See how the right education could help you revitalize your career in a high-growth field.
Do you feel like your professional career has been stalled by the sluggish job market? Are you thinking about exploring a new, more satisfying career path?
It may be time to consider investing in your education.
"When it comes to long-term career satisfaction, among the most important work a person can do is to uncover what they care about most in their professional life and focus their ambition and education around that," says Meredith Haberfeld, a Los Angeles-based career counselor and co-founder of the Institute for Coaching.
Want to revitalize your career? Check out these six fast-growing professions and their education options.
Career #1 - Personal Financial Advisor
Do you have a knack for managing money? As a personal financial advisor, you could help others figure out how to manage their income and investments.
Haberfeld says this profession's satisfying rewards are financial and, yes, quite personal.
"Being a financial advisor is exciting for someone who is entrepreneurial and enjoys relationships," Haberfeld says. "The people who are great in this field are the ones who develop relationships with clients over many, many years. You are a crucial service provider for them, planning for their family and future retirement."
Education: If you want to pursue this type of work, look into earning your bachelor's degree in accounting. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, entry-level positions generally prefer applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree. Top majors for this field include accounting, finance, economics, business, math, and law.*
Revitalizing Potential: According to the Department of Labor, an increased number of advisors will be needed to meet the needs of millions of people going into retirement during the coming decade. From 2008 to 2018, 62,800 new hires are expected, a 30 percent jump.*
Career #2 - Survey Researcher
If you like being in contact with the public and crunching numbers, survey researcher could be a satisfying occupation for you.
By conducting interviews and focus groups, survey researchers often collect information that could help determine future buying habits for the latest fashion trend or toy line.
Education: For most entry-level survey research positions, a bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement. Course study generally includes economics, business, marketing, and consumer behavior, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.*
Revitalizing Potential: The occupation ranks among the top 20 fastest-growing occupations, as determined by the Department of Labor, with 7,100 new hires (a 30 percent increase) projected between 2008 and 2018.*
Career #3 - Medical Assistant
Do you have a passion for caring for others? Can you communicate easily and handle both clinical and clerical responsibilities? Medical assisting might be just the thing for you.
A medical assistant's duties might cover everything from checking vital signs and removing stitches to completing insurance forms and taking phone calls.
Education: If you want to revitalize your professional life in this type of career, consider earning an associate's degree in medical assisting. In this program, you might take courses in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. On the administrative side, you might study transcription, recordkeeping, and accounting.*
Revitalizing Potential: From 2008 to 2018, medical assisting is predicted to add 163,900 new jobs, a growth rate of 34 percent. This is due in large part to the expanding nature of the health care industry.*
Career #4 - Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
Do you enjoy working with computers? With the right education, you could pursue a career as a network systems and data communications analyst.
In addition to monitoring the daily operations of networks, analysts generally help plan how companies might improve computer use in the future.
"Businesses and companies are becoming more and more data-driven and are continuing to expand in this direction," Haberfeld says. "If you are somebody who enjoys diving deep into problems and mining information, this is for you."
Education: If you think this might be the path for you, consider studying computer science, information science, or management information systems at the bachelor's degree level, as it's generally required for entry-level positions. In an information technology program, you usually can expect to take courses in computer science, programming, engineering, math, and statistics.*
Revitalizing Potential: Network systems and data communications analysts rank as the country's second fastest-growing occupation, says the U.S. Department of Labor. In fact, the number of analysts is predicted to increase by 155,800 new hires (that's 53 percent growth) between 2008 and 2018.*
Career #5 - Dental Assistant
Do you have "people skills" and an interest in dental care? Consider pursuing the education needed to apply for dental assisting opportunities.
Dental assistants usually work side-by-side with dentists to take X-rays, sterilize instruments, make casts of teeth, and keep patients from feeling stressed in the dentist chair.
"This is a great profession if you're somebody who has talent for making people feel comfortable and at ease," Haberfeld says. "It's also a steady, reliable career with a very stable (employment) foundation."
Education: Most states require no formal education for dental assistants, but an increasing amount have formal education - so consider earning an associate's degree or certificate in dental assisting.*
Revitalizing Potential: With an expected 36 percent growth rate, dental assisting is one of the fastest-growing occupations. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that approximately 105,600 new dental assistants jobs will be created between 2008 and 2018.*
Career #6 - Pharmacy Technician
Do you have an interest in medicine and want to help clients find the right prescriptions? Pursue the right educational path, and you could be well on your way to getting your foot in the door as a pharmacy technician.
Technicians can assist clients whether they are preparing patient medications at a drugstore or delivering sterile solutions to doctors at nursing homes.
Education: Pharmacy technicians have no formal education requirements, but employers could prefer candidates with an associate's degree. Degree programs generally cover medical and pharmaceutical terminology as well as pharmacy techniques, law, and ethics.*
Revitalizing Potential: Due to the country's aging population, pharmacy technicians are expected to see their hiring figures expand by 31 percent, an increase of almost 100,000 newly hired technicians from 2008 to 2018.*
*All education requirements/information, job growth, and salary information is from the U.S. Department of Labor. Salary reflects May 2010 numbers. Note that salary is often dependent on a number of factors, including experience, education, place of employment, and more.
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