By Jennifer Berry
There's been a lot of talk lately about jobs that allow you to achieve work-life balance. Sounds nice in theory, but do these types of career options really exist?
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Sara Sutton Fell, the CEO of FlexJobs - a professional job service designed to help people find legitimate flexible positions - and came away from our discussion encouraged.
"There are definitely jobs that allow a better work-life balance out there," says Fell.
The key thing to remember is that work-life balance can mean different things for different people.
The good news is that more businesses and employees are open to thinking out of the box when it comes to when and where the work gets done. In fact, the FlexJobs job board is full of part-time, freelance, and telecommuting job opportunities.
Interested in learning more about careers that let you balance your work with your life? See some options that may work for you… and ways to potentially break into the field.
If you're looking for a career that won't zap all your energy, consider a Medical Assistant career.
Is your ideal gig one that won't require you to regularly stay late? A career in medical assisting could leave you with plenty of energy to focus on other aspects of your life.
Work-life balance: As a medical assistant, you might be doing both hands-on work (recording vital signs) and office duties (taking patients' medical histories). Because your work responsibilities revolve around the office, you shouldn't have to take this job home with you.
Education options: Look into associate's degree in medical assisting and medical assisting certificate or diploma programs.
Average earning potential: The average annual salary for medical assistants is $29,450. The top ten percent can average more than $39,970.*
[Find Medical Assisting schools near you]
Want to set your own schedule? Look into Sales Representative careers.
If the idea of a 9-to-5 job makes your skin crawl, a career with flexibility built in may be just what the doctor ordered. Sales representatives work hard, it's true, but could potentially do it on their own terms.
Work-life balance: Participating in client meetings and attending trade shows may be part of the profession…but the good news is that you might be able to do a lot of your day-to-day work online or over the phone. Because of this, many sales reps work from home.
Sales positions are among the most numerous telecommuting gigs listed on the FlexJobs job board, says Fell. "There are excellent jobs in all levels of sales, from starting positions to regional account managers to director level," says Fell.
Education options: If you're interested in sales, consider studying marketing and communications. These types of degrees could help you develop negotiating skills; prepare you to understand the needs of specific target groups; and learn how to communicate effectively with your market.
Average earning potential: The average annual salary for sales reps is $61,400 including commissions. Top earners average at more than $106,130 a year.*
[Search for Marketing and Business degree programs]
If you're looking for flexibility, look to Accounting.
Think you have to sacrifice high earning potential for work-life balance? Not true…just look at accountants. As an accountant, you could work for a business or take on your own clients as a personal tax accountant.
Work-life balance: Many accounting job opportunities offer telecommuting, freelance, or part-time schedules, according to Fell. Some of the recent jobs listed on FlexJobs include Accounting Manager (part-time), Director of Finance (full-time telecommuting job), and Accountant/Controller (part-time job).
Education options: To pursue this type of work, look into earning a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. In addition to teaching you accounting principles, some programs may also prepare you to sit for the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) examination.
Average earning potential: Accountants have an average annual salary of $67,430. The top ten percent can average more than $104,450 a year.*
[Find Accounting and Business schools and degree programs]
*All salary information is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009.
By Jennifer Berry