Are you interested in a job that won't disappear anytime soon? Read on for six booming careers.
Could a robot do your job now or in the future? It's not a good feeling - to worry that you could be replaced by something with cameras for eyes and oil for blood. So if you're thinking of changing careers, you might want to choose one that has a good chance of avoiding the artificial intelligence revolution.
One good way of doing that is to stick to careers that require a person-to-person connection, says Dr. Anthony P. Carnevale, director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. These jobs will be difficult to automate or offshore in the future.
The other trick, of course, is to make sure a career has high demand and growth.
Checked out these six careers that should be around for the foreseeable future, robots or no robots.
Eternal Career #1: Registered Nurse
Job Growth 2010-2020:* 26 percent with 711,900 new openings
Taking your blood pressure, fine. Temperature? Okay. But when you need advice about recovering from an injury or help getting comfortable in a hospital bed, do you really think metallic grips and a digitized voice will suffice? We didn't think so. And according to Carnevale, we will need nurses for the foreseeable future.
Carnevale says that nurses will always be needed, because so far, no one has lived forever. "We all need health care sooner or later," he says. "So there's a nurse out there in all our lives."
He adds that he doesn't see them getting replaced by machines or off-shored because of the hands-on nature of their job.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
What to Expect: If you like working closely with people to help them recover from injuries or illness, stay healthy with at home treatment, and manage chronic medical conditions, nursing might be for you since that's what they do, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Nurses may also help doctors with diagnoses and trauma care.
Education Options: The Department of Labor says there are three common educational paths to pursuing the job of nurse - a bachelor's of science in nursing, an associate's degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses must also have a license.
Eternal Career #2: Elementary School Teacher
Job Growth 2010-2020:* 17 percent with 248,800 new openings
It's pretty simple: Would you want a robot teaching your kid reading, writing, and arithmetic? Of course not. Plus, the need for education is not going away. Carnevale says that he can't see a day when elementary education is not mandated by the government, creating a steady need for teachers.
As for job openings and growth, he says there will be plentiful opportunities since teaching is a profession with some of the oldest workers. "So retirement of existing teachers will add openings to the new jobs created," he says.
What to Expect: Elementary school teachers do the very important job of teaching our next generation the basics of everything from math and reading to science and social skills, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
Education Options: All states require elementary school teachers to have a bachelor's degree in elementary education, and public school teachers must also be licensed, says the Department of Labor. And while private schools don't necessarily have the same requirements, the Department says they usually seek teachers with bachelor's in elementary education.
Eternal Career #3: Police Officer
Job Growth 2010-2020:* 8 percent with 54,600 new openings
Hollywood might enjoy imagining a future in which we are policed by droids or machines, but back here in reality, experts such as Carnevale are having trouble believing it. So a career as a police officer could offer some protection for you, as well as the people you serve.
"We will always need police officers, because we don't live in a perfect world," says Carnevale. So there will always be crime and laws to enforce - as long as we live in societies.
Again, as with teachers, Carnevale says retirement will add to the job opportunities for police officers. He adds that it's also a job in which employers are increasingly seeking out candidates with bachelor's degrees for entry-level positions.
What to Expect: Unfortunately, there will probably always be a need for the type of work police officers do. In this occupation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, an officer's duties range from patrolling areas and arresting suspects to filling out that infamous paperwork (maybe we can get the robots to do that part).
Education Options: Police candidates must have at least a high school diploma and graduate from their agency's training facility, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Many agencies also require a college degree or some college coursework.
Eternal Career #4: Social Worker
Job Growth 2010-2020:* 25 percent with 161,200 new openings
Can you imagine a future in which social work is automated or off-shored? "Please see the robot behind door number one for substance abuse, and the robot behind door number two for feelings of isolation in a digital age." Undoubtedly, this is another occupation that requires a human touch.
Much of social work falls under the heading of health care, the biggest driver of jobs of any industry, explains Carnevale. And, he says, as a compassionate society, this career will always be a staple of the health care field. He adds that there is an increase in the need for these workers, because baby boomers are reaching the age at which they are becoming more dependent on others and may need more counseling.
Carnevale also says that due to the very personal nature of social work, it's highly unlikely that these jobs will be replaced or off-shored. Apparently, computers and call centers don't do a great job with empathy.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.
What to Expect: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are two main types of social workers. One is a direct-service social worker, who helps people solve their everyday problems. The other type is the clinical social worker, who diagnoses and treats mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.
Education Options: The Department of Labor says that a bachelor's in social work is the most common required degree for this career, but the Department says employers may also accept a bachelor's in a related field like psychology or sociology.
Eternal Career #5: Medical and Health Services Managers
Job Growth 2010-2020:* 22 percent with 68,000 new openings
After witnessing the spaghetti bowl of red tape the health care system has become, no sane person could see its management as something to be automated or off-shored. Hence, Carnevale says administrative positions in health care will be with us for a while.
"Our health care system is grossly inefficient, and finding ways to make it efficient is vital," says Carnevale. That fact, he says, will create a great demand for good managers in the field.
Because of the intricacies and complexity of the work needed, it will be live humans working closely with institutions that fill these positions, Carnevale explains.
What to Expect: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, medical and health services managers plan, direct, and manage health care facilities like hospitals, clinical departments, and even physicians' practices.
Education Options: The Department of Labor says prospective health care administrators have a bachelor's degree in health administration. It also says that master's degrees in health services, long-term care administration, public health, public administration, or business administration are common.
Eternal Career #6: Engineer
Job Growth 2010-2020:* 11 percent
Are you a tinkerer with a curious mind? Well, the role of engineer might be right for you, and if so, you may find yourself in demand in the future.
"Engineers are really innovators. They make things work. So engineering is expertise in problem solving," says Carnevale. And he doesn't see this innovative job going to computers or machines.
He says that while the need for engineers will never go away, the types of engineers in demand will change over time. "For instance, civil engineers are taking a hit right now, because building is down," he says, "but most experts expect that to turn around by 2016." In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor expects growth in this occupation from 2010 to 2020 to reach 19 percent with 51,000 new openings.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.
What to Expect: Pursue the career of civil engineer and, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, you could end up designing and overseeing the building of large construction projects such as roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, and bridges.
Education Options: The Department of Labor says that civil engineers have a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or one of its specialties. The degree program should be approved by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), which is required to work as a professional engineer.