Five Career Choices That Could Hurt You

Source: Yahoo
Worst Careers To Pursue

You may want to think twice if you're considering one of these less than stellar careers.

By Danielle Blundell
You're on a mission to make a big career change, and that's a good thing. But before you take a leap, you need to have a better idea of where you might land, and how that job is going to set you up for the future.
"The biggest mistake people make is they don't investigate the position they want," says Abby Kohut, career and HR expert and founder of AbsolutelyAbby.com. "In some cases, they go to school and waste years of their lives training for something they eventually try and don't like. In others, people don't take the time to understand what a field will offer them in terms of salary and growth potential, both personally and in terms of the industry."
So to help you get started in your research, here are five career choices that could really hurt you - and five better options to consider instead.

Bad Career Choice #1: Desktop Publisher

Median Annual Pay*: $37,040
Bottom 10 Percent: $19,740
Top 10 Percent: $60,470
Desktop publishers use software to make page layouts for print or Web publications, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And while this may sound right up your alley, don't get too excited just yet.
Why It's a Bad Choice: The industry has a little too narrow of a focus, and the salary and job opportunities reflect that. "Desktop publishers focus on making print products - pamphlets, brochures, and that kind of thing," says Kohut. "So it's kind of an older term and profession that offers little growth because everything is going digital."

A Better Alternative: Graphic Designer

Median Annual Pay*: $44,150
Bottom 10 Percent: $26,250
Top 10 Percent: $77,490
A career in graphic design could be just as satisfying. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, graphic designers often create images and design themes for companies' websites, logos, and advertisements. Not only that, but the pay isn't bad either.
Why It's a Good Choice:  For Kohut, since there are better job prospects designing for companies on the Web vs. print, graphic design is a smarter choice. "Graphic design is a hipper field where you can go into Web design and make a lot of money," she says. Plus, she says the Web is the direction business is going.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.
Education Requirements: The U.S. Department of Labor says a bachelor's degree in graphic design is usually required to pursue a job as a graphic designer. "However, those with a bachelor's degree in another field may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring qualifications," it says.

Bad Career Choice #2: Bank Teller

Median Annual Pay*: $24,940
Bottom 10 Percent: $19,630
Top 10 Percent: $34,320
Show me the money would be your mantra if you chose to pursue a career as a bank teller. You'd be  dealing with deposits, cashing checks, and counting money, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Unfortunately for tellers, handling money doesn't mean you're making a lot of it.
Why It's a Bad Choice: "A job as a bank teller is really an entry-level position that doesn't require a degree and therefore has a lower salary," says Kohut. She also points out that there is a lack of advancement opportunities for bank tellers. "You could become a manager, but district management positions are far and few in a given market."

A Better Alternative: Accountant

Median Annual Pay*: $63,550
Bottom 10 Percent: $39,930
Top 10 Percent: $111,510
If you've got a mind for math, better to use it for accounting rather than a job as a bank teller. Instead of counting money, accountants could organize a company's financial records and make sure they're in accordance with various laws and regulations, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It's a Good Choice: "Accountants have huge growth potential," says Kohut. "You could go from accountant to financial manager to CFO one day. Of course, that may require a master's and a CPA. But the take home is accounting offers higher salaries from the start and more opportunities for personal growth."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
Education Requirements: A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is required for most accountant positions, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Certifications are a way to improve job prospects, notes the Department of Labor. These include certification to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which requires meeting state requirements and passing a national exam.

Bad Career Choice #3: Reporter

Median Annual Pay*: $35,870
Bottom 10 Percent: $20,770
Top 10 Percent: $78,530
Remember Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the hotshot reporters that broke the Watergate scandal in "All The President's Men"? Unfortunately, most days as a reporter aren't quite as exciting as they may have seemed in this movie.
Why It's a Bad Choice: "There's this real sense among reporters that their field is shrinking and condensing," says Kohut, due to the proliferation of free news sources online. "The reality is that as time goes on, reporters' opportunities will become more and more limited."

A Better Alternative: Public Relations Specialist

Median Annual Pay*: $54,170
Bottom 10 Percent: $30,760
Top 10 Percent: $101,030
You might want to focus on putting a company in the public spotlight instead of a news story. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, public relations specialists might manage a companies' public image by preparing media releases, organizing public relations programs, and setting up fundraisers.
Why It's a Good Choice: "Public relations specialists are still very much in demand, and it's only going to increase as new entrepreneurs start companies and need PR to promote them," says Kohut. "The great thing about this career is the growth it offers - work your way up, secure enough clients, and you can start your own PR firm and be your own boss one day."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Program.
Education Requirements: Typically public relations specialists need a bachelor's degree, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers prefer candidates with a degree in public relations, communications, journalism, business, or English.

Bad Career Choice #4: Computer Repairer

Median Annual Pay*: $36,620
Bottom 10 Percent: $22,490
Top 10 Percent: $57,960
Computer repair might involve replacing or fixing defective computer parts, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But if you like tinkering with technology, this probably isn't a good a career choice. Even if you're a master fixer, your paycheck could look pretty small.
Why It's a Bad Choice: "If all you can do is fix computers, you're going to hit a ceiling at some point and be unable to keep earning more money," Kohut says. Your only recourse as a computer repairer would be to try to get into a CIO (Chief Information Officer) job, says Kohut, which could be difficult if you're not well-versed in software and computer languages.

A Better Alternative: Computer Programmer

Median Annual Pay*: $74,280
Bottom 10 Percent: $42,850
Top 10 Percent: $117,890
Rather than tinkering around on a computer board, a job as a computer programmer could pay double what a computer repairer would see. Computer programmers might be responsible for translating human commands or tasks into language a computer can process, like C++, says the Department of Labor.
Why It's a Good Choice: "Computer programming is exploding," says Kohut. "There are new languages being created every day. Master one of those as a programmer, and the salary will be good because it's a true specialty." Plus, there's more opportunity for growth. For example, you could gain extra skills in networking, pursue a career as a network specialist, and then over time work your way up to VP of IT, Kohut says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.
Education Requirements: Most computer programmers have a bachelor's degree, although some employers hire candidates with an associate's degree, the Department says. A degree in computer science or a related field is what most programmers pursue, the Department says.

Bad Career Choice #5: Information Clerk

Median Annual Pay*: $25,990
Bottom 10 Percent: $18,120
Top 10 Percent: $37,770
Organized to a fault might be a good way to describe you. So you might think a career as an information clerk would be a good fit, since, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, this job could involve keeping, maintaining, and locating detailed records for companies and other routine admin tasks. Unfortunately though, this career is an unwise pick in today's job market, says Kohut.
Why It's a Bad Choice: "Honestly, a job as an information clerk is a low-level position," says Kohut. "It's essentially a customer service position that really offers no growth and doesn't require a degree."

A Better Alternative: Medical Records and Health Information Technician

Median Annual Pay*: $34,160
Bottom 10 Percent: $22,250
Top 10 Percent: $56,200
Better to marry your natural propensity for data with the booming health care field and pursue a career as a health information technician, Kohut says. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, medical records and health information technicians might assemble and manage patient information at hospitals, doctors' offices, and other medical facilities.
Why It's a Good Choice: Kohut says this field is a much better choice than information clerk because it involves specializing. "There's a lot of responsibility in coding, and high risk could mean higher pay."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Information Technology Program.
Education Requirements: If a career as a medical records and health information technician sounds like a better fit, you'll most likely need some sort of a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree, says the Department of Labor. Many employers might also require you to get your professional certification.

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