While some careers are projected to disappear in droves, others are experiencing booming growth.
Do you have a sneaking suspicion that your current field resembles an endangered species? If so, you might not be alone in feeling like a dinosaur.
According to Las Vegas-based career expert Denise Nicole Cook, people working in professions that are experiencing increased automation and technological change could find their jobs practically extinct in the not-too-distant future.
"Pay attention to the industry you're in, because even if it's not currently automated, it may be automated in the future," says Cook, founder of The Honest Info career counseling firm.
Sound like your career, or one you're planning to pursue? Keep reading to learn more about which jobs are in crisis - and which of their counterparts appear to be booming.
Career in Crisis #1:Farmer, Rancher and other Agricultural Manager
Farmers were once, almost literally, the bread and butter of the U.S. workforce. Not anymore. Sadly, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers will see their workforce numbers decline by 19 percent - or 179,900 jobs - from 2012 to 2022.
Why it's in crisis: International markets for food and crops are contributing to the plight of U.S. farmers, according to Cook.
"Farming has become such a global industry," Cook says. "It's just not as lucrative in the United States as it once was." Perhaps one reason it's not as lucrative is that prices are increasing. According to the Department of Labor, the price of seeds, chemicals, machinery, and land may increase.
Cook also points to cultural changes having a negative effect on farming jobs. Working on a farm - now owned by corporations instead of Mom and Pop - simply doesn't have the appeal it once had in this country, she says.
Booming Career #1:Registered Nurse
If you're compassionate and caring, you may want to look into registered nursing as a career option. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that this field will need to increase their workforce by 19 percent, or 526,800 new jobs, from 2012 to 2022. That's right: over half a million new jobs.
Why it's booming: As the population ages, they will have more medical problems and will need more nurses to take care of them, says the Department of Labor.
And this is no task for medical equipment. Taking care of someone and curing injuries is pretty hard to automate, Cook says. "If we go into a hospital, the diagnostic capability (of equipment) is pretty limited. Nurses are needed to interpret the results, to give them meaning. Nurses provide the human factor and interaction between whatever the data, injuries, or symptoms are."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
How to get started: To prepare for this career, you have a few options. The Department reports that you can choose one of three career paths: a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN), an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. From there, you'll need to get licensed.
Career in Crisis #2:Postal Service Worker
When was the last time you went to the post office? Don't remember? That's part of the problem for postal service workers like clerks, mail carriers, and mail sorters.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor says workers in this field will see their numbers dip by 28 percent from 2012 to 2022, or 139,100 jobs.
Why it's in crisis: "Unfortunately, people don't go to the post office anymore," Cook says. "If they have to mail things, like checks, or bill pay, they do it electronically."
The demise of snail mail is a contributing factor to the dwindling numbers of postal service workers, Cook says. "Email is the quick fix, immediate satisfaction, and gratification. You hit click and send, it's gone. You don't have to worry about the right paper, envelope, or stamp," she adds.
Another contributing factor: The Postal Service's usage of automated sorting systems to reduce the time that mail carriers spend processing mail, says the Department of Labor. This should allow carriers to increase the size of their routes and reduce the need to hire more carriers.
Booming Career #2:Software Developer
Would you like to turn futuristic ideas into present-day software and applications? If so, consider pursuing a career as a software developer.
Between the years 2012 and 2022, this field will hire over 200,000 new software developers - increasing their numbers by 19 percent - the U.S. Department of Labor reports.
Why it's booming: Cook says the demand for products using computer technology is a driving force behind the booming hiring numbers for software developers. "Software developers conceptualize programs that will do things that businesses need to thrive," she says.
And as the demand for new applications and software rises, so does the need increase for software developers to improve the technology that's used to make smartphones and other devices perform at higher levels, according to Cook. "Software developers aren't going anywhere as technology is increasing at a more rapid pace," she says.
How to get started: You may want to consider a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or related field, as according to the Department, software developers usually have one. A mathematics degree is also acceptable.
Career in Crisis #3:News Analyst, Reporter, Correspondent
Once a staple of people's viewing and reading habits, news analysts and reporters are finding their careers being treated like, well, yesterday's news. This field is projected to experience a 13 percent drop in their numbers - losing 7,200 jobs - from 2012 to 2022, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why it's in crisis: Competition from online and social media is partly responsible for the decline in jobs for traditional news reporters, according to Cook. "All of these technologies (social media applications) keep us connected in homes of people we don't know, but unfortunately that's altering people's needs or desires to tune into the news or newspaper. In an industry where they once reported news, now they have to report on the cute cat flipping and answering the doorbell."
"Everyone thinks that they have the best story and can write it better than anyone else. Technology makes it so that everyone has access to a worldwide audience if they can promote themselves," Cook adds.
Booming Career #3:Market Research Analyst
The booming nature of employment for market research analysts can be reflected in the U.S. Department of Labor's projections, which say their numbers will grow by 32 percent between 2012 and 2022. So if you're good with numbers and like analyzing data, this may be a career to consider.
Why it's booming: Businesses increasingly rely on complex data to gauge consumer habits, says the Department of Labor. And in doing so, "companies are better able to market directly to their target population."
And consumer data is fairly useless until market research analysts can put their spin on it, says Cook. "You have a number of [software] programs that can run data, but until you interpret the data, it's just numbers," Cook says. "Market research analysts provide the human interpretation part of it. You can have someone fill out a piece of paper without anyone there, but you need humans to put the data in layman's terms."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Program.
How to get started: To pursue this career, you'll need a bachelor's degree, typically in market research or a related field, according to the Department. However, many analysts have degrees in fields such as computer science, statistics, and math - with others having a background in fields like business administration or communications.
Career in Crisis #4:Travel Agents
Travel agents help travelers plan trips and book flights - but so do Expedia, Travelocity, and Kayak. So looking for a job in this field might not make sense - especially when you consider the fact that thousands of travel agents are projected to lose their jobs in the coming years.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between 2012 and 2022, employment will drop by 12 percent - or 8,900 jobs.
Why it's in crisis: Technology is replacing people, says Cook. "If a computer can do it, there's a likelihood that the computer is going to be an intermediary." Today, advances in technology allow you to use your phone to purchase your ticket and scan it to board the plane, says Cook in reference to the declining need for travel agents.
Some good news: There should still remain some need for travel agents. The Department of Labor reports that their expertise will continue to be required by those who need customized travel experiences.
Booming Career #4:Elementary School Teacher
If you enjoy helping others learn new things, now may be the time to make a career out of it. The U.S. Department of Labor says that employment of elementary school teachers will increase by 12 percent, creating 167,900 new jobs between 2012 and 2022.
Why it's booming: The number of students enrolling in elementary schools is projected to increase, according to the Department of Labor. In turn, the number of teachers will also increase.
And although online education seems to be a growing trend in higher education, Cook says elementary school teachers in face-to-face classroom settings will remain in high demand.
Elementary school teachers are needed because children must have one-on-one interaction during the formative years, Cook says. "The face-to-face connection will still be a need at that age," she says. "It's how children learn."
"If a student has a learning difficulty, a teacher can see it and address it," she adds.
How to get started: A bachelor's degree in elementary education is a must-have for elementary school teachers, according to the Department. If you want to teach in public school, you'll need to get a state-issued certification or license.
Career in Crisis #5:File Clerk
Thinking of pursuing a job as a file clerk? You may want to rethink that plan. File clerks are discovering that handling files isn't what it used to be. In fact, the number of file clerks will drop by 5,300 workers from 2012 through 2022, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why it's in crisis: The emergence of electronic and online filing systems is having an adverse effect on the hiring prospects of file clerks, according to Cook. Where people in this position were once needed to physically handle paper documents, they now spend most of their time gathering documents electronically, she says.
And you don't need so many people to go to archives and dusty rooms to access data, Cook says. The information people need is at the tip of their fingers, so a lot of the people who performed that job function are no longer at use.
Booming Career #5:Accountant
Let's do a quick math equation. If the U.S. Department of Labor reports that 1,275,400 accountants and auditors were employed in 2012 and it also projects that they'll experience a 13 percent employment increase from 2012 to 2022, how many new jobs will be created in this ten year time frame?
If your answer was 166,700, you may want to include this career in your list of jobs to pursue.
Why it's booming: Cook says the demand for accountants is predicated by a climate of legal and financial volatility. "...[T]he average person can't keep up with the ever-changing tax laws and banking laws," Cook says. "As an individual or business, you need somebody to do that for you."
Typically accountants are the people who keep track of changing laws that could affect the financial fortunes of businesses and individuals alike. "The laws are getting more complicated and the accountant is there to keep you organized," Cook says. "Accountants are key to economic success because they will find ways to maximize dollars."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
How to get started: According to the Department, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or related field. Of course, some employers may prefer master's degree holders in either accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting.