Going back to school could be one of the best career moves you make. Advances in technology, healthcare, psychology, and engineering mean that there are plenty of new careers worth going back to school for. Also, the surge in online learning means that returning to school to get a degree has never been easier.
Let’s face it — since you graduated from school, the job market has probably moved on. And there are now fantastic opportunities for lucrative careers that weren’t available 10, 20, or 30 years ago. If you’re in your late 30s or 40s, going back to school could get you out of a dead-end job. Or if you’ve been laid off, returning to college could just what you need to get a high-paying job.
Is it worth going back to school to change careers? After all, going to college usually means hours of study, hitting the books, and paying tuition. Additionally, you might still have a job to go to and care for other family responsibilities.
Returning to school is worthwhile if you pick the right career. This article looks at the most exciting careers that make going back to school the best choice you ever made.
Is it Worth Going Back to School?
You may be worried about returning to the classroom as a non-traditional student. Will you be the oldest in your class? Can you contribute to classroom discussions? How can you afford to get a degree as an adult learner?
The fact is that many non-traditional students are in college. And with your life skills and experience, there is plenty you can contribute. In fact, your experience gives you some advantages over younger students.
According to official data, 7.5 million students in college are 25 years old and over. This means that one in five attending college is a non-traditional student. So, the chances are that you’ll have fellow classmates just like you — going back to school to change careers.
Related Reading: How non-traditional students can get financial aid for college.
Careers that Make Going Back to School Worthwhile
There are three things to consider when choosing a career that is worth going back to school for. First, there must be an excellent rate of growth in the industry. Second, job prospects should be high to ensure employment after you graduate. Third, the type of job you could get should pay well.
Read on to find out the careers with the best growth potential to make returning to school worth it. You will also find information from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics about projected growth and wages.
1. Registered Nurse
Healthcare is a thriving industry. Going back to school can help you get a lucrative and rewarding career as a registered nurse. To become a nurse, you’ll need to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, nursing jobs pay exceptionally well, and there is an excellent job outlook for nurses.
Average pay: $73,300
Projected job growth rate: 7% – faster than average
Related Reading: What it takes to become a good nurse.
2. Respiratory Therapist
You can become a respiratory therapist with only an associate’s degree. Depending on the school, you can get your degree in two or three years. Respiratory therapists work as part of a medical team, helping people with breathing difficulties. This is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the healthcare industry.
Average pay: $61,330
Projected job growth rate: 19% – much faster than average
3. Financial Analyst
Going back to school is worth it to get a career as a financial analyst. With more people taking control of their finances and interested in financial planning, plenty of financial analyst jobs are available. Working in this sector, you assist individuals and businesses in making wise investment decisions.
Average pay: $81,590
Projected job growth rate: 5% – faster than average
4. Industrial-organizational psychologist
If you have excellent communication skills and a desire to help others, becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist is a perfect choice. You work with large corporations performing research to improve the wellbeing of employees. As an adult graduate, you have an advantage in becoming a psychologist due to previous experience.
Average pay: $80,370
Projected job growth rate: 3% – 4% – as fast as average or slightly higher
5. Software Developer
There is enormous growth in most technology industries. This makes a career in software development worth going back to school. Software developers create apps and programs or develop computer systems. A bachelor’s degree in computer science will help you get a job in this growth industry.
Average pay: $107,510
Projected job growth rate: 22% – much faster than average
6. Web Developer
Returning to school is worth it to enjoy a career as a web developer. As a web developer, you design and create websites for companies or individuals. Also, many web developers maintain websites, keeping them secure and up to date. As a web developer, you can work with software companies or be self-employed.
Average pay: $73,760
Projected job growth rate: 8% – much faster than average
7. Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts are in high demand as businesses strive to increase productivity and revenue. As a market analyst, you study market conditions in various industries to advise on selling products or services. To become a market research analyst, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. But this can be worth going back to school if you progress in your career and make even more money.
Average pay: $63,790
Projected job growth rate: 18% – much faster than average
8. Solar Photovoltaic Installer
There is massive growth in the renewables sector and installing and maintaining solar panels is a lucrative engineering career. In fact, you may not even have to go back to college. You can qualify as a solar energy technician after going to a trade school or getting an apprenticeship.
Average pay: $44,890
Projected job growth rate: 51% – much faster than average
9. Management Consultant
It’s well worth going back to school for a career in management consultancy. If you already have experience in an industry, becoming a management consultant is a natural progression. As a consultant or analyst, you look at ways of improving an organization’s efficiency. With businesses wanting to cut costs and boost revenue, there is vast growth for management consultants.
Average pay: $85,260
Projected job growth rate: 11% – much faster than average
10. Healthcare Administrator
Getting a lucrative career as an administrator in a healthcare facility makes going back to school worth it. Medical and Health Services managers coordinate the business side of healthcare providers. It’s possible to work in doctor practices, hospitals, care centers, and nursing homes.
Average pay: $100,980
Projected job growth rate: 32% – much faster than average
Careers Worth Going Back to School: The Bottom Line
Going back to school is worthwhile to further your career or make a career change. There are plenty of opportunities for you to return to the classroom or take an online degree course. Thanks to further education, you could be earning much more than your current paycheck and work in a career you enjoy.