Five Winning Careers for 2012


Check out these five in-demand careers.

By Renee Wade    

If you're looking for a new, "winning" career for 2012, you're in luck.

A number of exciting fields are projected to experience significant growth between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

If you're interested in making a change and pursuing a dynamic new career, read on for a list of five "winning" careers.

Career # 1 - Dental Assistant

If you want to work alongside a dentist to help people keep their smiles healthy, you might find a career as a dental assistant to be a great fit. In this position, you'll likely help make patients feel comfortable, conduct office tasks like recordkeeping, and prepare tools for dental examinations, according to the Department.

Sound intriguing? You may have some luck preparing to pursue this field with some formal education in dental assisting, according to the Department. This can come in the form of a certificate or associate's degree in dental assisting.

Click to Find the Right Dental Assisting Program.

Winning factor: Dental assistants are projected to have a whopping 36 percent job growth from 2008 to 2018, according to the Department. This means the dental assisting field could see 105,600 new positions.

Average salary: The average annual salary for a dental assistant is $34,140.*

Career #2 - Paralegal

You could learn more about law and the legal system by pursuing a career as a lawyer's right-hand man or woman. Paralegals, or legal assistants, generally help lawyers prepare for hearings, closings, trials, and meetings.

Most paralegals have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, according to the Department. If you already have a bachelor's degree in another field, you could opt to earn a certificate in paralegal studies.

Click to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program.

Winning factor: Besides the thrill of the courtroom and the possibility of researching interesting cases, paralegals are also winning thanks to their projected 28 percent job growth between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department. That's an additional 74,100 jobs for you legal-minded folks.

Annual salary: The average annual salary for paralegals is $49,640.*

Career #3 - Computer Software Engineer, Applications

Are you a self-proclaimed computer geek? Good news: With the right education, you could use your interest in computer programming languages in a new career as a computer applications engineer. The job usually consists of developing and designing software for games, operating systems, business needs, and more.

Most employers prefer applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a field like computer science, software engineering, or mathematics, according to the Department. But there could be some positions that only require an associate's degree in computer science or a related field.

Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Winning factor: With 34 percent projected job growth - that's 175,100 new positions between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department - computer software engineers are definitely a winning career option.

Average salary: Computer software engineer, applications have an average annual salary of $90,410.*

Career # 4 - Physical Therapist Assistant

Do you have a desire to help others improve their physical mobility? As a physical therapist assistant, you could help treat injured or disabled patients with techniques, like massage, to lessen pain and increase their range of motion.

Most states require aspiring physical therapist assistants to complete an associate's degree program that is approved by the American Physical Therapy Association Commission, according to the Department. The program will likely include hands-on clinical work and classroom instruction.

Click to Find the Right Physical Therapy Assistance Program.

Winning factor: Between 2008 and 2018, the Department expects this field to grow by 33 percent. That's 21,200 new physical therapy assistant positions. Winning? We think so.

Average salary: The average annual salary for a physical therapist assistant is $49,810.*

Career #5 - Medical Assistant

Want a hands-on career where you can help people improve their health? Consider looking into a medical assisting career, which involves playing a vital role in health care environments, like hospitals, smaller clinics, and doctors' offices.

Medical assistants usually perform a myriad of clinical and administrative tasks that include taking a patient's vital signs, keeping medical records, and filling out insurance forms, according to the Department.

To prepare to pursue this career, you could earn a certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting from a vocational school or community/junior college, notes the Department.

Click to Find the Right Medical Assisting Program.

Winning factor: One of the fastest-growing occupations in the country, the medical assisting field is projected to grow by 34 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department. With an estimated 163,900 new positions, that's "winning" news for aspiring medical assistants.

Average salary: Medical assistants have an average annual salary of $29,760.*

*Average salary data is from the U.S. Department of Labor, May 2010 statistics.

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