These careers are projected to experience high growth in the coming years.Jobs can be hard to come by these days... which makes it all the more surprising that some fields are in desperate need of qualified applicants.
"Everyone thinks there are tons of great people ready to be hired, but there are many professions where we really see a dearth of candidates," says Penny Morey, managing director of RemarkAbleHR, an employment and recruiting firm in Boca Raton, Fla.
If you're looking to prepare for a career that's in demand, check out these seven jobs that are projected to experience strong growth from 2010 to 2020, per the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #1: Accountant or Auditor
Number of new jobs added between 2010 and 2020: 190,700
2010-2020 job growth: 16 percentDrama - and the resulting fall out - is a big factor at play in the demand for accountants and auditors. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, corporate scandals and recent financial crises - and the now stricter regulations will lead to the demand for accounting services.
More about the job: While there are various types of accountants and auditors, they all focus on one thing - money. That means working with financial records, financial statements, and accounting systems, per the Department of Labor.
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Education options: If you think you have the aptitude for this career, keep in mind that a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is required for most positions, according to the Department. Certification within a specific field of accounting also improves job prospects, says the Department.
Career #2: Medical Assistant
Number of new jobs added between 2010 and 2020: 162,900
2010-2020 job growth: 31 percentAnother booming career to consider: Medical assistant. Per the U.S. Department of Labor, part of the reason for the tremendous growth this career is projecting can be traced back to the aging baby boomer population, who will need more preventive services.
The need for more services will lead to the need for physicians to expand their practices. As a result, physicians will need to hire more assistants to take care of the more routine, clinical and administrative tasks.
More about the job: Speaking of clinical and administration tasks, a medical assistant's role could involve everything from taking patient histories and scheduling appointments to assisting with patient exams.
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Education options: Thinking about pursuing a career as a medical assistant? Keep in mind that while there are no formal education requirements, employers prefer applicants who have completed a postsecondary program, says the Department of Labor. Some states might require passing a test and graduating from an accredited program.
Career #3: Social Worker
Number of new jobs added between 2010 and 2020: 161,200
2010-2020 job growth: 25 percentBecause of an increased demand for health care and social services, the need for social workers is expected to climb from 2010 to 2020, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
More about the job: Direct-service social workers help people cope with particular challenges, such as illness, unemployment, or other crisis situations, according to the Department of Labor. They also might help clients work with government agencies to apply for and receive benefits, or evaluate services provided to ensure they are effective.
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Education options: You'll need a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field, such as psychology or sociology, for most direct-service social work positions, according to the Department. Some positions and settings require a master's degree, notes the Department.
Career #4: Human Resources Specialist
Number of new jobs added between 2010 and 2020: 90,700
2010-2020 job growth: 21 percentAnother booming career: human resources (HR) specialist. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, growth for this career is due, in part, to an aging population and changing employment laws. For example, they say that companies may need human resources (HR) specialists to find replacements for workers leaving the workforce, and to handle increasingly complex health care options and employment laws.
More about the job: According to the Department of Labor, HR specialists could be responsible for anything that has to do with hiring processes - interviewing applicants, contacting references and performing background checks on applicants, and hiring qualified candidates.
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Education options: If you like the sound of this career, keep in mind that - per the Department - most positions require a bachelor's degree in human resources, business, or a related field. The Department also reports that some employers may hire applicants with several years of related work experience.
Career #5: Health Services Manager
Number of new jobs added between 2010 and 2020: 68,000
2010-2020 job growth: 22 percentThanks to the domino-effect of the aging baby-boom population and an increased demand for medical services, more medical and health services managers will be needed to manage staffing, policies, and procedures - particularly in nursing care facilities and medical group practices - says the U.S. Department of Labor.
More about the job: Health services managers are often responsible for a variety of administrative tasks like managing finances and organizing records for a health care facility, says the Department of Labor. They're also likely to study up on new laws and regulations and represent the facility at investor meetings.
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Education options: Think this might be the career path for you? According to the Department, "Prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration." Master's degrees in health services, public health, long-term care administration, public administration, or business administration are also common.
Career #6: Public Relations Specialist
Number of new jobs added between 2010 and 2020: 58,200
2010-2020 job growth: 23 percentAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor, organizations are starting to realize the power of the Internet and how it can shape public opinion, which is partly why they're projecting 23 percent growth for public relations (PR) specialists.
More about the job: PR specialists juggle a variety of things to ensure their clients are presented in a favorable light. Typical duties may include identifying audiences, crafting press releases and executive speeches, and fielding media requests, according to the Department of Labor.
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Education options: If you want to pursue this career, you'll need a degree. According to the Department, these specialists usually need a bachelor's degree, with employers generally wanting applicants who have studied communications, public relations, journalism, English, or business.
Career #7: Paralegal
Number of new jobs added between 2010 and 2020: 46,900
2010-2020 job growth: 18 percentFollowing staffing cutbacks during the recent recession, some law firms are rebuilding their support staff by hiring paralegals, who can perform many tasks once completed by higher-paid lawyers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
More about the job: Paralegals are like the detectives of law firms, corporations, or even non-profits. How so? Because they often help lawyers investigate cases. They also draft reports and maintain information in databases that support cases, according to the Department of Labor.
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Education options: If you're thinking of pursuing a career as a paralegal, consider this: Most paralegals have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies, according to the Department.