Five Best Encore Careers


Discover how the right education could help you transition to a second-act career.

By Amanda Castleman    

Thinking about transitioning into a new career? Join the club.

It appears that "encore careers" are on the rise, according to Barbara Waxman, a life and executive coach.

"More people are beginning to dream about what paying roles are in sync with their skills sets, their schedules, and their sense of giving back to their communities and to the planet," says Waxman.

If you're ready to pursue your encore career, you're in luck. We have a list of exciting career options - and their education requirements - to help you get the ball rolling on your new career track.

Encore Career #1 - Paralegal

If you have a thirst for the legal field, but don't have an interest in going to law school, preparing for an encore career as a paralegal might be for you.

As a paralegal, you'll likely be working as a lawyer's number two man or woman. Some responsibilities that come with the position include investigating facts of cases, drafting documents, and preparing legal arguments.

Workers with good attention to detail could thrive as a paralegal, a career you could prepare to pursue by completing an associate's degree in paralegal studies, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you already have a bachelor's in another field, a certificate in paralegal studies could be sufficient.

Click to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program.

Career Forecast: There's a projected 28 percent boost in paralegal positions between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department, making this legal career a great option for your second act.

Encore Career #2 - Registered Nurse (RN)

Think registered nursing is your encore career calling? If you have a desire to help people and think a career in medicine fits your goals, you could be right.

People who have good communication and critical-thinking skills could succeed in an RN career, which generally involves providing patient care and instruction to patients and their families on how to manage their illnesses or injuries. RNs may also run general health screenings or immunization clinics.

Patience, compassion, and emotional stability are also ideal values to have if you're considering a career as a RN, which could be pursued with an associate's in nursing, according to the Department.

Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.

Career Forecast: Looking for an encore career with growing opportunities? You're looking in the right place. Employment of RNs is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the Department.

Encore Career #3 - Computer Support Specialist

Want to prepare to switch to a career in the dynamic tech industry? If you have a kinship with all things technology, you might enjoy a career as a computer support specialist.

A computer support specialist helps companies and individuals maintain their computer systems by offering technical assistance, support, and advice. Having patience, communication, and problem-solving skills is also ideal for this career as you'll likely be walking customers through steps to solve their computer issues.

Does this position sound like it could be a good fit for your second-act career goals? If so, consider going back to school to earn a bachelor's in computer science, computer engineering, or information systems, which is a requirement for some jobs, the Department notes. A computer-related associate's degree might suffice for other positions.

Click to Find the Right Information Technology Program.

Career Forecast: The computer support specialist field is projected to have an employment increase of 14 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department.

Encore Career #4 - K-12 Teacher

Think you have what it takes to help mold the minds of today's youth? An encore career in teaching could be for you.

Teachers plan, evaluate, and assign lessons that revolve around concepts that can help develop a student's intellectual capacity and social understanding. Teachers also stay up-to-date with a student's progress by grading papers, preparing report cards, and meeting with parents.

If this hands-on career is what you're looking for in a second-act gig, consider earning a bachelor's degree in a teacher education program, which is a traditional route to pursuing this career, the Department reports. From there, you'd need to get licensed. Most states also offer additional paths to receiving a teaching license for those who already have a degree in another field.

Click to Find the Right Teaching Program.

Career Forecast: This second-act career option is projected to have a 13 percent increase in job growth between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department.

Encore Career #5 - Personal Financial Advisor

Interested in money? Let's get real, most people are. But, an interest in managing money...well, that's not something everyone enjoys. If you're one of the few who do, consider pursuing a career switch to financial advising.

Personal financial advisors assist individuals with their financial needs, whether it involves investments, tax laws, or insurance decisions. This position also entails helping people plan for retirement and education expenses. Some financial advisors also specialize in areas like estate planning or risk management.

If you think this could be your encore career, you might want to consider going back to school to earn a bachelor's degree, which the Department notes is a requirement for personal financial advisors. If you already have a bachelor's, consider earning a master's in finance or business administration, which is another popular route in this field.

Click to Find the Right Business Program.

Career Forecast: Personal financial advisors are expected to see a 30 percent employment increase between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department.

Next Article: Top Online Degrees for Switching Fields »

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