You’re opinionated and spoke well as a child, so you figured you’d become a lawyer.
But maybe you weren’t interested in either cliché, and loved the glitzy side of corporate America. You envisioned yourself in a three-piece suit or a pencil skirt, at the head of a boardroom, defending a strategy to increase your company’s bottom line. So you went to Wall Street after graduation to kick-start your career as an investment banker or consultant.
Millennials are jumping ship and switching career paths for a variety of reasons. But they’re not looking for any ol’ career. They want a high-paying gig that won’t require a lot of schooling and additional loans.
Here are a few options for millennial career changers to consider.
1. Software Engineers aka Coders aka Computer Programmers aka Web Developers
The fact that three-month-long coding boot camps have been popping up all over the nation in recent years to mold career changers into Web and app developers is testament to how solid this career path is. It’s also testament to how convenient it is to train for.
In just three months (or roughly six months, if you want to enroll in a part-time evening course so you can still work during the day), millennials are learning the computer languages needed to create websites, apps and the software programs that nearly every company on earth uses to communicate and interact with the audiences they need to reach. The boot camp usually costs approximately $14,000, but you'll come out on the other side being a junior-level developer who can immediately command an income in the $85,000-$105,000 salary range. You’ll also be working in a technology field that’s going out of its way to attract and train software engineers from underrepresented groups like women, African Americans and Latinos.
2. Personal Chef or Caterer
If people are still gushing over the hors d’oeuvre you whipped up for the holiday potluck dinner, then you might consider a career in catering or being a personal chef. According to Monster, a personal chef can start off making a few hundred dollars per day. And since your business will grow by word of mouth, that figure can grow exponentially depending on how good you are. You’ll do especially well if you have a mind for advising people on how much food they’ll need for an event and the most cost-effective (yet delicious) way to make the most out of their catering budgets.
3. Information Technology (Help Desk and Support Technicians)
Are you the guy or girl family members call upon when their laptop is acting up? You rarely ever need to call the IT department when you have a computer problem? Because you’re good at downloading software, and figuring out how to navigate the applications, programs and those pesky error messages in order to get the job done? If so, then a career in IT might be a great transition for you.
You’ll probably start off applying for a job at a company’s help desk as a support technician—but don’t worry about not having any formal training. Jason Edinger, a senior IT executive at a Washington, D.C.-based firm, told The Root that most organizations rely on technical interviews to vet entry-level IT candidates. Applicants answer pages of questions, and if they demonstrate that they know enough about computers, and they’re good at helping people with their baseline technical needs, that matters more than a degree. Starting salaries are typically in the $40,000-$50,000 range, depending on where you work, but you can move up the income ladder fairly quickly in the high-paying IT industry.
4. Dental Hygienist
For those who aren’t in the health care field and are looking to ease their way into it without four years of medical school, becoming a dental hygienist is a great option. Dental hygienists often provide the same oral health care as dentists, but instead of going to dentistry school, all you need to become one is an associate degree in dental hygiene and a state license. Depending on which state you live in, you must also have graduated from an accredited program, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Dental hygienists make approximately $70,000 on average, and from 2012 to 2013, the number of jobs grew by 33.3 percent. U.S. News & World Report also ranked the field as one of the top 10 careers, since it allows for a lot of scheduling flexibility and, again, there’s growing demand for hygienists. People are always going to be concerned about their pearly whites.
5. Health-and-Wellness Educator
Companies are realizing that the health and well-being of their employees affects their bottom lines, so they’re bringing in health-and-wellness educators to work with their staffers one-on-one to address their wellness needs. If you don’t want to work in a traditional health care environment like a hospital, this career might be the one for you. Wellness educators experience a lot of versatility. They go inside different kinds of work environments to create wellness plans for different kinds of professionals.
Time magazine says it’s a great career if you’re a “people person” who is good at getting people to “make behavioral changes.” The average salary is approximately $60,000. Most career changers already have the four-year degree needed for this gig, so they’ll just need to get the specialist certification required of health-and-wellness educators to become one.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.