Careers that Offer Work-Life Balance

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Lately much attention has been given to the topic of work-life balance, specifically with regard to working mothers and the desire to “have it all”. But it isn’t just mothers or women that desire work-life balance, but also men and child-free individuals. How can you ensure a great career and still have time to spend with family or on your hobbies? One strategy is to choose a career that is known to provide flexibility and/or reasonable hours. Some careers to consider:

Teacher, K-12

Overall, the education field offers the best option for work-life balance and may be especially suitable for parents who wish to maximize time with their kids. Teachers receive more time off than workers in most other professions, and are rarely expected work long hours. Although teachers may take work home or attend conferences, they have one of the most family-friendly occupations. Kindergarten and elementary teachers earned a median annual wage of $51,380 in 2010*.

Dietitian or Nutritionist

Nutritionists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Approximately 20% of nutritionists work part-time*, and some work as self-employed consultants. A field that offers an abundance of part-time and self-employment opportunities typically offers better work-life balance. Nutritionists earned a median annual wage of $53,250 in 2010. A bachelor’s degree in dietetics or nutrition is required, in addition to a license and/or certification in most states.

Graphic Designer, Freelance

Although freelancing requires a lot of hours to be successful, self-employed individuals have more flexibility about where and when they work. Graphic design allows you to work from home, while providing an in-demand service for companies and individuals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 29% of graphic designers were self employed in 2010. Graphic designers earned a median annual wage of $43,500 in May 2010. A bachelor’s degree in graphic design is the requirement for most jobs, and a strong professional portfolio will help you land freelance gigs in this competitive field.

Speech-Language Pathologist

An often overlooked field, speech therapy offers good hours and a stable career path. Speech therapists diagnose and treat communication disorders. A large percentage of speech therapists work in schools, but they may also work in hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. A Master’s degree is required for most therapist positions and the median annual wage for 2010 was $66,920.

An increasing number of workers are seeking careers that offer flexibility and reasonable hours. Although many companies claim to value employees’ personal time, you can improve your chances of having a good work-life balance by choosing a career path that fits your lifestyle and avoiding careers that traditionally require long hours.

*All salary, job growth, and employment data from the Occupational Outlook Handbook : http://www.bls.gov/ooh/.

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