Thinking About Going Back to Work? Try a New Career in a Year

According to CNN Money, the Millennial Generation, those born between 1977 and 1995, switch jobs four times by the time they are 32. It is not surprising, then, that the average age of a community college student is 29. It seems that people are switching careers in addition to changing just their jobs.

If you are in the market for a new career, consider these mom-friendly options. They offer flexible learning at an affordable price and will have you working in a new industry in about a year:

Real Estate Agent

This is one of the most affordable re-education option for a new career. Classes are offered through local real estate firms as accelerated courses (2-3 weeks), home study or classroom learning. Each state has different requirements, but the average course time requires 90-135 hours, plus 30 post-license hours. According to Simply Hired, the average real estate agent makes $33,000 their first year.


This licensure covers hairdresser, colorist, makeup artist, nail technician and esthetician. Depending on the state you are working in, the programs require 1200-2100 hours of education. Classes are flexible and include daytime, evening and weekend hours and can be completed in one to two years. If you are looking to spend less time and money, the nail technician program ranges from 600-750 hours for completion. The salary range for a Cosmetologist is $16,000-$44,000 according to

Radiologic Technologist

With this degree, you can perform diagnostic imaging exams and administer radiation treatments. Most community colleges offer an associate’s degree, which is a two year program. However, if you already have a college degree, many of your general education classes should transfer, allowing you to complete your degree in less time. According to, the median income of a Radiologic Technologist is $52,216.

Medical Assistant

If you are interested in the medical field down the road, this is a great foot in the door. The career outlook for a Medical Assistant is better than average – 23% growth over the next 10 years according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The job entails administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals and physician’s offices. You can be certified in a year and go back to complete your associates degree, if desired, after you are employed. Median salary for a Medical Assistant is $30,590. 

Dental Hygienist

The amount of time it takes to complete this program through a community college depends on your previous education. Both two and four year degrees are accepted in the industry. Some community colleges offer 2+2 plans, allowing you to obtain a bachelor’s degree for the cost of community college classes. According to, the earnings of a Hygienist is $46,775 to $87,356.

Dog Groomer

Did you know most dog groomers are women? The average dog grooming school teaches safety, proper use of grooming tools and breed standards in a hands-on learning environment much like a Cosmetologist. The program time averages 500 hours to certification. Sadly, many states do not regulate a licensure program for dog groomers. reports the average dog groomer makes between $18,119 and $47,673. Since dog groomers split their pay with the shop owner, there is greater income potential for dog groomers who are self-employed. 


If you don’t have the time to get an advanced accounting degree, why not start with a bookkeeping certificate? A bookkeeper, otherwise known as a para professional accountant, assists business owners with general accounting procedures, payroll and tax preparation under the assistance of a CPA. It takes approximately 18 months and $6500 to complete the program through a community college and often includes opportunity for job placement. According to the Accounting Training and Testing Center, bookkeepers make between $38,500 and $57,250 per year.

Computer and Internetworking Technologies

There are many opportunities in this field and often requires less than a year for certification. The most common positions are in network security and support and system specialists. In other words, these are the people who set up and maintain large computer systems. Depending on your certification, you can expect to make $36,000 – $75,000 according to


Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. With the help of her supportive husband and family, she was able to go back to school and start a new career in less than a year.

Guest Contributor