It's Never Too Late to Make a Career Change


See how the right education and experience could help you make the career change you crave.

By Jennifer Berry    

Are you tired of your job and ready for a change?

You're not alone. A 2010 Conference Board report found that "Americans of all ages and income brackets continue to grow increasingly unhappy at work." And only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their current jobs.

But don't worry. It isn't too late for you to prepare for a new career.

"Focus on the skills you have developed in your present job and think about how those skills might apply to the new one," says Katharine Brooks, a career counseling coach who specializes in helping with career transition.

For example, "an admin assistant might need to be organized, deal with interruptions, multitask, meet deadlines, etc.," says Brooks. These are skills needed for paralegals.

Ready and willing to go back to school to prep for that career change and revamp your skill set?

Keep reading to learn more about five great career options for career switchers.

Career #1 - Dental Assistant

Want to switch to a hands-on role in improving people's smiles as well as their overall health? With the U.S. Department of Labor projecting 36 percent job growth between 2008 and 2018, now could be a good time to start prepping to pursue dental assisting opportunities.

Dental assistants can have a variety of responsibilities: Everything from sterilizing instruments and equipment to processing dental X-rays, making casts of teeth from impressions to updating patients' dental records, says the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Dental Assisting Program.

Education options: If you are interested in pursuing a dental assistant career, a certificate or associate's degree in dental assisting could help you develop relevant skills and knowledge, according to the Department.

Career #2 - Paralegal

If you're intrigued by the legal profession but never had the means to attend law school, it's not too late to pursue a career as a paralegal. And it's a great time too: The U.S. Department of Labor projects the paralegal and legal assistant profession will grow by 28 percent between 2008 and 2018.

With the opportunity to work in several areas of law, including litigation, corporate law, criminal law, labor law, or family law, the Department of Labor says that paralegals usually help lawyers prepare for trials, investigate facts for cases, or draft pleadings and motions to be filed with the court.

Click to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program.

Education options: An associate's degree in paralegal studies can help you prepare for a paralegal career, according to the Department. If you have already earned a bachelor's degree, a certificate in paralegal studies is another option.

Career #3 - Registered Nurse

If you're a natural nurturer, transitioning to a career as a registered nurse (RN) might be a good move for you. And with the growing demand for nurses - a forecast of 22 percent job growth from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor - now could be a good time to start preparing to make the switch.

RNs work closely with patients and their families and help provide treatment, education, and emotional support. Additional duties could include administering medications, assisting with rehabilitation, or offering guidance on diet, nutrition, and exercise programs, says the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.

Education options: An associate's degree in nursing is a common path to pursuing a nursing career. The blend of coursework and hands-on experience could help you prepare for the national licensing exam, according to the Department.

Career #4 - Health Care Administrator

Do you want to take your leadership skills into the expanding health care field? Consider pursuing a career as a health care administrator. These jobs are forecasted to grow by 16 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Health care administrators generally supervise the delivery of health care at a hospital, a group medical practice, or a managed care facility. Depending on the size of the facility, the Department of Labor says these administrators might be in charge of personnel, finances, facility operations, or even provide resident care.

Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.

Education options: A master's degree in health care administration is generally required, according to the Department, but a bachelor's degree could be enough for some entry-level positions in smaller facilities.

Career #5 - Computer Support Specialist

Want to use your computer know-how to enter the growing technology industry? With a projected 14 percent job growth from 2008 to 2018, computer support specialists can help the non-tech-savvy crowd keep up with technology as it continues to evolve and become more complex, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Individuals or companies usually look to computer support specialists to provide technical support and advice whether that means responding to a user's computer problems or writing training manuals, says the Department of Labor. Or they might serve as a help-desk technician and answer customers' computer questions over the telephone or through email.

Click to Find the Right IT & Information Systems Program.

Education options: Consider earning a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or information systems - or an associate's degree in a computer-related area, says the Department.

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