If we asked you to draw a tree, would you ask if it could be purple and have an attitude, or ask for its scientific name and the desired scale? If you answered with the first response, you may be right-brained, or what Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines as creative and intuitive. The latter response may tell you that you're left-brained, or what is defined as analytical and logical.
Figuring out if you are more creative or logical may help you decide what job better fits your personality, says Dr. Suzanne Anthony, a clinical psychologist. But she adds that most people have a little of both creative and logical thinking.
"While the idea of people being strictly left- or right-brained is exaggerated, it can help people to better understand their strengths and weaknesses, and what careers might fit them best," adds Anthony.
And how do you know which side of the brain you favor? It's not as easy as knowing if you're right-handed (traditionally, people associate that with being left-brained) or left-handed, according to Anthony. "It's not that cut and dried," she explains. "A good way to do it is to look back at high school and the subjects that interested you most."
For example, if you loved arts, writing, or sports, you're likely more right-brained. These are more "creative" endeavors. Couldn't wait for math, science, or philosophy to start? They're more left-brained, or logical and analytical subjects.
With that in mind, we used our left brains - or would it be our right brains? - to come up with a list of five great right-brained careers and five great careers for left-brainers. We also included education options - in case you want to use both sides of that brain to start prepping!
Even if you're programming the new game for the latest Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, you're still writing code, bro. "I would think you'd need very good analytic and logic skills for this," says Anthony. Yes, but don't worry - you'll need your fun side for testing your work.
Computer programmers might use theories of computer science and mathematical analysis to create, test, and evaluate software applications and systems for computers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Sounds pretty left-brained to us.
Education options: Employers typically require a bachelor's degree, but an associate's degree or certificate may be adequate for certain positions, says the Department of Labor. Degree subjects range from computer science, mathematics, or information systems to business fields.
Do you enjoy research and logic? If so, a paralegal career might be for you. "Paralegals need to use critical thinking, language skills, and logic," says Anthony. Those are all left-brained attributes. In other words, just the facts, ma'am, just the facts...
Paralegals could perform a lot of the same duties as attorneys. They might investigate facts, identify and research pertinent laws and judicial decisions, help prepare legal arguments and documents, and perform other casework, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Education options: Earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies is the most typical education path, says the Department of Labor. If you've already earned your bachelor's degree, you can look into earning a certificate in paralegal studies, adds the Department.
Health Care Administrator
Want to use your (left) brain power to make a difference in how patient care is administered? A career in health care administration could be for you. "Any administrative job needs a lot of analytic and logic skill," says Anthony.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, health care administrators usually plan, coordinate, and supervise the delivery of health care at a facility. They could serve as specialists in charge of a specific department or generalists who manage an entire facility.
Education options: The standard education path is a master's degree in health services administration, health sciences, public health, or another related field, says the Department of Labor. But a bachelor's degree in health services administration could be efficient for some entry-level positions in smaller facilities.
The last time we checked, creative accounting methods were frowned upon. Seriously, though, a profession that is known for crunching numbers is pretty left-brained. "It requires a person to [be] good at reasoning, math, and logic," verifies Anthony.
By preparing reports and financial documents, accountants can analyze financial information for companies, individuals, and government bodies, says the U.S. Department of Labor. They also might offer advice for budget analysis and financial and investment planning.
Education options: Most accountant positions usually require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, or a similar field, says the Department of Labor. A master's degree in accounting or a master's in business administration with an accounting focus could be beneficial.
Administrative Medical Assistant
If you can multitask with the best of them, an administrative medical assistant career could put your left-brained qualities to use doing office tasks like answering phones and completing forms. "Though they interact with people quite a bit, they need to be efficient and practical," says Anthony.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, administrative medical assistants could update and file patients' medical records, fill out insurance forms, arrange for hospital admissions, schedule appointments, and even do bookkeeping.
Education options: A certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting is the common education path for administrative medical assistants, says the Department of Labor. These programs could provide more knowledge in everything from anatomy to record keeping.
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