Best Bounce-Back Degrees

Bounce-Back Degrees

Looking to make a career recovery? Here are five degree programs worth considering.

By Tony Moton    

Looking for a way to recover from a sluggish economy and job market?

"When everything goes down, it's the optimal time for you to get up and go back to school," says Cynthia Shapiro, career coach and human resources expert. "By the time the economy is in a different place, so will you be."

People looking for work, a new career, or professional advancement in the current job market shouldn't hesitate enrolling in a degree program that interests them, says Shapiro.

A lot of jobs require a degree or certifications, adds Shapiro. "More and more, employers are really against hiring people without degrees."

Determined to make a career comeback? Keep reading to find out how the following five degrees can help you get back into the swing of things.

Degree #1 - Master's in Business Administration (MBA)

If you want to learn about the ins and outs of the business world, earning an MBA could help. The intent of MBA programs is to sharpen your knowledge of real-world business practices to help you develop the kind of analytical skills needed to work in the business sector.

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Bounce-Back Factor: If you already have a bachelor's degree or work experience and want to bounce back into the job market, an MBA could be perfect for you. Forbes.com ranked an MBA as one of its "Best Master's Degrees for Jobs" in 2010, citing pay, job growth, and employment projections among the degree's possible benefits.

"An MBA is for people who are ramping up and going to the next level of their career," Shapiro says. "If you don't have a bachelor's degree, there are programs that will let you get a bachelor's and a master's on the same track. Either way, it's an investment in your future."


Degree #2 - Associate's in Paralegal Studies

Another bounce-back degree worth considering: the associate's degree in paralegal studies. This program generally focuses on the dynamic field of law and the skills students will need to help lawyers and legal firms operate.

Coursework might involve the study of legal research, criminal law, contracts, litigation, and trial practice. These courses prepare aspiring paralegals and legal assistants - to pursue work in the numerous areas of law, from litigation and personal injury to intellectual property and labor law.

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Bounce-Back Factor: Earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies is an excellent way to prepare to pursue work as a paralegal, according to the Department of Labor, which also notes paralegals have a projected job increase of 28 percent between 2008 and 2018.

And due to job growth for paralegals, it's a degree program worth consideration if you are in bounce-back mode, Shapiro says.

"Paralegal studies is a hot field right now," Shapiro says. "Litigation will always be big business, and if your passion is law, you want to get the education you'll need to gain entry."


Degree #3 - Bachelor's in Accounting

If your bounce back plan involves transitioning to accounting, consider earning this degree. For most positions in accounting, a bachelor's degree generally is the minimum level of education sought by employers, according to the Department of Labor. In a bachelor's program, math and analytical skills are honed, as it's important for workers in this field to be able to compute figures with speed and accuracy.

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Bounce-Back Factor: During a sluggish job market, accounting is still seeing strong hiring trends. In fact, Department of Labor projections show that 279,400 accountants will be hired between 2008 and 2018 - that's a 22 percent growth rate.

"There are always tons of accounting jobs," Shapiro says. "If you have loved numbers all your life, this is a degree you want to go after."

Other fast-growing professions that might require a bachelor's degree in accounting include personal financial advisors, budget analysts, and financial analysts.


Degree #4 - Associate's in Information Technology (IT) and Information Systems

Want to take advantage of your interest in computers and high-tech gadgets? Consider earning an associate's degree in IT and information systems. Courses in computer science, software engineering, and math can strengthen your knowledge base in this ever-evolving field.

Click to Find the Right IT Program.

Bounce-Back Factor: IT professionals are in high demand, according to the Department of Labor. This means that people with an associate's degree in IT could bounce back by pursuing IT careers that require skilled and trained workers.

For example, an associate's degree in IT and information systems can help qualify you for some computer support specialist positions, according to the Department, which also notes the career is projected to have a 14 percent job growth between 2008 and 2018.

According to Shapiro, an associate's degree shows potential employers that you have made an effort to keep pace with new technology, even if you have been out of work for awhile.


Degree #5 - Associate's in Health Care Administration

If you want to get into health care, consider earning an associate's in health care administration, which covers management, public policy, health sciences, and information systems. Degree programs in this field stress the importance of health care systems to patients, their families, and communities.

Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.

Bounce-Back Factor: An associate's degree in health care administration can help meet your bounce-back goals if you're looking to pursue a new career in health administration.

"It's a good way to start," Shapiro says. "You get an education that will allow you to gain entry into the profession. If there are levels you want to grow into, then you can further your education."

An associate's degree in health care administration might prepare you for some entry-level positions like health information technician, according to the College Board, an educational organization that administers aptitude tests like the SAT.

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