Skills That Are Always In-Demand

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For workers with these skills, switching careers could be an easier proposition.

By Chris Kyle   

Are you thinking of switching careers?

When making your plans, don't discount the power of transferrable skills and additional schooling.

"Everyone needs to be open to the idea of updating their skills through classes or getting a degree," says Andrea Kay, a Cincinnati-based career expert.

To help you figure out where to start, we put together a list of transferrable skills and matched them with popular career tracks.

We've also included preparation and education information for people interested in moving into these professions.

#1 - Organizational Skills

Are you able to stay focused while juggling multiple responsibilities at work? Is your cubicle or desk neat and organized, even during the busiest part of your day? If so, you may be more ready than you think to move into a new career that values organizational skills...

  • Potential Career Option #1 - Medical Assistant

    Organizational skills could come in handy when juggling administrative and clinical tasks as a medical assistant. Often working in a busy hospital or doctor's office, medical assistants might help with complete paperwork, take a patient's vital signs, and assist physicians during exams.

    Education: Earning a certificate in medical assisting or an associate's degree in medical assisting is a great step towards pursuing this career and can generally be completed in two years or less, depending on school, program, and course load.

    Average Earnings: $29,760*

Search for Medical Assisting Degree and Certificate Programs

  • Potential Career Option #2 - Paralegal

    The "ability to organize" is cited by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations on its website as a key skill that paralegals need. As a paralegal you would help lawyers research and prepare documents and legal strategies. Transitioning into this career may make sense for organized-types who can demonstrate that they are detail-oriented and work well under pressure.

    Education: An associate's degree in paralegal studies is a common way to pursue this career, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. For those who already have a degree, earning a certificate in paralegal studies is another option. Certificate and associate's degrees could be completed in two years or less, depending on school, program, and course load.

    Average Earnings: $49,640*

Search for Paralegal Degree and Certificate Programs

#2 - People Skills

Do you work well with others and enjoy meeting new people? If you find it easy to strike up a conversation, you might want to consider transitioning to a career that will put your people skills to work.

  • Potential Career Option #1 - Human Resources Specialist

    The ability to work well with different personalities can be an asset for HR specialists, who help companies recruit and retain the best and brightest workers. Talented people with strong communication skills may find it easier than others to transition into an HR position.

    Education: Getting a bachelor's degree in human resources or business administration is a helpful stepping stone for those interested in a career in HR, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Average Earnings: $57,830*

Search for Human Resources Degree Programs

  • Potential Career Option #2 - Sales Representative

    People skills are crucial for sales representatives, who need to be able to communicate how their product will benefit potential clients. If you have a winning smile and an engaging personality, you may already possess assets that could help you transition into sales.

    Education: There is no specific degree that sales representatives typically have, though communication skills are "essential," according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Therefore studying communications, marketing, or business might give you the kinds of skills you need to pursue this career track. An associate's degree, which generally takes two years to complete, depending on school and course load, could help one transition into this field.

    Average Earnings: $62,720*

Search for Marketing/Communications Degree Programs

#3 - Creative Skills

Do you love brainstorming? Are you able to see potential where others see problems? If you are a creative person who is looking for a new career, these exciting options may pique your interest.

  • Potential Career Option #1 - Graphic Designer

    Coming up with creative ideas on behalf of clients is a part of many graphic design gigs. A sense of style and knowledge of the latest graphic design computer software can offer a boost for anyone looking for a swift transition into this career.

    Education: Aspiring graphic designers, take note: a bachelor's degree in graphic design is usually required for both entry-level and advanced positions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you already have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated area, consider completing a shorter certificate program that can help bring you up to speed on technical requirements typical of this career track.

    Average Earnings: $48,140*

Search for Graphic Design Degree and Certificate Programs

  • Potential Career Option #2 - Marketing Specialist

    Marketing is a career that requires a blend of business and creative skills. As a marketing specialist, you'll likely be brainstorming ways to market products to the public while also helping set price points and monitoring the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

    Education: For marketing positions, employers often prefer a bachelor's degree in business administration or MBA with an emphasis in marketing, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department adds that any sales experience you have can also be useful preparation when transitioning into marketing.

    Average Earnings: $66,850*

Search for Marketing and Business Degree Programs

*All salary info comes from the U.S. Department of Labor using 2010 average national estimates data.

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