Non-Traditional Careers

By: Morgan Hanna and Shelby McIntyre

What Is A Non-Traditional Career?

Occupations that require working in a field that has been traditionally dominated by 70% of the other gender. These jobs usually require post-secondary vocational or technical training. These jobs break the stereotypes of “men’s work” and “women’s work’.
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Pest Control

A women pest control worker

10 Non-Traditional Careers

Pest Control Workers: Women

File Clerks: Men

Plumber: Women

Librarian: Men

Airline Piolots: Women

Teller: Men

Dentist: Women

Hairdresser: Men

Dishwasher: Women

Psychiatric Aides: Men

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Orlando Pita

His Work: One of the most sought-after editorial hairstylists, Pita’s designs have graced the covers of countless magazines worldwide and his work has been seen in hundreds of ad campaigns and television commercials. He is also one of the top artists during fashion weeks worldwide. His Orlo Salon in New York City is a haven for models, celebrities, socialites and royalty.
Why He’s Influential: “In my 25-year career, I’ve been so honored in having the ability to work collaboratively with so many talented people. For me, I am constantly trying to challenge myself in all aspects of my work—whether it’s editorial fashion and beauty features, campaigns, runways around the world or in the salon with my clients. Last year, W magazine was kind enough to name me as one of fashion’s most influential people—that is when I knew I made the right choice in becoming a hairdresser.”
Who Influences Him: “My parents. My mother was a seamstress and my father was always fixing things around the house—I watched both parents constantly work with their hands. It was only appropriate that my profession allowed me to work with my hands, too.”
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Lillian Ann Baumbach Jacob

Famous for becoming the first woman master plumber in the 1950?s Lillian became the pen-pal of more than 250 men in the United States and overseas, 75 letters from Korea alone included election as pin-up girl for an infantry company. Lillian was also on two television shows a New York TV program, the TV game show What?s my Line? A radio broadcast and wrote a magazine article (Helpful Plumbing Hints for Housewives.) One of her favorite experiences was her interview with Walter Cronkite. Her life story and copies of newspaper articles from 1951 can be found here.

Advantages of a Nontraditional Career


An increased salary is a common reason for individuals to consider a nontraditional career. This is especially true for women, as many trade, engineering and technological jobs (generally employed by men) boast a lucrative paycheck. Nursing is an excellent example of a nontraditional occupation for men that offers great financial compensation.

Broader job/advancement opportunities

Nontraditional careers tend to have well stabilized paths for advancement, and are often unionized. These factors facilitate professional growth opportunities, leading to greater responsibilities and higher salaries.

Job satisfaction

Selecting a career based on personal strengths and genuine interest will lead to greater job satisfaction. Now more than ever before, men and women are excelling and finding happiness in nontraditional careers. If you feel strongly about pursuing a nontraditional occupation, follow your intuition rather than shying away due to existing gender stereotypes.

Disadvantages Of A Non-Traditional Career

Finding mentors/role models

Research shows that mentors can play a highly pivotal role in the successful pursuit of a nontraditional career. To this end, Penn College's Academic Success staff is here to guide you every step of the way. We will answer all of your questions and ensure you are prepared to begin your new career.

Gaining support from family/friends

It may be difficult for your family and/or friends to understand why you have chosen a nontraditional career. They may have grown up with a strong understanding that specific genders should be responsible for certain types of work, and may feel a need to advocate this perspective. Above all, remember why you chose your career. Remember that this is your future and that not everyone needs to understand or get it. Do what's best for you; follow your heart.

Identifying and Reacing to Discrimination/harassment

Actions of this kind are unacceptable and affect everyone within a given environment. This activity is serious and laws are in place to ensure offenders may be held liable for their behavior.