(KYTX) - They're called "pink collar jobs." They're jobs like nursing and teaching that have, historically, been held mostly by women, but over the years, there's been a shift in the work force, that has changed that.
The past 15 to 20 years have brought a blurring of the lines, when it comes to careers for men and women. In fact, some experts say those lines may be disappearing all together, opening up career options for everyone. While women still hold most "pink collar jobs," there's been a significant rise in the number of men moving in, and those numbers are only expected to get bigger.
UT Tyler students say they don't have to look any further than their classrooms, to see the shift for themselves...
"Actually, there are quite a few."
Shavonte Mays is working on her nursing degree at UT Tyler. She says the higher she goes in the nursing program, the more men she sees in her classes.
"I think, probably, for like, every five girls, there's a guy. So, there's still a majority of women, but you do see an increase in guys though." she says.
Robert Rose is the chief nursing officer for Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics. He says times have changed.
"When I graduated nursing school way back when, I was probably, you know, 3 of 55 in a class." he says. "And, I think, now you're seeing that double, if not triple, the amount of males in nursing."
According to a recent study, between 2000 and 2010, the number of male nurses in Texas jumped from 12,709 to 22,532. That's almost double.
According to that same study, men also account for about a quarter of the state's public school teachers.
"They really have to work hard just like women do."
Susan Kennedy teaches family and consumer science at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler. She says there are plenty of male teachers on campus.
"They teach math, science, English, history." she says. "A lot of them are the sports coaches, but a lot of them aren't."
So, why the shift?
UT Tyler Director of Career Services Marilyn Albert says the economy is probably the biggest reason.
"One of things they want to make sure is that if they find a job, that it's pretty much recession proof- that it's a job that they can easily find and get, and it pays well." she says.
rose says nursing is one of those jobs.
"And mobility. You can practice anywhere in Texas."
But, Albert says sometimes it's quality of life and long-time interest that draws men into these fields, not the money.
"A lot of times men will come to me and then say, 'you know, I've always wanted to teach.' They're starting to connect some of their values with the type of work that they want to do." she says.
"You work because you like what you're doing." says Kennedy.
Rose says more men moving into "pink collar jobs" means more competition for women, especially in health care.
"It's a very competitive market right now for schools. It raises the bar, really, for everybody, both men and women." he says.
But, Mays isn't discouraged.
"Women are always more nurturing and more caring." she says. "And, I feel like guys aren't necessarily biologically like that. So, at the end of the day, we're always going to be, I think, better at giving the care."
Marilyn Albert with UT Tyler says even though there's more male competition in "pink collar jobs," recruiters are still picking the most qualified candidates, regardless of their gender.
Other growing "pink collar professions" include counselors, bank tellers, cashiers and legal assistants.