Critical Thinking Skills
Do You Have This Soft Skill?
What Are Critical Thinking Skills?
Critical thinking skills allow you to use thoughtful analysis to make informed decisions. This highly valued soft skill will help you solve problems and reach goals. You must be able to think critically at work, in school, and in your personal life.
Critical thinking involves first identifying the problem you want to solve or the goal you want to reach. Next, you will determine several possible solutions or actions you can take.
After comparing and contrasting your alternatives, you will have to figure out which one is the most likely to be successful. You should note that not all problems can be solved and not all goals achieved, but critical thinking will increase the probability that the actions you implement will get the desired results.
Tips to Help You Develop This Skill
You may think you don't have time to take a slow and measured approach to decision making and problem solving. After all, if you are like a lot of people, time is scarce, and you may want quick and easy answers. However, rushing through your to-do list isn't the best course of action, and it is less productive than using critical thinking skills. There are ways you can develop them.
If you are still in school, sign up for classes that force you to think critically. For example, take a science class. Assignments will require you to test hypotheses before coming to conclusions.
Art classes also require you to use this skill. To complete projects you have to choose between media and techniques that will best let you achieve your artistic vision.
You may also consider joining a debate club. Examining issues, adopting stances on them, and then arguing your point will allow you to develop critical thinking skills.
You aren't out of luck if your school years are behind you. Practice your critical thinking while doing everyday things. Before voting, for instance, learn about each of the candidates. When deciding where to have dinner, weigh your alternatives regarding the type of food, healthfulness, and cost. If you are making a purchase, read reviews of different brands.
Careers That Require Strong Critical Thinking Skills
Although critical thinking skills are useful to have in most occupations, they are essential for many. Let's look at some of them:
- Judge: Judges preside over criminal and civil legal cases, making sure they are handled fairly.
- Attorneys: Attorneys represent people who are involved in civil and criminal legal cases.
- Actuary: Actuaries estimate the probability of certain events occurring and assess how much it will cost their employers or clients if they do.
- Doctors: Doctors examine patients in order to diagnose and then treat illnesses and injuries.
- Operations Research Analyst: Operation research analysts solve problems for companies and organizations using their knowledge of mathematics.
- Principal: Principals manage everything that goes on inside school buildings. They establish educational goals and make sure their faculty meets them.
- Biomedical Engineer: Biomedical engineers first analyze and then solve problems having to do with biology and medicine.
- Biochemist or Biophysicist: Biochemists study the chemical composition of living things. Biophysicists investigate how electrical and mechanical energy relates to living cells and organisms.
- Medical Scientist: Medical scientists research the causes of diseases and find ways to treat and prevent them.
- Financial Examiner: Financial examiners make sure banks and other financial institutions adhere to government laws and regulations.
- Engineer: Engineers use their scientific and mathematical expertise to solve problems.
- Physician Assistant: Physician assistants, under doctors' supervision, examine and treat patients.
- Dentist: Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients' teeth and mouth tissue.
- Special Agent: Special agents collect information in order to determine if state, local, or federal laws have been violated.
- Geoscientist: Geoscientists study physical aspects of the earth and may search for natural resources.
- Clinical or Counseling Psychologist: Clinical and counseling psychologists assess patients for mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders before treating them.
- Anthropologist: Anthropologists study the origin, development, and behavior of human beings.
- Optometrist: Optometrists diagnose and treat eye diseases and disorders.
- Audiologist: Audiologists diagnose hearing difficulties and balance disorders.
- Archaeologist: Archaeologists excavate and analyze artifacts left behind by earlier civilizations.
- Chemist: Chemists use knowledge about chemicals to create products that improve our lives.
- Occupational Therapist: Occupational therapists help patients recover their ability to perform daily living and work activities.
- Pilot: Pilots fly planes and helicopters for airlines that transport people and cargo on a fixed schedule or companies that offer charter flights, rescue operations or aerial photography.
- Dietitian or Nutritionist: Dietitians and nutritionists plan food and nutrition programs, supervise the preparation and serving of meals, and promote healthy eating habits.
- EMT or Paramedic: EMTs and paramedics treat ill or injured people who need immediate care.
- Marriage and Family Therapist: Marriage and family therapists provide therapy to families, couples, and individuals. They work from the perspective that those with whom we live have an impact on our mental health.
- Health Educator: Health educators teach individuals and communities how to live healthy lifestyles.
- Computer and Information Systems Manager: Computer and information systems managers coordinate companies' and other organizations' computer-related activities.
- Financial Advisor: Financial advisors help clients plan for their financial goals.
- Physical Therapist: Physical therapists help rehabilitate people who were injured in accidents or who have disabling conditions.
- Fashion Designer: Fashion designers create clothing and accessories.
- Marketing Manager: Marketing managers formulate companies' marketing strategies.
- Pharmacist: Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and provide them with information about how to use them.
- Human Resources Specialist: Human resources specialists find job candidates who are most likely to meet their employers' needs.
- Urban or Regional Planner: Urban and regional planners help communities figure out how to best use their land and resources.
- Survey Researcher: Survey researchers design questionnaires and other tools that are used to collect data about people.
- Assessor: Assessors determine the values of multiple properties for cities, counties, and other municipalities.
- Forensic Scientist: Forensic scientists gather and analyze physical evidence from crime scenes.
- Desktop Publisher: Desktop publishers produce publication-ready materials using computer software.
- Event Planner: Event planners coordinate conventions, business meetings, trade shows, and private parties for organizations, businesses, and individuals.