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Nontraditional Careers

Are you limiting your career choices without knowing it?

People sometimes think a career is not right for them because of who works in it. They're not thinking about what the job would be like.

Are you only looking for jobs that are similar to what your friends and family do? Or do you think of some jobs as "men's work" or a "woman's job?"

Opinions like these might be costing you money. You could pass on a good career that pays well and that you might enjoy simply because not many people who "look like you" work in that career.

The truth is, there is usually no good reason why people of one culture choose to work in one career, or not work in another. And there is not a lot of difference between some jobs that men do and women do.

You might be surprised to learn that the tasks and skill requirements in traditionally male and traditionally female jobs are really not all that different.

What Are Nontraditional Jobs?

Officially, nontraditional occupations are those that are dominated by one gender or the other. However, nontraditional careers can include jobs that are dominated by one cultural group. For example, if you are Hispanic and work in a science career with mostly Caucasian coworkers, you are in a nontraditional career.

The U.S. Department of Labor says nontraditional occupations are made of at least 75 percent of the majority group. Here are a few examples of nontraditional careers for each gender:

For men:

  • Clinical Laboratory Technologists
  • Dieticians
  • Meeting and Convention Planners

For women:

  • Chefs and Dinner Cooks
  • Conservation Scientists
  • Landscapers and Groundskeepers

Here are a few things to think about:

  • "Male" careers and "female" careers often aren't that different. For example, registered nurses (92 percent female) and civil engineers (89 percent male) use almost the exact same skills.
  • Contrary to stereotypes, many "male" jobs (such as parking lot attendant) do not require a lot of physical strength. Many "female" jobs (such as housekeeper) do.
  • You shouldn't limit your choices because you think you aren't entitled to work in a certain field. By law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against you because of your gender or cultural group.
  • Check to see if a career has any restrictions for people with felony convictions before you enter a training program or start to job search.

The point is: Don't limit your job search based on stereotypes. If you find career options that match your skills, interests, and values you are more likely to enjoy your work and could move into higher-paying positions more quickly.

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