Best Careers for Work-Life Balance

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See how the right education could help you get into one of these flexible careers.

By University.com Staff

Think work-life balance doesn't exist? Think again.

"Many companies are integrating flexibility into their business strategies," says Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.com. "Both job seekers and employers are looking out of the box and embracing non-traditional opportunities."

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The first step to finding a career that lets you have it all is to figure out what "work-life balance" means to you.

"Some people like to work from home," says Rathin Sinha, President of America's Job Exchange. "Some people like the flexibility to work at night. Some people just want to 'check out' once they're done with work."

Check out the life-balancing benefits that these seven careers have to offer.

Career #1 - Medical Assistant

Medical assistants enjoy set hours, so if you need a career with a predictable schedule, this may be the right career for you. Medical assistants help with administrative and clinical tasks in doctor's offices, including scheduling appointments and recording vital signs. They often work part-time, evenings, or on weekends.

The education: A one-year certificate in medical assisting could prepare you for this position. Another option: earn an associate's degree in medical assisting in two years.

The average earnings: The average annual income of medical assistants is $29,450. The highest 10 percent can average at more than $33,760.*

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Career #2 - Sales Representative

If you want a career that offers real flexibility and great earning potential (and who doesn't!), sales may be right for you. As a sales representative, you may be able to do a lot of your work over the phone and via email. Your hours may be irregular, but you should have the freedom to make your own schedule.

The education: To beef up your business and communication skills, consider taking courses in marketing or communications. You can earn your associate's degree in as little as two years.

The average earnings: Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives have an average annual income of $61,400 including commissions. The top 10 percent average at more than $106,130 a year.

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Career #3 - Teacher

As a work-life balance career, teaching provides a unique kind of flexibility. Teachers work hard during the school year, often planning lessons or grading papers at home. The flip side is that many teachers are free to take the summers off to pursue personal projects or spend time with family.

The education: You will need a bachelor's degree, a teaching certificate, and a license to teach. If you want to teach in a high school, you should major in the subject you plan to teach.

The average earnings: Kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school teachers have an average income range of $50,380-$55,150. The top 10 percent have an average annual income range of $75,210-$82,000.

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Career #4 - Technical Writer

If you're good with words and want a flexible career, consider becoming a technical writer. As a technical writer, it would be your responsibility to put technical jargon into easy to understand language. As long as you meet deadlines and deliver quality work, your week is almost entirely your own to schedule.

The education Earn your bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, or English. Some technical writing positions may require knowledge in a specialized field like engineering or medicine. You might also want to consider studying web design or computer graphics.

The average earnings: The average annual income for technical writers is $65,610. The highest 10 percent can average at more than $100,000 year.

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Career #5 - Administrative Assistant

If you're looking for a full-time career that won't require a lot of overtime, this may be the career for you. As an administrative assistant, you would likely work in a comfortable office setting, handling tasks like scheduling meetings, conducting research, and handling travel arrangements.

The education: One way to prepare for this work-life balance career is to earn a one-year certificate in office administration. Another option is to complete an associate's degree in office administration, which generally takes about two years.

The average earnings: Administrative assistants have an average annual income of $31,060. The top 10 percent average at more than $45,170 a year.

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Career #6 - Web Designer

Web design is a creative profession that can give you unparalleled freedom to determine your own schedule. Execute well and deliver your projects on deadline, and scheduling the actual work is up to you.

The education An associate's degree in graphic design should prepare you to work as an assistant to a designer. If you want to start as an entry-level designer, look into bachelor's degree programs in graphic design with an emphasis on web design.

The average earnings: The average annual income for graphic designers is $47,820. The highest 10 percent can earn more than $76,450.

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Career #7 - Computer Programmer

Computer programmers can work from almost anywhere and get paid handsomely for updating, modifying, and expanding existing computer programs. If you are detail-oriented and able to meet deadlines, this career might be the solution to help you balance work with the rest of your life.

The education: Many programming positions require a bachelor's degree, but a two-year degree or certificate may be adequate for some positions. Consider earning your degree in computer science, mathematics, or information systems.

The average earnings: Computer programmers have an average annual income of $74,690. The highest 10 percent can earn more than $113,380.

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*All salary information is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009.

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