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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Year, New Career: Find Your Best Self In 2009

by Patricia Cecil-Reed

The ball has dropped, the champagne corks have popped, and all across America people are returning to work after the New Year's festivities. The question is: How do you feel returning to your job? You may already have made your New Year's resolutions, but do they include your career plans?

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to look back at the past year and plan for the one ahead. Evaluate what you really want, personally and professionally, and make a plan to get it. Fulfill a long-held good intention to further your career training or complete a degree program. If you want to try for a promotion in your field, or change career paths entirely, now is the time to go for it.

Physical Therapist Assistant ($44,340 average annual salary--U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Physical therapist assistants play a hands-on role in the rehabilitation of disabled patients, and have the specific pleasure of watching their work make a physical difference from day to day. They perform many of the same duties as a physical therapist but do not need a master's degree. Job demand is high and disabled patients need you, so why wait to join this rewarding field?

Career Training: An associate's degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant training program is usually needed, along with licensure in your state.

Environmental Engineer ($74,820 average annual salary--U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

"Protect the environment" is a phrase we hear thrown around a lot, but few people know more about it than environmental engineers. Environmental engineers use both creative and analytical skills to assess environmental hazards and design solutions for them. With Obama's plans to create five million "green collar" jobs over the next ten years, this is an ideal time to get on-board with a green career.

Career Training: For entry-level jobs, you'll likely need a bachelor's degree in environmental or civil engineering.

Teacher ($50,040 average annual salary for elementary school teachers--U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

A particularly good choice for a second or later in life career, teachers are always needed to make a difference in students' lives. Whether you choose to teach pre-K, elementary, or high school students, rest assured your contribution will be valued.

Career Training: A bachelor's degree in education or a related subject may be necessary for elementary and high school teaching positions, but not necessarily for preschool or vocational education positions.

Career Counselor ($51,690 average annual salary)

Your ideal career could be helping others find theirs. Career counselors evaluate their clients' skills, abilities, and interests and help apply them to an appropriate career path. Training to become a career counselor may be a great move for you if you genuinely enjoy helping others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that career, school, and educational counselors will see "much faster than average" job growth between now and 2016.

Career Training: Counselors usually need a bachelor's or master's degree to practice, and appropriate licensure for their state.

Nonprofit Organization Project Manger ($39,076 average annual salary for 1 to 4 years

Do something good for the world and for yourself. Nonprofit organizations are growing, employing 8.7 million workers as of 2007, as opposed to just 5.4 million in 1994. Apply your business sense to this rewarding field and feel good about yourself and your career.

Career Training: Experience, courses, or a bachelor's or associate degree in business administration or business management are all good background for this career.

The most important part of any job search is evaluating your own strengths and talents. What makes you happy? What do you want to get out of your perfect career? If you're community minded, interested in giving of your time and skills, and also invested in your own professional success, these job paths may hold the key to fulfilling all of your '09 resolutions.


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