Education for In-Demand Careers


See how the right education could help you pursue a growing, stable career.

By Marcelina Hardy    

Are you ready to get in gear in a high-growth career?

The good news is that many industries are projecting strong job growth. In fact, with the right education, there could be many options out there in health care and business - to name a few industries - that the U.S. Department of Labor expects to experience strong growth from 2008-2018.

Keep reading to learn more about careers with strong growth - and see what education you need to get started.

Career #1: Accountant

Accountants are a key part of the engines that drive business by helping companies resolve consumer debts, manage bills, and create client invoices. When discrepancies or missed payments occur with customers, accountants must handle the issues confidently and discreetly.

Education: Want to have what it takes to get into this high-growth field? According to the Department of Labor, earning a bachelor's degree in accounting could help.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Hiring Outlook: An American Institute of Certified Public Accountants report states that 90 percent of accounting firms predict that they will hire the same amount or more accounting graduates in 2011, compared to 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the accounting field should expect a 22 percent growth rate from 2008 to 2018.

Average Earning Potential: $68,960*

Career #2: Paralegal

Paralegals help lawyers run at top speed. They help attorneys prepare for court, take statements, complete legal paperwork, follow court proceedings, and more.

Education: If you're interested in a growing career in the legal field, consider earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies, which is an almost standard credential, according to the Department of Labor. If you already have a bachelor's degree in another field, look into earning a certificate in paralegal studies.

Click to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program.

Hiring Outlook: The Department of Labor projects 28 percent job growth from 2008 to 2018. Paralegals specializing in areas like real estate, bankruptcy, and medical malpractice might have an edge in terms of job opportunities, notes the Department.

Average Earning Potential: $49,640*

Career #3: Probation Officer

Through supervision and guidance, probation officers help gauge the success of former prison inmates in making a life for themselves by keeping track of their activities and making sure they fulfill court-ordered mandates.

Education: A bachelor's degree in social work, criminal justice, or psychology could help prepare you to pursue a position in this field, according to the Department of Labor. If you don't have previous work experience in criminal justice or social work, but you do have a bachelor's degree, consider pursuing a master's degree to help get your foot in the door.

Click to Find the Right Criminal Justice Program.

Hiring Outlook: The Department of Labor projects probation officers and correctional treatment specialists will see 19 percent growth from 2008 to 2018, which is fast compared to other occupations. Job openings will increase as a large number of parole officers are expected to retire, notes the Department.

Average Earning Potential: $51,240*

Career #4: Financial Planner

Financial planners and advisors help corporations and private clients fuel their enterprises with direction on how to invest and save money. And they have their fingers on the pulse of future financial trends.

Education: Want to prepare to pursue a career in financial planning? Consider going back to school to earn your bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, economics, business, math, or law. According to the Department of Labor, these subjects should offer good career preparation.

Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

Hiring Outlook: The Department of Labor predicts an occupational growth of 30 percent from 2008 to 2018. This is in large part due to the millions of financial planners who are expected to retire.

Average Earning Potential: $91,220*

Career #5: Software Engineer

Software engineers serve as computer gurus by creating programs to help companies win the race. When they aren't programming, they test and maintain software.

Education: If you want to prepare for this growing career, consider earning a bachelor's degree in an area like computer science or management information systems, which is a common major for applications software engineers, says the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Hiring Outlook: One of the fastest-growing occupations, according to the Department of Labor, employment of software engineers is projected to grow 21 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Average Earning Potential: $87,900*

*All average earning potential information is from the U.S. Department of Labor, May 2010 statistics.

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