Are You Considering an Encore Career?
Find out what graduate degree you need to start your encore career.
July 16, 2014
People seeking encore careers are described as industry professionals who are switching to a more humanitarian career. The term encore career was first coined by author Marc Freedman, the CEO of Civic Ventures and is meant to be a new stage of work to fill the gap between a first career and retirement.
Many people need to get additional education in order to be qualified to make the move to their new career. Some people may need to pursue a certificate, career training associates degree, transfer associates degree or a bachelors degree, but many people need to seek a masters degree in order to be fully qualified. Don’t let that intimidate you though, as many masters degrees can be completed in two years, or less. In addition, many states have tuition waiver programs for senior citizens of retirement age, making the cost of tuition obsolete.
Why are People Choosing Encore Careers?
Older professionals are choosing to pursue an encore career for a variety of reasons. Some students have always had the desire to be in a career in which they can give back to their community, while others are simply burned out on their current jobs, but not with working in general. The BLS reports that by 2018 there will be more jobs than there will be qualified people to fill them. The bulk of these jobs will be in green technology, healthcare, teaching and nonprofits.
Recently, baby boomers have seen the retirement age rising without having any say in the matter, which leaves them feeling trapped in their current profession. Encore careers provide this demographic with a reason to want to continue working, even after the government issued retirement age. Supporters of encore careers say that by having the aging baby boomer population continue work, they will essentially be raising the average retirement age.
Some people are hesitant about starting encore careers because they are worried about age discrimination. These feelings are valid, but according to a 2008 survey by Civic Ventures and Metlife, between 5.3 and 8.4 million Americans have already started their encore career, leading to the belief that if you put in the effort, you will be able to find an employer willing to hire you.
Earn a Masters Degree to Transfer to an Encore Career
There are many encore careers in which a masters degree can help you gain employment. Although many of these careers require taking a pay cut, most find the reward of helping others and continuing to be a productive American citizen outweigh this drawback. Below is a list of graduate programs that you may want to consider pursuing if you are thinking about switching to an encore career.
- There is a teacher shortage in elementary school, middle school and high school throughout the country. A masters degree in education and teaching will allow you to fill these already open roles. For a elementary and middle school teaching, a bachelors degree in education is usually sufficient, but secondary school teachers are encouraged to have a masters degree in secondary education.
- If you don’t have a background in health, but are interested in becoming a registered nurse (RN), there are accelerated masters degree nursing programs (MSN) designed specifically for students who have a bachelors degree in another field. These programs usually take between three and four years to complete and grant individuals with both a bachelors degree in nursing (BSN) and an MSN. With an MSN, students are eligible to become advanced practice nurses, leading to careers such as a nursing mid-wife, nurse anesthetist and more.
- People who enjoy working directly with children, teens and parents thrive in a career as a social worker. While a minimum of a bachelors degree in social work (BSW) is required, those who have already earned a bachelors degree in another field and are looking for a more advanced position should pursue a masters degree in social work (MSW).
- If you are interested in medicine, but don’t want to commit to the time requirements of a doctoral program, consider earning a masters degree for a physician assistant. A physician assistant prepares an individual to practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician.
- With new green jobs being created each year, seeking a masters degree in environmental science or environmental studies is a great idea for those looking for an encore career that helps the environment and humanity. With this degree, you can move onto a career as an environmental scientist, geoscientist or even a science teacher, to name a few.
- Non-profit businesses are a popular choice for those changing to an encore career because it gives them the opportunity to utilize their business knowledge as well as give back to their community. Whether you have a background in business or not, earning a masters degree in non-profit management will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to make your next career move.
- A masters degree in health services administration, health sciences or public health is sufficient for a career as a medical manager. Although you won’t be working with patients directly, it is the medical manager’s responsibility to oversee an entire department to improve efficiency and ensure that the patient’s quality of care is maintained.
Top Masters Degree Programs
- Business Administration and Management Schools
- Health/Health Care Administration/Management Schools
- General Education Schools
- Human Resources Management/ Personnel Administration Schools
- Finance Schools
- Curriculum and Instruction Schools
- Accounting and Related Services Schools
- Management Information Systems Schools
- General Psychology Schools
- Health and Medical Administrative Services Schools
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