A shy personality won't hold you back in these five great careers.
By Lynda Phung
Small talk. Schmoozing. Networking. Buzz words like these can send shy people into a panic.
The good news is that there are careers out there that don't necessarily require tons of chit-chat or after-hour networking.
In fact, there are quite a variety of career options open to people who fall on the more bashful side of the spectrum, according to Lisa Andrews, director of career services at the University of Maryland University College.
"Any position where you work with data and ideas instead of people would be ideal careers for introverted people," she says.
Keep reading to learn more about five careers for shy people.
Career #1: Graphic Designer
Creativity can be a solitary process - and it's not unusual for graphic designers to spend time alone thinking up big ideas for clients. Another plus for shy people: according to the U.S. Department of Labor, graphic designers could have the opportunity to freelance or work from home.
Related degrees: Graphic designers typically have a bachelor's degree in graphic design or fine arts, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Those with a bachelor's degree in another subject "may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring qualifications."
Median annual salary:$44,830
Career # 2: Accountant
Accountants, who according to the U.S. Department of Labor ensure that financial information is accurate, might spend more time with numbers than clients, making this career track a nice match for people who enjoy data as opposed to office gossip. Shy people might also like the fact that the Department of Labor says that accountants sometimes work in teams, but complete much of their work alone.
Related degrees: Most accountant positions require a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related subject, according to the Department. Some employers might prefer to hire those with a master's degree in accounting or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
Median annual salary:$65,080
Career #3: Computer Programmer
Computer programmers are changing the way we interact with devices of every kind from iPads to automobiles as well as online services and business applications. "I think one of the perfect jobs for a shy person is computer programming because programmers tend to work independently, and with little to no interaction with customers," says Casey Miller, assistant director of professional practice at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Related degrees: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most programmers have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, although some employers might hire those with an associate's degree.
Median annual salary:$76,140
Career #4: Actuary
Actuaries, who according to the U.S. Department of Labor specialize in risk assessment, often spend their days pouring over statistics involving people - not talking to them. "Actuaries and mathematicians are usually up to their necks in databases and algorithms," says Miller
Related degrees: These professionals have a bachelor's degree in areas like mathematics, statistics, actuarial science, or another analytical subject, according to the Department.
Median annual salary:$93,680
Career #5: Dental Technician
Dental technicians often work behind-the-scenes, assisting dentists by constructing and repairing devices, such as dentures, crowns, and bridges, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And this could be a good option for shy people, as the Department of Labor reports that these techs have limited contact with patients.
Related degrees: There are no specific educational requirements to pursue a career as a dental technician, according to the Department. In fact, most dental technicians learn their skills on the job. However, the Department reports that some community colleges or vocational schools offer formal education programs, but they are not common.
Median annual salary:$36,440
If you think one of these careers is a good option for you, you may want to consider going back to school to prepare for it. And if this seems impossible because of your busy schedule, look into earning your degree online. According to University.com, a comprehensive research site for students interested in online degrees and courses, there are online programs out there that could help you prepare to pursue a career where you don't have to worry about being in the spotlight.
* All salary data comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013.
Kate Hornsby also contributed to this article by updating the information on 08/13/2014
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