Growth Careers and the New Economy
So much has changed in so little time regarding America’s growth careers. Not so long ago, newspaper reporters, online retailers, auto workers, and retail managers were all hot prospects. That was before last September. When the economy crashed, it completely rewrote the book on where the career possibilities are. As newspapers went out of business, as banks folded, as auto makers teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, more and more young people wondered: Can I still find a worthwhile job in this economy, and make decent money?
The answer: An unqualified “Yes.” True, the hot job prospects have changed, but they are out there for the person who is willing to train him or herself for that career. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor has released their 2008-09 Occupational Outlook Handbook. In it, they outline 30 job possibilities that still hold much promise, even in a devastating recession. Let’s consider 10 of the more interesting ones.
Mental Health Counselors / Social Workers. These are lumped together because a social worker is a form of mental health counselor, though branching into slightly different area. The mental health counselor assists people suffering from a wide range of conditions and problems such as career stress, family issues, stress management, and even serious problems such as chemical dependency and suicidal thoughts. They also help with career management, marital problems, self-esteem issues and educational choices. The social worker deals a lot with family strife and serious diseases. Some chemical-abuse counselors require only an Associates Degree, but generally, any mental health counselor needs at least a Bachelors Degree. Those entering the field can expect to make $25,000 to $58,000. Social workers make usually about $30,000 to $40,000.
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians. These are careers for the environmentally-conscious 21st century. These professionals conduct laboratory as well as field tests to determine the levels and sources of ecological pollution. As part of their job, the technicians collect samples of different environmental resources for laboratory testing. Technicians are involved in the regulation of waste products and in testing soil, air and water to assess the exact level of pollutants in them. They also manage hazardous materials and assist with the clean-up of polluted sites. The environmental science or protection technician normally has a Bachelors Degree, ideally in some environmental-science field. Certification is also normally expected. These technicians average about $17 in pay.
Veterinary Medicine. In this category, we include veterinary technicians and veterinary technologists. Both positions work directly under the supervision of a veterinarian. They help with getting the animal’s case history and recording it; executing laboratory procedures; collecting the pets’ specimens; getting the animals ready for veterinarian procedures; preparing instruments and equipment before pet surgery; helping with diagnostic, medical and surgical procedures; and offering helpful advice for animal lovers on how to care for their pets. Both the veterinarian technician and technologist have received specialized training in handling and treating animals. This training can be offered at a traditional school as well as at distance institutes. The programs are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (or AVMA), and generally they lead to an Associates Degree or sometimes a Bachelors Degree.
Financial Careers. In this category, we include especially financial analysts and personal financial advisers. Both positions are responsible for offering financial analysis and guidance to others, to help them with smart investment choices. Both also gather and analyze financial data and make suggestions based on the data. The difference: One serves a corporation whereas the other serves an individual. The financial analyst helps his employer-company to decide which other company’s economic performance warrants them investing money in it. A financial adviser, however, determines a person’s financial needs and based on this and on the financial adviser’s understanding of tax laws, investments and insurance, suggests financial options for him. The median income in both cases is around $60,000—largely because of the education required to enter the field. The financial analyst typically holds a Bachelors Degree; even though the requirement is not as stringent for the adviser, he is wise to receive a B.A. As well, ideally in an area such as finance, accounting or business administration. There are also licenses that are sometimes required.
There are a variety of licensing and certification requirements for Financial careers.
Series 6 – Qualification Examination for the selling of Mutual Funds and Variable Annuities
Series 63 – Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination
Series 65 – Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination
Series 66 – Uniform Combined State Law Exam
Series 7 – The General Securities Representative Exam
Medical Assistants /Physician’s Assistants. The job of the medical assistant is to make a physician’s office to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, through taking care of various clinical and clerical duties. A physician’s assistant helps the doctor by examining as well as diagnosing a patient, but operates under the direct supervision of the physician. People in both career paths generally have training through a junior college, vocational school or distance program. Starting salaries run around $30,000 or perhaps a few thousand more. This is a career path that might lead into nursing (which will require more training as well as passing a nursing exam).
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Certification Information
Pharmacy Technicians. These professionals are responsible for patient records, patient medication and prescription details, filling prescriptions (yet always supervised by the pharmacist), and other related jobs. Most in this job work at grocery stores, drug-store pharmacies or similar retail locations; however, some others actually work for the federal government. Most pharmacy technicians have formal training and certification, although some get their training on the job. The pharmacy technician makes around $30,000 when working at a retail location, and as much as $40,000 when working for the government. Because of America’s graying population, requiring more and more prescription, this is a field that shows long-term growth potential—regardless of the economy.
Forensic Science Technicians. TV shows like CSI might glamorize this career a bit, but it’s still fulfilling and financially rewarding work. The forensic science technician collects crime-scene evidence and analyzes it for the police. This means this technician is part detective and part scientist. He / she collects, documents and tests all relevant evidence. Sub-specialties within the career field include fingerprint technicians, crime-scene technicians, laboratory technicians and photographic technicians. Entering this field requires at least two years worth of specialized training; a 4-year Bachelors Degree is even better. The forensic science technician generally averages around $40,000 in salary.
Dental Assistants / Dental Hygienists. A dental assistant, as the name suggests, assists the dentist in examinations and treatment of patients. Some duties include patient prep, sterilizing and preparation of instruments and other equipment, taking medical histories, exposing x-rays, and informing the patient concerning good oral hygiene. The hygienist polishes and cleans patients’ teeth, administers and applies medication, develops x-rays, places a patient’s temporary filling, and assists with periodontal dressings and taking patient histories. All of this is done under the supervision of the dentist. Both the hygienist and assistant normally received specialized training. The hygienist requires more training, and usually has a Masters, Bachelors, or Associates Degree, or a certificate from an accredited dental hygiene program. Because of her training, the hygienist’s salary averages more than $64,000. The dental assistant will usually get her training from a community college, technical institute or distance learning, and averages more than $31,000 annual salary.
Physical Therapists (PT’s) / Physical Therapist Assistants. A PT assists the patient with a disabling condition such as low-back pain, arthritis, fractures, heart disease, head injuries, cerebral palsy, among others. The therapist offers services which help improve the patient’s ability to get around and which also restore function to him or her. The PT also helps relieve patient pain. The PT assistant works with the physical therapist, helping patients with exercises and certain tasks that the patient can’t do because of his or her physical limitations. As a few examples, the PT assistant will help with exercises, bathing, massaging, and applying hot packs and cold packs. Most PT’s have graduated from a physical therapist program and must also pass national and state license exams. The assistant makes more than $44,000 a year on average, with the physical therapist averaging a salary of $60,000 to $65,000.
Computer Science Career Paths (This includes systems analysts, software engineers and database administrators). Computer jobs are just as in demand today as in the 1990s, despite the collapse of the dot-com sector at the time. Especially needed are the systems analyst, software engineer and database engineer. The systems analyst helps the parent company with using computer technology effectively and efficiently, aiding the company in incorporating new computer technology into their company system. The software engineer creates programs that operate the computers, often using C, C++ and JAVA to do so. The database administrator masters and uses database programs to help his company store, use and manage critical information. The administrator sets up databases, ensuring that they operate correctly and most efficiently. With all of these careers, a B.A. In a computer-related field is desirable. Software engineers make the most, between $85,000 and $90,000, with the systems analyst making an average $73,000 and the database administrator averaging $47,000. Most in all three fields will have some kind of specialized certificate.
These fields show great resiliency, great potential to grow, no matter the economy. But all of these will require that a person invest in himself by investing in further training to excel in the field. He will, doubtless, find it one of the best investments he’s ever made. Get trained to ensure that you have a long-lasting career.