Six Ideas for Career Changes

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Thinking about changing careers? Find out which ones are in-demand.

By Chris Kyle   

Thinking about changing careers? Check out these hiring trends before you leap.

Corporate intelligence company Wanted Analytics, which maintains a database of over 600 million job postings, analyzed nationwide hiring trends in May 2011.

We combined their analysis of hiring demand in May 2011 with past, present, and future employment data from the U.S. Department of Labor to put together our list of six great ideas for career changers.

Keep reading to see if one of these six growing careers could offer the change you are looking for...

#1 - Bookkeeper

There were over 10,000 new job listings for bookkeepers in May 2011, according to Wanted Analytics, making this one of the hottest careers on our list. Also known as accounting and auditing clerks, bookkeepers update and maintain accounting records on behalf of big and small businesses.

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Reasons to consider this career: Bookkeeping exists in nearly every industry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, so you may be able to find new position in your current field. It's also one of the largest occupations in the country, according to the Department of Labor, with over 2.1 million jobs in 2008.

Education options: While a high school diploma is sometimes all that's required, it's getting increasingly necessary to have an associate's degree in business or accounting, according to the Department of Labor. Many schools offer these programs at night and on weekends or even online.

Average earnings: $35,340*

Click to Find Accounting and Bookkeeping Programs

#2 - Medical Assistant

Medical assistant job postings were up nearly 50 percent in May 2011 from the same time last year, according to Wanted Analytics. Medical assistants assist doctors and perform clinical tasks in addition to administrative responsibilities like handling paperwork.

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Reasons to consider this career: When making a career change, it helps if your new gig is hiring. Well, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, medical assistant is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country, with employment opportunities surging 34 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Education options: While some medical assistants learn on the job, many complete a one or two year education program, according to Department of Labor. This can include certificate and associate degrees in medical assisting, which can be completed in about one or two years, on average, and depending on the school and the schedule that you choose.

Average earnings: $29,760*

Click to Find Medical Assisting Programs

#3 - Teacher

Looking for a change? Teaching may be worth a look. Job postings for primary, secondary, and special education teachers reached a three-year nationwide high in May 2011, according to Wanted Analytics.

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Reasons to consider this career: If you already have a bachelor's degree, you may just need to get certified in order to qualify to teach public school. The U. S. Department of Labor says that the best job prospects are in high-demand fields like math, science, and ESL, particularly in rural or urban school districts.

Education options: Teaching license requirements vary by state but you will need a bachelor's degree to get started. Some schools offer teaching certificate programs with night or weekend classes so you may not have to give up your current job while preparing to pursue a new one.

Average earnings:
Elementary school teacher: $54,330*
Middle school teacher: $54,880*
Secondary school teacher: $55,990*

Click to Find Teaching Certificate and Degree Programs

#4 - Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians and aides assist licensed pharmacists and help prepare prescription medications. Over 2,500 new pharmacy technician jobs were posted in May 2011 alone, according to Wanted Analytics.

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Reasons to consider this career: Aging Americans will be filling more prescriptions in the coming years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, making this a potentially great option for those looking to change careers. Looking forward, the Department projects employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians to grow 25 percent through from 2008-2018.

Education options: In lieu of work experience, most employers prefer applicants who have completed a formal education program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which generally lasts between six months and two years - on average and depending on your course load and school.

Average earnings: $29,330*

Click to Find Pharmacy Technician Programs

#5 - Medical Records & Health Information Technicians

Medical records technicians input examination info and update medical histories of patients using the latest software and computer systems. Sometimes called medical billers and coders, these technicians were the focus of over 5,200 new employment opportunities in May 2011, according to Wanted Analytics, which set a three-year nationwide high for this hot career track.

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Reasons to consider this career: A nationwide push to convert paper medical records into electronic form is creating many new opportunities in this career track, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which is forecasting a 20 percent jump in employment for health information techs from 2008-2018.

Education options: Earning an associate's degree in an area like medical billing and coding is a common way to prepare for opportunities in this area, according to the Department of Labor. You may study medical terminology and practice data entry and coding using industry-standard software programs.

Average earnings: $35,010*

Click to Find Medical Billing & Coding Programs

#6 - Security Guard

Security guards or security officers patrol and protect property and businesses from theft, terrorism, and other illegal activities. Job postings for security guards reached a two-year nationwide high in May 2011, according to data from Wanted Analytics.

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Reasons to consider this career: More than 150,000 new security job positions will be added between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which adds that flexible hours make this career a particularly good one for people looking for a second or third job. That could allow career changers to test the waters and see if it's a track that they would like to pursue on a full-time basis.

Education options: Sometimes a high school diploma is enough to qualify, but some employers prefer security guards with a police science or criminal justice degree, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Average earnings: $26,870*

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*All average earnings info comes from the U.S. Department of Labor using May 2010 data.

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