See how the right education could help you start a new career in one to two years.
If you want to change careers and are looking for a fresh start, you're not alone.
According to a 2008 MetLife/Civic Ventures survey, nearly 50 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have considered a new career start.
The good news is that if you're willing to put in the work, you could be prepared to pursue a new career in one to two years.
Want a fresh start in a new career? Check out these 5 hot options.
#1 - Medical assistant
Medical assistants provide administrative and clinical help in the doctors' office, scheduling appointments, taking patients' medical histories, and performing day-to-day administrative duties.
Get with the program: If you think a fresh start in this field is what you need, consider enrolling in a medical assisting certificate or associate's degree program, which could take about one to two years to complete, respectively.
Career outlook: Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 34 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor,
Average earning potential: The average annual wage for medical assistants is $28,860. Top earners average at $40,190.*
#2 - Paralegal
If you want a fresh start in the legal field, look into paralegal opportunities. Paralegals play an important role in law firms, helping lawyers by drafting legal documents, investigating cases, and providing assistance during trials.
Get with the program: An associate's degree in paralegal studies generally takes about two years to complete. If you already have a bachelor's degree, earning a certificate in paralegal studies is another option. Certificate programs could be completed in as little as nine months.
Career outlook: Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department of Labor.
Average earning potential: Paralegals have an average annual income of $46,680. The top ten percent average at $74,870.*
#3 - Administrative assistant
Administrative assistants often provide customer support, organize important documents, and schedule meetings.
Get with the program: Consider completing a one- or two-year program in office administration. According to the Department of Labor, opportunities may be best if you have strong knowledge of computer software applications.
Career outlook: Employment for administrative assistants is projected to grow 11 percent between 2008 and 2018.
Average earning potential: The average annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants is $32,000. The highest 10 percent have an average yearly wage of $46,430.*
#4 - Computer support specialist
Computer support specialists usually work as technical or help-desk support, providing support and advice to individuals and organizations that are dependent on information technology.
Get with the program: An associate's degree in a computer-related topic of study could be enough for some computer support positions, according to the Department of Labor.
Career outlook: The Department of Labor says growth for computer support specialists is expected to increase by 14 percent from 2008 to 2018, with the highest growth projected for industries that rely heavily on technology.
Average earning potential: The average annual income for computer support specialists is $46,260 with the top 10 percent averaging at $76,970.*
#5 - Dental assistant
Dental assistants are the dentist's second pair of hands, prepping the instruments required for procedures and preparing patients for treatment by updating their records and making them comfortable during their appointments.
Get with the program: Consider enrolling in a two-year associate's degree program or a certificate in dental assisting, which could take approximately one year to complete.
Career outlook: Careers in dental assisting are projected to grow by 36 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the Department of Labor.
Average earning potential: The average annual wage for dental assistants is $33,470. The top 10 percent average at $47,090.*
*All average salary information is from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Employment Statistics for May 2010.