Degrees to keep baby boomers working

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Degrees For Baby Boomers

Not ready for retirement yet? Here are six degrees that could prep you to stay in the workforce longer.

When you initially pictured your golden years, you may have imagined sipping a piƱa colada on a tropical cruise. But thanks to the effects of the recession, many baby boomers have seen those plans put on hold.
In recent years, job loss has been a huge problem for older workers, according to a 2012 study by the AARP Public Policy Institute. Nearly half (47 percent) of unemployed boomers said job loss was their main reason for not working, followed by an “inability to find work” (19 percent).
Losing your job as an older worker doesn't necessarily mean that you get to kick back, relax, and start your retirement early. In fact, as the baby boomer generation nears traditional retirement age, many are staying on the job as a necessity, not a choice, notes the American Association of Community Colleges.
If you need to continue working and making an income, consider hitting the books again. Going back to school could help you further your career or send you on a new career path, says Michele Messenger, professor and instructional design consultant at Rochester Institute of Technology. It could also show prospective employers that you're seriously invested in this next phase of your professional life, she adds.
Keep reading to find out which degrees could help you explore new career opportunities and extend your stay in the workforce.

Degree #1: Health Care Administration

Find Degree Programs Do you want to breathe some new life into your professional career? A master's degree in health care administration is a great way for baby boomers to learn how to run a health care facility and possibly make a career out of it.
As a master's student in health services administration, you could learn about the nation's health care system, medical technology, and the many challenges health care facilities are facing today, says the Princeton Review, an organization that offers test preparation services.
Why It's Good for Baby Boomers: For baby boomers currently working in the health care field, such as nursing, earning a master's degree in health care administration is a great way to stay in the workforce longer, says Pattie Rydlun, a career transition expert.
"This degree coupled with the baby boomer's previous experience in the field enhances their career opportunities," adds Rydlun.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.
Potential Career: Medical or Health Services Manager. With a master's degree in health care administration, you could pursue a career as a medical or health services manager, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Some facilities may hire candidates with specialized experience in a health care profession in addition to administrative experience, e.g. a nursing service administrator.

Degree #2: Business Administration

Find Degree Programs Do you want to earn a versatile degree that could help you steer clear of an early retirement? A master's degree in business administration could give you an edge when pursuing new opportunities in the business world.
In an MBA program, you will learn how to take academic theories and apply them to real-world problems, notes the Princeton Review. You may also develop your ability to navigate uncertainty, risk, and change in an organization.
Why It's Good for Baby Boomers: "Some business schools stress having work experience and will only consider applicants who have worked full-time," says the College Board, a nonprofit organization that promotes equity in education.
Even without strict management experience, many baby boomers have likely had years of experience working in teams or directing people, says Rydlun. So, you could use that experience, plus the knowledge you'd get from an MBA, to pursue management positions.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Master's in Business Administration Program.
Potential Career: Human Resources Manager. This degree could help prep you to pursue many careers in the business world. One possibility is a higher-level human resources manager position, which may require a master's degree such as an MBA, notes the U.S. Department of Labor. If you've got some related work experience, that's great. In addition to a bachelor's, some employers accept management experience in a range of fields, according to the Department of Labor.

Degree #3: Psychology

Find Degree Programs Are you interested in pursuing a second-act career filled with opportunities to give back to others? If so, consider earning a bachelor's degree in psychology.
As a psychology major, you will study the way human beings and animals think, feel, act, and learn, says the College Board. You may do research in the field, and perhaps even be part of a study yourself.
Why It's Good for Baby Boomers: A psychology degree is a good option for baby boomers, because it's transferable to so many fields, says Rydlun. It could either prepare you to explore new roles in your current workplace or to pursue a different career option in a new field.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.
Potential Career: Social Worker. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers might hire candidates that have a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field for direct-service social worker positions.

Degree #4: Public Administration

Find Degree Programs Have you seen your fair share of change over the past few decades? Well, if you'd like to learn how you can make a difference in your community or government, check out a master's degree in public administration.
A master's program in public administration focuses heavily on politics and government, as well as human behavior, management, and methods of analysis, notes the Princeton Review. As a student, you will learn how laws and policies affect the communities you serve.
Why It's Good for Baby Boomers: This degree is great for baby boomers, because it prepares them for opportunities to give back, which is something they might be looking for in retirement, says Rydlun. From community development to green projects, a degree in public administration combined with past experience may help you pursue career opportunities in which you have a strong interest.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Master's Program.
Potential Career: Social and Community Service Manager. With a master's degree in public administration, you could pursue a career as a social and community service manager. Many employers prefer workers with a master's degree in public administration or a related field, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. Work experience is also often needed for these positions.

Degree #5: Education Administration

Find Degree Programs Do you feel your teaching years are coming to an end, but you still want to stay in the field? If so, earning a master's degree in education administration might be one way to stay in education.
As an education administration major, you could learn how to supervise teachers and manage schools and other types of education programs, says the College Board. You could also learn the ins and outs of what it takes to serve as a school principal.
Why It's Good for Baby Boomers: A master's degree in education administration is one option for baby boomers, looking to stay in the education field longer, says Rydlun. "You might be a teacher who feels management is one option to stay in the education field," she says, "and a master's degree in education administration could help you prepare to apply for positions as a school principal in elementary, middle, or even high schools."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Education Leadership Program.
Potential Career: Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal. A degree in education administration is one option to pursue a career as an elementary, middle, or high school principal. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most schools require this degree, especially public schools. Most principals have also worked as teachers.

Degree #6: Health Information Technology

Find Degree Programs Are you a quick learner who's not ready to  retire? Look into an associate's degree or certificate in health information technology to prep for your second-act career.
As a student of heath information technology, you could learn about patient confidentiality and the codes used on insurance forms, says the College Board. You might also learn how to prepare medical records.
Why It's Good for Baby Boomers: "For tech-savvy boomers, this is a great field. It doesn't matter how old you are if you can keep up with the constant changes," says Deb Peterson, guide to continuing education on About.com.
Rydlun agrees, stating that a certificate in health information technology could teach baby boomers the medical terms and codes to pursue career opportunities in a field that is booming.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Information Technology Program.
Potential Career: Medical Records or Health Information Technician. A degree in health information technology is one option to pursue a career as a medical records or health information technician. According to the Department of Labor, people pursuing these careers usually need a postsecondary certificate to qualify for entry-level positions. Keep in mind, that employers might also prefer to hire candidates who have professional certification, such as the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) or Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR), adds the Department.

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