Careers that are Dying


Check out this list of three careers on the decline and three others that have a more positive outlook.

By Christine Trang    

Are you in the market for a new job?

Here's some career advice: steer clear of postal service and file clerking work. Experts believe that technological advancements will lead to major cuts in these fields.

"Everything is a question of automation now," said Laurence Shatkin, career expert and author of "2011 Career Plan." "Computers just get smarter, so the need for these workers will continue to decrease."

So, what other careers are slowly disappearing and which ones are on the rise?

Using 2008 to 2018 job growth projections from the U.S. Department of Labor, we take a look at struggling and booming careers, and what's behind their bright - or not so bright - career outlook.

Read on to learn more...

Struggling Career - Sewing Machine Operator

Sewing machines operators join fabrics, helping to create the many stylish (and not so stylish) outfits that we see in stores and on mannequins. And while fashion trends and clothes will always have a place in our lives, sewing machine operators might not.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 34 percent decrease in jobs for sewing machine operators; this is equivalent to 71,500 cuts between 2008 and 2018.

"This type of work is now done by low-grade workers offshore," Shatkin said. "Nobody can compete with that, so I doubt anything will get better for this field."

Growing Career - Home Health Aide

You've probably heard that health care is booming, but do you know how much?

Here's some insight: the home health aide occupation is projected to gain 460,000 more jobs - a 50 percent job growth - from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Home health aides assist people in their homes or residential facilities. Most perform basic health-related services, according to the Department of Labor.

Want to Pursue this Growing Field? Click to Find the Right Program now.

What's behind this career's significant growth?

"Studies prove that people really do recover better in their own homes," says Shatkin. "It is also cheaper to hire a home health aide than to place a patient in the hospital... lower cost and better outcome."

If you're interested in joining this booming field, you'll need to complete a formal preparation program, and pass a competency test, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Struggling Career - Postal Service Worker

As much as we love the idea of sending postcards and letters through snail mail, text messages and email are now the norm in our tech-heavy world.

This means the need for postal service workers, who generally sort and route mail, will slowly dwindle down - at least according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which projects 60,000 job cuts in the field, or a 30 percent job loss between 2008 and 2018.

Shatkin believes the implementation of automated systems - unattended kiosks that store packages for later pickup - has reduced the need for workers in this field.

"The drastic reduction in the use of personal mail, and the increase of e-mail, will make this career almost nonexistent," Shatkin says.

Growing Career - Dental Assistant

As much as people despise going to the dentist, the truth of the matter is that if you want clean and healthy teeth, a trip to the dentist's office is inevitable.

That could explain why the need for dental assistants, who might perform a variety of patient care tasks like instrument cleaning and sterilizing and maintaining dental records, is projected to grow by 36 percent - or 105,600 jobs - from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Population growth and an increased focus on preventative dental care will fuel demand for assistants, notes the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Dental Assisting Program.

"When you get older, your teeth get older, too, and they need more attention," says career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman.

To pursue this people (and teeth) friendly career, you can learn on-the-job or look into a diploma, certificate, or associate's degree program in dental assisting, says the Department.

Struggling Career - Farmer

There's no doubt that farmers play a vital role in today's economy. How else would we get the food we place on our tables every day?

However, farmers, most of whom grow crops and produce food to meet consumer demands, are facing a downfall in career opportunities, with the U.S. Department of Labor predicting 96,100 job cuts, an 8 percent loss, from 2008 to 2018.

But these figures don't surprise Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, a career coach who focuses on job-search strategy.

"The struggle used to be the weather, disease, those kinds of things, but now it becomes more about [cheap] prices," Tannahill-Moran said.

Growing Career - Medical Assistant

Here's another health care career that will be alive and kicking for awhile.

Medical assistants, who generally perform administrative and clinical tasks to support health professionals, are projected to experience a 34 percent increase in their workforce - that's 163,900 jobs - from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

What's causing this growth? According to the Department of Labor, it's a combination of factors, including advances in medicine, an aging population, and a rise in conditions like obesity and diabetes.

Shatkin adds that job growth in this field could also be a result of paperwork. Surprising, right?

Click to Find the Right Medical Assisting Program.

"Their job is about setting appointments and dealing with insurance companies," Shatkin says. "Insurance paperwork is so burdensome that there's plenty of work for these workers."

Medical assisting hopefuls could prepare for this growing field by pursuing a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree, all of which are often offered at community and junior colleges, notes the Department.

Next Article:

Written on

Find the Best

Recent Articles

5 things you didn’t know about online students

The typical online student may be different than you think.

5 Factors That Students Consider Before Choosing an Online Degree

Students have many considerations to weigh when it’s time to select an online program.

Online degrees that could prepare you to pursue growing careers

The following degree programs could help you prepare to pursue careers that are expected to create thousands of new jobs from 2012 to 2022.

Select an Area of Study to Find a University For You!


Creative Arts & Design

Criminal Justice & Security




Psychology & Social Services

Health Care


Trade & Vocational

IT & Computer Science

General Studies