Career Makeover Ideas

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See how you could transition to a new career without starting from scratch.

By Chris Kyle   

Do you hate your job and want to make a change - but fear starting over somewhere new?

Good news: Just because you want to change careers doesn't mean you have to start from scratch in a whole different industry.

In fact, it's possible that your current job could help you pursue a new career in the same industry, says Andrea King, a career counselor in Beaverton, Oregon.

For example, King says a medical assistant could potentially use his or her work history to fulfill a job requirement for "health care experience" that a medical billing and coding position may require.

If you're thinking of making a change, we've highlighted careers in large industries that may be worth pursuing. Keep reading to find your industry and see if any of these related careers may interest you.

Health Care

Looking for a brand new professional you? To say that there are plenty of health care careers to choose from is an understatement. The health care industry provided 14.3 million jobs in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and is projected to add 3.2 million more between 2008 and 2018.

Check out these health care options for career changers:

#1 - Medical and Health Services Manager

This could be an intriguing profession for career changers since your past work experience, particularly if it's already in health care, could provide you with a boost. There are many niches in this career track, with some managers specializing in areas like finance, sales, or HR.

Education options: While it's possible that a bachelor's in an area like health care administration is enough to get your career makeover underway, it's more likely that you'll need a master of business administration (MBA), according to the U.S. Department of Labor, since leadership skills and an understanding of management principles are necessary in this role.

Average earnings for medical and health services managers: $93,670*

Search for Health Care Administration Programs

#2 - Medical Assistant

When changing careers, it helps to target a growing profession, and medical assistant certainly qualifies. Medical assistant career opportunities are expected to increase 34 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, making this one of the fastest growing jobs in the country.

Education options: Some medical assistants learn on the job, according to the Department of Labor, which is good news for career changers. However, many do complete certificate or associate's degree programs, the Department says.

Average earnings for medical assistants: $29,760*

Search for Medical Assistant Programs

Business

Thanks to an increasingly global marketplace, the business world knows no borders. Everything and everyone in business is seemingly connected, in one way or another. That's good news for career changers who may be able to move from one position in a similar (and hopefully smooth) fashion.

Check out these business career options:

#1 - Public Relations Specialist

Sites like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way the world gets and shares information, making this an exciting time for professions like public relations (PR) specialists. In this career track, you'll likely be helping organizations craft and deliver their messages to the public.

Education options: Many PR specialists have a bachelor's degree in an area like marketing and communications, or business administration, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Communication skills are also important, so you may want to makeover your resume to stress how your work history reflects that.

Average earnings for PR specialists: $59,150*

Search for Marketing/Communications Programs

#2 - Accountant

Can you calculate numbers in your head? If so, transitioning into an accounting career could be for you. Speaking of numbers, accounting career opportunities are expected to grow 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That's a projected increase of nearly 300,000 jobs.

Education options: When targeting an entry-level position, like bookkeeper, an associate's degree in accounting is likely enough to get you started, according to the Department of Labor. Earning a bachelor's in accounting or finance is recommended for accountant roles, the Department says.

Average earnings for accountants: $68,960*

Search for Accounting Programs

Information Technology (IT)

If you're already working in the IT-related computer systems design industry, you may want to avoid any radical career makeovers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, wages are expected to grow 45 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is about four times as fast as the projected 11 percent growth for all industries combined.

Check out these IT career options:

#1 - Computer Support Specialist

Any problem-solving and communications skills you already have should come in handy in this career track where you would be providing technical support for companies or individuals and helping them with a wide variety of computer-related concerns.

Education options: Your resume may need a tweak or two since you'll need to demonstrate that you have the technical expertise for the job. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, sometimes a certificate or associate's degree in an area like computer science or technology support is enough to attract potential employers, while others may prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree.

Average earnings for computer support specialists: $49,930*

Search for Technology Support Programs

#2 - Information Systems Managers

Career changers will need to showcase their management skills for this career track. Companies of all kinds rely upon their internal network and information systems to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Information systems managers help oversee that and may also have a hand in software development, network security, and internet operations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Education: There is no one way into this career track, which is good news for people targeting this job. In most cases, information systems managers have a bachelor's degree in an area like IT and information systems or computer science, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and oftentimes an MBA as well.

Average earnings for information systems managers: $123,280*

Search for IT and Information Systems Programs

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

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