The best "second chance" careers - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

The best "second chance" careers

If you are looking for a new career or need a new job, re-introducing yourself to the workforce can be a challenge. But there are several fields that pay well and can make for a quick transition.

Job security isn't what it used to be. Things can change in minutes, from having a great job to searching the classifieds for the next opportunity. There are those who have saved the best for last – a second chance to  make a difference in a brand new field.

Ron Meder worked in sales for almost three decades. One day he found out his job was gone, leaving him unemployed.

"After 25 years, one day I came in and they eliminated my job," says Meder. "I was almost out of work for a year. It was fun at first, but then it was time to get back to work."

Today, Meder is a financial advisor with Wells Fargo. His past experiences make this encore career a good match.

"I called on a lot of businesses, made a lot of good contacts, made a lot of good friends that way and of course I know lots of people from past experiences, so that's where I try to find my client base," he says.

Meder isn't alone. Many job seekers are even going back to school, learning new skills to find their second career.

The Department of Labor ranks these professions as the best for a quick change:

  1. Medical assistant
  2. Paralegal
  3. Administrative assistant
  4. Computer support
  5. Dental assistant

At Cincinnati State University, some students have the right idea by taking advantage of the school's 2-year co-op programs.

"They teach you what's real in the business world," says student Alison Wagoner. "It's not just right through the book."

Wagoner has worked in restaurants, bars and even a bank. Now, she has just 10 classes left before earning an associate's degree in business, focusing on office management. Her co-op is full time at Neace Lukens, where she has helped create a nationwide database of nursing homes for the company.

"I would like to stay with Neace Lukens if the opportunity is available," she says. "If not, I plan on trying to find something else and maybe even get my bachelor's (degree)."

Cincinnati State's co-ops involve many high-demand careers, and students are capitalizing on them.

"A few years ago, legal assistant was my largest program. I think people liked 'LA Law' on TV," notes Adam Waits, coordinator of Cincinnati State's business co-op. "Now my medical administrative assistant program has become the largest program, because there is a need for that in the market place."

Cincinnati State's connections to hundreds of employers allow students the opportunity to land a job in their new career. Many colleges, universities and employment agencies provide extensive career services that can be helpful whether you're looking for your first job or just trying to make a transition.

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