Aaron Rison says his job as a kindergarten teacher often makes him the butt of jokes with his friends.
“They’re always saying I’m doing women’s work or asking if the kids call me Mrs. Rison,” he says.
But with a respectable salary, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. scheduling and his summers off, Rison says he’s having the last laugh. “I get to work with kids all day,” says the 31-year-old Houston resident. “I couldn’t ask for a better job.”
More men now realize the merits of occupations in fields traditionally comprised of women.
Aside from teachers, men can find rewarding careers as nurses, flight attendants, social workers, dental hygienists, hair stylists and speech pathologists, among others. The U.S. Department of Labor defines a non-traditional male occupation as an occupation with less than 25 percent of a male workforce.
Sarah Anderson, a health care recruiter in San Diego, Calif., says the fact that more than 90 percent of nurses are female often alienates men from choosing nursing as a career.
“Male nurses are becoming increasingly important in healthcare today,” says Anderson. “Society still has a perception of a woman in a white dress propping up a patient’s head on a pillow, but in reality, nursing is a very demanding, very physical – dare I say ‘male’ – field.”
Dominick Macioge, a registered nurse for Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, says the benefits of nursing are reason enough to stake out a career in the field.
“There’s a reward in nursing that’s not tangible - you can’t touch it, but it’s there,” Macioge says. “There’s a feeling you can go home with from being a nurse that you’re not necessarily going to have in a lot of other fields.”
Eric Jennison, a career adviser in Buffalo, N.Y., says most men don’t share Macioge’s attitude.
“It’s income first and importance next,” says Jennison, who thinks most men should evaluate what they want out of life in general before focusing in on what they want out of their careers.
Jennison thinks that money-first mindset may be lost on many of today’s college students, who have become increasingly aware of their options.
“Most students are savvy enough to realize that there is money to be made and enrichment to be gained in fields their fathers never would have considered,” Jennison says.
Speaking of fathers, an added bonus for Rison is the amount of time he gets to spend with his two children.
“I’m really lucky because I get to spend my summers camping, going to baseball games and running my kids all over the place,” says the divorced dad.
Rison also picks up extra cash during summer by detailing cars.
“It’s a great side business,” he says. “It keeps me busy and gives me some spending money.”