Six low-paying jobs to steer clear of

Source: Yahoo

Six low-paying jobs to steer clear of

Want a career that rewards you for your hard work? Cross a few of these low-earning careers off your list, and try these related, higher-paying alternatives instead.

By Danielle Blundell
Everybody has to make a living, right? You've got to put food on the table, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head. Well, depending on the career you choose to pursue, doing all of those things could be potentially that much easier - or harder. You could set your sights on a job that doesn't require much preparation or skill and squeak by, or aim a little higher and increase your take-home pay - and ultimately, your livelihood.
While what you want out of a career varies from person to person, Michelle Riklan, owner of resume writing and career services company, Riklan Resources, urges individuals to evaluate their own circumstances, and what is important to them in a career.
If one of those must-haves for you is a high salary, don't sell yourself short. Instead of pursuing one of these five low-paying careers, consider opting for the higher-paying alternative instead.

Low-Paying Career #1 Advertising Sales Agent

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According to Riklan, advertising sales agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals. Although "strong interpersonal skills are necessary for prospecting, client relations, conducting sales presentations, and account management," Riklan notes that a degree is not necessarily required, and the take-home pay reflects that.

The Better Choice Sales Engineer

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Taking your sales skills to the next level could pay off if you pursued a career as a sales engineer. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, sales engineers sell scientific and technological products or services to businesses, and must be highly-knowledgeable about them to do so.
Why the Pay is Higher: For Riklan, successful sales engineers have to "acquire extensive knowledge of scientific and technological products and services." And those are skills that pay - nearly double that of an advertising sales agent, says Riklan.
She says that for an individual who is working as an advertising sales agent, has strong interpersonal skills, and has completed (or is completing) an undergraduate degree, a transition to a sales engineer position is logical. "The initial learning curve would be services and products," says Riklan.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.
Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, these professionals typically need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field. Some workers with a degree in business or science may also be called sales engineers, the Department says.

Low-Paying Career #2 Bookkeeping Clerk

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For Nicholas Dillon, a Wisconsin-based career and life coach, a job as a bookkeeper might expose you to basic accounting principles. But, without the extra responsibility of making monetary recommendations to supervisors, and the necessary specialty knowledge of taxes, pay will never be as competitive as you might like.

The Better Choice Accountant

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A mind for math is still a great prerequisite for working as an accountant, as looking at a company's expenses and profits could still be a big portion of your job. But, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, accountants can get even more involved in the financial security of a company by suggesting cost-cutting measures to increase the bottom line, and handling taxes and audits to make sure all dollars are accounted for properly.
Why the Pay is Higher: For Dillon, skilling up and getting the additional education required to pursue an accounting job brings more employment opportunities and a "huge growth in income" over something like bookkeeping. Why? Accountants have a "whole new level of responsibility, growth, and development," Dillon says.
Riklan seconds that opinion, as working as an accountant has a direct bearing on profit in a way that just recording and calculating numbers as a bookkeeper does not. "In the accountant position, the accountability is higher, the salary is double, and a degree is required," she says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, most accountants are required to have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. The Department says that some employers might prefer to hire those with a master's degree in accounting, or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

Low-Paying Career #3 Computer Support Specialist

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As Riklan points out, computer support specialists often troubleshoot more simplistic issues, meaning their level of expertise - and pay - isn't as high as what programmers, engineers, and developers command. She notes, however, that as support specialists "become more seasoned, they may be challenged with more complex problems to solve," and make the transition into any of those more specialized career paths with additional schooling or a certificate, if either is necessary.

The Better Choice Computer Programmer

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Instead of solving colleagues' computer problems, why not use your tech savvy to make those computer programs instead? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, computer programmers are responsible for things like writing code and examining it to make sure there are no errors in the computer programs they're writing.
Why the Higher Pay: According to Dillon, a career as a programmer, as compared to something like a computer support specialist, "definitely pays more while at the same time challenging you more in the technical side of the industry."
Additionally, a career as a programmer, he says, prepares individuals to move further into the IT field, from managing projects to supervising support specialists - both things that could lead to even higher salaries down the road.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.
Education Options: Although some employers may hire computer programmers with an associate's degree, the Department of Labor says most of these professionals have a bachelor's degree. Most programmers major in computer science or in a related field, it notes.

Low-Paying Career #4 Medical Assistant

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For Riklan, medical assistants' pay tends to be on the lower side because while it is a health care job in a clinical environment, the bulk of the work is administrative and low-skill.

The Better Choice Dental Hygienist

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If you're game to assist doctors and nurses with their ailing patients, then why not consider working alongside dentists to help keep patients' teeth healthy and clean? That's pretty much what being a dental hygienist is all about, as according to the U.S. Department of Labor, these professionals often educate patients on how to practice good oral care, and remove tartar from teeth to keep them sparkling.
Why the Pay is Higher: Looking for a potential $40K per year increase in salary? Well, if you're a medical assistant or have a similar entry-level, health care industry job, Riklan says that could be a reality for you if you consider pursuing a career as a dental hygienist. There's much more of a clinical aspect to your work - seeing patients and performing services on them - and that's what Riklan and Dillon see leading to higher pay.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Dental Assisting Program.
Education Options: In addition to being licensed, dental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene, says the Department of Labor. According to the Department, requirements for licensure vary by state.

Low Paying Career #5 Mental Health Counselor

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What's missing in the role of mental health counselors is the level of authority and education that other mental health professionals, like psychologists, have, says Riklan. As a result, mental health counselors have relatively lower salaries.

The Better Choice Psychologist

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Turns out that a career as a psychologist still involves helping people work through their issues, but the take-home pay is much more competitive than the salary for a mental health counselor. Psychologists study mental processes and human behavior by studying how they relate to one another and the environment, the U.S. Department of Labor says.
Why the Pay is Higher: When it comes to the world of mental health, Dillon says psychologists are at the top of the totem pole, and the salaries match the level of expertise required. A psychologist position obviously will pay more, as it is at the PhD level and also one of the highest levels of mental health jobs, Dillon says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.
Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, "psychologists need a master's, specialist, or doctoral degree in psychology." Independently practicing psychologists are also required to have a license.

Five in-demand jobs to pursue with an associate's

Jobs needing an associate's

There are lots of hot, high-growth jobs out there - and you can prepare to pursue them in as little as two years with an associate's degree.

By Jennifer Berry
Do you feel like your professional life is not getting the attention it needs, but you don't want to spend years in school to earn a four-year degree and change paths? Believe it or not, you can prepare to pursue an in-demand - possibly even a high-growth - career in as little as two years.
How? There are plenty of great careers out there that require only an associate's degree. If you're intrigued, read on to learn about five growing careers and the associate's degrees you can earn to pursue each of them.

In-Demand Career #1 - Dental Hygienist

Job Growth Rate from 2010 to 2020*: 38%
The demand for dental hygienists is skyrocketing. And if you want to be a part of it, then you might want to prepare for a career as a dental hygienist by earning your associate's degree in as little as two years.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, some of your daily tasks as a dental hygienist might include removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth, applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth, and teaching patients how to brush and floss correctly.
Little Schooling, Lots of Potential: The Department of Labor states that research linking oral health and general health will increase demand for preventative dental services - meaning more jobs for dental hygienists.
According to Ron Caruthers, president of, a college planning company for high school and college students, and author of "What Your Guidance Counselor Isn't Telling You," dental hygiene programs could be completed in as little as two years because classes center on specific skills you'll need for the career, without spending time on extraneous topics you'd study for a bachelor's degree. "This is a specific program, focused on the requirements of the job," he says.
Education Requirements: If you're ready to join the front lines in the fight against gum disease, you'll typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene to get started, the Department says. You'll also be required to have a license.

In-Demand Career #2 - Computer Programmer

Job Growth Rate from 2010 to 2020: 12%
As businesses increasingly depend on computers for everything from connectivity to creating a web presence, computer programmers are going to have a place at the table. And with the right experience, you could prepare to pursue this career in as little as two years.
Wondering if this is the right field for you? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as a computer programmer you might write code to create software programs, update and expand existing programs, or debug programs by testing and fixing errors.
Little Schooling, Lots of Potential: "As more and more businesses move toward web and mobile apps, we'll need more computer programmers," says Caruthers. "Employers aren't looking for four-year degrees," Caruthers adds, noting that the technical skills and know-how to get the job done are more important than a specific degree.
"You can prepare for this career with little schooling, because you're skipping all the general education classes and focusing on the classes you'll need for your career," he says.
Education Requirements: According to the Department of Labor, while most computer programmers do have a bachelor's degree, some employers will hire workers with an associate's degree. Most computer programmers earn their degree in computer science or a related subject.

In-Demand Career #3 - Paralegal

Job Growth Rate from 2010 to 2020: 18%
The legal system is at the heart of America - but you don't need to go to law school to play a key role in it. Prepare to pursue a growing career as a paralegal by earning your associate's degree in paralegal studies.
Two years is all it could take to prepare for a career where you would be fully immersed in legal cases. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as a paralegal you might investigate the facts of a case, draft contracts or other legal documents, get affidavits to be used as evidence in court, and even help lawyers during trials.
Little Schooling, Lots of Potential: "As the result of firm downsize, we saw a shift in the demands of paralegals to take over some tasks which had formally been parsed out to attorneys," says Lindsey Wagner, a labor and employment law attorney at Cathleen Scott & Associates.
So what kinds of things do paralegals learn in paralegal studies programs that could help them prepare for this field?
"Most paralegal courses, be they certificate or associate's degree programs, skip the general education portion and focus on legal education and legal requirements," says Caruthers.
In other words, you could earn your associate's in as little as two years, because these programs focus on the specific knowledge you'll need to pursue this career, without spending time on things like art history or calculus.
Education Requirements: Ready to join the ranks of paralegals at the heart of our legal system? You might consider pursuing an associate's degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree in another field with a certificate in paralegal studies, as according to the Department of Labor, most paralegals take one of these educational paths.

In-Demand Career #4 - Construction Manager

Job Growth Rate from 2010 to 2020: 17%
As we pull out of the recent housing crisis, construction is picking up again. And, as the U.S. Department of Labor notes, when building activity increases, more jobs may open up for construction managers. If you've got experience in construction, consider preparing to pursue this career in as little as two years by earning an associate's degree in construction management.
According to the Department of Labor, you might prepare and negotiate cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables; supervise construction personnel and activities onsite; and collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction and building specialists.
Little Schooling, Lots of Potential: "Construction projects seem to be picking up again, so that's what's pushing the current trend of growth in this career," says Caruthers.
Caruthers explains that an associate's degree can give someone who already has a good background in construction the skills they'll need to move into a managerial position in the field.
"This degree preps them for things like OSHA requirements, hiring and firing, etc.," he explains. "Things they wouldn't have learned as a construction apprentice."
Education Requirements: The Department agrees that employers increasingly prefer candidates with both work experience and a bachelor's degree in construction management, construction science, engineering, or architecture. However, an associate's degree combined with work experience may be sufficient for some positions, the Department adds.

Degree #5 - Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Job Growth Rate from 2010 to 2020: 19%
One of the newer medical careers to experience excellent growth is nuclear medicine technologist. And you can prepare to pursue this high-growth career with an associate's degree in as little as two years.
Wondering what nuclear medicine technologists do on a day-to-day basis? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as a nuclear medicine technologist, you might use scanners to produce images of numerous areas of a patient's body, prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients before their scans, and monitor patients to check for unusual reactions to drugs.
Little Schooling, Lots of Potential: "More and more of the medical advances rely on things like CAT scans and MRIs," says Caruthers. Because of this, he says, the demand for nuclear medicine technologists is extremely hot right now - so it's no wonder people are surging into nuclear medicine technology programs.
"An associate's degree gets you trained for this good-paying job in around two years," Caruthers says, noting that the program covers all the technical know-how for the profession without wasting time on "general ed" classes that might not have anything to do with the career. "You'll learn all the technical stuff, from basic bio and chem classes to how to administer doses."
Education Requirements: If this sounds like the right path for you, you'll typically need an associate's degree in nuclear medicine technology to get started, according to the Department of Labor. Technologists must also be licensed in some states, the Department adds, so check your state's regulations.

Six foolish majors to avoid

Avoid These Majors

When choosing your major, make sure you pick one that will help, not hinder, your job search after graduation.

By Diana Bocco
While earning a college degree can be a great start in preparing you to pursue a career, the major you choose to study could heavily determine your employment prospects upon graduation.
The popularity and "employability" of a degree changes over time, says Stephanie Kinkaid, program coordinator for the Wackerle Career and Leadership Center at Monmouth College. "With the economy still lagging, students must be prudent when choosing a major," she adds. Degrees that once were popular now have high degrees of unemployment and may no longer be a smart choice, Kinkaid explains.
So before you shell out the cash to go back to school, check out the degrees that you may want to think twice about before pursuing.

Degree to Avoid #1: Information Systems

According to the Georgetown University study, "Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings 2013," the unemployment rate for recent information systems graduates is 14.7 percent. That's almost double the unemployment rate for recent computer science graduates (8.7 percent).
Management information systems students study the use of information systems in businesses and other organizations, according to the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT.
Why the higher unemployment rate for information systems? Many employers feel that a major in information systems places too little emphasis on programming, which is essential in today's world, says Kinkaid.

Alternative Degree Option: Computer Science

What makes this degree a better option? Kinkaid says computer science degrees have a richer curriculum than information systems programs. "Employers want candidates with a strong knowledge of databases, business coding, and management, which computer science delivers," Kinkaid explains. These marketable skills may contribute to the 8.7 percent unemployment rate of recent computer science graduates, which is much lower than the rate for graduates with an information systems degree (14.7 percent).
Plus, "as employers search for candidates who can wear many hats, computer science majors have won out over information systems in both opportunities and salary levels," says Kinkaid.
Finally, computer science graduates could easily move into an advanced degree in engineering, so many candidates find this degree more flexible for further education, she adds.
Potential Careers:

Degree to Avoid #2: Psychology

Psychology grads are not fairing very well in the job market, according to the Georgetown University "Hard Times" study. In fact, the unemployment rate for recent psychology graduates is 9.2 percent.
And that's despite the wide reach of the degree, which, according to the College Board, examines the way humans feel, think, act, and learn.
One reason graduates with a bachelor's degree in psychology are not doing well in the job market is that many jobs in the field require more than just an undergraduate degree, according to Kinkaid.
"A minimum of a master's degree in psychology is often required to work in the clinical psychology field, so unless you plan to pursue an advanced degree, a bachelor's degree in the field may not be enough to find employment," Kinkaid adds.

Alternative Degree Option: Social Work

Students who want a similar degree but with better employment opportunities should look into a degree in social work, says Kinkaid. While the Georgetown "Hard Times" study reports that recent graduates in social work have an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, which is only slightly lower than that of recent psychology graduates, social work degrees could lead to more possibilities after graduation. Why? Because while a master's in psychology is often required to find a job, a bachelor's degree in social work is usually enough for a recent graduate to obtain an entry-level position working in the social science field, says Kinkaid.
Plus, a social work degree offers the holder a much wider range of opportunities for employment, says Tracy Whitaker, the director of the Center for Workforce Studies and Social Work Practice at the National Association of Social Workers. For example, social workers could be employed in a variety of settings, including health facilities, social service agencies, schools, and even the criminal justice system, and private practice, says Whitaker.
They can also work "across a spectrum of service delivery, from providing direct services to individuals, groups, and families, to leading agencies, developing policies, or working in advocacy," Whitaker adds. Because of this, a social work degree ends up being much more versatile than a psychology degree, which might not allow you to move as easily across settings and into different types of service delivery as your career progresses, Whitaker explains.
Potential Career:

Degree to Avoid #3: Mass Media

The Georgetown University "Hard Times" study says recent mass media graduates have an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent. According to the College Board, mass communications students explore different forms of mass media - TV, newspapers, the Internet, and film - and how they affect our culture.
While that might sound appealing, the truth is that traditional media is disappearing, says Greenberg, and that has affected the usefulness of degrees like mass media. "We're now operating on a 24/7 news cycle and breaking news is generally found online first," Greenberg explains.
In other words, media is changing so quickly that by the time someone graduates with a degree in this field, their education might actually be outdated, Greenberg explains.

Alternative Degree Option: Hospitality Management

Hospitality management, which also involves communications but at the customer relations level, is a much better option in today's marketplace, says Greenberg. Why? Well, for starters, Greenberg says there are not as many players in this market as with media, so there could be more stability in terms of employment. And with the Georgetown "Hard Times" study reporting a 6.0 percent unemployment rate for recent hospitality management graduates, this major could lead to more job security.
Plus, "unlike media, there's not really a technological substitute for the hospitality industry, so this industry will likely not change either, and will continue to see growth," Greenberg adds. Moreover, Greenberg points out that hospitality covers hotels, restaurants, resorts, casinos, and even golf courses, so even if an entire sector is down due to financial struggles, someone could potentially jump into another sector.
Potential Careers:

Degree to Avoid #4: Biology

Interested in all the forms of life on our planet from plants to animals? That's what a biology degree is all about, according to the College Board. Unfortunately, that interest hasn't translated well into the job market, as the unemployment rate for recent biology degree graduates is 7.8 percent, according to the Georgetown University "Hard Times" study.
Why the high unemployment numbers? According to Greenberg, the problem with a biology degree is that it might just be too general to be useful. "So it's not so much that the actual demand for a biology degree has decreased, but people who have much more specific skill sets are much likelier to be hired first," says Greenberg.
One exception: if you're planning on continuing on to medical school, a biology degree makes sense, says Greenberg. "However, it may not be the best choice if there are no post-undergraduate education plans, as it is too broad to continue to be marketable," adds Greenberg.

Alternative Degree Option: Nursing

Nursing is an example of a specific degree that involves the study of biology, which is why the demand is higher, says Nancy Brook, a registered nurse and educator at Stanford Hospital and Clinics in California. "Nursing remains a profession that is recession-proof, which makes it very desirable, especially with an ever-changing economy," says Brook.
And the numbers reflect this sentiment - the Georgetown "Hard Times" study reports a low unemployment rate of 4.8 percent for recent nursing graduates.
But what makes the degree so valuable? Brook says the career opportunities for a graduate registered nurse are almost limitless, from working in the emergency room to the maternity ward. And that's without taking into account the opportunities in schools, health departments, summer camps, nursing facilities, and rehab centers, Brooke says.
Plus, Brooke says, "The salaries for nurses have continued to climb as well, making nursing a career in demand for the 21st century for both women and men."

Five Degrees to Help Shy People Shine

Degrees to Quit Shyness

If you have a personality type that's a bit on the timid side, consider these degree programs that could help you break out of your shell.

By Tony Moton
With its crowded classrooms and endless class participation, college might give a shy person reason for concern. But more importantly, shyness might also affect how someone decides which degree to undertake.
"A lot of times, they will choose degrees where they don't have too much interpersonal communication, interaction, or speaking," says University of Nevada-Las Vegas Career Counselor Lauren Johnson. For example, "[degrees in the] sciences are ones where they might not have to deal with people as much."
If shy people want to break out of their shells, however, they should probably pick degree programs that will counteract their bashfulness. But how will they know which ones to pick if they're too shy to ask?
Not to worry. Here are five degree programs that could help shy people shed their timid ways - no questions asked.

Degree #1: Communications

Are you a shy person who craves the right opportunity to let your voice be heard? If so, earning a bachelor's degree in communications might help you express what's on your mind.
Goodbye to Shy: Studying a bachelor's degree in communications "might be one of the best degrees for shy people because you have to talk," says Johnson.
In a communications program, shy people might be required to frequently engage in group-based projects, says Johnson. If they warm-up to group settings, shy people could advance to giving speeches and oral reports as part of class exercises, which ideally would help them come out of their shells.
Click to Find the Right Communications Program Now.
More About the Degree: A bachelor's program in communications might expose students to the various ways people share information with each other - including through television and the Internet - according to the College Board, the educational organization that conducts the SAT exam. Courses might cover the dynamics of group communication, writing, and research methods.
Potential Careers and Median Annual Salaries:*
Reporter and correspondent: $34,870
Editor: $52,380
Technical writer: $64,610

Degree #2: Business Administration

What can a shy person with corporate aspirations do to offset a timid nature? How about earning a bachelor's degree in business administration?
Goodbye to Shy: You've probably heard there's no "I" in "team," but when studying business administration, there's also no "shy" in "team." Johnson notes that shy students in a business administration program can expect to participate in team-oriented projects that replicate real-world business practices.
For shy types looking to get better at interpersonal relationships, studying business administration at the bachelor's level could help them understand how to interact with others productively, Johnson adds. "You'll learn how to manage personalities and find out what kind of personalities you get along with," he says.
Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program Now.
More About the Degree: In a business administration and management program, students could learn how to organize and direct a company's activities while honing leadership skills, according to the College Board. Accounting, marketing, economics, and business ethics and law are among the courses commonly taken by students in this program.
Potential Careers and Median Annual Salaries:*
Financial manager: $107,160
Market research analyst: $60,250
Human resources manager: $99,130

Degree #3: Criminal Justice

Could a shy person ever shield others from harm or danger? Without the right training, not likely. But a bachelor's degree in criminal justice could teach shy people how to defend and protect others in need.
Goodbye to Shy: As a criminal justice major, a shy person might find an opportunity to express their concerns for public safety, says Johnson.
Subject areas that could help stimulate a shy person's talkative side include studying the psychology of the criminal mind and evaluating prison systems, according to Johnson.
"They might have to do projects involving research on prison systems, centralized versus decentralized or American versus European prison systems," Johnson says. "The projects might have them do a presentation on those subjects, so they would have to talk."
Click to Find the Right Criminal Justice Program Now.
More About the Degree: The College Board says criminal justice majors generally study different aspects of crime, the law, and the justice system. They also might focus on the way law enforcement agencies work.
Common courses taken in the program, according to the College Board, might include statistics, criminology, juvenile justice, and policing society.
Potential Careers and Median Annual Salaries:*
Probation officer or correctional treatment specialist: $47,840
Police officer:  $54,230

Degree #4: Medical Assisting

Do you obsess over TV medical dramas at home, but find yourself clamming up in a real doctor's office? Maybe you  should consider studying medical assisting, where you'll have a nice introduction into the world of medicine.
Goodbye to Shy: During a medial assisting program, a shy person might need to shelve timid behavior in order to learn how to communicate face-to-face with patients.
"It's going to help them get out of their shyness because they have to ask patients questions and bring things up with the doctor," Johnson says.
A medical assisting program would be ideal for shy people because it would force them to zero in on the nuances of human interaction. A valuable skill a shy person might develop during the program, according to Johnson, is interpreting a patient?s body language.
Click to Find the Right Medical Assisting Program Now.
More About the Degree: During a certificate or associate's degree program in this major, a student might learn about the administrative and clinical tasks for assisting doctors, according to the College Board.
Common courses taken in this program might include diagnostic procedures, medical terminology, and diseases of the human body, according to the College Board.
Potential Career and Median Annual Salary:*
Medical assistant: $29,100

Degree #5: Public Relations

As a shy person, are you tired of being talked at and would rather do more of the talking yourself? Studying a bachelor's program in public relations could help you develop skills as a sounding board for others.
Goodbye to Shy: There is a reason this major isn't called private relations. A public relations program teaches students how to deal with people and organizations in a highly visible manner.
And being visible means being prepared to shed your timid side during this program, says Johnson.
Just how much shedding? "You practice talking to people a lot, whether it's marketing classes or doing group projects," says Johnson. "You're going to be held accountable by professors if you have to do a presentation, be interactive, or work as a team player."
Click to Find the Right Public Relations Program Now.
More About the Degree: Public relations majors might learn how to develop a media campaign, practice writing press releases, and study image management, according to the College Board. Common courses include principles of advertising and speech writing.
Furthermore, adds Johnson, a bachelor's degree program in public relations can also teach students how to represent clients and organizations who want to publicize their brands.
Potential Careers and Median Annual Salaries:*
Public relations specialist: $53,190
Public relations manager: $86,470

Exciting Health Care Careers You Can Switch To

No Med School Med Careers

Check out these hot health care careers that are just a bachelor's or associate's degree away.

By Danielle Blundell
Forget medical school and the time it takes to finish it. If you want to make a career switch to the health care industry, there are other ways to prepare that will save you time and money.
Health care needs entire fleets of support staff to keep medical facilities running smoothly, and many of these fields are only expected to grow over the years. In December 2012 alone, the health care industry added 45,000 jobs, reports the U.S. Department of Labor.
Where is all of this growth coming from? "People are living longer, which means the elderly need more caregivers," says Lynn Berger, a New York-based career counselor and coach. "Career changers should think broadly - an increase in doctors and residents means the administrative and support roles are growing, too."
If you're looking for a promising new career path, without the burden of medical school, consider one of these growing health care careers.

Career #1: Medical and Health Services Managers

If you want to work in the medical industry, but are a little queasy about the idea of getting involved in actual patient treatment, a career as a medical and health services manager might be right for you.
Medical and health services managers are the ones in charge of coordinating treatment at health care facilities, says the U.S. Department of Labor. The job could involve everything from overseeing patient records and creating budgets to representing the facility at investor meetings, according to the Department of Labor.
Career Outlook: As baby boomers age, there will be an increased demand for health care and personnel to coordinate growing staffs and more facilities, notes the Department of Labor. Because of this, the Department projects that medical and health services management jobs will grow by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020.
Click Here to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.
How to Make the Switch: If you're interested in pursuing a career as a medical and health services manager, keep in mind that a bachelor's degree is typically needed. According to the Department, "Prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration." Master's degrees are also common for entering the field. Of course, requirements will vary by facility. If you're working as a nursing care facility administrator, you will need to be licensed.

Career #2: Dental Assistant

Looking for a dynamic career where you could put your attention to detail and organizational skills to work? Perhaps you should consider working as a dental assistant.
To put it simply, dental assistants provide dentists with an extra pair of eyes and hands during procedures, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In this type of role, you might find yourself helping out by maintaining patients' files and taking on other administrative duties as they arise, such as scheduling appointments and working with patients on billing. It's no wonder that the Department of Labor reports that detail-oriented, methodical individuals typically excel in this field.
Career Outlook: And there will be plenty of room to excel, too. According to the Department, from 2010 to 2020, jobs in dental assisting will grow by a projected 31 percent.
Click Here to Find the Right Dental Assisting Program.
How to Make the Switch: There are many roads for pursuing a career in dental assisting, but the one you take will likely depend on the state in which you live. According to the Department, some states require education in the form of a certificate/diploma or associate's degree, while others might allow you to acquire your education on the job. Some states might even require you to be certified by passing an exam from the Dental Assisting National Board.

Career #3: Registered Nurse

If you're more interested in working with doctors on the front lines of health care, you might consider pursuing a career as a registered nurse.
Nurses carry out demanding work, including tending to ailing patients, recording symptoms, and administering medications and treatments, says the U.S. Department of Labor. They also could help with tests and analyses, and then provide emotional support to people with health conditions and their families and friends.
Career Outlook: The Department says that nursing should see a 26 percent growth in jobs between 2010 and 2020. There are a variety of factors contributing to the growth, including the aging population, more emphasis on preventative care, and longer than average life spans.
Click Here to Find the Right Nursing Program.
How to Make the Switch: Like dental assisting, there are a few academic options for aspiring nurses. According to the Department, you will probably need to follow one of three paths: an associate's in nursing, bachelor's in nursing, or a diploma from an accredited program. You will also need to be licensed.

Career #4: Medical Assistant

Like the idea of helping people but not sold on the idea of committing years and years to medical school? Medical assisting may be a perfect compromise for your career.
Medical assistants ensure patients' visits go smoothly from start to finish, first taking medical histories down and then completing insurance forms at the end of treatment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These clerical tasks are offset with clinical ones, as many medical assistants also shadow doctors, help with exams, and keep tabs on medical equipment.
Career Outlook: According to the Department of Labor, as the number of practices increases, the need for assistants will also increase, ultimately resulting in a projected 31 percent job growth from 2010 to 2020.
Click Here to Find the Right Medical Assisting Program.
How to Make the Switch: An associate's degree in medical assisting could start you on the path toward pursuing a career in the field, notes the Department. However, the Department also reports that formal education is not always required, as many assistants are trained on the job. Although you are not required to hold a certification, employers prefer to hire certified assistants.

Career #5: Pharmacy Technician

Are you a strong multi-tasker with a sharp, detail-oriented mind? A career as a pharmacy technician might be one way to tap all of your talents.
Some pharmacy technicians work in hospitals and drug stores, mixing medications, counting tablets, and answering phones, notes the U.S. Department of Labor. Others find employment in retail pharmacies, transcribing information for medications, packaging and labeling them, and performing payment transactions.
Career Outlook: Things are looking up for jobs in this field, thanks in part to the growing number of elderly people. According to the Department of Labor, jobs will grow by 32 percent from 2010 to 2020.
Click Here to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician Program.
How to Make the Switch: If you're interested in preparing for a career as a pharmacy technician, you'll want to check your state's requirements. According to the Department, while in some states, technicians are simply trained on the job, other states might require a certificate from a postsecondary institution. Other states and employers might want you to gain certification by passing an exam, so it's vital that you check on requirements for your area.

Career #6: Physical Therapist Assistant

Active individuals looking for a job with an on-the-go, physical component could be well-suited for a career assisting a physical therapist.
Physical therapy assistants help patients cope with pain and limited motion following injuries, accidents, or surgery, says the U.S. Department of Labor. They often set up machinery and walk patients through exercises to regain motion.
Career Outlook: From 2010 to 2020, the Department estimates that employment of physical therapist assistants and aides will grow by a whopping 46 percent. One factor at play in the growth projected here: the baby boomers. According to the Department of Labor, as baby boomers continue to stay active throughout later stages of life, they will need therapy treatments in increasing numbers
Click Here to Find the Right Physical Therapy Assisting Program.
How to Make the Switch: If you'd like to pursue this career, keep in mind that the Department says that most states require physical therapy assistants to hold an associate's degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Additionally, most states will require you to be licensed, which typically entails passing the National Physical Therapy Exam after graduating from an accredited program.

7 Flexible Degrees You Can Earn On The Weekend

7 Flexible Degrees

With work and family obligations, online coursework could be the answer to a new professional you.

By Danielle Blundell
So you want to go back to school. But between a full-time job, taking care of your kids and pets, not to mention keeping up with friends, you've got a full plate. There's no time to drive to campus and sit in a class that's held on someone else's schedule. But that doesn't have to be the only option if you pursue online education, which you can earn after hours, on the weekends, or whenever you've got time.
"Beyond flexibility and convenience, online learning gives students the ability to work at their own pace when they want," Melissa Loble, associate dean of distance learning at University of California Irvine. "You can go back and replay a video, look at an image again, or review a concept you might not have understood fully. That's just not something you can do in the classroom." She adds that students who are working professionals can often apply their studies to their current jobs,  becoming more effective employees.
Before you make the leap, take a look at these popular degree programs that have successfully made the online transition. It'll take motivation and determination, but you could earn an in-demand degree on the weekends if you're up for the challenge.

Degree #1: Health Care Administration

Find Degree Programs Are you interested in a new career that's in huge demand? If you're a detail-oriented person with an interest in making our medical system work like a well-oiled machine, studying health care administration online might be just what the doctor ordered.
According to the College Board, in a health care administration program, you can expect to learn the ins and outs of how to manage the daily operations of a medical facility. You may learn about budgeting, how to handle staffing issues, and policy making in a hospital or doctor's office.
The Online Advantage: One huge pro of studying a health care administration program online is that it can bring people from all different experiences, backgrounds, and geographic locations together in a virtual classroom, which brings a rich diversity to coursework and case studies, says Loble. This is a good primer for the real world, she adds, where you will need to work with a range of people - from other administrative staff to patients - all with a range of expectations and problems.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.
Potential Careers:*

Degree #2: Computer Science

Find Degree Programs Do you already spend your weekends on your computer surfing the net? If so, you should consider channeling more time and energy into learning more about your computer by earning a degree in computer science online.
According to the College Board, computer science majors may study how computer systems and humans interact with each other. Classes may include instruction in artificial intelligence, digital system design, and software engineering.
The Online Advantage: According to Loble, studying computer science online actually gives students a leg up on what's going on in the tech workplace - telecommuting. "People are being asked more and more to work from home, and they have to know how to be part of a company at a distance," says Loble. "It's really important to pick up those skills to be able to work independently and communicate with coworkers at a distance, which an online course can teach you."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.
Potential Careers:*

Degree #3: Business Administration

Find Degree Programs Big business is a dog-eat-dog world, but fortunately for you, we're going to let you in on a secret that could help you get ahead - the in-demand business administration degree online. You can hold down your 9-to-5 and fit the key principles of business in on the weekends, working toward the goal of launching a new career or advancing in your current one.
What can you expect to study? The College Board says that some of what you encounter while studying business administration may prepare you to organize, direct, and control an organization's operations.
The Online Advantage: According to Loble, studying business administration online prepares students for the increasing globalization of the business world. "Business jobs these days are so group-work-oriented that it's important for students to learn how to communicate and work with people at a distance. That's the reality at companies these days - your coworkers could be in another part of the world."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.
Potential Careers:*

Degree #4: K-12 Education

Find Degree Programs Have an inkling that you were put on this earth to teach kids concepts and prepare them for the real world? A career as a teacher is definitely something to consider, and taking your coursework online could allow you to realize your true calling without having to leave your current job.
What will your weekends look like? According to the College Board, education majors may study how people learn and different strategies to teach them. Additionally, your courses may include educational psychology, philosophy of education, and supervised student teaching.
The Online Advantage: "Education was one of the first of the disciplines to go online, and it does well online, because generally the instructors are thinking about how to teach and the most effective way to meet your needs," says Loble. Online instructors who teach education understand that they need to foster dialogue through simulations, projects and other exercises that translate to effective virtual learning, she adds.
In essence, according to Loble, studying education online prepares you for the challenges of teaching in a modern classroom where technology has become increasingly important.
Next step: Click to Find the Right K-12 Education Program.
Potential Careers:*

Degree #5: Nursing

Find Degree Programs Maybe you're already a nurse and looking to get a promotion. Or you're a caregiver and think you've got the compassion and discipline to go pro as a nurse. Either way, you're busy and need a flexible option to pursue this career. Earning a degree in nursing online just might be your golden ticket.
What kind of coursework will you accomplish? According to the College Board, you might expect to learn how to examine patients and treat their immediate needs as well as how to promote better long-term health.  Some typical courses include microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology.
The Online Advantage: Because nurses often work unconventional hours and long shifts, taking coursework online offers much-needed flexibility for those already in the field, Loble says.
Another great thing about studying nursing online is how realistic medical simulations have become - you're not really missing anything by studying online, Loble says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
Potential Career:*

Degree #6: Criminal Justice

Find Degree Programs Are your weekends full of "Law & Order" marathons? Instead of lying on the couch and watching our legal system play out on T.V., you could be enrolled in an online criminal justice program, cracking your own cases with forensic simulations.
Criminal justice is an interdisciplinary major that delves into every aspect of the law, crime, and the criminal justice system, according to the College Board. Coursework could include criminology, policing society, and victimology.
The Online Advantage: Similar to health care administration, putting a criminal justice program online brings people together from all parts of the country, even the world, says Loble. This can in turn make for better prepared professionals, she says, because everyone shares and learns from each other's community experience.
"It leads to richer responses to case studies and assignments," says Loble. "And when you have a country or world-wide student body, that's always great for networking down the road."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Criminal Justice Program.
Potential Careers:*

Degree #7: Psychology

Find Degree Programs You're the problem solver in your group of friends - the one everyone goes to when they need someone to listen. If so, your insight into the human mind may be the perfect foundation for earning a psychology degree online.
According to the College Board, as a psychology student, you may study the way humans and animals act, think, feel, and learn. You may take classes such as developmental psychology, perception and sensation, and social psychology.
The Online Advantage: "So much of psychology is about in-person consultations which makes online [study] tricky," says Lobel. "But you can accomplish a lot of that through webcams and Skype. You can watch case studies and evaluate guest speaker lectures all on your own time, over and over again." She explains that online study gives students a chance to master the concepts at their own pace, as opposed to a classroom setting where you can't slow down a professor or return to a PowerPoint slide.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.
Potential Careers:*

Don't bother with these overrated careers

Don't bother with these overrated careers

Consider the alternatives to these careers, which may not live up to their perceptions.

By Sarita Harbour
Do you dream of a glamorous life as a doctor? Maybe you envision a great career as a teacher. While these are both admirable occupations to hold, it's probably in your best interest to do your homework before you commit to a costly education in either field.
That's because these are just two of the careers that may not be as great as you think. Long hours, poor job prospects, and less than stellar pay are just a few reasons they might be overrated.
The good news? There are alternative careers that could be more promising and allow you to work in the field of your dreams.
Read on to learn about five overrated careers and the alternatives that could be the answer to your professional quest.

Overrated Career #1:
Elementary School Teacher

Median Annual Salary*: $53,400
Influencing a new generation of youngsters and enjoying extended summer and Christmas holidays are a couple of the reasons people think they'll enjoy a career in teaching. But in reality, the profession is far less enticing.
Why It's Not Worth It: The low salary may counteract the perks."For a teacher to make it as a single person without a secondary income, they must be paid at the top of the pyramid," says Michael Provitera, career expert and author of the book "Mastering Self-Motivation: Preparing Yourself for Personal Excellence."

Career Alternative:

Find Programs Median Annual Salary: $87,760
A career as a principal could be a better option to explore if you want more control, responsibility, and better pay.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, principals usually support teachers and other school staff, manage the school's budget and finances, and ensure school facilities are safe for students and staff.
Why It's A Better Choice: As Mike Echols, executive vice president of strategic initiatives for Bellevue University, points out, principals not only make more money, they have greater career potential than teachers.
"A principal is also a management leadership role where a teacher is typically an individual contributor," says Echols. "The principal is on a career path for considerably greater growth potential for ever greater responsibility and scope of authority."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Education Leadership Program.
Education Options: To pursue a career as a principal, you'll be required by most schools to have a master's degree in education administration or educational leadership, according to the Department of Labor.

Overrated Career #2:

Median Annual Salary: $187,199+
Prestige, respect in the community, and the opportunity to help others is what makes a career as a doctor an attractive option for many. "Doctors often are looked upon as the best career," says Provitera.
Why It's Not Worth It: Despite its allure, being a doctor has many negatives. Some of these, according to Echols, could include the requirement of an extended professional education, residency performed under long hours, and a physically-demanding work schedule.
Plus, new health care laws are changing the way the profession functions and could affect earnings as well.

Career Alternative:
Registered Nurse

Find Programs Median Annual Salary: $65,470
Instead of the crippling student debt and grueling hours required for a career as a doctor, why not consider pursuing a career as a registered nurse?
The U.S. Department of Labor says that RNs coordinate patient care, provide advice to patients and their family members, and educate patients about various health conditions.
Why It's A Better Choice: "The demand for registered nurses is becoming highly competitive. Nurses can run their own business, become professors, or simply do what they love," says Provitera.
Plus, Echols adds that "a registered nurse becomes a practicing professional years before a doctor and graduates with considerably lower student debt in general."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
Education Options: RNs could take one of three different educational paths: a diploma from an approved nursing program, an associate's degree in nursing, or a bachelor's degree in nursing, according to the Department of Labor. To practice as an RN, students are also required to pass a national licensing exam.

Overrated Career #3:

Median Annual Salary: $42,480
Movies and television may have made a career as a chef something glamorous. But long hours and extreme working conditions could make it far from that.
Why It's Not Worth It: "Balancing the individual creative motivation of the successful chef with the sometimes stressful role of managing a kitchen crew can leave the chef drained and exhausted after a full day of fulfilling the whims and desires of restaurant patrons," Echols says. Provitera also points out that the competition to become a chef is tough.

Career Alternative:
Food Service Manager

Find Programs Median Annual Salary: $47,960
A career as a food service manager still gets you in the kitchen, but without all the heat. The U.S. Department of Labor says that food service managers are responsible for the daily operations of restaurants and ensure that customers are satisfied with their food and the overall experience.
Why It's A Better Choice: Echols says that restaurant managers, especially those that work for large chains like Cracker Barrel or Olive Garden, have a much more cut and dried set of tasks than a chef might, so it is easier to get things done. "These managers have a process and procedures to follow rather than having to constantly recreate their business future," he says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Restaurant Management Program.
Education Options: The Department of Labor says that while most of these professionals have less than a bachelor's degree, postsecondary education is increasingly preferred for restaurant manager positions. Many restaurant chains and food service management companies may recruit management trainees from college food service management or hospitality programs, the Department notes.

Overrated Career #4:

Median Annual Salary: $61,370
Love the idea of creating cartoons? While it sounds like a great gig, getting a job in the industry might not be all fun and games.
 Why It's Not Worth It: Competition is tough and the jobs are few, according to our experts. "Animators are often coined to create wonderful characters, but becoming a Walt Disney is a hard nut to crack," says Provitera. Plus, the pay isn't that great either, he notes.

Career Alternative:
Software Developer

Find Programs Median Annual Salary: $99,000
A career as a software developer can still allow you to use your creativity. But combining it with cutting-edge technology can not only make you more desirable, it might also lead to a better income.
Software developers are "the creative minds behind computer programs," according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It's A Better Choice: "Animation is a profession with a diminishing future, [whereas] software development is increasingly being used to create animated visual productions," says Echols. "Software developments are happening rapidly, creating ever new opportunities for innovative and energetic professionals."
Provitera agrees. "A software developer can command a high salary, love what they do, and still stay abreast of the forefront of technology," says Provitera.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.
Education Options: These professionals usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related subject, according to the Department of Labor. Math degrees are also considered to be acceptable, it notes.

Overrated Career #5:

Median Annual Salary: $71,720
Have you always been fascinated by the pace and excitement of Wall Street? That's understandable, but you might not want to jump into this career because of the way it looks on the outside.
Why It's Not Worth It: Technological advances and the Internet are reducing the demand for stockbrokers, according to Echols.
He says that stockbrokers have historically been transactional in activity, since they have the responsibility of buying and selling securities. But "[t]hose transaction opportunities are being eliminated by automated financial service providers," says Echols. "The profession is disappearing."

Career Alternative:
Financial Manager

Find Programs Median Annual Salary: $109,740
Echols says that financial managers, on the other hand, have more options and are increasingly in demand.
The U.S. Department of Labor says that financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization and might direct investment activities and produce financial reports.
Why It's A Better Choice: "Financial managers have a broad set of responsibilities to be continuously informed of developments in various markets," Echols says. "Good financial managers add value to their clients and have a very positive outlook for career opportunity."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.
Education Options: Often, the minimum education needed to pursue a career as a financial manager is a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration, according to the Department of Labor, though today many employers now look for managers with a master's degree, preferably in business administration, finance, or economics.

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