Late summer and fall is the traditional start of a new school year. Children around the country slip on their shiny, new backpacks and tromp off to school, ready for a new year. However, many adults may be considering slipping on their own backpack and heading to the classroom for a career change.
As the old saying goes, it’s never too late to go back to school and in today’s fluid and changing economy, going back to school may be a rewarding and lucrative choice for those already in the workplace. But what careers are worth the expense, time and effort to go back to college or technical school? You’d be surprised.
We’ve listed five fast-growing, high-paying careers that are worth going back to school. These careers not only have a hefty salary attached to them, but, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are among the highest demanded fields as well.
Many of the most in-demand careers require only a two-year degree or certification through technical schools while others demand a bachelor’s or doctorate degree. For many, going back to school for a rewarding job certification may take as little as 18 months, while others can take four years or more.
Take a look and decide for yourself if these careers are worth going back to school for.
- Dentists – Those with dental degrees can expect a 16% growth in demand, and according to the BLS, the average median pay for dentists in 2012 was $149,310 per yearor $71.79 per hour. To become a dentist, you must attend an accredited dental course of study at a university or specialized school. Dental school takes four years and that’s after completing undergraduate school. Students must be able to pass written and practical exams, and dentists must be licensed in all states.
- Welders – The manufacturing industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., and coupled with oil and gas booms and pipeline construction, the demand for skilled welders is incredible. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, and teachers. Training ranges from a few weeks of technical school or on-the-job training to several years of combined technical school and on-the-job training. The average starting pay is $36,300.
- Meeting, Convention and Event Planners – A bachelor’s degree is often needed for this growing field, but those returning to school can also earn a Certified Meeting Professional accreditation. Average pay for event planners was $45,260 in 2010, according to the BLS, and this field is expected to grow more than 40 percent by 2022.
- Information Security Analysts – If you’re good with computers, this job area may be worth going back to school for. With the onslaught of cyber-attacks, information security analysts will be fought over for their ability to design security to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. The average pay is $86,170 per yearwith an expected growth of 37 percent by 2022. You will need a bachelor’s degree and experience in a computer-related field.
- Physical Therapist Assistants – As the population ages, physical therapy assistants will be in high demand. According to the BLS, the need for this career will grow almost 46% by 2020. This job requires at least a two-year associate’s degree, and the average salary was $49,960 in 2010, according to the BLS.
These five careers are just the tip of the iceberg. Any career in the science, medical, technology, engineering and math fields are also in high demand.
It’s a big decision to go back to school. For those who study hard and keep their eyes on the payoff, going back to school may be the right investment into the future.
Have you considered going back to school? If so, what field are you interested in and what is holding you back? We’d love to hear from you.