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10 Growing Career Fields

written by: N Nayab•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 5/30/2011

In the age of the recession and tough economic times, careers in high growth sectors are the safest bet. The Bureau of Labor Standards, in the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11 lists the fastest growing career fields for the period 2008-2018. Read on for a list of the top ten.

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    1. Biomedical Engineers

    Growing Career Fields Biomedical engineers develop devices such as artificial organs, and procedures such as health management systems to solve medical and health-related problems.

    Entry-level qualifications for biomedical engineers include an engineering degree with specialization in mechanical or electronics, and specialized biomedical training. Niche specializations include biomaterials, biomechanics, medical imaging, rehabilitation engineering, and orthopedic engineering.

    The advancement of technology that leads to path breaking inventions in medical science and health care boosts the demand for biomedical engineers, making it one the best careers in terms of growth. The expected number of new jobs is 116,000, with a growth rate of 72 percent.

    Biomedical engineers earn $39.69 hourly and $82,550 annually, on the average.

    Image Credit: flickr.com/Wouter Kiel

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    2. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts

    Network systems and data communication analysts undertake instillation and maintenance of local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), Internet, intranet, and other data communications systems. They also interface computer and communications equipment.

    Entry-level qualifications for a network system and data communication analyst is a Bachelor’s Degree with an emphasis in electronics computer science, computer programming, computer engineering, mathematics, and statistics. An Associate Degree or professional certification suffices if the candidate is highly skilled and knowledgeable in the domain.

    The spread of the Internet and an increasingly networking world, increases the need for Network systems and data communications analysts, making it rank in the top 10 of high growth jobs. The expected number of new jobs in the decade 2008-2018 is 155,800, with a growth rate of 53 percent. The present average salary level is $39.69 an hour or $82,550 a year.

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    3 & 4: Home Health Aides and Personal and Home Care Aides

    In health care careers, both home health aides and personal and home care aides offer maximum job opportunities.

    Home health aides and personal and home care aides perform similar functions. They help people discharged from hospitals, the disabled, chronically ill, cognitively impaired people and older adults who require assistance in the comfort of their own homes. The extent of help extends to a wide range of activities such as performing light housekeeping duties, laundry, changing clothes, shopping, preparing meals, assisting the patient with personal care, and even helping them go to work and remain engaged in their communities.

    Home health aides work for certified home health or hospice agencies that receive government funding, whereas personal and home care aides, also known as homemakers, caregivers, companions, and personal attendants work for other private and public agencies, and under the supervision of a licensed nurse or social worker.

    Home health aides do not require formal education, but require formal training and other licensing requirements that vary from state to state, but invariably entails passing a competency test. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) offers national certification for aides.

    Home health aides rank among the professions in most demand, with 460,900 new jobs expected through 2018, with a growth rate of 50 percent. Current salary levels are $10.39 an hour or $21,620 annually.

    The demand for personal and home care aides is equally strong, with an expected demand of 375,800 jobs, at a growth rate of 46 percent. They earn slightly less than home care aides, with an average hourly wage of $9.84.

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    5. Financial Examiners

    Financial examiners, known by various designations such as bank examiners, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act specialists, or financial compliance examiners ensure compliance with laws and regulations in financial, securities, and real estate transactions.

    The number of new financial examiner jobs is expected to grow to 11,100 new jobs through 2018, with a growth rate of 41 percent. Average salary levels are $70,930 annually. Entry-level qualifications include a Bachelor's Degree with accounting and math background.

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    6. Medical Scientists

    Growing Career Fields Medical scientists conduct biomedical research and development on viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents to learn more about human diseases and conditions and thereby, help improve human health. Advancements in medical diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases through the development of new vaccines, drugs, and treatment methods depends on the work of such medical scientists.

    Medical scientist jobs require a medical degree or PhD, preferably both, and good knowledge of natural sciences. The mean hourly wage is $40.75, or an annual salary of $84,760.

    Careers as medical scientists, excluding epidemiologists, ranks in the top 10 of growing career fields, with the expected number of new jobs through 2018 at 442,000, or a growth of 40 percent.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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    7. Physician Assistants

    Physician assistants (PAs) practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They undertake tasks such as examining and treating patients, managing medical history and records, ordering and interpreting laboratory tests and x-rays. They also treat minor injuries and prescribe some medications independently when the physician is not available.

    A job as a physician assistant requires a college degree and some health related work experience. All states require physician assistants to complete an accredited, formal education program that lasts about two years and pass a national licensing exam.

    Physician assistants earn a mean hourly wage of $40.78 and a mean annual wage of $84,830. Like most medical jobs, this is a high demand career, with expected vacancies until 2018 at an estimated 292,000, and a growth rate of 39 percent.

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    8. Skin Care Specialists

    Skin care specialists or estheticians provide skin care treatments such as facials, massages, makeup, waxing, laser treatments, and others, all which enhance an individual's appearance.

    Skin care specialists earn $15.38 an hour and $31,990 a year, on the average. The expected number of new jobs in this profession is 147,000, with a growth rate of 38 percent. The minimal education qualifications required are usually postsecondary vocational and meeting state licensing requirements, making it rank among one of the best jobs without the need for a college degree.

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    9. Biochemists and Biophysicists

    Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms and related phenomena to determine its effects on foods, drugs, serums, and hormones.

    Biochemists and biophysicists are professions that are much in demand, with the excepted number of jobs likely to rise by 87,000 by 2018, a growth rate of 37 percent. Mean hourly wages are $42.57 and average annual wages of $88,550. Most positions require a doctoral degree

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    10. Athletic Trainers

    Athletic trainers aim to prevent sports injuries by educating people on how to reduce injury risks through the proper use of equipment, good exercises to improve balance and strength, and through therapy programs.

    The minimum entry-level requirement is a Bachelor's Degree, but most athletic trainers hold a Master's or Doctoral Degree. Most states require licensing.

    Athletic trainers earn an average of $44,020 a year. The sector enjoys a growth rate of 37 percent, with an estimated 60,000 vacancies through 2018.

    A common thread underlining all the growing career fields is their essential nature for human life and well-being, and for this reason, such careers are recession-free and high paying.