Five Hot Jobs in a Cool Economy
With unemployment rising and many of the country's core industries--auto manufacturing, banking, home construction--falling faster than a lead balloon, it's a tough time to look for a job. If you're getting ready to enter the job market, or simply want to change careers, the following five occupations offer tremendous opportunities and are expected to grow significantly over the next decade, even if the economy withers.
Financial Planner--Expected Growth through 2016: 41 Percent
It might seem counterintuitive that financial planners do well at a time when so many people's finances are in a shambles, but it's true. Millions of baby boomers are hitting retirement age, and many need help managing their money to ensure their financial assets will carry them through their golden years. Many have seen the value of their investments fall substantially due to the slumping economy, making financial planning more important than ever.
Pharmacy Technician--Expected Growth: 32 Percent
Population growth and the aging lot of baby boomers have more and more people headed to the doctor's office. As this demand for medical care rises, so too does the need for medicine. Across the country, pharmacies are actively seeking out pharmacy technicians to help them handle the growing number of prescriptions. And to help fill this employment need, community colleges are beginning to offer quick prep courses in pharmacy technology to young and adult learners alike.
Physician Assistant--Expected Growth: 27 Percent
Nearly everyone agrees that the health care system in the United States needs improvement, to say the least. Many also agree that increased use of physician assistants is part of the solution. Under a doctor's supervision, physician assistants perform many of the basic duties traditionally done by a doctor: examining patients, ordering lab tests, suturing, setting and casting broken bones, and even prescribing drugs. This allows doctors to care for more patients, frees them to concentrate more on patients with harder to diagnose or more serious conditions, and lowers health care costs.
Accountant--Expected Growth: 18 Percent
Fact or fiction: accounting is sexy. Well, if you subscribe to popular stereotypes, the answer is fiction. Accountants work in office buildings crunching numbers, organizing records, analyzing and communicating financial information, and balancing budgets. You're right. On the surface it may seem a little dull and slightly boring. But if you consider the fact that many accountants have steady employment, earn competitive salaries, and work in a field expected to grow 18 percent over the next decade--what could be sexier than that?
Teacher--Expected Growth: 12 Percent
Historically, local governments have been among the leaders in job creation during recession, with the bulk of those new jobs coming in education. This is not likely to change, because student enrollment at all levels remains strong, and teachers who are part of that baby boom generation are preparing for retirement. Those looking to enter the workforce as educators should find the greatest opportunities in the inner city and in out-the-way rural locations, and predominantly in regions with faster-than-average population growth such as Nevada, California, and Texas. On the whole, the BLS predicts "good to excellent" job prospects for teachers over the next decade.
Economic woes have many people scared. And rightly so. Our nation hasn't seen financial turmoil like this in more than twenty years. Not all industries are suffering the same fate, however. Finances need managing, budgets need balancing, children need an education, and everyone needs to see the doctor once in a while. So if thoughts of pink slips and mass layoffs have you reaching for an aspirin and a half-gallon of French vanilla, consider entering a job field that offers a little more security.
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Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors
Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment in the Public Sector: Two Recessions' Impact on Jobs."
Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Government Employment and the 2001 Recession."
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Personal Financial Planners
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pharmacists
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physician Assistants
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Teachers--Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary
MSNBC, "U.S. Student Population Soars to Highest Level."