Hot Careers of the Future


Find out which professions will be hot tomorrow - and start preparing today.

By Chris Kyle

Wondering what tomorrow's in-demand careers will be?

While it's safe to scratch newspaper editor and mail carrier off the list, you might be surprised at the old standbys that still make the cut.

Check out our full list of hot careers of the future:

  • Sales Representative
  • Mobile App Developer
  • Project Manager
  • Construction Manager
  • Elementary School Teacher

[Want to pursue a new career? Find the right program for you.]

Keep reading to see what it takes to prepare for one of these hot careers.

Career #1 - Sales Representative

An accelerating economy is creating a need for more sales professionals. In fact, according to a 2010 Manpower survey, sales representatives are the second-hardest job to fill in America.

Mark Thomas, co-founder and chief sales officer of SayHired, a company that phone screens job candidates for employers, sees a similar demand for sales reps. "As companies are ramping up, talented sales people are getting offers with good base salaries and commission packages," Thomas says.

Career Preparation: To prepare for a career in sales, pick a major like communications or marketing . In addition to gaining key communication skills, you'll learn how sales decisions can impact a business's bottom line.

Average Earnings: $81,370

[Find Communications and Marketing degree programs]

Career #2 - Mobile App Developer

According to a 2011 survey by IHS iSuppli, an internet research company, mobile applications will enjoy an 81.5 percent surge in total revenue over the next 12 months. More revenue means more opportunities for mobile app developers.

Elance, an online employment hub, reports a similarly strong and growing demand for freelance mobile app developers. Its Online Employment Report, also released in 2011, found that the tech industry's spending in this area has grown 11 percent over the past quarter.

Career Preparation: If you want to sharpen your skills for a career in mobile apps, you'll need to get up-to-speed on computer applications and technologies by studying a subject like computer science, programming and software, or IT and information systems.

Average Earnings: $83,647

[Search for IT programs]

Career #3 - Project Manager

As the economy reinvents itself yet again, project managers are fast becoming the new normal as American companies look to hire managers to oversee the building and designing of new projects.

"One of the fastest growing areas is project management," said recruiter Andrew Gadomski, founder of Aspen Search Advisors. "It's not just about doing the work. It's about managing the entire process."

Career Preparation: The skills you learn in business school are directly applicable to working as a project manager. Start by getting a bachelor's degree in an area like business administration. Job experience counts for a lot but in certain cases employers will be looking for candidates with a master of business administration as well.

Average Earnings: $83,400

[Search for Business schools near you]

Career #4 - Construction Manager

In 2009, Laurence Shatkin, author of "200 Best Jobs for Renewing America," pointed to green technology as one of six industries that can help rebuild the country. Looking at income, job growth, and job openings, Shatkin identified construction manager as the number one green technology job.

Fast-forward to 2011, when the number of new homes under construction jumped 15 percent in January, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. That puts us on pace for 596,000 new homes this year.

Career Preparation: Along with work experience, getting a bachelor's degree is an important step in pursuing a construction manager position, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, though sometimes an associate's degree is enough. It's best to study construction science, construction management, or civil engineering.

Average Earnings: $76,230

[Search for local and online degree programs]

Career #5 - Elementary School Teacher

An always increasing population means that more teachers are needed to instruct America's youth.

With 597,000 job openings expected between 2008 and 2018, elementary school teachers will see more job growth than any other career that requires a bachelor's degree, according to the College Board.

Career Preparation: You'll need a bachelor's degree, plus certification, to teach elementary school. Requirements vary by state, though private schools require only a bachelor's to get started.

Average Earnings: $53,150

[Start searching for Teaching programs near you]

*All average earning potential data comes from the U.S. Department of Labor using May 2009 salary numbers, except for project manager and mobile app developer, which comes from using February 2011 data. Green technology construction manager salary comes from Laurence Shatkin's "200 Best Jobs for Renewing America."

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