It's Not Too Late for a New Career

It's Not Too Late for a New Career

Unhappy with your career? Check out career options that could be more fulfilling for you.

By Chelsea Lin   

Are you unhappy in your current career? Consider your career change options.

Many people are making drastic second (or third, or fourth) career moves - with no regrets.

Take Sara Amaral of San Francisco, California, for example.

As a high school graduate, Amaral worked her way up from answering phones in a bank call center to crunching numbers as a mortgage consultant. Seven years after she started on this path, she felt miserable and helpless with her career situation.

Knowing she was capable of finding an enjoyable career, Amaral decided to go back to school to work on getting her bachelor's degree in urban planning as a means to better serve the communities she wasn't able to help in the mortgage industry. Now Amaral, who just finished a master's degree in the same subject, considers herself more fulfilled and happy at 31 than she was at 25.

Amaral's advice for people in the same predicament she was in?

  • "Believe in yourself. I was so scared to walk away from a six-figure career, but I did and I'm a better person from that."
  • "It is what you make of it. If you don't like something, change it."
  • "Build your network. I couldn't have done this without the support of my family, friends, and professional network."

Are you unhappy - or simply unfulfilled - with your career? Consider these career change options.

If you want to work with numbers...

Bookkeeping can be an ideal position for anyone who likes math, as the career is based on making sure a company's checks and receipts, profits, and losses all balance out properly. Auditing clerks specifically double-check the transactions submitted by other workers.

Education Option: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, earning a certificate or associate's degree in accounting could help get you ready to pursue a number-crunching career.

Average Annual Salary: $35,340*

Click to Find Accounting/Finance Programs

If you're a techie...

If you love computers and can't live without the latest tech toy, consider pursuing a career as a computer support specialist. In this role, you could be responsible for assisting and providing technological support for a company .

Education Option: Since there are such a wide range of computer support positions, the Department of Labor says that a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field could help you prepare to pursue some careers, while an associate's degree in computer science might be sufficient for others.

Average Annual Salary: $47,360*

Search for Computer Science Programs

If you like to plan, direct, or coordinate...

Being generally accountable for the daily operations of a business may sound high-stress, but if you're interested in improving communications or implementing better policies, a career in management could be just your cup of tea.

Education Option: If you already have a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in business management - coupled with an analytical mind and great interpersonal communication skills - could be just what you need to stand out as boss material. Don't be discouraged if you're starting your education from scratch, though, as the Department of Labor notes that many top executives only have a bachelor's degree.

Average Annual Salary: $113,100*

Search for Business Management Programs

If you want to help people...

A career in medical assisting could let you help people without actually having to go through the many years of school required to be a doctor. In this role, it's likely that you'd be helping a medical office run smoothly by handling the clinical and administrative tasks.

Education Option: Earning a certificate in medical assisting could take you as little as one year, according to the Department of Labor. Of course that time to completion will vary by your schedule and course load.

Average Annual Salary: $29,760*

Find Local Schools That Offer Medical Assisting Programs

If you want something more creative...

As a photographer, you can potentially be as technical or creative as you'd like by specializing in areas that range from commercial photography and editing to news photography and portraits.

Education Option: According to the Department of Labor, many employers look for candidates with a degree in photography, though vocational certificate programs can also be a good way to go. If you don't feel prepared to make a change immediately, consider taking photography classes in your downtime and offering your services to friends or family for headshots or weddings.

Average Annual Salary: $35,980*

Search for Photography Programs

*Average annual salary information is courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor and reflects May 2010 numbers.

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