5 New And Unique Careers And How You Should Prepare For Them

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We’d be lying if we said that the chaos of the past year and a half hasn't left us over analyzing our place in life. For some, this means taking up new hobbies or getting married to the love of their lives. For others it’s been about finally applying for that degree they’d always wanted or making a bucket list of things they’ll do after the lockdown ends. And for some, it’s been about contemplating their career choices. And whether you’ve been wondering what career path to take, aren’t sure of the job you’re in at the moment, are hoping to switch to something unique, or just don’t like taking the beaten path (especially with the pandemic reminding us of how short our lives are), then this one’s for you. We understand that, although great choices in themselves, being a lawyer or a software engineer isn’t for everyone. And so we’ve put together a list of unique and new career paths that have a lot of potential for growth, especially if they’re something you can see yourself being passionate about.

1. Expressive Arts Therapist

A multimodal approach to therapy, expressive arts therapy, as its name suggests, involves using music, writing, dramatics, painting, sketching, dancing, or even simple movement to help patients explore their responses, reactions, insights, and emotions. Doing this can be more introspective than traditional talk therapy since it helps patients express themselves freely, regardless of their artistic abilities. With the help of a qualified therapist, expressive arts therapist can help treat developmental disabilities, eating disorders, stress, depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. 

In order to be an expressive arts therapist, you’d need a master’s degree in counseling with a concentration in expressive arts therapy from a reputed university. A bachelor’s degree in counseling or psychology would help build a good foundation as well. Some mental health professionals opt for a diploma course in art therapy to add to their skillset and work towards practicing as an expressive arts therapist.

Post formal education, you could intern under the supervision of art therapy facilitators and observe sessions to get an understanding of how to approach, guide, and engage with patients before setting up your own practice. Expressive arts therapists charge anything between Rs 1000-2000 per personal session.

2. Acupuncturist 

Most people aren’t strangers to the practice of acupuncture. It involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles, activated through gentle and specific movements of the practitioner's hands or with electrical stimulation. It’s a part of Traditional Chinese medicine wherein practitioners believed that the human body consists of more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by pathways ( or meridians) that (together) created an energy flow (called Qi) through the body that determined overall health. Disruption of the energy flow was believed to cause disease and acupuncture was used to improve the flow of Qi. 

A master’s degree in acupuncture from an accredited university can help you be a successful acupuncturist. Most practitioners recommend engaging in hours of training and interning in order to develop good interpersonal, communication, and listening skills along with a logical approach to solving problems, good hand-eye coordination, and a steady hand. Once you’ve got these down pat, you can start your own practice. Entry-level practitioners earn an average of 3 lakh per annum, while more experienced ones earn up to a little over 5 lakh per annum.

3. Food Scientist

If you’ve ever noticed a food authority’s stamp of approval on something you bought off of a supermarket grocery shelf, you have a food scientist to thank for it. Food scientists use their knowledge of life and physical sciences to research, develop, and test different ingredients and foods to make sure they’re safe for human consumption, create new methods of food production, processing, and packaging, and implement regulatory aspects so that a finished product meets the country’s food laws and standards of quality and safety. A day in their life includes specifying accurate nutritional information for food labeling, researching ways to keep food fresh and safe for longer, and working towards methodologies that reduce time and cost while maintaining nutrients and quality so that the food is sans contamination. 

Some food scientists are employed in R&D departments of food processing companies to keep things running smoothly. Some worood scientist, you’d need a bachelor’s degree in food science, chemistry, microbiology or a related field. A master’s degree in science or a Ph.D. in Food Science is mandatory for a position in government laboratories, such as BIS and FSSAI in India, or research posts in universities. A food scientist who’s just starting out earns up to Rs. 40-60,000 per month while more experience translates to 1-2 lakh per month.

  1. Ethical Hacker

Also known as penetration testing or pen testing, ethical hacking involves legally breaking into computers and devices to test an organization's defenses. It’s arguably one of the most exciting IT jobs that someone could be involved in, so if you’re already in the field and need something a bit more challenging and fun, this might be it for you because it involves getting paid to keep up with the latest technology. Plus, you get to break into computers without the threat of being arrested. 

Most ethical hackers become professionals by either developing hacking skills on their own, taking formal education classes, or both. There are a lot of courses and certifications that teach ethical hacking that you could take up on a self-study basis. And while you don’t need to be certified to be a professional, it definitely can give you a leg up. Most ethical hackers, however, do have a computer science degree. In India, the average salary of an ethical hacker for a fresher is Rs. 3.5 lakh per annum which can go up to Rs 15 lakh per year with experience.

5. Wildlife Rehabilitator

If you love animals and have always wanted to work with them, this might just be something that interests you. Wildlife rehabilitators treat and care for injured native species until they’re healthy enough to be released back into the wild. Their job entails feeding animals, cleaning cages, and providing them with a safe environment while also maintaining records on each animal, supervising volunteers/interns, conducting campaigns to raise funds, fielding phone calls from people who have found wildlife in distress, and coordinating educational demonstrations for the public. They often work with governmental agencies, nonprofit groups, zoos, and humane societies. Some wildlife rehabilitators have another primary occupation like biologist, veterinarian, or zoologist. 

In order to be a wildlife rehabilitator, you’d need a degree in biology, animal science, animal behavior, or zoology. An internship with an experienced wildlife rehabilitator will help build a good foundation and develop hands-on experience. Volunteering with a wildlife veterinarian or a wildlife rehabilitation facility makes for a great learning experience as well. A beginner in this field earns up to 1.5 lakh per annum while a senior wildlife rehabilitator earns up to 2 lakh per annum. 

Life’s too short to be doing anything that doesn’t make your heart sing, especially when it comes to something like your career, which takes up a significant amount of your time. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a good starting point for when you’d like to consider some offbeat job options. Don’t forget to follow your gut at all times and you’re sure to succeed. 

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