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4 Second Careers That Offer Competitive Salaries

While the salaries for patient advocates can vary -- this is still largely considered an emerging profession -- a March report by The New York Times indicated that workers in this field can command fees anywhere from $15 to $150 an hour.

4. Teacher/adjunct professor

Average salary: $49,430

Suitable for: Someone with a bachelor's degree and a desire to teach children or adults, or someone with real-world business or industry experience that they would like to share with students or apprentices

Where the jobs are: Universities, community colleges and trade schools

Education is another growth industry that is evolving quickly. According to a recent MetLife Foundation and Encore.org survey, 30 percent of people in encore careers are already working in education. If you want to become a children's school teacher, you can join Teach For America, which trains college graduates and professionals to become teachers in exchange for a two-year teaching commitment in urban and rural public schools. If you want to become an adjunct or continuing education teacher or professor at a post-secondary school, you can look into teaching certificates, or inquire at your local colleges about their requirements for instructors.

"It may not be easy to find that perfect combination of a job that provides meaning in your life and a paycheck," says Plunkett. "But the right job is out there for people willing to do employer research, network and sell their skills and experience."

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