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Training Secrets for Easy Career Switches

Has your job gone stagnant in a flat economy? Perhaps you've reached the earning ceiling in your profession or you've specialized in a career that offers little flexibility. Today's employers have gotten more demanding of their workers, expecting everyone to handle greater duties than those for which they were originally hired.

If you're feeling left out, it may be time to consider enrolling in a college degree or certificate program that offers a quick, smooth transition to a relevant career.

Professionals who work in health care, education, or technology already know that in continuing their education or career training, or by picking up a new certification or related degree, they can shift toward management and higher earnings. Many employers even provide funds for continuing education or tuition reimbursement on the back end.

Let's look at career training or degree programs that can build bridges between where you're stuck, and where you want to be.

Health-Care Career Transitions Made Easy

The health-care professions are perfectly designed to reward workers who continue career training to advance. Here are two solid examples:

  • RN to BSN Degree. All things being equal, health care employers increasingly prefer the bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) to the two-year degree. You can pursue your RN to BSN online, too, without compromising your work schedule. Nurses who earn the BSN may find a wide range of supervisory, administration, and management positions open up to them, as well as positions in other fields, such as high-paying pharmaceutical sales jobs. Consider pursuing a master's degree in health care administration. In 2008, median annual nurses' salaries were $62,450, while health care administrators averaged $80,240.
  • Dental Assistant to Dental Hygienist Degree. Dental assistants are in top demand, with most professionals qualifying with one-year certificates or associate's degrees. However, 2008 earnings topped out around $46,150. If you return to school -- online while you work -- you can complete a degree in dental hygiene and boost your annual earnings. Median hygienist earnings in 2008 were $66,570, with top salaries around $91,470.

Leapfrog to Higher Paying Technology Careers

When you add certificates or degrees in technology, you not only broaden your appeal to employers, you can increase your earnings. Keep your day (or night) job and attend tech school or college in your free time to pump up your credentials. Here's a fine example to consider:

  • Computer Support Specialist to Database Manager. Tired of surfing the help desk? Get back in the campus or virtual classroom and add a bachelor's degree in information science, computer science, or management information systems. Sign up for courses in database manufacturer certifications like Oracle or SQL. Or head for the top by earning an MBA with a technology focus. In 2008 computer support specialists took home a median wage of $43,450, while database managers took home an average $69,740, with top earnings around $111,950.

By adding increasingly responsible technology certifications, you broaden your skill sets and career options. Database managers, for example, work in technology, finance, health care, and manufacturing.

Educators Advance through Administration Degrees

Most teachers are happy to be in the profession, and that's why they stay. But burnout and boredom can strike even the most dedicated education professionals. Taking courses in education administration and curriculum development can widen your options in the education field.

  • Teaching Credential to Education Administration Degree. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, education administrators are in high demand at public and private schools and with post-secondary colleges and trade schools. Head back to college for a master's degree in education. Administrators can widen their appeal, opening their job options to school-district administration offices, school principals, or curriculum development specialists. Or you can seek administrative jobs in private schools, community colleges, or in corporate training programs. In 2008, the median annual wage for secondary school teachers was $51,180, while the median wage for elementary and secondary education administrators was $83,880.
  • Special Education Degree. Want to remain in the classroom? Consider earning a special education degree and certification. Special education teachers are in high demand. And top annual wages reported to the Labor Department in 2008 was $82,000.

When it comes to career options, if you stay educated, you stay nimble in the workplace.

by Woodrow Aames,

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