Young college students often enter school with wide eyes and a naive approach to choosing a career. They might pick the first thing that interests them, without considering their future earning potential or be competitive in the job market. Going back to school as an adult means having with the benefit of wisdom, experience, and deeper self-knowledge.
You’ve probably already held a few jobs. You know what works for you and what doesn’t, which sorts of job environments you hate and which you love. So take stock of your career to date, then start envisioning the career of your dreams. Here are six jobs that offer growth potential, high earnings, and stability. If you’re considering going back to school this year, these are great bets.
Nursing is one of the fastest growing careers in the country, thanks to a labor shortage and a healthcare system that increasingly recognizes the incredible value of health practitioners. Today’s nurses can serve in numerous roles, depending on their education and training. Entry-level nurses may work in clinics or offices under the supervision of doctors or surgeons. With more training and education, some nurses can practice independently, depending on where they live.
No matter what you’re interested in or how you prefer to work, there are several options for you to choose from. For example, nurse practitioners fill many of the same roles as doctors, and they command high salaries. Similarly, midwives support low-risk women through pregnancy, birth, and beyond. They may work in hospitals, birth centers, or medical offices. If you prefer to work with older patients who are navigating through the challenges of aging, becoming a geriatric nurse may be a great fit. You can also promote better mental health as a psychiatric mental health nurse, or tend to newborns and children as a pediatric nurse.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the amount of registered nurse careers will grow 12% between 2018 and 2028, which means a career in nursing offers plenty of job security. The average registered nurse earns $71,730 per year, though those with the most skill and experience can command much higher wages.
SNU’s School of Nursing is a great way to start your nursing career. Adult students who aren’t ready for full-time learning might choose a bachelor’s degree in general studies, then later pursue graduate level training in nursing.
Careers in business are booming. Every company needs business experts, from the smallest family operations to the largest multinational conglomerates. In 2016, the National Association of Colleges and Employers emphasized that graduates with business-related degrees, such as business administration, were in the highest demand.
You don’t have to enjoy crunching numbers to have a fulfilling career in business. After all, there are plenty of different organizations committed to just about everything, from caring for pets and supporting aging seniors to managing finances and banking. And if you’ve ever thought about going into business for yourself, a bachelor’s or master’s can offer you the credentials you need to get more lucrative prospects.
A business degree can also complement another career. Real estate brokers, accountants, financial analysts, and other experts with business degrees may command higher earnings and earn more credibility because of their additional business expertise.
SNU’s degree in business administration prepares adult students for the many challenges and triumphs of life in business.
Management and Leadership
Anyone who’s ever had a bad boss knows that good leadership is an important skill that can make or break an organization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in management will grow 7% between 2018 and 2028. If you want to inspire people, propel organizations in new directions, or climb the corporate ladder at your job, a career in management could be the perfect choice.
SNU’s organizational leadership degree offers more than just a basic rundown of life as a manager. It prepares you to be a visionary leader so you can grow companies into something greater.
People struggle with a wide range of issues, from economic challenges to abusive families. Mental illness is also a common struggle, with an estimated 19.1% of American adults experiencing a mental illness in 2018 alone. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates have soared over the last two decades. Suicide is a leading cause of death, with nearly 45,000 lives lost to suicide in 2016 alone. Despite this disturbing trend, at least half of people with mental illness receive no treatment. Many more receive inadequate treatment or leave treatment before they get the help and support they need.
You can be on the frontlines of the fight against suicide and mental illness by pursuing a career in counseling. Mental health jobs will grow about 22% by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Entry-level jobs with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $44,630 per year. Armed with your bachelor’s degree, however, you can pursue even higher pay. Master’s-level therapists earn an average of $50,090 per year, while psychologists can expect earnings around $79,010 each year. Depending on the career you choose, you may also be able to work for yourself by starting and running your own mental health practice.
A degree from SNU in family studies and gerontology is a great way to begin the journey. If you’ve already completed your bachelor’s, consider a master’s degree in counseling, which empowers you to become a licensed counselor working directly with patients.
Technology increasingly connects our world, a fact that shows no signs of changing any time soon. Jobs in technology can open doors that didn’t even exist a few decades ago. Computer and information technology jobs earned an average of $86,320 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As you grow in your profession, you may be able to earn much more.
A degree in network management is an excellent way to start your career in this field. Companies of all sizes need network experts, and technology companies—including in-demand startups—may snap you up as soon as you graduate.
Aging and Eldercare
The population is aging, especially as Baby Boomers hit retirement. With so many seniors who will eventually need care, a shortage of people who can carry out these responsibilities is inevitable. Jobs in eldercare are among the fastest growing in the economy. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that home health aides will see a 47% growth in jobs between 2016 and 2018. These jobs typically pay relatively low salaries, with a 2016 average of just over $22,000.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Eldercare jobs are as diverse as the seniors they serve. Nursing homes need nurses, orderlies, social workers, and other experts to support their residents. Families may work with therapists who specialize in gerontologic issues, while communities may contract with gerontologists to ensure their community is ready to serve an aging population.
This means that going back to school and pursuing a degree or training related to eldercare or gerontology may mark the beginning of a lucrative career that can grow with your skills and experience. SNU’s Family Studies and Gerontology program can be a springboard to a new career in eldercare.
Which Career Is Right for Me?
Finding the right career requires more than just reading about which industries are lucrative or growing. You spend about a third of your life at work. Don’t waste that time at a job you hate. If you’re already devoting the time and effort to going back to school, commit to deeply contemplating what the right career might be. The answer is unique to you. To begin your quest, try asking these questions. There’s no right answer, but it is important to be honest with yourself:
- What am I most interested in? Is there a career I might enjoy related to my interest?
- What working environments do I enjoy most?
- What do I like most and least about my current job?
- What is most important to me in a job? Do I need to feel important, like I’m helping people or like I have room for advancement? How much flexibility do I need? What about work-life balance?
- Do I have the discipline it takes to be self-employed, or would I rather work for someone else?
- Do I want to do the same job forever, or do I hope to switch careers several times?
- How much do I need to earn to be financially stable?
- Which jobs are in the highest demand in my area?
- What do my friends think of their jobs? Can I seek mentorship from someone who has a job similar to the one I might want?
- How much time and money do I have to spend on my education? Would the additional money I could earn with an advanced degree justify a longer time in school?
- How much support do I have to go back to school?
- Are there any recurring themes in my work performance reviews?
SNU is training a generation of workers to change the world for themselves and their communities. We believe everyone deserves a career they love. If you’re considering a return to school, we’d love to help you make the right decision for your family and lifestyle. Contact us for more information on how we can assist.