By Dawn Papandrea
Whether you're getting ready to return to the work force as your maternity leave winds down, or you're a longtime stay-at-home mom who wants to get her creative juices flowing again (and earn some extra cash for those college funds!), flexibility is everything. Finding a job that allows you to fit in soccer games, pediatrician appointments, Lego time, or PTA fundraisers is possible if you know where to look. Here are 10 careers to consider.
If you're looking for a rotating schedule ...
The nursing profession is a perfect fit for those who are nurturers (aka, moms!). But also because the hours are done in longer shifts so that moms end up with more than the traditional two days off during the week. Some moms even choose the grueling night shift so they can be awake by the time school lets out -- but that will cut into sleep time, so be warned. Educational requirements can have you in a nurse's uniform in less than two years and the pay is good with a median salary of $62,450 as of May 2008.
You might feel like you're already a dental hygienist with all of the teeth brushing battles and tooth fairy visits that go on in your home. But actually, to break into this field, you'll need to earn a certificate at minimum. The good news is that being a dental hygienist usually allows for part-time hours, and earnings potential is something to smile about with the median salary being $66,570.
If your kids are in school ...
What better way to stay in sync with your school-age children's schedules than by following the exact same one as a teacher? Depending on whether you choose to teach in the public school system or in a private school, the degree and certification requirements will vary by state. Keep in mind, even if you don't have an education degree, there may still be opportunities to enter the profession like the NYC Teaching Fellows or Teach for America programs. Median salary ranges depending on the state and type of institution, but averages in around $50,000.
Along the lines of teachers, school librarians work according to the school calendar, making it a very convenient place of employment for moms. Salary potential is excellent as well for those with degrees in library science especially, with median earnings coming in at $52,530. Bonus: You'll have easy access to whatever homework materials the students in your household may need.
If you're a night owl ...
5. Web Designer
The Internet is the best thing to happen to working moms, thanks to the ability to log on and work whenever and wherever. Those with a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field can jump into Web design as either a freelancer or a salaried employee, earning a median salary of $42,400. Either way, most projects can be done after kids' bedtime, or on a work-from-home basis if you find an employer who's cool with your other job -- mom.
You know how you're always coming up with really clever explanations to your children's very tough questions? That's perfect practice for techie moms who want to enter the technical writing field. The idea is the same: breaking down complex technical concepts into user-friendly terms. Usually a bachelor's degree, strong writing skills and technical knowledge is all you'll need to get started. But since that skill set is so rare, you'll be paid well to the tune of $61,620, and can usually complete projects according to your schedule.
Once again, we have technology to thank for telecommuting opportunities. Computer programmers can often work from home or remotely. If you've got a degree (sometimes even a certificate or associate is enough) in computers, start exploring opportunities in this point-and-click career. You may even be able to keep up with your digital-age kids while earning a median salary of $69,620.
If you're a naptime multi-tasker ...
If you're looking to earn money without leaving your home, medical billing and coding is a mom-friendly profession that can be performed while your little one is occupied with his or her latest artistic masterpiece (or better yet, napping!). Career training programs to become a specialist in this field are usually short-term, so you can get to work earning a median salary of $30,610 in a few months time.
The field of public relations requires a lot less face time, and a lot more social networking time than ever before. That's a score for PR-savvy moms who want to utilize their at-home downtime to build successful campaigns for their clients, and get paid well to do it (a median salary of $51,280). A bachelor's degree in communications, public relations, or a related field is best to set yourself apart from the competition.
If you've been having baby pangs again ...
If the sight of tiny feet makes you swoon, put your motherly instincts to professional use by becoming a doula, earning approximately $500 per birth. Doulas provide non-medical assistance and support to women through their childbirth and postpartum experiences, meaning the joys of motherhood are part of the job description. DONA (Doulas of North America) International-certified doulas must become educated on birth and postpartum issues by attending workshops and completing training.
Salary Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics
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