Careers You Can Be Passionate About

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It's time to uncover a career path that inspires you.

By John Loos   

There are many reasons to take a job... convenience, necessity, desperation... Unfortunately, passion isn't always considered when applying for work, though it can often mean the difference between suffering through a work day and soaring through one.

According to Debra Davenport, licensed career counselor and founder and president of Identity IQ LLC, "Your right career should be a natural extension of who you are as a human being," says Davenport.

"...The problem is that many people don't believe they can be successful living their passion, but this is simply not true. It just takes some creative strategizing and a solid action plan."

Ready for a change? Check out these seven growing career options and see if they fit your personality.

Career #1 - Human Resource Management

Great for people who are passionate about: Meeting new people, multi-tasking, creative communication

Career details: Human resource managers are essential to employee happiness. They answer questions pertaining to employee benefits, company health care plans, managerial quandaries, and employee hiring and evaluation. They may also collaborate with top executives on creating and shaping benefit plans, internal evaluations, and company betterment programs.

Education options: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a degree in human resources, human resources management, labor, personnel administration or industrial and labor relations is recommended. A business background or liberal arts education might also be valued by employers.

Median salary: $99,180*

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Career #2 - Public Accountant

Great for people who are passionate about: Numbers, attention to detail, advising others

Career details: Public accountants, as one example, are part analyst, consultant, tax law expert, and bookkeeper - and can serve as valued sources of information to persons, non-profits, government bodies, and businesses. In 2008, accountants held 1.8 million jobs, with 279,400 more projected to be added by 2018.**

Education options: A bachelor's or master's degree in accounting is a good starting point for aspiring public accountants. The U.S. Department of Labor notes that obtaining a certification, like the Certified Public Accountant, is also encouraged, and for some employers required.

Median salary: $61,690*

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Career #3 - Paralegal

Great for people who are passionate about: The law, research, writing, critical thinking

Career details: Paralegals often perform critical functions in law firms, government offices and corporate legal departments. Duties can range from researching legal questions for attorneys to writing legal documents, preparing documents for hearings, and organizing case information. The number of paralegal jobs is expected to increase 28 percent between 2008 and 2018.**

Education options: According to the Department of Labor, an associate's degree in paralegal studies is a common credential for paralegals.

Median salary: $46,680*

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Career #4 - Dental Assistant

Great for people who are passionate about: Customer care, medical science, health and wellness

Career details: Demand is high for dental assistants, as the number of assistants is projected to surge 36 percent between 2008 and 2018.** Tasks might include greeting patients, preparing and sterilizing instruments for use, and taking x-rays. A dental assistant career may also have flexibility as many assistants work part-time, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

Education options: Certificates can be received through programs at community colleges, universities, technical schools, or vocational schools.

Median salary: $33,470*

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Career #5 - Tech Support

Great for people who are passionate about: Problem-solving, computers, helping others learn

Career details: Technical support specialists are essential problem-solvers in any computer-driven work environment, helping fix technological issues, tailoring software programs to a company's specific needs, and educating employees on new systems. What's more, faster-than-average growth is expected in the technical support field through 2018.**

Education options: A bachelor's degree in computer science is recommended, according to the Department of Labor, and many software vendors and computer specialists require a technical support certificate from their specialists.

Median salary: $46,260*

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Career #6 - Pharmacy Technician

Great for people who are passionate about: Detail-oriented projects, mathematics, customer care

Career details: Technicians assist pharmacists by receiving prescription requests, tabulating and weighing pills, and labeling bottles for customers. The Department of Labor projects growth of nearly 100,000 positions between 2008 and 2018.

Education options: According to the Department of Labor, there are no standard educational requirements for pharmacy technicians, though certification with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians is often recommended and, in some states, required. Many community colleges, hospitals and vocational schools also offer pharmacy technician programs.

Median salary: $28,400**

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Career #7 - Probation Officer or Correctional Treatment Specialist

Great for people who are passionate about: The law, community well-being, psychology, statistics

Career details: Probation officers facilitate the rehabilitation of individuals placed on probation through collaboration with community organizations and treatment centers. Correctional treatment specialists work with current inmates through counseling, skills preparation, and release programs. These jobs are expected to grow by 19 percent through 2018.**

Education options: According to the Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, psychology, social work, or a related field is generally a must. One also might be required by state or the federal government to complete a specialized program.

Median salary: $47,200**

Find Criminal Justice Degree Programs Now

*All employment projections are from the U.S. Department of Labor.

**All salary data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2010

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