Best Degrees to Make a Fresh Start


Want to make a fresh start in the job market? See how earning the right degree could help.

By Staff

Getting a fresh start in a new career can be scary, but it may be necessary in today's tough economy.

The good news is that with the right education, experience, and go-getter attitude, you could become well-equipped to tackle a new career.

Keep reading to find out what degrees could help you embark on a fresh start in an invigorating career.

Degree #1: Paralegal Studies

If you're interested in the justice systems and want to prepare to make a fresh start in the legal field as a paralegal, earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies could be a great option for you.

About the Degree: This associate's degree, which generally takes about two years to complete, might include courses in law office administration/management and legal research and writing.* Already have a bachelor's degree in another field? Another option is to complete a paralegal studies certificate program.

About the Career: Paralegals often act as a lawyer's go-to man or woman by assisting them with researching legal questions and writing documents. The average annual salary for paralegals is $49,640.*

Start Your Paralegal Education. Find Programs and Schools Now.

Degree #2: Medical Assisting

If you're a nurturing person with an interest in medicine, consider preparing to pursue medical assistant opportunities by earning an associate's degree in medical assisting.

About the Degree: Associate's degree programs generally take about two years to complete and include common courses like administration of medications, diagnostic procedures, and medical terminology. Another - shorter - education option is the medical assisting certificate, which can take as little as one year to complete.

About the Career: Clinical medical assistants often take vital signs and collect blood samples. Administrative medical assistants, on the other hand, might spend their days greeting patients, scheduling appointments, and updating medical records. The average annual salary for medical assistants is $29,760.

Start Your Medical Assisting Education. Find Programs and Schools Now.

Degree #3: Information Technology

Computer-savvy people can thrive with an associate's or bachelor's degree in information technology (IT), which could help prepare you to pursue opportunities in computer support.

About the Degree: IT associate's and bachelor's degrees takes around two years or four years to complete, respectively, and will likely cover topics like computer science, business, and communications.

About the Career: Computer support specialists help people and organizations by providing technical support and advice, and helping identify and solve hardware/software issues. The average annual salary for computer support specialists: $49,930.

Start Your Information Technology Education. Find Programs and Schools Now.

Degree #4: Medical Billing and Coding

Want to make a fresh start in health care, but not interested in dealing directly with patients? Consider preparing to pursue opportunities in medical billing and coding through an associate's degree in medical billing and coding.

About the Degree: Medical billing and coding (sometimes referred to as health information technology) associate's degree programs might include courses in computers in health care, introduction to coding, and medical terminology.

About the Career: Medical billers and coders assign letters and numbers to diseases, injuries, and medical procedures for communication and payment purposes. Medical billers and coders have an average salary of $35,010.

Start Your Medical Billing and Coding Education. Find Programs and Schools Now.

Degree #5: Graphic Design

Are you looking to get your fresh career start in a more creative field? An associate's or bachelor's degree in graphic design could potentially put you on track toward a highly artistic new career in graphic design.

About the Degree: Graphic design degree programs combine a creative curriculum with career preparation through cutting-edge graphic design technology, giving you the best of both worlds. Some common courses might include production design and typography.

About the Career: Graphic designers find the most effective and creative ways to get messages across via print and electronic media. The average annual salary for graphic designers: $48,140.

Start Your Graphic Design Education. Find Programs and Schools Now.

*Time to completion is average and will vary by student, program, school, and other factors. Course information is from the College Board, an organization that administers aptitude tests like the SAT. Average annual salary data comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2010.

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