What is a nontraditional career?
The term “nontraditional career” refers to jobs that are traditionally filled by one gender. The United States Department of Labor identifies those occupations in which one gender comprises less than 25% of the individuals employed in that type of job. For example, Automotive Technology is considered nontraditional for women, because statistics show that of all the people working in that field, less than 5% are female. Electricians are another male dominated field. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, over 97% of electricians are male. Social Work, on the other hand, is considered nontraditional for men, since less than 20% of Social Workers are male. And over 85% of Paralegals are women
There are many benefits to choosing a nontraditional career including higher salary, greater benefits, job satisfaction, and a wider variety of careers to consider. Importantly, by pursuing a nontraditional career you become an inspiration for other men and women and a role model for future generations. As an example, a CBS segment on 60 Minutes on March 3, 2019 Closing the Gender Gap in the Tech Industry reported that the number of women majoring in computer science is declining. There is much opportunity for women in this field — companies are looking to hire women. New jobs in this field are being created nearly four times the rate of other jobs. Yet, females hesitate to enter the field because they are not comfortable in the male dominated classroom and workplace. If there are more women in the classrooms and workplaces in nontraditional fields, their presence will attract more females.
The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity is a good resource for information on nontraditional career preparation and strategies
Nontraditional Options for Women
Women are starting to break down barriers as Architects. This is a prestigious and exciting career where women can use their creativity and spatial skills for the challenging work of designing buildings, homes, and cities. See CNN style article: Five top women in world architecture: ‘Now is our time’
- Automotive Technology
There is a high demand for women in this area. The need for qualified technicians and mechanics is greater than ever as the industry grows and expands. Cars will always require maintenance, so this lucrative field is a great option. Customers report higher satisfaction with female mechanics, and female customers will seek out female technicians.
- Communication Media
- Computer Science
This field is high paying for both men and women, and is a great option for women to apply their tech skills, while having a healthy work/life balance. This is an occupation that frequently allows employees to work from home and provides greater flexibility during the work week. An exciting field to learn cutting edge technology. Visit The Current State of Women in Computer Science.
- Criminal Justice
Varied careers exist for females in criminal justice. As police officers, studies have shown that women are less likely to use excessive force than male counterparts. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security protect our citizens, but there are not enough females in these agencies. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing fields yet women make up only 11% of workers. There is tremendous potential for females in this field including in forensic psychology.
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Female engineers are still in the minority, but there are many successful females in this industry. There is a wide range of choices in engineering including electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, computer, biomedical, industrial, and aerospace and aeronautical. This is a high paying field with great opportunities for females.
Nontraditional Options for Men
More women pursue teaching, but male teachers are sorely needed to bring diversity to classrooms and contribute to a healthy and varied school experience. Diversity promotes creativity and innovation. Opportunities exist for teachers at all levels from K-12 and high school to technical education and administration.
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- Human Services
Men who choose social work find the profession highly fulfilling. This field has an excellent job outlook with room for advancement and growth. Entry level positions may be found in family services, child welfare, public health, substance abuse and government agencies.
While women nurses still dominate the field of nursing, increasingly men are becoming aware of the many opportunities in this rewarding career. Nursing is a caring profession that also provides secure employment and career advancement. Male nurses have opportunities in all areas including obstetrics, geriatrics, emergency room, transport, pediatrics, as nurse anesthetists and many other specialties.
- Paralegal Studies
Males are making inroads in this traditional female occupation. This career path is a great opportunity to learn about the legal field. Paralegals have varied opportunities in law firms, government, and business.
- Radiologic Technology
Health care professionals in radiologic technology perform x-ray exams, MRI scans, mammograms, CT scans and more. Radiologic technologist are responsible for accurately positioning and ensuring there is a quality image for diagnosis. Rad Techs work in hospitals, physician offices, medical labs, outpatient centers, and federal or state agencies. This is a great field for men interested in a stable career with salary growth and opportunities for additional certifications.