Non-Traditional Careers For Men To Learn

Non-traditional careers for men are those which are, traditionally, performed by women. Women have historically been perceived as more nurturing than men, and as a result female-dominated careers often require a significant amount of empathy (for example, fields such as teaching and nursing). Luckily these stereotypes don’t reflect the reality that men are also entirely capable of enjoying and succeeding in non-traditional careers. Continue reading to learn more about what careers are female dominated and why men should consider joining these growing fields.

What are Non-Traditional Careers for Men?

The United States Department of Labor officially defines a non-traditional career as one in which the opposite gender holds 75% or more of the positions in that occupation. In this case, that means jobs with 25% or less male employees. Here are some traditionally female-dominated careers that are expected to grow through 2026.

Dental Assistant

  • Percentage of men in this field: 4.1% 
  • Median annual salary: $37,630 
  • Employment outlook: 19% growth between 2016-26, much faster than average 
  • Education needed: Completion of a certificate program in most states, but not all
  • What they do: Dental assistants work in dental offices to help complete the administrative or clerical tasks needed to keep the practice running smoothly as well as to help care for the patients. People who are interested in healthcare and are detail-oriented would do well in this career.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Elementary School Teacher

  • Percentage of men in this field: 20.7% 
  • Median annual salary: $56,900 
  • Employment outlook: 7% growth between 2016-26 
  • Education needed: Bachelor’s degree and a state-issued certification for public schools
  • What they do: Elementary school teachers work with young children (ages approximately 5 to 10) to educate them and help them develop the skills they will be using for the rest of their lives. Patience, persistence and a love of children are all invaluable skills for this career.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Event Planner

  • Percentage of men in this field: 14.9% 
  • Median annual salary: $48,290 
  • Employment outlook: 11% growth between 2016-26, faster than average 
  • Education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • What they do: Event planners work with customers to organize conventions, meetings and more, including small personal engagements and larger corporate events. People with strong organizational and communication skills will perform well in this career, especially if they are talented at working independently. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hairdresser & Cosmetologist

  • Percentage of men in this field: 7.4% 
  • Median annual salary: $24,900 
  • Employment outlook: 13% growth between 2012-26, faster than average 
  • Education needed: Completion of a state-approved program, passing score on state licensing exam
  • What they do: Hairdressers and cosmetologists help their customers look their best, whether for a special event or a new everyday hairstyle. People interested in art and fashion may enjoy this career, as well as individuals who enjoy working closely with other people. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


  • Percentage of men in this field: 20.5% 
  • Median annual salary: $58,520 
  • Employment outlook: 9% growth between 2016-26 
  • Education needed: Master’s degree in library science
  • What they do: Librarians help patrons find books and other resources while also connecting them with community events, tools, information and more. Individuals who love reading, enjoy helping others and are passionate about information literacy would be a good fit for this field. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Medical Assistant

  • Percentage of men in this field: 8.4% 
  • Median annual salary: $32,480 
  • Employment outlook: 29% growth between 2016-26, much faster than average 
  • Education needed: Completion of a medical assisting program may be required, some of which lead to an associate degree. Some positions may only require a high school diploma.
  • What they do: Medical assistants work alongside other medical professionals, often performing administrative duties and taking patient histories. Organization and communication skills are useful for this career.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Paralegals & Legal Assistant

  • Percentage of men in this field: 13.7% 
  • Median annual salary: $50,410 
  • Employment outlook: 15% growth between 2012-26, much faster than average 
  • Education needed: Associate degree or certificate in paralegal studies
  • What they do: Paralegals work closely with a lawyer or law office, assisting with vital case work like background and legal research, filing and record-keeping. The ability to work well as part of a team and time management are integral parts of being a paralegal. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Registered Nurse

  • Percentage of men in this field: 10.1% 
  • Median annual salary: $70,000 
  • Employment outlook: 15% growth between 2012-26, much faster than average 
  • Education needed: Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a diploma from a nursing program, depending on the employer.
  • What they do: Registered nurses work in private practices, clinics and hospitals alongside doctors and other medical workers to care for patients by administering treatments, measuring vital signs and a wide variety of other important tasks. Compassion and the ability to work under pressure are musts for a successful career in nursing. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Social Worker

  • Percentage of men in this field: 17.5% 
  • Median annual salary: $47,980 
  • Employment outlook: 16% growth between 2012-26, much faster than average 
  • Education needed: At least a bachelor’s degree, though clinical social worker positions will require a master’s degree and post-degree experience in a clinical setting
  • What they do: Social workers offer support to children, families and individuals by connecting them with resources and other types of assistance. Social skills such as empathy and clear communication are needed to be a successful and effective social worker. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Special Education Teacher

  • Percentage of men in this field: 14.4% 
  • Median annual salary: $58,980 
  • Employment outlook: 8% growth between 2016-26 
  • Education needed: Bachelor’s degree, plus a state-issued certification for public schools
  • What they do: Special education teachers work with students who have intellectual, developmental and/or physical disabilities that prevent effective learning in a traditional classroom setting. People who are optimistic, compassionate and patient might enjoy this career. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Veterinary Assistant

  • Percentage of men in this field: 15.8% 
  • Median annual salary: $26,140 
  • Employment outlook: 19% growth between 2016-26, much faster than average 
  • Education needed: High school diploma
  • What they do:  Veterinary assistants work alongside veterinarians, helping with procedures and caring for animals at the office by feeding them, cleaning their cages and more. People who enjoy working with animals and have good problem-solving skills would be a good fit for this career. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Why Men Should Consider Non-Traditional Careers

Non-traditional careers can come with a wide range of benefits for men who decide to enter them. Not only are these so-called pink-collar jobs often parts of growing industries, but they also allow men to use a set of skills often ignored in traditionally male-dominated fields.

  • Find Common Ground: Men and women may enter a non-traditional career for the same reason, such as a passion for health care or a desire to put communication skills to good use. By entering non-traditional careers, men have the opportunity to work alongside individuals who have similar interests and passions.

  • Work in a Diverse Workplace: Men in non-traditional careers may find themselves working with a wide range of customers, coworkers and clients. These careers are often people-oriented or social in nature, which means that men may meet and interact with significantly more people than a traditional career might offer.

  • Work in Fast-Growing Industries: Traditionally male careers such as industry and manufacturing are on the decline while female-dominated careers such as healthcare are growing. For example, production occupations are estimated to decline 4 percent by 2026, while registered nurses and medical assistants are estimated to rise by 15 and 29 percent respectively. This means that non-traditional careers will offer men more job security and more long-term advancement opportunities than traditional careers.
  • Find Your Passion: Choosing a career based on genuine interest and passion, rather than one based on expectation and tradition, can be immensely satisfying and turn the daily grind into something fulfilling.

  • Stand Out from Other Applicants: In the interest of equity and diversity, employers in non-traditional fields may try to hire more men in order to promote a more balanced workforce. This means that men can be in high demand in these fields; additionally, if a 20-person applicant pool only has two men, those men will likely stand out and be more memorable to hiring managers and interviewers.

  • Work in a People-Centered Career : Many non-traditional careers for men are those that work closely with other people, be they clients, students or patients. Men who have good communication skills or appreciate the social aspects of a job would likely find these non-traditional jobs very enjoyable.

  • Earn a Higher Salary: Some non-traditional careers for men are very high-paying, such as nursing, which had a median salary of $70,000 per year in 2017. Other non-traditional careers may not have as high of a starting salary, but wages in these careers are more likely to increase than traditional and blue-collar jobs.

Challenges You Might Face

Despite the many benefits and advantages that can come with working in non-traditional careers, men may face some hurdles to entering and excelling in these fields. Here are some of the main challenges that men may face in non-traditional careers.

  • Unwanted Attention: Men may find it more difficult to blend in at their workplace if they are the only man there. As an extension of this, men may find themselves responsible for their entire gender, meaning that coworkers, friends and even bosses may perceive their successes or faults as representative of all men.

  • Discrimination or Harassment: People may believe or assume that the skills used in non-traditional careers are found only in women, such as compassion or the ability to nurture. These beliefs can come from people outside the field or even from employers and coworkers. Coworkers may even consider male employees to be somehow undeserving of the job and think that they were hired just to improve the gender balance of the workplace.

  • Lack of Support from Friends & Family: The people important in men’s lives may have very set ideas of what careers men should work in and as a result discourage men from entering non-traditional careers.

  • Difficulty Finding Mentors: Depending on the career, having a mentor can range from beneficial to absolutely vital. Some men may find it more difficult to relate to female mentors in their field or have trouble finding a mentor who has followed a similar career path.

  • Internalized BiasMen may not realize that non-traditional careers are viable options for them because they are used to seeing only women perform these jobs. Additionally, some men may feel discouraged from pursuing these careers because of the gendered stereotypes and assumptions surrounding them.

  • Isolation: Men who prefer to build friendships with other men may find themselves part of a workforce that has few, if any, other men. This can be especially true of careers that are extremely female-dominated, such as dental assistants.

  • Stereotyping: People might make assumptions about a man’s personality and life outside of work because of his career, which can lead to workplace discrimination and increased isolation.

A wide range of non-traditional careers exist beyond the examples given here, and men have entered and thrived in all of them. Devon is a man who has found success in a non-traditional career and enjoys working alongside women coworkers.

Culled from by Become Team

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