Sometimes we just need a little push to transform from where we are to where we want to be. Like in the classic movie Working Girl, the change you want may be right down the hall. Midlife professionals looking for a more fulfilling role in the industry the know well can have the same revitalizing makeover as those who seek a new and different encore career.
Although real life doesn’t follow the same lucky plot lines as Tess’s success in Working Girl, workers in the real world can still use our determination and grit to seize opportunities. Education offers huge possibilities to help you makeover your career without starting over.
An additional degree or certificate can give you the flexibility to build on your experience and develop new skills to move to a new role. Graduate degrees typically require completing 30–50 credit hours of study in a particular field (or about two years), while graduate certificates focus solely on specific subjects within those fields and take about half the time.
Makeover your career with education credentials in these top three fields:
Helping patients as a nurse is a rewarding career, but the long hours, night shifts, and stress of dealing with life and death situations can take its toll. If you love nursing, but feel ready for a change, here are two great options for you.
- Become a nurse educator.
Put your years of experience to use teaching the next generation of nurses. If you already have a master’s degree in nursing, a nurse educator graduate certificate will allow you to pursue teaching positions in schools of nursing and continuing education as well as in staff development, clinical education, and patient and community education programs.
Outlook: Even though there is currently a nursing shortage in America, almost 80,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing schools last year because there are not enough nurse educators to teach them. The average salary for nurse educators is $77,000.
- Become a health care administrator.
With a master’s degree in healthcare administration, you can purse the management side of your nursing career. Health care administrators manage issues surrounding patient admissions, personnel, finance, and the daily operations of the department or health care facility in which they work.
Outlook: Forbes recently placed health care administrator in the #8 spot of their Best Master’s Degrees for Jobs list. Jobs for medical and health care mangers are growing at the faster-than-average rate of 23 percent and pay a median salary of $88,580.
Teaching children is a labor of love, but do you ever wish someone would design better instructional materials? That someone could be you. Re-routing your teaching career down the road of instructional design will give you these two options.
- Design for organizations.
An instructional designer for organizations researches the learning needs of a target group, designs and implements teaching programs for them using the appropriate technologies, and follows up to evaluate how well their learning objectives were achieved. A graduate certificate in instructional design for organizations can prepare you to design, develop, and evaluate instructional programs, materials, and media in corporate and military environments where your skills as an educator will be put to work with adults.
- Design for academia and for organizations.
Whether you prefer to stay with the academic world you currently inhabit or you’d like to step out into corporate America, a master’s degree in instructional technology will train you to design, develop, and evaluate instructional programs, materials, and media in K–12, higher education, and corporate and military environments. This degree will keep you at the front lines of education where you will create new curricula utilizing the latest in both technology and educational research.
Outlook: Instructional design jobs have been seeing a steady increase in growth since 2004, with an expected 36,220 new jobs to be filled by 2018. The average salary reported for instructional technology designers is over $60,000.
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3. Human Resources
Are you working in human resources because you’re skilled at solving people problems? Do you like to get into their heads and figure out why they behave like they do or how you can get them to behave like you want them to? Maybe you’ve noticed ways your company could better utilize its employees to be more productive. If any of this sounds like you, a background in psychology will help you ramp up your career. Consider earning credentials in industrial/organizational psychology with these two options.
- Earn a graduate certificate in industrial/organizational psychology.
An industrial/organizational psychologist studies workplace behavior and applies psychological principals to help increase worker productivity, hire the best employees, organize a business more efficiently, or market a company’s products. A graduate certificate in industrial/organizational psychology can help you apply these principals to a better-paying position in human resources, or make the jump into management, sales, or marketing. Industrial/organizational psychologists also work for businesses, organizations, and government departments as consultants.
- Earn a master’s degree in psychology with a specialization in industrial/organizational psychology.
If you want more than the certificate program offers, consider earning a master’s degree in psychology. Specialize in industrial/organizational psychology or in another area. Earning a master’s degree will put you in a higher pay bracket at most companies and institutions.
Outlook: With a projected growth rate of 53 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics places industrial/organizational psychologist at the top of its fastest growing jobs list. The median salary for industrial/organizational psychologists is just over $83,000.
Education is a lifelong journey. Keep learning and renew your career with a mini makeover!
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, bls.org