All workers, female and male have a right to choose among a full range of occupations, not just those dictated by tradition. For women, many of the highest paying careers are nontraditional. Women in non-traditional jobs typically earn 20-30% more than women in traditional occupations, and, over a lifetime of work, they will earn 150% more. For men, non-traditional occupations may not provide higher wages. However, these occupations can be a means for advancing to higher wage jobs such as business owners, school administrators, and managers. Professionals working with nontraditional students can use these recommended resources to assist the students on their nontraditional occupational journey.
Nontraditional refers to occupations or fields of work, including careers in computer science, technology, and other emerging high skill occupations, for which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25% of the individuals employed in each such occupation or field of work.
Promoting nontraditional training and employment opportunities opens doors for every individual. It breaks the mold of old expectations and allows all learners to explore a wide range of career options in an atmosphere free from stereotypes about gender and jobs (Kansas State Department of Education, 1999, p. ii). Recognizing the important role that increased participation and completion in nontraditional trainings and employment plays for the advancement of women and men, legislators mandated it as a performance indicator in Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998, referred to as Perkins III. Under Perkins III, states are required to raise learner participation in and completion of career and technical education programs that lead to nontraditional training and employment.