The 7 hottest jobs for young adults

Hot Jobs For Young Adults

Wondering which post-grad jobs could help you launch your career? We found fast-growing, high-pay jobs perfect for young adults.

By Andrea Duchon
If it seems like it's taking longer for workers to reach a decent wage than ever before, that's because it is. According to a recent study conducted by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce titled "Failure to Launch: Structural Shift and the New Lost Generation," it took longer for young adults to reach the median wage in 2012 than it did in 1980. In fact, the average age at which professionals reach the median wage has shifted from 26 to 30.
That doesn't mean that all up-and-coming employees these days will be forced to move back in with Mom and Dad. In fact, the same study says that from 2012 to 2021, 14 million jobs will be created as older workers begin to retire.
So before you give up hope for a promising career, check out the list below of seven high-paying, fast-growing careers for young adults.

Career #1: Information Security Analyst

Projected Growth Rate from 2010 - 2020
+22 percent*
Annual Salary
With everything moving into the digital realm, it only makes sense that digital crime would also grow. Does the idea of helping protect companies against cyber attacks sound interesting to you? Then you should consider the growing - and well-paid - field of information security.
Why It's Hot: With much of our lives and our economy online, we need a safe and secure cyber world, says Timothy J. Sweeney, assistant dean of the College of Science and Technology at Bellevue University.
"Unfortunately, the risk and reality of unauthorized access and use of our information are higher than ever," Sweeney says. "In order to combat [that], we must have trained and experienced cyber-security professionals who can defend our critical infrastructure and technologies."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.
Education Requirements: Most information security analysts usually need a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field like computer science or programming, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They also say that employers of analysts sometimes prefer applicants with an MBA (Master of Business Administration) in information systems.

Career #2: Personal Financial Advisor

Projected Growth Rate from 2010 - 2020
+32 percent*
Annual Salary
Are you the person that all of your friends turn to for financial advice? You could get your feet wet in the professional world by turning your passion for problem-solving and investment into a high-profile career as a personal financial advisor.
Why It's Hot: The high growth for this career is largely connected to the increase in retiring workers who are looking to manage their finances, says Amina Yamusah, co-founder of Breaking.It.Down, an online resource offering career and college advice geared toward black students pursuing higher education.
Additionally, with the recent recession and other economic woes, more and more people are paying attention to their finances than ever before, says Cathy Mueller, executive director at Mapping Your Future, a public service nonprofit organization providing college, career, and financial aid information.
But before you make the jump, Mueller also cautions that this field can be extremely competitive, so you should be prepared to work hard if you want to pursue this career.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.
Education Requirements: The U.S. Department of Labor says you'll typically need a bachelor's degree to pursue a career as a personal financial advisor. While employers usually don't require a specific field of study, a degree in finance, economics, accounting, business, math, or law is good prep, according to the Department of Labor. Certification and a master's degree could improve chances for advancement in this career.

Career #3: Marketing Manager

Projected Growth Rate from 2010 - 2020
+14 percent*
Annual Salary
If you're looking to flex your creative side but don't want to spend your 20s as a starving artist, take a look at a career as a marketing manager. Even though you may need to get some work experience under your belt before you take hold of this title, the time and effort spent pursuing this career could really pay off.
Why It's Hot:  "As organizations look to reach new customers and new social media apps pop up, they're relying more heavily on creative marketers who will embrace new technology," explains Yamusah. "With this transition comes a ton of new opportunities for recent grads who have grown up in the Internet age to find strong career opportunities in marketing."
But in order to take advantage of this job opportunity, candidates may first need to gain years of work experience since marketing manager is not an entry-level position. Fortunately, there could be a worthwhile career waiting for those willing to put in the work.
According to Mueller, the opportunity to pursue this career is only growing, along with the demand for social media and technological skills. She adds that this rapidly changing field needs strategic and creative thinkers.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Program.
Education Requirements: A bachelor's degree is required for most marketing management positions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Managers typically have work experience in advertising, marketing, promotions, or sales. The Department of Labor adds that coursework in subjects like business law, management, accounting, finance, economics, math, and statistics are advantageous.

Career #4: Software Developer, Applications

Projected Growth Rate from 2010 - 2020
+28 percent*
Annual Salary
Earlier we spoke about keeping organizations and their networks safe on the web, but what about the actual building of computer programs? If you're more interested in creating applications rather than keeping them secure, a career as a software developer could be the perfect fit for you as you enter the job market.
Why It's Hot: As companies look to create interactive experiences for their customers, they are looking for employees with the tech skills to make software that increases efficiency, says Yamusah. "For example, it is more cost-effective for a company to hire someone who can design and manage an interactive customer experience online via software, rather than paying numerous customer-service representatives to handle customer needs via phone or email."
"With highly publicized conversations about the shortage of workers with strong developing skills, the opportunities for recent graduates include great pay and perks," she adds.
Sweeney says that as we roll into the future, the reality that software and computers profoundly impact our lives will continue to become more apparent. "With this ever increasing dependence on computers and the software that runs them or runs on them, the demand for people to develop new and better software will continue to increase."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.
Education Requirements: Usually, software developers have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Math degrees are also acceptable and software developers typically must have strong computer programming skills.

Career #5: Medical and Health Services Manager

Projected Growth Rate from 2010 - 2020
+22 percent*
Annual Salary
Maybe you've always wanted to make a difference in the medical field, but you don't want to pursue the path of doctor or nurse. A career as a medical and health services manager could allow you to straddle the patient-administration divide, put money in your bank account, and offer you a stable career path.
Why It's Hot: Medical and health services managers will be in demand more than ever with the new health care laws coming into effect, says Provitera.
Yamusah agrees: "One phrase: Affordable Care Act. With millions of new entries into the health care system, health organizations will need growing numbers of managers to ensure high quality care at affordable rates."
So why is this job great for young adults?
Recent graduates can find medical manager opportunities all over the country, says Yamusah. "Combine that with great pay and a fulfilling mission, and you have a pretty great job."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.
Education Requirements: "Prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration," says the U.S. Department of Labor, though master's degrees in health services, public health, public administration, long-term care administration, or business administration are also common.

Career #6: Industrial Organizational Psychologist

Projected Growth Rate from 2010 - 2020
+35 percent*
Annual Salary
Perhaps you have a passion for improving the lives of those around you. If you'd like to make helping people part of your job, you may want to consider a career as an industrial organizational psychologist. These professionals use psychological principles to solve problems and improve the quality of work life, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. By pursuing this career path, they say you could affect everything from workplace productivity to policy planning.
Why It's Hot: Industrial organizational psychologists are in demand as companies seek to downsize, train, and most importantly, deal with ever-changing and demanding rules and regulations, notes Provitera.
"If a student is interested in a psychology degree but doesn't necessarily want to pursue a doctorate, this type of position may be a good fit," says Mueller.
Some of the reasons that this career is great for young adults: Great pay, the opportunity to help companies grow and make progressive changes in their workplace, and a large amount of responsibility regarding company strategies, according to Yamusah.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.
Education Requirements: Those with a master's degree in psychology could work as an industrial-organizational psychologist, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Practicing psychologists or those workers using the title of "psychologist" are required to have a license or certification from the state.

Career #7: Art Director

Projected Growth Rate from 2010 - 2020
+9 percent*
Annual Salary
For creative types, a career as an art director could allow them the freedom to create art day after day, while at the same time, giving you a steady paycheck and reliable job. Along with a creative team, the U.S. Department of Labor says that art directors conceptualize and create the visual style for magazines, newspapers, movie and television productions, and product packaging. That also means you probably won't be able to snag this title without at least a few years out in the field. Still, a career as an art director is a great goal for young career seekers.
Why It's Hot: First of all, the job title of "art director" is not a one-size-fits-all moniker, says Donna Hewlett, program director of the master's of fine arts program in creativity at Bellevue University.
"That's because art directors can work for motion picture and video industries, newspapers, advertising, public relations, or specialized design services, just to name a few options. It is precisely this diversity that appeals to young adults who have grown up in a media-rich environment," she adds.
While art director is a great career to which to aspire, it's important to remember that this position may take years of work experience to reach and is by no means an entry-level job. According to Mueller, an art director needs a combination of creative expertise, strong leadership, and team-building skills along with the on-time delivery of products, and could command a good salary and sustain regular business.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Arts and Design Program.
Education Requirements: The U.S. Department of Labor says that art directors need at least a bachelor's degree in art or design subject, paired with previous work experience. In fact, many of these professionals may start out as graphic designers, illustrators, copyeditors, or photographers, or in another art or design occupation.

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