Even in today's economy, employers are struggling to fill some jobs. Are you qualified to apply?You may not believe it in this sluggish economy, but many careers are still experiencing strong growth year after year, and employers are having trouble finding qualified applicants to fill open positions.
If slow economic recovery makes that seem hard to believe, consider this: According to Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, president/CEO of Great Resumes Fast, "employers are struggling to fill positions that require specialized training or expertise. If the position requires a specialized subset of skills or experience that only a few select candidates have, these positions become very hard to fill."
Marie Zimenoff, President of The National Resume Writers' Association, agrees. "There is a mismatch in the skills people have been trained for and what the market needs," she says. "The workforce needs are changing much faster than educational institutions can create new programs to fill them."
If you're thinking about going back to school, it's important to have the skills appropriate for today's job market. To help you sift through your options, here's a list of jobs that employers need to fill now - and how you can prepare to pursue them.
Career #1 - AccountantDo you enjoy trying to figure out the best use of your financial resources? That same instinct could serve you well in a career as an accountant - one of the jobs employers are looking to fill right now.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, accountants keep accurate financial records, compute taxes, and help companies run efficiently by assessing their financial operations.
Why They're Needed Now: Two reasons we're seeing an increased demand for accountants? "Stricter regulations and the recent financial crises," says Hernandez simply.
Zimenoff agrees: "Accounting has been a growing field as the financial regulations on businesses and individuals have become increasingly more complex."
Just how much is the field growing? The Department of Labor expects employment for accountants and auditors to increase 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, which means we should see 190,700 new accounting jobs.
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How to Prepare For The Job: You'll need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field to get started, according to the Department, though some employers seek people with a master's degree in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting. To enhance your job opportunities, you could get certified as a public accountant (CPA).
Career #2 - Dental HygienistIf you're always trying to get your loved ones to take better care of themselves, and you're looking to get into a field with high demand, you might want to consider a career as a dental hygienist.
Need a refresher on the world of oral care? No problem: Hygienists might do everything from applying sealants to taking dental x-rays to keeping track of patient treatment plans, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why They're Needed Now: Surprised this field is growing so quickly? There are a couple of big reasons why. "The field of dentistry has shifted from single-dentist offices to larger offices, which typically employ more hygienists and fewer dentists," says Zimenoff. "This has created more opportunities for hygienists."
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Opportunities for dental hygienists arrive in the form of 68,500 new jobs from 2010 to 2020, says the Department of Labor, a 38 percent increase overall.
How to Prepare For The Job: According to the Department of Labor, dental hygienists typically need a certificate or an associate's degree in dental hygiene to get started in a private dental office. They are also required to have a license.
Career #3 - Market Research AnalystDo you have your finger on the pulse of what's current today? Why not hone that natural gift and pursue a career as a market research analyst? Employers are hungry to find qualified people with these talents to fill open positions.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, market research analysts might forecast marketing and sales trends, create surveys or opinion polls, and measure the efficacy of marketing strategies.
Why They're Needed Now: For a look into why this career is growing, consider Zimenoff's illuminating comments: "As competition in the global marketplace grows, competitive and market intelligence is becoming increasingly more important to companies who want to develop products/services that meet market needs and improve their messaging to increase sales."
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How important? The Department of Labor expects employment for market research analysts to grow 41 percent from 2010 to 2020. Based on those projections, we should see the creation of 116,600 new jobs.
How to Prepare For The Job: According to the Department, you'll typically need a bachelor's degree in market research or a related field to get started - though many analysts have degrees in computer science, math, or statistics, or a background in business administration, communications, or one of the social sciences. Many market research analyst jobs also require a master's degree in something like marketing research, although many analysts get a master's in marketing, statistics, or business administration (MBA).
Career #4 - Network and Computer Systems AdministratorsWere you the kid who was always trying to figure out how things work? Apply that curiosity to computer systems, and you could be poised to snag a position as a network and computer systems administrator.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, network and computer systems administrators might install network hardware and software for a company, evaluate how well it's working, and train people on how to use it.
Why They're Needed Now: This is another career with a bright future. Why? "Technology is constantly advancing and changing," says Hernandez.
"As companies grow and merge, they want to use technology to manage their business, communicate, and make operations more efficient," Zimenoff explains. "Whether it's connecting offices across the globe, upgrading systems to increase speed and decrease down time, or finding a new system to achieve a business goal, these administrators make business technology goals a reality."
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But just how real is demand for this job? The Department of Labor expects employment for network and computer systems administrators to grow 28 percent from 2010 to 2020, which should mean 96,600 new jobs.
How to Prepare For The Job: A bachelor's degree related to computer or information science is the most common requirement for this career, according to the Department of Labor. However, the Department notes that degrees in computer engineering or electrical engineering are usually acceptable as well. Some positions might require professional certification or an associate's degree in a computer field and some work experience.
Career #5 - Personal Financial AdvisorYou already know money talks. But did you know it also provides a great career for financially savvy people who want to help others plan for the future and manage their nest eggs. If that sounds like you, consider pursuing a career as a personal financial advisor - another career that has open positions employers are looking to fill.
As a financial advisor you might also educate clients about investment options and risks, help people plan for specific situations like saving for college or retirement, and help monitor clients' accounts to improve performance, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why They're Needed Now: "With the recent volatility in the stock market, more individuals are seeking financial advice and firms are hiring more advisors to meet this need," explains Zimenoff. "This field also experiences a high turnover rate, as many people enter it without understanding the entrepreneurial nature and the time and effort required to build a profitable business for themselves."
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So if you're going after one of the 66,400 new jobs the Department of Labor expects to be added by 2020, it will pay to be focused on your goals. The strong numerical growth translates to an impressive 32 percent expansion in the field.
How to Prepare For The Job: You'll typically need a bachelor's degree to get started as a personal financial advisor, according to the Department of Labor. Degrees in finance, accounting, economics, math, business, or law, could be good preparation. The Department also notes that some colleges and universities now offer programs in financial planning.
Career #6 - Medical and Health Services ManagersDo you have natural leadership skills and compassion? Consider pursuing a career as a medical and health services manager. You could help improve the quality and efficiency of health care in your town - and help fill another open position in need of someone with the right qualifications.
Medical and health services managers direct and coordinate the health care services of a medical facility, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Some common duties include keeping up to date on new health laws and regulations, managing their facility's finances, and making schedules for their employees.
Why They're Needed Now: "Like many positions in health care, this field is growing due to demand," says Zimenoff. "As the baby boomers age and access more services, there will be increasing need for front-line and management in all health care arenas."
Hernandez adds that "services previously offered in hospitals are now shifting to doctor offices. And as the health care industry becomes more complex, physicians will rely on managers to assist them in directing the practice so they can focus on their patients."
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But what does this demand look like in numbers? The Department of Labor expects employment for medical and health services managers to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020 - which should create 68,000 new jobs.
How to Prepare For The Job: According to the Department of Labor, "prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration." Master's degrees are also common in majors such as long-term care administration, public health, health series, business administration, and public administration.