Top careers for better work – life balance

Top careers for better work - life balance

These fields let you scrap the 9-to-5 routine and work a flexible schedule.

Are you tired of the same old, same old 9-to-5 office routine? Want to change to a career with a more flexible working schedule? You’re not alone. More than three out of five working adults agreed that flexibility is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for a new job, according to a recent Business News Daily article.

The good news is that with the right education, you could be prepared to pursue a career with flexibility built in…

Career 1 – Registered Nurse

Want a career that offers a flexible work schedule? Look to nursing. These physical and emotional health care providers generally help perform a variety of tasks – from recording medical histories and symptoms to doing diagnostic tests and helping with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.

Flex Factor: Instead of being confined by normal business hours, registered nurses (RNs) usually have the flexibility to work night and weekend shifts. At Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, Dana Dye, chief nursing officer, RN, says the hospital allows nurses to choose between eight-hour or 12-hour shifts. And during the weekends, nurses could have the option to work 24 hours.

Education: Look into either an associate’s degree in nursing or a nursing diploma from an approved nursing program.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for RNs was $67,720 in May 2010.

Career 2 – Dental Assistant

Dental assistants usually play an important role in preparing patients for treatment, sterilizing dental equipment, organizing instruments, and updating dental records. During procedures, assistants usually work alongside the dentist to provide patient care. They also could perform laboratory duties.

Flex Factor: Many dental assistants don’t subscribe to a 9-to-5 schedule or a 40-hour workweek. Some put in hours on nights and weekends, while others work for more than one dental office to form a more balanced work-life routine. In 2008, nearly half of all dental assistants had a 35- to 40-hour workweek, says the Department of Labor.

Education: While there’s no formal requirements for dental assisting gigs, the U.S. Department of Labor notes that dental assisting diploma and certificate programs – which could take as little as one year to complete – are growing in popularity.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for dental assistants was $34,140 in May 2010.

Career 3 – Accountant

If you excel at organization and attention to detail, you may want to consider an accounting career. Accountants usually help to ensure that firms are run efficiently, public records are kept accurately, and taxes are paid properly and on time.

Flex Factor: Off-site work and travel for audits are two fun flex factors that can be found in accounting. At Ernst & Young, workplace flexibility has been built into the culture, says a recent New York Times article. Ernst & Young’s Chairman James S. Turley said, “We listen to our people and they tell us very consistently that flexibility is incredibly important to them and to their family.” Nearly 10 percent of Ernst & Young’s 23,500 U.S. employees are on flexible arrangements.

Education: If you want to prepare to pursue this career, consider earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related area like finance or business.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for accountants was $68,960 in May 2010.

Career 4 – Graphic Designer

Using tools like color, type, illustration, and various layout techniques, graphic designers generally convey visual messages in a variety of mediums. From designing magazines and promotional displays to marketing brochures and packaging, this career is usually about having an eye for design.

Flex Factor: If working normal business hours at a big design or advertising firm doesn’t excite you, there could be work-life balance alternatives for a graphic designer. Many creative types are self-employed and usually work from home on a contract basis, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Just note that since this has the potential to be a self-employed position that revolves around production schedules, night and weekend hours could be necessary.

Education: If you want to start a graphic design career, a bachelor’s degree in graphic design is generally needed to land an entry-level position, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for graphic designers was $48,140 in May 2010.

Career 5 – Police Officer

Uniformed police officers usually protect lives and property by carrying out law enforcement duties. From responding to a traffic accident to confronting criminals, these everyday heroes work to keep our communities safe.

Flex Factor: The prospect of flexible or part-time schedules seems to be attractive to police job candidates – it appears on many career hiring sites, including the NYPD Cadet Corps’ web site. Although police officers usually work 40-hour weeks, hours can be flexible, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Since police officers provide around-the-clock protection, shift work could be necessary.

Education: Educational requirements vary for each agency – from a high school diploma to a few years of college coursework.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for police officers was $55,620 in May 2010.

How to find your ideal career

How to find your ideal career

Decide what matters most to you, and then check out these fields for a suitable match.

At the end of the day, a job is just a job. It’s getting what you want out of it that can make the difference between loving it and hating it. So how do you determine what’s most important to you?

Brainstorming a list of things you like to do or don’t like to do can help you find the right path, says Jessica Hernandez, a former HR manager who is now president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast.

“Sometimes, simply making a list will cause you to see a common theme and you can easily identify a career that would best suit your talent, passion and interests,” Hernandez says.

To help you figure out what careers might be the best fit for you, we’ve broken down some popular professions by the following benefits: balance, earning potential, satisfaction, and stability.

Keep reading to find the career you want and deserve…

Careers with Work-Life Balance

Striking the proper work-life balance means different things to different people. Some people want a steady 9-to-5 gig while others want the ability to design their own schedule or even work from home.

Just remember, any successful work-life balancing act depends on your ability to control your career as opposed to it controlling you.

Registered Nurse

Registered nurses, who usually have a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree in nursing, often enjoy a wide variety of work-life balance perks, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These can include:

• Flexible work schedules
• Child care benefits
• Educational benefits

Technical Writer

Making a comfortable living as a writer is not easy. Technical writing, however, can be a more stable career choice. Employers often prefer grads with degrees in English, communications, or journalism, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which cites the following perks of the profession:

• Most technical writers work steady hours and are employed full-time.
• Freelancing is an option.
• Advances in technology allow you to work from almost anywhere.