Five Great Career Switches That Could Boost Your Pay

Career Switches To Boost Pay

These five logical career switches could help you capitalize on your prior skills to earn better pay.

By Diana Bocco
You may think that clawing your way up the corporate ladder is the only way to advance to a better-paying, higher-level position. But you'd be wrong. In some cases, pursuing your ideal career may not require a climb, but a leap. And while altering your career path may not mean throwing away your prior skills and experience, it could mean going back to school. The good news is, you wouldn't be the first person to make this kind of career transition.
Many students change paths because they want to advance in their careers by pursuing leadership and management positions, says Michelle Stiles, Interim Dean at UCLA Extension. Those students "want to build on a set of skills that they have already developed and use the core knowledge they have gained as they have worked in their particular job sector," Stiles explains.
Want to know which new, higher-paying careers you could consider pursuing? Keep reading for five smart career switches that make a whole lot of sense.

Career Switch #1: Registered Nurse to Medical and Health Services Manager

Nursing careers are in great demand and often offer good salary and room for growth, says Samuel Rindell, professor of health care management at New England College of Business and Finance.
However, nurses may come to the midpoint of their career and find they have limited promotional opportunities available, says Rindell. "And they may wonder how they can still add new and diverse experiences to their resume without having to leave the health care field," Rindell says. The career of medical and health services manager may provide a way.
Why The Switch Makes Sense: Medical and health services management is a valuable opportunity for nurses looking for career advancement and a higher paycheck, according to Rindell.
Nurses who go on to get a degree in health care administration can remain heavily immersed in the health care industry but have the chance to work in new areas of for-profit and nonprofit health care, including health care delivery, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices, health care services, insurance, and investment firms, Rindell explains.
How the Salaries Compare*:
  • Registered Nurse: $65,470 vs. Medical and Health Services Manager: $88,580
Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.
Education Requirements: "Prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration," according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Master's degrees in health services, business administration, public health, public administration, and long-term care administration are common, too.

Career Switch #2: From Bookkeeper to Accountant

Bookkeepers are in charge of recording financial records using spreadsheets and software, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But professional growth may be limited in this job, and switching to accounting may prove more lucrative in the end.
Why The Switch Makes Sense: Bookkeepers might only be focusing on the numbers, whereas accountants "must be able to tell the story behind the data, often to audiences outside of finance," says DeLynn Senna, CPA and executive director at Robert Half Finance & Accounting.
Moving to accounting could also be wise because in recent years, accounting and finance professionals have taken on more prominent roles within business and been relied on to provide greater strategic insights, says Senna. So if that's something that sounds appealing to you and you don't mind going back to school, the career switch might be worth it, she says. And the salary bump isn't bad either...
How the Salaries Compare*:
  • Bookkeeper: $35,170 vs. Accountant: $63,550
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
Education Requirements: Most accountants need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, according to the Department. However, some employers might prefer those with a master's degree in accounting or business administration with a specialization in accounting.

Career Switch #3: From Teacher to School Principal

Teaching might be one of the noblest careers out there, but the chances for advancement are pretty small. If you have the desire to lead or have a direct impact on education policies and curriculum, management might be a better fit than teaching, according to Eloise Lopez Metcalfe, interim department director for UCLA Extension's education department.
Why The Switch Makes Sense: If you're looking for growth opportunity, a career as a school principal might be the next logical step, says Lopez. As the head of the school "you will not only enjoy more responsibility and a better salary, but also the status and prestige that comes with a school management position," she adds.
How the Salaries Compare*:
  • Secondary School Teacher: $55,050 vs. School Principal: $87,760
Next step: Click to Find the Right Education Leadership Program.
Education Requirements: Most school principals have experience as teachers and are required to have a master's degree in education administration or leadership, according to the Department.

Career Switch #4: From Desktop Publisher to Graphic Designer

Desktop publishers usually gather graphics, text, and other existing materials in order to create page layouts of books, brochures, and other print or online items, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But since they don't create the art that goes in the finished product, the career is a bit limited.
Why The Switch Makes Sense: Desktop publishers often work behind the scenes (creating document layouts), while graphic designers get a chance to be more creative and come up with the actual designs, logos, and details that go on those documents, says Robin Elledge, chief administrative officer for Creative Circle, LLC, a staffing agency that represents creative professionals. For people with a desire to work on the creative side of publishing, graphic design can be an excellent career, she says.
And while potential earnings might only be slightly more promising for graphic designers, Elledge says demand is growing rapidly. Whether companies need business cards, a logo, brochure, website, packaging, or an entire branding campaign, they'll eventually interact with a graphic designer to get it done. Additionally, graphic designers who go back to school and view education as a continual endeavor have the upper hand, Elledge says, especially if they already have experience as desktop publishers and a portfolio of work to back them up.
How the Salaries Compare*:
  • Desktop Publisher: $37,040 vs. Graphic Designer: $44,150
Next step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.
Education Requirements: For graphic designer positions, a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field is usually required, the Department says. Candidates with a bachelor's degree in another subject may pursue "technical training" to meet hiring qualifications. Having a professional portfolio is also important, notes the Department.

Career Switch #5: From Product Promoter to Marketing Manager

While product promoters help create buzz for products, there isn't much buzz about the job itself.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, their daily tasks might include distributing samples, designing exhibits, and offering brochures.
Marketing managers, on the other hand, don't just promote one single product. According to the Department of Labor, they might gather information to plan entire advertising campaigns for new products and services.
Why The Switch Makes Sense: Those passionate about marketing and branding will find many better-paying opportunities in the field of marketing management, says Jamie Parks, director of marketing at Atrium Staffing, a boutique staffing agency that services small, mid-size, and Fortune 500 companies.
Parks says marketing managers are in charge of planning and designing promotional campaigns. And as consumers are continually exposed to new brands and to branding and advertising through digital media, the demand for those services can only get higher, she adds. Of course, with higher demand comes a higher paycheck, Parks explains.
How the Salaries Compare*:
  • Product Promoter: $23,860 vs. Marketing Manager: $119,480
Next step: Click to Find the Right Marketing Program.
Education Requirements: According to the Department, most marketing managers have a bachelor's degree, and while a specific field is not specified, the Department does note that courses in management, business law, accounting, finance, economics, mathematics, and statistics could be advantageous.

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