Five Education Options to Fuel a Career Change

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See how the right education could help you prepare to pursue a new career in as little as two years.

By Chloe Jenkins-Sleczkowski    

Hate your job and want to make a change? You're not alone.

According to a May 2011 U.S. News & World Report article, "How to Position Yourself to Change Careers," switching careers has been increasingly popular lately.

Think you're ready to pursue a change, but not sure where to start or what you need to do? We break down five career options that you could be prepared to pursue with as little as two years of education.

Career #1 - Registered Nurse

If you're interested in switching to a career that lets you help others, registered nursing might be a good option for you.

Registered nurses offer hands-on patient care that generally involves treating and educating patients about various medical conditions.

Click Here to Find the Right Nursing Program.

Education Options: To start in this career, you'll need the right education. Look into earning a two-year associate's degree in nursing, which could help you gain the skills and knowledge needed to start chasing your goals.*

Average Earning Potential: $67,720*


Career #2 - Paralegal

If you want to switch to a career that lets you put your organizational and writing skills to good use, consider studying to pursue paralegal opportunities. Paralegals often help lawyers research and draft materials for trials, hearings, and meetings.

The good news? Depending on how far you've gone down the higher educational path, you could prepare to transition to this career with as little as one to two years of education.

Click Here to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program.

Education Options: Start preparing to pursue paralegal opportunities by earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies. If you already have a bachelor's degree in a different field, you could prepare to pursue a paralegal career with just a certificate in paralegal studies.*

Average Earning Potential: $49,640*


Career #3 - Computer Support Specialist

Itching to make a career change and want to use your people skills in a technical arena? You might enjoy studying to pursue a career as a computer support specialist.

As a computer support specialist, you could provide technical assistance to customers, including troubleshooting hardware and software problems.

Click Here to Find the Right Information Technology Program.

Education Options: Going back to school to earn an associate's degree in information technology or a computer-related field could help prep you to pursue this career. The good news is that associate's degree programs could take as little as two years to complete.*

Average Earning Potential: $49,930*


Career #4 - Dental Assistant

If you have an interest in dental care and helping others look their best, a dental assisting program could help prepare you to make this positive career switch.

Dental assistants help dentists with everything from getting patients ready for treatment to assisting with office and laboratory duties.

Click Here to Find the Right Dental Assisting Program.

Education Options: Intrigued by this floss-loving job? Good news, this career doesn't require a four-year education. An associate's degree in dental assisting, which can be completed in as little as two years, could help you pursue this career. Dental assisting certificate and diploma programs are another education option, and could take as little as one year to complete.*

Average Earning Potential: $34,140*


Career #5 - Human Resources Assistant

Are you looking to pursue a career that allows you to mingle and interact with people - but doesn't require a four-year bachelor's degree? You might enjoy human resources.

Human resources assistants usually maintain important records and process employment applications for businesses, as well as help with planning company events.

Click Here to Find the Right Human Resources Program.

Education Options: If you're interested in making the transition to human resources, a high school diploma is generally required, according to the Department of Labor. Another way to prepare to pursue this career might be to take classes to help develop your computer, communication, and interpersonal skills.*

Average Earning Potential: $37,900*


*Education options and average earning potential numbers come from the U.S. Department of Labor, May 2010.

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