Big City Careers Shifting

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Professional services are in. Manufacturing is out. Educated workers to benefit most from new opportunities, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

By Tony Moton

Recent studies by the U.S. Department of Labor indicate that U.S. metropolitan areas - cities with at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more inhabitants - are experiencing a shift in the top employment sectors.

On the way up: Careers connected to the professional, business, and technical industries. These provide specific services and expertise that help clients and customers.

On the way down: Careers related to manufacturing, trade, transportation, and public utilities - industries that focus primarily on the delivery of goods and products.

"There has been a definite shift over a long period of time, and not just in the last decade," says Diane Nilsen, a regional economist for the U.S. Department of Labor. "The service-producing industries are getting larger and larger all the time."

One of Nilsen's studies discovered that rust-belt capital Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's biggest employment sectors had shifted to education and health care services during the 10-year period from 1998 to 2008.

Careers in the professional and business industries generally offer higher earning potential, but getting the right education and preparation is often necessary to land them. Among wide-ranging careers in this category are health care and human services, education and teaching, and the legal field.

If you're on the hunt for a career with strong hiring opportunity and earning potential, here are six careers on the rise in big cities.

Big City Career #1 - Registered Nurse

In California metro area San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, registered nurses (RNs) make up 1.5 percent of the total workforce with more than 15,000 employed, according to the Department of Labor.

Job Growth: Registered nurses are very much in demand. Some 581,500 new RN positions are expected to be created between 2008 and 2018 across the country.*

Education: Earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing, or opting for a diploma from an approved nursing program, can help you prepare for this career. From there, you must pass a national licensing exam.

Average Salary: The San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City metropolitan area has the third-highest average annual salary for registered nurses at $98,900.**

Search for Nursing schools near you now!

Big City Career #2 - Accountant

Due to the high concentration of public accounting firms and businesses, the majority of accountants work in urban areas, the Department of Labor reports. The Denver-Aurora, Colorado metro ranks high among cities for the percentage of accountants in the workforce.

Job Growth: The numbers add up for accountants when it comes to hiring. Between 2008 and 2018, the Department of Labor projects 279,400 new accounting positions will be created nationwide.

Education: Earn a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field.

Average Salary: Looking at the numbers, the New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey metro area stands atop the list of best-paying metro areas for accountants, who have an average salary of $87,940 there. Accountants in the Denver-Aurora, Colorado metro area have an average salary of $70,060.*

Find an Accounting degree program now.

Big City Career #3 - Medical and Health Services Manager

According to the Department of Labor, general medical and surgical hospitals, primarily located in metro areas such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, employ some 102,780 medical and health services managers nationwide.

Job Growth: According to the Department of Labor, more than 45,000 positions will be created in this fast-growing profession between 2008 and 2018, due to a rising need for health practitioners in offices.

Education: A bachelor's degree in health administration could help prepare you for a career in management. You might start at an entry-level position in a smaller facility or at the departmental level within a health care organization.

Average Salary: Medical and health services managers have an average salary of $122,730 in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, one of the leading metro areas for pay in this field.*

Search for schools that offer Health Care Administration programs.

Big City Career #4 - Paralegal

More than 19,000 paralegals work in the New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey metro area, according to the Department of Labor.

Job Growth: As a paralegal in today's workforce, you should expect strong hiring trends to continue. Some 74,100 new paralegals are projected to enter this field from 2008 to 2018, according to the Department of Labor.

Education: An associate's degree in paralegal studies could be a great start in pursuing a career as a paralegal. If you already have a college degree, a career-focused certificate in paralegal studies is also helpful.

Average Salary: Paralegals have an average annual salary of $64,080 in the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City metropolitan area and $63,230 in the New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey metro.*

Search for online Paralegal and Legal Schools now!

Big City Career #5 - Computer Network Administrator

Nearly 14,000 computer network administrators work in the New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey metro area, according to the Department of Labor.

Job Growth: More than 286,000 new positions for computer network, systems, and database administrators will be created between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department of Labor.

Education: You have several options that could help you break into the field, including a bachelor's degree, associate's degree, or professional certificate.

Average Salary: The numbers indicate that the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California metropolitan area ranks atop the best-paying metro areas for computer network administrators, who have an annual average salary of $98,570. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California is next at $93,810.*

Big City Career #6 - Education Administrator

Look to Boston, Massachusetts for education careers, which are among the new front-runners for careers in the area, the Department of Labor reports.

Job Growth: The need for principals and assistant principals could help add some 37,000 positions for education administrators between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department of Labor.

Education: A bachelor's degree in an education-related field can help you pursue a career as a principal or assistant principal in a private school. Most public schools require a master's degree in education administration for top administrative positions.

Average Salary: Elementary and secondary school education administrators in the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos metropolitan area, have an average annual salary of $116,940.*

Find online Education and Teaching schools now.

*All salary data from U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

**Employment projections from U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, released in May 2009.

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