We all know the difference between a vocation and a job. One, we pursue out of love, the other out of necessity. But not everyone is fortunate enough to have a “calling.” Some of us are still trying to figure it out. Others are just looking for a job that offers plenty of mental stimulation, job security and opportunities for growth.
For those seeking a career direction in this recession era, why not start by looking at the fastest growing industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fields in which both skilled and semi-skilled workers will be in high demand for the next 20 years are: STEM (science, engineering, math and technology), healthcare, construction, and education.
With the explosive growth in technology and innovation over the last several years, the best and most plentiful jobs can be found in careers that fall into the STEM category (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Not only do these jobs pay well and offer enormous growth opportunities, they are also are key to the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, according to the Department of Commerce.
Demand for these jobs is so high that the U.S. has increasingly had to look oversees to fill them. They include medical scientists, biochemists and biophysicists, software developers, actuaries, computer systems analysts, web developers and engineers of all kinds including: biomedical, petroleum, chemical, industrial, and computer science, to name a few.
According to the Brookings Institution, half of all STEM careers are available to workers without a four-year college degree and pay $53,000 on average—10 percent higher than jobs with similar educational requirements. These jobs are in manufacturing, health care, and construction, including installation, maintenance, and repair.
With the implementation of the Federal Healthcare Act and an aging population comes a greater demand for healthcare services. And with the baby boomers reaching retirement age, the demand is only increasing. In the last 10 years, the U.S. health care sector has grown more than 10 times faster than the rest of the economy, adding 2.6 million jobs, according to the Brookings Institution.
In addition to physicians and nurses, some of the most in-demand jobs include personal care aids and home health aides; dental hygienists; physical and occupational therapists; speech pathologists; optometrists; pharmacists; podiatrists; respiratory therapists; medical records technicians; chiropractors, and physician assistants.
Walk around many cities today and you’ll likely confront a looming construction crane or amble across a temporary walkway. Everywhere you look, there is evidence of new construction. Although single-family residential construction jobs are still down from peak times, commercial and multi-family building projects have made a dramatic comeback in many areas of the country.
In places like New York City and other dense urban areas, an ever-growing demand for housing has spurred the creation of numerous multifamily buildings, as well as mixed-used developments. In Texas, a thriving energy industry is fueling a booming construction business. The demand for building materials has, in turn, spurred growth in others industries, including manufacturing.
Thanks, in part, to the expansion of for-profit and online universities and an ever-growing population, jobs in education are plentiful. From preschool all the way to college, teachers, specialists and administrators are in demand. The best job prospects for teachers are found in inner cities and rural areas, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Although, it’s important to keep in mind that salaries can vary widely, with those working in post-secondary institutions often making the most.
In addition to classroom teachers, some of the hottest jobs include: school counselor, curriculum developer, education administrator, special education teacher, adult literacy and GED teacher, health educator, instructional coordinator, postsecondary education administrator, preschool and childcare center director, school principal and self-enrichment teacher.
Although many of the jobs listed above may require some additional training or education, the numbers show that the time and money you invest now will continue to pay dividends in the future.