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5 Tech Jobs for Career Changers Stable Well-Paying Options for Quick Transitions

By Christina Couch

Those seeking second "encore" careers can look no further than their computer screen. Check out these high-tech positions perfect for seasoned employees ready for a change:

Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)

Kick your current job to the curb and get ready to break out the bubbly. Those with even cursory computer knowledge can be just two online exams away from a decent-paying position. According to, MCDSTs with anywhere from one to four years of experience command a median salary of approximately $41,000. The double good news is that you won't blow your future salary on pricey training courses, either. Those looking to become MCDSTs can either enroll in a preparation course or through an online university or can prepare for the exams on their own. The live exam costs $125 each; trainees are welcome to take extra tests in areas like Windows Vista or Hardware Certification to beef up their resume.

Computer-Aided Drafting Specialist

Job market trends may change, but one thing will always stay the same -- design concepts have to go from human to computer somehow. Dedicated to turning engineering concepts into three-dimensional computer models, CAD Specialists find work in a wide array of engineering and architectural firms. With short training programs -- community and junior colleges through the nation offer one-year CAD certificates -- and a median salary of nearly $40,000 according to, computer-aided drafting is an ideal field for employees looking to make a high-tech switch.

Geographic Information Systems Analyst

Welcome to cartography 2.0. Specializing in the creation and maintenance of computerized geography data -- think gathering and organizing maps and statistics in areas like socio-economic trends, political boundaries, and environmental changes -- GIS pros find work on the federal, state, and private levels. Listed as a new and emerging occupation by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, GIS analysts can get their start by enrolling in a one to two-year GIS certification program community college or online university; part-time options are available for working adults. Once they're certified, GIS analysts can expect to earn approximately $37,000 on average, according to

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

Listed as one of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the nation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the field will grow nearly 30% between now and 2016, leaving plenty of opportunities for job changers to snag a lucrative position. Splitting their time between the lab and the field, ESPTs collect and organize data related to environmental changes, the effects of pollution, toxicity levels of hazardous materials, and a regulation of waste products. A two-year associate degree from an accredited community, technical, or junior college is required to break into the field, which boasts a starting salary that ranges from $30,630 to $46,300 (on average).

IT and Computer Support Specialists

Large, small, federal, private, for- or non-profit -- every organization needs them, and we can't seem to get enough of them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in the next eight years, the U.S. will add approximately 60,720 new jobs in the field at companies ranging from Fortune 500 firms to mom-and-pop shops. Perfect for career changers armed with a lifetime of work experience, computer support newbies can break into the field with a computer-related associate degree or by passing certification tests through private computer training centers. Once trained, those in the field earn an average of $43,000 per year according to the BLS and can find work in nearly every corner of the country.

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