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 area offers support for NTO career options. Western also has several faculty members who teach in NTO career areas and have worked in NTO fields. They can give you great advice!

NTO Programs

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


Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Architecture and Construction; Arts, AudioVisual Technology and Communications; Information Technology; Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security; Manufacturing; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics.


Business, Management, and Administration; Education and Training; Health Sciences; and Human Services.


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

United States Department of Labor

Quick facts on non-traditional occupations for Women. 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


Emily Wurzel - Graduate, Agri-Business/Science Technology

“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

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



Steve Thompson - Instructor, Surgical Technologist

“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 YouTube.

Contact us