Best Careers for Problem Solvers

Problem-Solving Careers

Got a knack for problem-solving? Check out these five career options for people like you...

By Leslie Barrie

Do you consider yourself a problem solver?

While everyone has issues that must be solved in their day-to-day lives (How am I going to get this stain out? What can I do about my botched haircut?), certain people really excel at problem-solving.

And good news for these folks: there are careers where your problem-solving talent could come in handy.

"Some jobs require diagnostic problem solvers, who are intuitive and have the ability to see the relationship between seemingly unrelated information and come up with a solution," says Talane Miedaner, life coach and author of "Coach Yourself to a New Career."

"On the other hand, some jobs need analytic problem solvers, who can start with known facts, see logical connections, and then arrive at a clear conclusion," Miedaner adds.

So if you are usually the problem solver among your friends and family, read on to learn more about five great careers for problem solvers.

Career # 1 - Medical and Health Services Manager

If you've ever planned a family reunion, you probably know it's not easy being in charge of every little detail. But if you excel at orchestrating large operations like this, consider pursuing a career as a medical and health services manager, where you could coordinate the events of an entire medical facility or clinical department.

As a medical and health services manager, you could help to improve the efficiency and quality of health care services, put together work schedules, and even stay up-to-date on new laws, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And when a problem comes up in the process, you could be the one to solve it.

Problem-Solving Factors: It's hard to miss all the news about the changes in the health care industry. And as these transitions occur, medical and health services managers need to be able to adapt to changes in laws, regulations, and technology, says the Department of Labor. Managers should be prepared to deal with all the difficulties that could arise with new policies.

But dealing with new sets of problems isn't all doom and gloom. "Managers with good problem-solving skills, though, can rely on their previous experience to come up with new solutions," says Miedaner.

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Education Options: Ready to prepare to pursue this problem-solving career? Medical and health services managers generally need at least a bachelor's degree to be considered for this field, according to the Department. Other common credentials are master's degrees in health services, long-term care administration, public health, public administration, or business administration, adds the Department.

Career #2 - Personal Financial Advisor

If you're always the person figuring out how to divide the check after a group meal (and knows how to address the problem when someone didn't pay enough), a career as a personal financial advisor could be a good fit for your problem-solving skills.

Personal financial advisors can help clients better understand investments (such as stocks and bonds), tax laws, and insurance decisions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. By providing financial advice, personal financial advisors might answer questions about potential risks as well as recommend investment options, adds the Department of Labor.

Problem-Solving Factors: The problem-solving aspect of a personal financial advisor comes into play when they monitor clients' investments and make changes based on factors that may pop up (a swing up or down in the market, for example).

"When issues come up with clients - or the market - personal financial advisors have to use analytical thinking to solve those problems so that the clients stay happy," says Nicholas Lore, a career coach and author of "The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success."

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Education Options: Wondering how to prepare to pursue this career? Problem solved. Personal financial advisors usually need a bachelor's degree, says the Department. Although there isn't one "required" field of study, you could prepare for this career with a degree in finance, economics, accounting, business, mathematics, or even law. And if you are hoping to advance to a management position, a master's degree in finance or business administration could help, adds the Department.

Career # 3 - Paralegal

If you're a "Law & Order" fan and could see yourself solving legal puzzles and problems, a career as a paralegal may be worth your consideration.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, paralegals could help lawyers by examining the facts of a case, researching relevant laws, organizing information, and drafting documents to be filed with the court. And like lawyers, paralegals can also specialize in areas like personal injury, criminal law, bankruptcy, and real estate.

Problem-Solving Factors: Because paralegals often assume many of the responsibilities held by lawyers, they may be faced with similar law issues. The good news? Your problem-solving skills could come in handy.

"In making statements and arguments, you have to use analytic problem solving to come to logical conclusions based on the existing framework of laws," says Lore.

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Education Options: How can you prepare to pursue this problem-solving career? There are a few options: most paralegals earn an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or if you already have a bachelor's degree in another field, you could look into a certificate in paralegal studies, says the Department of Labor.

Career # 4 - Graphic Designer

Are you artsy, super techie, and a problem solver? Then you might enjoy a career as a graphic designer. Why? Because graphic designers need to be able to solve problems that occur during the design process.

As a graphic designer, you could use computer software to produce visual concepts that inform and encourage consumers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They might create the layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, or magazines, adds the Department of Labor.

Problem-Solving Factors: Graphic designers can be faced with problems to solve each day as they attempt to turn abstract concepts into meaningful designs.

Perhaps that's why Lore says "graphic designers, like other artists, must have the intuitive, diagnostic problem-solving skill set."

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Education Options: Ready to get creative and solve problems? To prepare to pursue a career as a graphic designer, a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field is generally required, according to the Department. However, if you have a bachelor's degree in a different field, you could prepare through technical training in graphic design, adds the Department.

Career #5 - Engineer

No matter the type of engineer, problems (that need solving!) will constantly arise, whether the engineer is trying to create something new or test that new creation. If you are up for problem-solving challenges, consider a career as an engineer.

Electrical engineers could design, test, and manage the production of electrical equipment such as electric motors, communications systems, and radar and navigation systems (like Tom Tom GPS systems), according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In a similar way, computer hardware engineers could design, produce, and test computer equipment (chips, circuit boards, routers), says the Department of Labor.

Problem-Solving Factors: As an engineer, you're presented with problems where you have to think logically to come up with a solution, says Lore.

"For example, a civil engineer might need to design a bridge that has to fit a certain length and structural requirements," Lore adds. "Or a mechanical engineer might have to work to improve a car engine to get better gas mileage."

Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.

Education Options: Does a career in engineering sound appealing? Well, depending on what engineering field you want to prepare to pursue - like aerospace or mechanical, for example - education requirements vary, according to the Department. Aerospace engineers, for instance, are required to have a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering or another related engineering field. A bachelor's degree in a science related to aerospace systems may also be sufficient. Quite a few options, right?

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