Non-Traditional Careers | Western Technical College

Non-Traditional Occupations

Consider a non-traditional occupation! 

A non-traditional occupation (NTO) is defined as any occupation in which women or men comprise less than 25% of the workforce. Today, many women and men are breaking down barriers to pursue careers.

Why Non-Traditional?

NTO careers can mean:

  • Higher Wages
  • Financial Security
  • Good Benefits
  • Demand for Skilled Workers
  • Freedom to Pursue Careers Related to Interests and Abilities

Choosing a Non-Traditional Career

Before you make your decision, do some research. In fact, gather as much information as you can.

In addition to the resources on this page, the Career Services office offers support for NTO career options. Our Manager- Outreach & Admissions, Caitlin Locy, can also discuss ways Western can support your journey in a non-traditional occupation. Contact her at In addition, Western has several faculty members who teach in NTO career areas and have worked in NTO fields. They can give you great advice!

Peer Support

Join Western’s women's empowerment group called Women Initiative Network (WIN). Gatherings are informal and casual learning opportunities. The purpose of WIN is to connect with alumni and other female students to build community and peer support. This space should allow you to connect, grow, and network with other women with shared experiences. Future events could involve—a group bowling night, lunch at a restaurant, women in the field panel, mentoring, etc. Contact if you are interested in learning more about upcoming gatherings.

NTO Programs

The following programs have occupations that are considered non-traditional. Visit the Academic Program page to find out more about Western programs that lead to these occupations.


Agri-Business Science Technology, Air Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration, Architectural Technology, Automotive Technician, Automotive & Light Repair Level l, Automotive Service Technician Level 2, Basic Industrial Power, Basic Welding, Bio-Medical Electronics, Building Construction and Cabinetmaking, Building Science  & Energy Management, Business Management, CAD Technician, Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement – 720, Criminal Justice, Diesel & Heavy Equip Technician, Diesel & Heavy Equip Tech. Assistant, Electronic & Computer Engineering Technology, Electromechanical Technology, Electromechanical Maintenance Technician, Advanced EMT, EMT - Basic, EMT– Paramedic, Farm Business & Production Management, Fire Protection Technician, Industrial Electronic & Maintenance, IT–Computer Support Specialist, IT-Computer Support Technician, IT-Network Systems Administration, IT-Network Systems Technician, IT–Web & Software Developer, Landscape Horticulture, Landscape Technician, Mechanical Design Technology, Mechanical Maintenance, Mechatronic & Robotic Engineering Technology, Paramedic Technician, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Heating Service Technician, Robotic Programming, Welding & Fabrication


Dental Assistant, Early Childhood Education, Educational Assistant, Foundations of Teacher Education, Health Information Technology, Health Office Professional, Human Services Associate, Medical Administrative Professional, Medical Assistant, Medical Coding Specialist, Medical Lab Technician, Nursing-Associate Degree, Nursing Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Paralegal, Physical Therapist Assistant, Practical Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Surgical Technology


Closing the Gender Gap

Tips and resources for women to rise in their careers. Website

U.S. Department of Labor

Find an online employment outlook handbook, unemployment rates, and wages by occupation. Website

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Links you to JobNet support services and labor market information. Website

Wisconsin Health Careers

Provides links to colleges in Wisconsin offering training in healthcare with occupational description. Website

Occupational Outlook Handbook

For hundreds of different types of jobs, the Occupational Outlook Handbook tells you the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, and what workers do on the job. Website

ISEEK Careers

Minnesota's non-traditional career resources. Website

Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Overview of BLS Statistics on Women Workers. Website

Wider Opportunities for Women

WOW works nationally and in its home community of Washington, DC to build pathways to economic independence for America's families, women, and girls. Website

The American Assembly for Men in Nursing

Provides a framework for nurses, as a group, to meet, to discuss, and influence factors, which affect men as nurses. Website

Video Testimonials

Katie Pickel - Student, Electromechanical Technology Program

“I’ve found I’ve had nothing but good experiences with all these other guys here. Lots of camaraderie. It’s a pretty easygoing atmosphere. It’s not scary or intimidating at all. It was a good experience.”

Jill Heiser - Student, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Heating Service Technician Program

“I knew from a young age I didn’t want to sit down at a desk so I figured I’d get a job where you’re up and working all the time. That’s definitely what this is—it’s an active job!”

Women in Information Technology

“It's really been a good fit and I can't believe how well it's worked in my favor.”

Renae Giertych - Graduate, Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technician Assistant Program

“You can do it! You really can, despite what anybody says, despite what you think, just put in the time, put in the work and you will succeed.”

Randi Cooper - Graduate, Automotive Technician Program

“I decided to go school for automotive which was probably the best decision I ever could have made.”

Emily Wurzel - Graduate, Agri-Business Science Program

“My boss in high school was a farmer and he was a really good role model. He was never afraid to teach me things or had any sort of stigma because I was a city kid.”

Kelly Tauscher - Graduate, Landscape Horticulture Program

“I'm surprised how much I fell in love with it...this is what I want to do forever.”

Steve Thompson - Instructor, Surgical Technology Program

“There were a few males in my program, but there has always been more involvement by females in this profession...that never bothered me--in the healthcare field you work as a team.”


For more video testimonials, visit Western's YouTube channel.


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