Best Careers for Take-Charge Types


Check out six take-charge career options.

By Tony Moton    

Are you a swift decision-maker? Do you like taking ownership of projects?

In today's employment market, the ability to take charge of situations could hold potential value when it comes to finding a rewarding career.

"Organizations thrive on individuals who will take a stand for getting results," career coach Meredith Haberfeld says.

A take-charge approach can also be an invaluable asset for employees from a teamwork standpoint, too, says Haberfeld, co-founder of the Institute for Coaching. "Over the long haul, they not only take charge, but they are great collaborators and great selling their ideas so that people can get behind them," she says.

Think you're ready to take control in a take charge career? Check out the six following professions could pay big dividends for take-charge people.

Take Charge Career #1 - Marketing Manager

As a marketing manager, you would coordinate efforts that will result in a product or brand getting purchased by consumers. Decisions relating to product development and consumer research require a manager's take-charge skills and an ability to collaborate with others.

"If a person can get other constituents behind them and make them feel like they are part of the process, those take-chargers are prized and they shoot up the ladder," Haberfeld says.

Education: The U.S. Department of Labor reports that most employers prefer that you have either a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing, where you might take courses in areas such as business law, management, economics, accounting, and finance.

Average annual salary: $122,720*

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Take Charge Career #2 - Computer and Information Systems Manager

Managers in the field of information technology (IT) use a take-charge approach to complete projects while under deadline pressure. They might oversee the installation of new computer technology for a start-up company that's eager to launch. Or they could be under the gun to upgrade a network security system to help combat cybercriminals.

The ability to meet tough deadlines is especially valuable when fast-changing technology is involved.

"One of the most challenging things for information systems is that deadlines endlessly slip in that department, maybe more than any," Haberfeld says. "If you are somebody who can manage a project, finish on time, and make sure it's addressed by the right people at the right time, that is highly valued in that arena."

Education: Getting a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field could qualify one for most management positions in the IT field, according to the Department of Labor. However, some employers will prefer those who have a master's degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems (MIS).

Average annual salary: $123,280*

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Take Charge Career #3 - Criminal Investigator

Investigating crimes requires a take-charge person to make the right decisions at crucial times. Whether an investigator is interviewing a witness or conducting computer-based research, it's important to be assertive.

What might be most important for investigators is an ability to stay assertive, whether they work as detectives, crime scene investigators, or laboratory specialists.

"For one thing, investigators have to ask difficult, probing questions and, in many cases, root out the facts," says Kathy Lavinder, executive director of Maryland-based Security & Investigative Placement Consultants. "Simply accepting information that is provided, without challenge, would be a serious dereliction of duty for an investigator."

Education: If you want to give yourself a leg up on the competition, some college could be helpful. While experience is generally required, "some people enter the occupation directly after graduation from college, generally with an associate's or bachelor's degree in criminal justice or police science," says the Department of Labor.

Average annual salary: $73,010*

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Take Charge Career #4 - Education Administrator (Elementary/Secondary)

Administrators at elementary and secondary schools have a number of responsibilities that can benefit from a take-charge approach. Establishing academic programs and policies, for example, requires strong leadership skills and a firm commitment to giving students the best education possible.

School administrators also need excellent communication skills in order to motivate teachers, staff, and students, according to Mel Riddle, associate director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

"When you have a wide number of people you have to supervise, you have to get their cooperation," Riddle says. "It's not about control, but cooperation. People have to buy in to what you are trying to do. If you can do that, you are able to develop more of partnership than a supervisor-subordinate relationship."

Education: Thinking about what it might be like to work as school principal? The Department of Labor reports that education administrators generally start out as teachers, which traditionally requires you to have a bachelor's degree from a teacher education program and licensure. To move into administrator positions, you might consider getting a master's degree in education administration or educational leadership.

Average annual salary: $89,990*

Start Your Administration Education. Find Schools Now.

Take Charge Career #5 - Health Services Manager

Health care, one of the country's fastest-growing industries, requires managers capable of dealing effectively with financial concerns, employee performance, and patient wellness.

Whether at hospitals, nursing homes, or physician offices, health services managers rely on their take-charge abilities to keep their facilities running effectively.

Shelia Richmeier, author of the book "The New Healthcare Supervisor's Guide," says health services managers must have excellent interpersonal skills in order to take charge of situations on the job.

"I think there are people who are natural leaders and they relate to people very well," Richmeier is quoted as saying on the Medical Group Management Association's website. "This is a big part of being a supervisor."

Education: Getting a bachelor's degree in health services administration is one way to help start your career, particularly at smaller health care facilities. For advancement to mid-level or higher positions, you most likely will need a master's degree, says the Department of Labor.

Average annual salary: $93,670*

Start Your Health Care Administration Education. Find Schools Now.

Take Charge Career #6 - Advertising Sales Agent

Advertising sales agents are responsible for getting businesses to buy ad space from newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations, billboard companies, and websites.

Sales agents often make cold calls on the phone or approach businesses in person to get potential clients interested in advertising their goods and services. Getting rejected is a part of the process, but a take-charge approach can help sales agents bring in ad revenue, especially during tough economic times, Haberfeld says.

"An advertising sales agent has to drive toward getting clients to commit to dollars in a constricted economic climate," Haberfeld says. "Everybody is pulling back advertising dollars, so a sales agent has to be an incredible relationship person."

Education: If you have a penchant for selling, careers in this field often require a high school diploma and on-the-job preparation. But a bachelor's degree in a business-related field can help qualify you for sales positions that require meeting clients in person, according to the Department of Labor.

Average annual salary: $55,020*

Start Your Business Education. Find Schools Now.

*All salary information is from the U.S. Department of Labor Salary Statistics (May 2010). Salary is often dependent on a number of factors, including experience, education, place of employment, and more.

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