These seven careers are ahead of the curve in terms of growth and salary.With the economy on the rebound, good employment opportunities are also on the rebound. You may be skeptical, but many experts think now is a good time for finding a high-paying job in a growing field.
Michael Provitera, career expert and author of the book titled "Mastering Self-Motivation," says that while it may seem like things are still lagging in the employment department, plenty of organizations are looking to add to their workforce with qualified employees.
"Companies are paying closer attention to who they're hiring more than ever before, but if a candidate has the right expertise and training in a growing field, there's a definite opportunity right now for that person to land a well-paid job," he adds.
Luckily for you, we did the heavy lifting and pulled seven careers that are projected to grow by at least 16 percent from 2010 to 2020 (at least 2 percent more than the national average for all occupations) and have a median annual salary of at least $55,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Keep reading to discover what career possibilities lay ahead.
Career #1: AccountantProjected Growth from 2010-2020: 16 percent, or 190,700 new jobs
Median Annual Salary: $63,550
Bottom 10% of Earners: $39,930
Top 10% of Earners: $111,510*
You may know that an accountant deals with money, but did you know they're also often in charge of suggesting ways to reduce cost, enhance revenue, and improve profits? It's true, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But why does it pay so well - and why is it growing?
Why It's Hot: Carmella Moran, dean at Aurora University Online, says that careers in accounting were impacted in the early stages of the recent recession, but are now bouncing back stronger than ever.
"Because the country is currently in a recovery period, companies are beginning to build out their accounting teams as the demand grows for qualified individuals who can accommodate growing company needs and provide guidance on best financial practices," she says. "And because of that, we're seeing companies offering high salaries and full-time positions to experienced accountants that were once freelancers due to the market."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
Education Options: If you want to pursue a career as an accountant, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related subject, which is what most professionals in the field have, says the Department of Labor. Depending on the employer, the Department also says that some prefer to hire applicants with a master's degree in accounting, or in business administration with a focus in accounting.
Career #2: Software DeveloperProjected Growth from 2010-2020: 30 percent, or 270,900 added jobs
Median Annual Salary: $90,060
Bottom 10% of Earners: $55,190
Top 10% of Earners: $138,880**
"Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs," according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And it's these creative minds that are analyzing user needs and building software to answer those needs. But what kind of needs are users facing?
Why It's Hot: Provitera says that more advanced computer viruses are creating a demand for software that can combat those viruses - and the need for that software is creating a huge demand for developers who can rise to the challenge.
Additionally, Ryan Brechbill, director of the Center for Career & Professional Development at Otterbein University, says that exploding use of mobile technologies and tablets has created a tremendous market for app developers. "We see about three opportunities for every available graduate of our programs," he notes. "That market and the lack of skilled candidates leads to strong salary options for talented developers."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.
Education Options: You'll find that "software developers usually have a bachelor's degree, in a field such as computer science, engineering, or a related field," reports the Department of Labor. A degree in mathematics is also acceptable, and software developers usually have strong computer programming skills.
Career #3: Registered NurseProjected Growth from 2010-2020: 26 percent, or 711,900 new jobs
Median Annual Salary: $65,470
Bottom 10% of Earners: $45,040
Top 10% of Earners: $94,720*
You've been around nurses before. They plop you on the scale and take your blood pressure. But nurses do much more than that, as according to the U.S. Department of Labor, they also record medical histories and symptoms, operate and monitor medical equipment, and consult with docs. So why is this career experiencing high growth and pay?
Why It's Hot: Carolyn Yencharis Corcoran, assistant director of the Insalaco Center for Career Development at Misericordia University in Dallas, Penn., says that nurses are needed everywhere in our ever-growing, ever-changing health care system.
"The increased need for nurses is mostly because of the aging population of baby boomers who will continue to remain active and live longer, and because of health care reform which will give more people access to health care," she notes.
But Yencharis Corcoran also notes that while there is much demand for nurses, there has been an on-going shortage of nurses over the last few years, which has led to an uptick in salaries. "Because they're vital to the healthcare system, nurses may be offered sign-on bonuses, student loan repayment, and other benefits by employers who seek to fill openings."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
Education Options: The U.S. Department of Labor says that there are usually three paths to pursuing a career as a registered nurse: an associate's in nursing, a bachelor's of science in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. No matter which path you choose, you'll still need to be licensed.
Career #4: Human Resources SpecialistProjected Growth from 2010-2020: 21 percent, or 90,700 new jobs
Median Annual Salary: $55,800
Bottom 10% of Earners: $32,770
Top 10% of Earners: $95,380*
Human resources specialists are in charge of recruiting, interviewing, and placing new employees, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They may also process paperwork and conduct new employee orientations. This career obviously plays an important part in an organization's success, and perhaps that's why it's growing and paying well.
Why It's Hot: "Organizations today can benefit by having an HR specialist that can step in when necessary on each function in the human resource area," says Provitera. "Companies are aligning senior managers with HR specialists because they must work together to accomplish strategic objectives now more than ever."
He also notes that because HR specialists are in demand and can transfer skills to work in any industry, it's often one of the main reasons they're paid so well across the board.
Shensky adds that their value to a company is invaluable because they go beyond reading written candidate qualifications to reading how a candidate's personality may fit the culture of the company. "Someone who can do it all and do it well can command a higher salary than most," she says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Human Resources Program.
Education Options: While the level of education and experience required may vary by position and employer, most positions require applicants to have a bachelor's degree. Employers prefer those with a degree in a field such as human resources, business, or a related field, according to the Department of Labor.
Career #5: Database AdministratorProjected Growth from 2010-2020: 31 percent, or 33,900 new jobs
Median Annual Salary: $77,080
Bottom 10% of Earners: $42,930
Top 10% of Earners: $118,720*
Does your brain function like a filing cabinet, storing away critical information and quickly organizing the most important parts? If so, you may want to consider a career as a database administrator. These men and women use software to store and organize the data in an organization, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And because company data is highly valued these days, this career is, too.
Why It's Hot: Yencharis Corcoran says because database administrators deal with the storage and organization of electronic data as well as ensuring the security of that data, they're needed everywhere. "After all, who doesn't bank, shop, check on the status of their 401k, take classes, dictate their health history to a person sitting at a computer, or pretty much do everything on a computer or online these days?" she asks.
Provitera adds that as more and more organizations are collecting big data to help inform their pursuits, the need for qualified individuals to organize and analyze that information has led to outstanding opportunities for database administrators.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Database Technology Program.
Education Options: Database administrators typically have a bachelor's degree in information or computer-based subjects, reports the Department of Labor. Most have a bachelor's in management information systems or a computer-related field, and the Department says that companies with large databases may prefer those with an MBA and a concentration in information systems.
Career #6: Personal Financial AdvisorProjected Growth from 2010-2020: 32 percent, or 66,400 new jobs
Median Annual Salary: $67,520
Bottom 10% of Earners: $32,280
Top 10% of Earners: $187,199 or more*
Financial advisors give financial advice to people and are responsible for educating their clients about investment opportunities, in addition to monitoring their accounts and offering solutions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Or, to put it another way, Provitera says, "people have cash that they want to secure and personal financial advisors can help them." But why exactly is this career slated to grow?
Why It's Hot: "So many baby boomers are retiring each day and they need money managers," says Provitera. "People will not take risk on their own but with a personal financial advisor they may listen and invest in say, 60 percent stocks, 30 percent bonds, and 10 percent cash."
This kind of advice people could not ascertain themselves, says Provitera. "So they'll happily pay a financial advisor to educate them on the right money moves," she add.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.
Education Options: A bachelor's degree is typically needed for a career as a personal financial advisor, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Degrees in finance, accounting, business, economics, mathematics, or law are good prep, though the Department of Labor says employers usually don't require a specific field of study.
Career #7: Medical and Health Services ManagerProjected Growth from 2010-2020: 22 percent, or 68,000 new jobs
Median Annual Salary: $88,580
Bottom 10% of Earners: $53,940
Top 10% of Earners: $150,560*
The U.S. Department of Labor says that medical and health services managers are responsible for running health care facilities by supervising assistant administrators, managing finances, creating work schedules, and representing the facility at meetings with higher-ups. Sounds exciting. But not as exciting as the high pay and growth this field is experiencing.
Why It's Hot: Davida Shensky, president of the Career Performance Institute, a career-planning agency, says the reason for the growth and pay is simple: We need more people in this position because the public is living longer than ever before.
"With the increase in medical staff needed to accommodate the aging population - not only in hospitals but in office clinics, as well - more managers are also needed," she adds. "The problem is that there aren't enough qualified people to fill these positions, so we see an increase in salary and value for those that are trained to take the lead."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.
Education Options: To pursue this career, "prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration," reports the U.S. Department of Labor. Master's degrees are also common, however, in areas like health services, public health, long-term care administration, public administration, or business administration.