialty. In order to actually start teaching, you’ll need to pass the Praxis exam and earn a license unique to the state you live in. Elementary teachers typically make an annual salary of $60,660, but it does vary a bit based on location.
4. Dexter Morgan, blood spatter analyst on Dexter
Neat freak Dexter was the resident science geek of the Miami Metro Police Department on Showtime’s soon-to-be-revived show Dexter. You may assume his job is merely the product of TV fabrication, but blood spatter analysis is actually an important niche of forensics. To succeed in this career, you’ll have to pay close attention to small details and be somewhat comfortable around blood. A bachelor's degree in a science-related field such as Biology, Chemistry, Criminology, or Forensic Science is also required. Then you’ll start apprenticing under an experienced scientist to help solve crimes and create timelines based on your collective findings. The average annual salary for a blood spatter analyst (aka a forensic science technician) is $60,590.
5. Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist on Bones
Fans of Fox’s comedic crime drama Bones aren’t strangers to the abrupt personality of Dr. Brennan. In the show, she was portrayed as the leading scientist in her field of forensic anthropology, which is officially defined as the scientific study of humanity and consists mostly of examining hard tissue like bones. Those interested in a similar career should be prepared for lots of labwork and the possibility of being asked to use your knowledge to testify as an expert witness in court cases. The first step toward this career would be pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science or Anthropology, then obtaining a similar master’s degree. A PhD and certification are completely optional, though you’ll need the former to obtain the “doctor” title. The typical salary for a forensic anthropologist is $66,130 a year.
There you have it: five careers as seen on your favorite television shows and how you can mirror them in real life. Discovering what you want to do after college is a daunting task, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Remember to chase the occupation that will bring you the most joy, and don’t compromise on your dreams!
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