Prepare For A Career in a Growing Field


See what it takes to prepare for careers in these growing fields.

By Tony Moton   

Are you thinking of transitioning to a new career field?

Before you make the big leap to a new profession, be sure you know where the job growth is.

Did you know, for example, that in April 2011, some of the country's top career fields saw impressive hiring totals?

Among the leading sectors reported in the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) "Employment Situation" April findings…

  • Health care: Added 37,000 new jobs.
  • Professional and business: Expanded with the addition of 51,000 new jobs.
  • Leisure and hospitality: Increased by 46,000 new jobs.

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Want to prepare for a career in these rising fields? Many schools offer education programs in a convenient online and/or campus-based format. Keep reading to learn more.


Over the past year, the health care industry has averaged 25,000 new jobs a month, according to BLS findings. The April job gains in this field included 22,000 new positions in ambulatory health care. Procedures in this area include blood tests, X-rays, and biopsies. Additionally, hospitals added 10,000 new positions during the month. This figure includes positions for doctors, nurses, and technicians.

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Career Options in Health Care:

Medical Assistant

  • Typical responsibilities: In physicians' offices, medical assistants often are expected to provide a strong administrative presence. They might be called upon to arrange for lab services or prepare patients for examinations, depending on the size of the office.
  • Education: Your rise in this field could begin with either a certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting. Certificate programs generally take about one year of full-time study to complete. Associate's degree programs generally take two years of full-time study.
  • Average earnings: $29,760*

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Medical Records Technician

  • Typical responsibilities: Most technicians have the responsibility of maintaining and organizing patients' health information, ranging from medical history and symptoms to test results and treatment methods.
  • Education: Getting an associate's degree in health information technology is a great start for this career, the Department of Labor notes. Your coursework might include the study of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology.
  • Average earnings: $35,010*

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According to the BLS, jobs in the professional and business services field have been on the rise in big number for quite some time. Since September of 2009, the job sector has grown by a total of 745,000 jobs.

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Career Options in Professional and Business Services:


  • Typical responsibilities: Accountants are much more than glorified pencil pushers who wield a mean adding machine. They are highly skilled professionals who carry a wide variety of job duties in the four main fields of accounting: public, management, government, and internal. Forensic accountants, for example, are entrusted to catch white-collar criminals who embezzle funds.
  • Education: Your road to an accounting career could begin with a bachelor's degree. To become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you must complete the right amount of college coursework in most states and pass the four-part Uniform CPA Examination. The four parts are spread out over time, so you don't have to pass them all at once.
  • Average earnings: $68,960

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  • Typical responsibilities: Paralegals function as a valuable resource for lawyers in a number of ways. They can help in the preparation of legal proceedings, prepare reports, and track down important laws and rulings that are vital to cases.
  • Education: One education option is a certificate in paralegal studies, which takes about one year to complete, and is a great choice if you already have a bachelor's degree. You can also opt for an associate's degree in paralegal studies.
  • Average earnings: $49,640

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You could hardly call April a major letdown for hiring in the leisure and hospitality industry. The 46,000 new jobs was an impressive total that followed big hiring months in March (51,000 new jobs) and February (54,000 new jobs). That's 151,000 new jobs during the three-month span, the BLS reports in "Employment Situation" findings.

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Career Options in Hospitality:

Food Service Managers

  • Typical responsibilities: Managers in restaurants, bars, and other establishments typically carry the responsibility of making sure customers are well fed and well served during visits. They coordinate efforts among various departments, such as the kitchen and dining room.
  • Education: In today's competitive job market, employers are looking for qualified managers in the leisure and hospitality field. Programs that offer either an associate's or bachelor's degree in food service management are steps in the right direction.
  • Average earnings: $52,220

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Chefs and Head Cooks

  • Typical responsibilities: At restaurants and dining places, it's the chefs and head cooks who put the sizzle into the food we eat. They oversee food preparation and help decide what goes on the day's menu.
  • Education: An associate's or bachelor's degree in hospitality could enable you to build a strong foundation for a career as a chef. The American Culinary Federation provides additional certification for pastry professionals, personal chefs, and other types of chefs and educators.
  • Average earnings: $44,780

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*All average earning potential data comes from the U.S. Department of Labor using May 2010 salary numbers.

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