Switch Careers to Be Happier

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See how getting the right education could be your first step toward career happiness.

By Chris Kyle   

Do you hate your job? Dread going to the office every day?

Unhappiness at work can be a red-flag that your current career isn't an ideal fit for you, says Jessica Hernandez, president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast, a resume writing service that also helps clients draft cover letters and build online profiles on career networking sites like LinkedIn.

If that's the case for you, it may be time to switch things up.

Want to Pursue a Different Career Path? Explore Back-to-School Options Now.

"Career changing is extremely common right now," says Hernandez. In fact, the average worker switches employers every 4.4 years, according to a 2010 U.S. Department of Labor report.

Whether you are in the fast food industry or spend your days in a windowless cubicle - know that you do have the power to change your situation.

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Keep reading to learn more about some exciting careers that may provide the change you are looking for...

Want More Flexibility?

Having the flexibility to control your hours and design your work day doesn't have to be a pipe dream.

Though becoming an entrepreneur is far from easy, starting your own business is one way to give yourself more flexibility, says Marty Nemko, author of "Cool Careers for Dummies."

"When you're your own boss, you make all the decisions - from which computer to buy to whether to take on a lucrative but risky project," Nemko writes. "Staying motivated when you're on your own is easier when you crave one of the main benefits of being self-employed: control."

If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, don't worry. There are plenty of careers with flexibility built in. Here are two:

  • Flexible Option #1 - SEO Writer: Understanding how you can target your copy to attract search engines and more eyeballs is what search engine optimization (SEO) writers do every day. Whether you're freelancing or working from home at odd hours, flexibility is often a hallmark for SEO writers. Majoring in subjects like English or creative writing is helpful, as is studying marketing and communications. According to a SimplyHired search in May 2011, the average salary for SEO writer positions is $60,000.

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  • Flexible Option #2 - Sales Representative: According to a 2010 Manpower survey, sales reps are the second-hardest job to fill in America. Flexibility is a big selling point here since results are what really matter. Typically a bachelor's degree is required. Depending on what you'll be selling, it may be beneficial to earn a certificate or degree in that area, particularly if it's a brand new career for you. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, wholesale and manufacturing sales reps have an average annual wage of $61,400.

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Want More Money?

Hey, there is no shame in wanting a bigger paycheck. Just keep in mind that if you're in a profession that generally doesn't pay well, you may have to switch careers to see the numbers you want.

Online investment education site Investopedia recently released its highest-paying jobs of 2011. We've spotlighted a few and included the education that usually goes along with them.

  • Management Consultant (Average Pay: $117,000): In this type of work, you would likely work with companies on how to increase efficiency and raise profits. No matter what you are doing now for a living, there is likely some business-related experience you can trumpet to employers. You typically need a bachelor's in an area like business administration and maybe even an advanced degree like an MBA. Note: Investopedia bases this average salary on five years of experience as a management consultant.

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  • Actuary (Average Pay: $133,000): Actuaries crunch numbers and predict the likelihood of events. According to the Department of Labor, most earn a bachelor's degree in a field such as finance, accounting, business, mathematics, or statistics before taking a series of exams to become an accredited professional. If you already have a degree in an unrelated area, consider earning a certificate in accounting or finance, or specializing in one of those areas while getting your MBA. Note: Investopedia bases this average salary on four years of experience as an actuary.

Search for Accounting/Finance Programs.

Want More Career Satisfaction?

Professions that involve helping others rate highest in job satisfaction, according to a 2007 University of Chicago survey. The top career for satisfaction was clergy while the least satisfying was roofers.

To help you figure out what career to transition to, we've spotlighted a few professions that also focus primarily on helping other people.

  • Health Care Manager: Health care managers work directly with doctors, nurses, and administrators to plan, coordinate, and direct the medical care of patients. A bachelor's degree in health care administration is a good credential for finding entry-level work. If you already have a bachelor's degree, concentrate on getting an MBA. The average mean wage for medical and health services managers is $90,970, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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  • Education Administrator: If your current career involves communication with clients or customers, the transition to this position might come easier for you, as interpersonal skills are a must. Typically you need a bachelor's degree in an area like education, as well as a master's in education. The average yearly wage for education administrators at the elementary and secondary school levels is $87,390, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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