For many people, knowing what career path to take is a difficult decision. It can be especially hard when you are strong academically in a range of subjects and looking to specialize in one field when you move on to higher education. Your grades may open up a range of possible further education options and you may not know for sure which direction to go in.
Conversely, you may have spent several years in a job that gives you sufficient levels of income but does not particularly inspire you. In such circumstances you may be considering a career change that gives you increased fulfillment and a new way of working. Whatever your personal situation, in this article eight interesting career opportunities are presented.
These jobs and vocations will appeal to a wide range of interests and each career option has information on the education and skills required to become a suitable candidate for the role.
For many people, crime is a fascinating subject. Whilst we may not condone or fully understand the motives and actions of criminals, crime and the underlying psychology of criminal activity is an extremely interesting field of study. Research suggests that there are six major reasons why people commit crime, which range from losing control under the effects of drugs and alcohol to poverty and making bad morale choices in life.
If you have a keen sense of justice and a desire to serve and protect your local community, the role of criminologist may be an ideal career path. There are several academic routes that can be taken to gain the knowledge and skills to work towards becoming a criminologist.
One route is to undertake criminology courses online. This can be ideal if you do not want to attend a higher education establishment in person as it can free up time to allow you to work and generate income whilst you study in your spare time. Gaining a recognized higher education degree in criminology can open career paths to a range of careers in this field such as a crime scene investigator and probation officer, to name just two.
If you have a deep desire to help people in their times of crisis and after sustaining serious injuries, then the role of paramedic may be a deeply satisfying career choice. Paramedics often respond to a variety of serious and time-critical emergency situations during any given shift. These can range from traumatic injuries sustained in road traffic collisions to treating stroke patients and even offering potentially life-saving care to patients who are in cardiac arrest.
It is fair to say that no two days are the same in the field of pre-hospital emergency care, and if you enjoy treating a wide range of patients from all levels of society and using quick thinking backed up by sound clinical judgement, then this role may be perfect for you.
Key skills required involve keeping calm in situations that can often be highly stressful and being able to communicate clearly whilst rapidly undertaking key medical interventions and stabilizing patients before conveying them to hospital.
Key qualifications required include a state-recognized EMT course and an accredited Paramedic program—depending on what level you want to enter the service. An EMT course can take as little as six months whereas a paramedic qualification takes around a year to complete—depending on the country you plan to work in.
If you are passionate about the search for facts and getting to the root of a problem or story and then communicating your findings to the wider public, you may be considering a career in the field of journalism. Routes into the profession typically involve holding a degree in English (or the language you will communicate in), before undertaking a master’s degree or post-graduate certificate in journalism to learn the key skills required such as shorthand and knowledge of the law.
The beauty of a career in journalism is that it offers genuine scope to specialize in a field of news that interests you. If you are fascinated by politics and the government you could shape your career path to lead you to roles such as political editor or political correspondent. If you have a passion for local news and community developments, you could specialize in human insight stories for your local newspaper. The scope for specialization in journalism is truly immense and can satisfy the career aspirations of a wide range of people.
Stock Market Trader
For people who thrive in a high-pressure environment and enjoy making quick decisions with finances and stocks then a stock market trader may be an ideal career path. Traders must typically possess a university degree with a minimum GPA score of 3.7 before gaining the relevant licenses and professional trading qualifications. Your degree does not necessarily need to be in a specific area, but students from finance, math, and business tend to go into this field of work as a natural progression of studies.
Stock market traders must react well to stress as the trading floor of any stock exchange can become extremely fraught at times. In addition, the stock market can experience periods of high volatility because of global issues such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Global issues tend to directly affect the world stock market in our interconnected world, and as such investment decisions must be backed up by sound logic and a deep understanding of international markets.
Video games tester
If you have a passion for gaming and enjoy the latest technology, then the role of video games tester may be a perfect career opportunity. Be aware that this role is not simply about playing the latest games, though. Testers will need to undertake complex—and often repetitive—bug testing and attempt to play a game that is in the beta stage to cause crashes and freeze, in order to ensure that these bugs are ironed out ahead of release.
You may be required to write reports, log bugs, and confirm that fixes have taken place successfully. If you have an eye for detail and quality assurance, it can make for an extremely fulfilling career if this line of entertainment appeals to you. Whilst starting salaries tend to be low at around $18k, an experienced lead tester on a big budget game can make as much as $55k a year.
Today, the role of airline pilot remains a very prestigious and highly regarded role. If you enjoy traveling the world and have a sound knowledge of math and physics, you can move straight from school into an airline training academy and learn the skills needed to fly large commercial and passenger planes.
To become a full-fledged airline pilot you will need to pass a series of extremely complex exams, along with hundreds of hours of real-world flying time. Depending on which aircraft you plan to specialize in flying, you may also need to undergo further aircraft-specific training, flight time, and testing.
Salaries for full-fledged airline pilots remain high, and the average salary is over $160k—making it a superbly well paid career.
In recent decades, the work of highly skilled chefs has truly caught the public’s imagination and made media celebrities out of the world’s best chefs. It is fair to say that this industry has become far more glamourous in recent years, and being a top chef is now a sought-out career path for many aspiring cooks.
To start your career, you normally require a high school diploma before moving on to study in a culinary school. After this you may look for opportunities to get on-the-job training with established and well-renowned chefs. Be aware that competition for places with some of the world’s top chefs is intense, and you must demonstrate exceptional culinary skills, imagination, and clear potential for growth to improve your chances of being accepted.
Once you are fully qualified there are several career paths. You can specialize as a sous chef, rise up to become a head chef, or even ultimately own and run your own bespoke restaurant.
It is difficult to predict salaries given the breadth of career paths but as a starting point, an average salary for a newly trained chef is $15 per hour.
Many people enjoy taking the perfect shot of a sunset or capturing a crowd scene that conveys interest and meaning. If you enjoy photography as a hobby, you may eventually consider it as a career as your skills and knowledge develop.
Generally, routes into the profession require an arts-based degree that allows for a portfolio of photographic work to be completed. After this, many aspiring photographers assist more established people before setting up business for themselves.
As a general estimate, qualified photographers earn around $30-40K per year, but a lot depends on the nature of their work.
To sum up
This article has described eight interesting and unique career choices that offer a range of vocations. Many require higher levels of education, but all provide scope for valuable and specialized work and can generate impressive salaries for suitable levels of commitment.