We understand that sometimes people just choose to follow their passion whether it’s studying the nesting habits of the Great Blue Heron or caring for children as a preschool teacher. And we applaud these people for doing what it is they care most about even if it means that they’ll never earn much money. On the other hand, there are those of us that would like both a challenging and rewarding career and a decent salary. If you fall into this category here are the careers that are expected to be among the best in terms of job growth and earnings potential.
One of the best sectors by far for people who choose to go to college is in healthcare. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are the tops in terms of healthcare workers that are most in demand. For example, this year graduate nurse practitioners in the US totaled about 750, which is just a fraction of the estimated 7000 job openings. Other highly in-demand jobs in the healthcare sector include physical therapists, audiologists and dietitians. In addition, there is a big need for people in outpatient services such as kidney dialysis and urgent care.
There will always be a good demand for technology workers but what employers are especially looking for are applications software developers, database analysts, security analysts and network administrators. It’s forecast that there will also be a growing demand for jobs in e-commerce as online shopping continues to expand almost geometrically.
There is also an ongoing demand for engineers of all types. But as of this writing there is a definite shortage of engineers to fill specialty jobs in environmental, industrial, nuclear and aerospace engineering. The recent slump in oil prices has reduced the demand for petroleum related jobs but the demand for engineers in this area is sure to pick up.
Other jobs that are going begging
There are a number of well-paying jobs in the business world. Many businesses are looking for event planners, salespeople, financial analysts and property managers. In the transportation sector there is a high demand for skilled workers ranging from tugboat captains to pilots.
If you have no interest in going to college
Regardless of what some people have said not everybody needs to or should go to college. If philosophy, English literature or psychology is what gets you excited you will need at least a four-year degree. However, if college isn’t for you there are still a number of jobs where the demand is high and the pay is good. In the healthcare area, there is a good demand for less skilled workers such as staff members of doctors’ and dentists’ offices as well as medical transcriptionists and in elderly assisted living. In the building trades contractors are looking for crane and tower operators, brick masons and ironworkers. There is also a very large demand for long-haul truckers and auto mechanics.
Opportunities vary by location
However, be aware of the fact that job needs do vary by location. As an example of this the biggest growth in healthcare employment is forecast to be in the south, California and the Southwest – those areas that are big for retiring baby boomers. In Austin, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; Provo, Utah; Nashville, Tennessee; and Madison Wisconsin there is such a demand for software developers that is expected to lead to double digit hiring growth.
Check into apprenticeship programs
The Department of Labor has been increasing grants to firms with apprenticeship programs in order to help our future employment demand. Its program, ApprenticeshipUSA helps employers offer people the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to succeed in high-demand careers while earning a salary. As of this writing there were 73,519 apprenticeship jobs available throughout the US. If you were to choose one of these and completed the program you would be on your way to a great long-term career with a competitive salary and, here’s one of the best parts, little or no student loan debt.
What kind of apprenticeships is available? Where we live there are currently apprenticeships available for management training, pipefitting, as an electrician, carpenter, automotive technician, copper splicer, plumber, refrigerator construction worker and many other areas. If you would like to see what apprenticeships are currently available in your area, click on this link and then click on your state. You will see bubbles representing cities where there are apprenticeship opportunities. Click on your city and you will see exactly what apprenticeship programs are available.
On our city there are currently 570 of these apprenticeship jobs looking for people. If you see a program in your area that appeals to you, click on it for a description of the job, its requirements, what it pays and its benefits. For example, one of the jobs available here as an apprentice electrician has a terrific benefits package that includes dental, vision, medical, life and accidental death, life insurance, long- and short-term disability, a 401(k) with employer matching, six paid holidays and five days paid vacation. The apprenticeship program takes four years and includes 1000 hours of on-the-job training and employment that’s supplemented by related technical instruction.
The future can be hard to predict
Do keep in mind that all of these job forecasts are just that – forecasts. While there might be a huge need right now for nurse practitioners, physician assistants and software engineers the same thing may not be true 10 or even five years from now. As an example of what can happen, we have a friend who decided to become a PhD in physics because at that time there were five job opportunities for PhD physicists for every one physicist. Unfortunately, by the time he received his PhD five years later there was only one job opening available for every five PhD physicists.
Don’t choose a career just because it offers great job growth and potential to earn good money. Investigate and evaluate. Before you spend five years becoming a physician’s assistant, an industrial engineer or a database analyst or four years as an apprentice electrician make sure you understand what the job entails and that you would actually enjoy the work. It could be very depressing to spend four, five or more years learning a job only to find that, as many people have, you just hate the work. If possible try to talk with a half-dozen or more people in the career are considering to determine what they actually do and how they feel about it. Spending a few hours with those people could save you from many years of frustration.
It is important for you to consider what you will earn in the future if you borrowed money to pay for the education. Your ability to pay it back is very important.