Careers That Likely Aren't Going Away


Careers in community bedrocks like schools, hospitals, and law firms are here to stay.

By Staff

Everyone's heard about outsourcing and careers cuts. That's the bad news.

The good news is that while the economy is changing and employment patterns are evolving, there are some bedrock institutions - and careers - that likely aren't going away.

Just take a look around and you'll see examples of careers that are likely here to stay, at least in some capacity. Almost every community, big or small, has a medical office, a law firm, a school, a police department, a drugstore and other "bedrocks" that provide employment.

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Check out these seven careers that will likely stick around the neighborhood - and how you can prepare for one of these positions...

Career #1 - Police Officer

From patrolling the streets to running security for parades to apprehending criminals, police officers provide a valuable service that no community - big or small - can do without. [Search for Criminal Justice degree programs]

Career Forecast: The U.S. Department of Labor anticipates employment of police officers to grow 10 percent from 2008 to 2018 (about as fast as the average for all occupations). And, as the Department of Labor notes, police officers who lose their position due to budget cuts usually have very little trouble finding positions with other agencies.

Preparation: If you're thinking about pursuing a caraeer as a police officer, look into earning a criminal justice degree to help you on your way.

Average Earnings: Police officers have an average annual income of $51,410. Differences in income largely depend on location. The highest ten percent average at more than $79,680*.

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Career #2 - Paralegal

In this world of contracts and litigation, lawyers are essential to local businesses and individuals - and paralegals, who help lawyers prepare for trials and prepare legal arguments, are essential to lawyers.

Career Forecast: The Department of Labor expects a 28 percent growth rate for this career between 2008 and 2018. They also anticipate the need for more paralegals as intellectual property, health care, elder issues, and environmental law become increasingly important to our communities.

Preparation: If you're interested in pursuing a paralegal career, check out associate's degree programs in paralegal studies. If you already have a bachelor's degree, consider earning a paralegal certificate.

Average Earnings: Income for paralegals can vary. Working for a large law firm or in a big city, for example, could increase earning potential. The average annual income for paralegals is around $46,120, though the top ten percent average at $73,450.

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Career #3 - Accountant

Whether you live in a big city or small town, there's probably an accounting firm that many neighborhood businesses use. And it's no surprise - accountants do a lot more than just prepare taxes. Local businesses often rely on them for everything from bookkeeping to helping plan growth strategies.

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Career Forecast: Accountants are important advisors and team members for our local business communities, and as the number of businesses increase, so should the number of postions for accountants. The Department of Labor estimates employment of accountants will grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Preparation: If you want to pursue an accountant position, earning your bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field could be a great start. You can help advance your career by earning your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification.

Average Earnings: Accountants have an average annual income of $59,430, with top earners averaging at more than $102,380 per year.

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Career #4 - Health Care Administrator

Health care administrators help improve the quality of health care; control costs; interface with insurance companies; and oversee patient record security. At first glance it might not be clear why these positions are essential to every community, but as the health care industry expands we will need administrators to help keep hospitals and physician's offices running smoothly.

Career Forecast: The Department of Labor predicts that employment of medical and health services managers will grow 16 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Preparation: A bachelor's degree in health care administration could help prepare you for an entry-level position in a smaller facility or department. For larger facilities, consider a master's degree in health services administration.

Average Earnings: Health care administrators have an average annual income of $80,240.

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Career #5 - Pharmacy Technician

People rely on their local pharmacy for their prescription needs. Pharmacy technicians help ensure that those pharmacies run smoothly and efficiently. With health care changes, more people will have prescription drug coverage, which will put a greater demand on local pharmacies - and as a result, increase the need for pharmacy technicians.

Career Forecast: This is another career with much higher than average employment growth anticipated. The Department of Labor expects employment of pharmacy technicians to grow 25 percent from 2008 to 2018 according to the Department of Labor. That's 96,300 new positions!

Preparation: Pharmacy associate's degrees or certificate programs are a good way to start if you're interested in a career as a pharmacy technician.

Average Earnings: Pharmacy technicians earn $13.32 per hour on average, though the highest 10 percent can earn more than $18.98. Keep in mind that certified technicians may earn more than non-certified technicians.

[Search for local Pharmacy schools now]

Career #6 - Registered Nurse (RN)

People need to physically visit their health care providers - or have their health care providers come to them - in order to get the care they need, which makes nurses essential to local communities.

Career Forecast: Many employers are currently reporting difficulty in hiring enough RNs to handle their current workload, and more positions are predicted to increase as the numbers of our elderly continue to grow. According to the Department of Labor, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Preparation: To pursue a position as a registered nurse, a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program, are steps in the right direction. You'll also need to complete a national licensing examination in order to obtain a nursing license.

Average Earnings: Registered nurses have an average annual income of $62,450. Nurses working in hospitals generally have higher salaries than those employed in nursing care facilities. The top ten percent of registered nurses average at about $92,240 per year.

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Career #7 - Teacher

Whether your town's population is 500 or 5,000, every community needs schools and teachers. Teachers provide an essential service that cannot be outsourced. And while times may be tough in education right now, the kids aren't going anywhere.

Career Forecast: The Department of Labor expects employment of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers to grow by 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. There is an even higher demand for teachers who specialize in mathematics, science, and bilingual education.

Preparation: Pursuing a bachelor's degree from a teacher education program is an essential step for aspiring teachers. If you're considering a career as a secondary school teacher, major in the subject you plan to teach and take a program of study in teacher preparation.

Average Earnings: The average annual income of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranges from $47,100 to $51,180. According to the American Federation of Teachers, beginning teachers with a bachelor's degree have an average income of $33,227. Getting a master's degree or national certification could also help your earning potential.

[Search for online and local Teaching schools now]

Unless otherwise noted, all average income information is from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2008.

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