$50K Jobs for People Who Don't Want to Sit Behind a Monitor All Day

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These jobs pay well and won't turn you into a screen zombie.

By Terri Williams

Do you have eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, or neck or back pain? You might be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), a condition caused by staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time.

You might think that being stuck behind a computer is inevitable in this high-technology age, but there are jobs out there that aren't computer-heavy, and some of them pay pretty well, too.

Read on to discover six careers that have median salaries of over $50K a year and won't have you glued to a computer screen all day long.

Computer-Light Career #1: Art Director

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Median Annual Salary*
$83,000
Top 10% of Annual Salaries*
>$169,450
Bottom 10% of Annual Salaries*
<$44,500

If you're the creative type that prefers looking at storyboards to typing on keyboards, an art director position may appeal to your artistic side.

An art director typically works with a variety of artists and other people in specific roles to pull together an overall art concept, advertisement, film, or other type of project, says Scott Barlow, career coach and co-founder of HappenToYourCareer.com in Moses Lake, Washington.

How You'll Escape the Computer Screen:"To become an art director, I actually had to move away from the computer and stop being the actual hands-on designer," says Roanne Adams, chief creative director/founder of RoAndCo and one of the New York Times' "six most outstanding up-and-coming design professionals."

"If I'm not on set art directing a fashion shoot, I'm at my studio discussing and critiquing design ideas and photo shoot concepts with my design team," says Adams.

Additionally, "The job consists of everything from hand-drawn set design, to prop shopping, to running a crew, to building and painting sets and doing this on a weekly basis, especially for serial TV shows," says David Murdico, executive creative director and managing partner of Supercool Creative in Los Angeles, CA.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.

Prepare for a Computer-Light Career: If you like the idea of being on your feet coordinating all the moving parts of a design project, here's what you need to know. At least a bachelor's degree in art or a design subject is what art directors need, in addition to previous work experience, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Many start out as industrial, set, or graphic designers in an art-related occupation like photographer or fine artist, and earn a bachelor of arts or bachelor of fine arts as the appropriate education for that occupation.

Computer-Light Career #2: Elementary School Teacher

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Median Annual Salary*
$53,590
Top 10% of Annual Salaries*
>$83,600
Bottom 10% of Annual Salaries*
<$35,760

If you would rather see the inquisitive faces of excited children than the computer-generated emoticons used in email communication, you might enjoy pursuing a career as an elementary school teacher.

How You'll Escape the Computer Screen: "Most of the day, I am on my feet delivering lessons and supporting students," says Brian Duggan, a first grade lead teacher at Excellence Boys Charter School in Brooklyn, NY."

And when he is not teaching, Duggan says, "I am meeting with my grade level team to collaborate on upcoming lessons and share best-practice teaching techniques."

And there are benefits to getting out from behind that computer in a classroom. "Instead of being behind a computer all day, teachers get the satisfaction of seeing firsthand the impact they're making on the next generation,"says career counselor Ben Fanning.

Fanning adds that elementary school teachers get to experience the smile on a child's face when they learn something new, "and that kind of feedback is priceless and only happens in the flesh."

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Education Program.

Prepare for a Computer-Light Career: If a career as a teacher appeals to you, be aware that a bachelor's degree in elementary education is required in all states for public elementary school teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In some states, teachers may be required to major in a content area, such as science or math.

Teachers will usually enroll in the teacher preparation program of their university as well as taking child psychology, education, and other classes as required by their major, the Department of Labor adds. Public school teachers are required to be licensed or certified in all states.

Computer-Light Career #3: Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers

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Median Annual Salary*
$56,130
Top 10% of Annual Salaries*
>$90,700
Bottom 10% of Annual Salaries*
<$32,670*

If high-speed chases sound more appealing than high-speed Internet, and entering potentially dangerous situations sounds more exciting than opening potentially dangerous email attachments, consider pursuing a career as a police officer.

How You'll Escape the Computer Screen: "The majority of their time is spent interacting with the public, so this is an ideal job for someone who doesn't want to spend a significant portion of their work day sitting behind a computer screen," says Clarissa Lester-Kenty, a life coach with 15 years of expertise in career training in Birmingham, Ala.

"Police officers perform a variety of duties, which can range from responding to domestic disputes to stopping a robbery in progress to negotiating a hostage situation." Lester-Kenty adds.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Criminal Justice Program.

Prepare for a Computer-Light Career: If you want to get started in this field, keep in mind that police and detectives need at least a high school diploma or equivalent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Some police departments and many agencies require a college degree or some college coursework.

Many entry-level police job applicants have taken some college classes while a significant number have graduated from college. Many colleges, universities, and even junior colleges provide programs in criminal justice and law enforcement, the Department of Labor states.

Computer-Light Career #4: Registered Nurse

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Median Annual Salary*
$66,220
Top 10% of Annual Salaries*
>$96,320
Bottom 10% of Annual Salaries*
<$45,630

If you are more concerned with the temperature of a patient who may be running a fever than the possibility of your computer overheating, perhaps nursing is your calling.

How You'll Escape the Computer Screen: While digital devices are definitely in use, "the bulk of our time is spent managing symptoms, supporting the family and communicating with other members of the care team, whether social workers, creative arts therapists, spiritual care coordinators, physicians or bereavement counselors," says Sandra Davis, a registered nurse with the Metropolitan Jewish Health System who specializes in hospice and palliative care.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.

Prepare for a Computer-Light Career: If you're looking to pursue a career in nursing, there are usually three paths to a nursing career, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Students obtain a diploma from an approved nursing program, an associate's degree in nursing, or a bachelor's of science degree in nursing. Registered nurses need to be licensed as well.

Computer-Light Career #5: Claims Adjuster

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Median Annual Salary*
$61,190
Top 10% of Annual Salaries*
>$90,570
Bottom 10% of Annual Salaries*
<$37,220

If you'd rather adjust the amounts of insurance claims than spend your day adjusting your computer monitor display options, you might like the idea of working as a claims adjuster.

"The job of a claims adjuster is to review claims that are made by either the insured party or a third party against the insured party," says Mark Sieverkropp, consultant and co-director of happen-ings at career coaching website HappenToYourCareer.com. "They compare the incident with the insurance policy and determine whether the insurance coverage applies."

How You'll Escape the Computer Screen: Although computers are used to capture insurance information, "claims adjusters spend a large amount of their time meeting with the claimant (person filing the claim), or other involved parties, and reviewing the scene of the incident (in cases of property damage, auto accidents, etc.)," explains Sieverkropp, who adds that they may also take part in settlement negotiations, trials and other aspects of the process of resolving and closing a claim.

"Claims adjusters work with the claimant to fulfill the requirements of the insurance contract and also negotiate settlements as need be," says Sieverkropp.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Prepare for a Computer-Light Career: A high school diploma or its equivalent is typically required for those workers looking to be hired by employers as entry-level investigators, examiners, or claims adjusters, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. For higher positions, a bachelor's degree or insurance-related work experience may be required.

Different types of college coursework or different backgrounds are best for different types of work in these types of occupations. For example, a business or accounting background might be more appropriate for specializing in damage to merchandise or breakdowns of equipment, according to the Department of Labor.

Computer-Light Career #6: Computer Network Architect

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Median Annual Salary*
$95,380
Top 10% of Annual Salaries*
>$145,700
Bottom 10% of Annual Salaries*
<$53,920

You can like computers and still not want to stare at a monitor all day. Pursuing a career as a computer network architect could give you the best of both worlds.

How You'll Escape the Computer Screen: These professionals do plenty of work that doesn't require sitting in front of a monitor, including (according to the U.S. Department of Labor):

  • Presenting a data communication network layout to management
  • Determining how cables and other hardware will be laid out in the building
  • Deciding what hardware is needed to support the network.

Additionally, these workers spend time away from the computer in planning meetings trying to project the network load and determine the most efficient way to handle that load, according to Abraham Snell, adjunct information technology professor at ITT Technical Institute.

They also "determine what new segments of the network they will need to design, and decide what current segments of the network will need to be repaired or replaced," Snell says.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Computer Engineering Program.

Prepare for a Computer-Light Career: The Department of Labor states that a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, information systems, or some related field is usually needed by computer network architects. They usually need some experience in a related occupation as well. The Department points out that employers of these workers sometimes would prefer that applicants have a master's of business administration in information systems.

*All salary information from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages data, May 2013.

Next Article: Jobs That May Be Slipping Away - And Those That Are Here to Stay

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