Six Careers with a Bright Future


Wondering which careers are entering their boom phase? Check out these six careers, for which experts see optimistic times ahead.

By Terence Loose

Are you considering starting a new career, but want to make sure it's one whose future will boom, not bust?

Good thinking - changing careers requires focus, dedication, and a good plan.

"It's important for people to dedicate themselves to finding the right career for them, and to make sure they make smart, rewarding choices," says Mary Jeanne Vincent, a career expert and strategist who spent years in the human resources business. She's seen people make every mistake in the book, including not pursuing careers with a good future.

So, we figured we'd jump in and help you avoid that mistake by identifying some careers that are projected to maintain growth in the future.

In fact, we chose six careers that are projected to have at least a 21 percent job growth rate from 2010 to 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor - a favorable forecast when compared to the total U.S. employment growth rate of 14 percent.

So read on to learn more about these six careers expected to boom into the future.

Booming Career #1: Human Resources Specialist
Projected Growth Rate 2010 to 2020: 21 percent*

Are you good at assessing people's skills and talents? You could be born to pursue a booming career in human resources.

Human resources specialists generally identify a company's hiring needs and then interview applicants, contact their references, and perform background checks, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Other duties could include keeping employment records and assisting with new employee orientation.

Why This Career is Booming: Susan Heathfield, a management consultant and's guide to human resources, sees a greater need for employees in human resources.

"The war for talent is escalating," says Heathfield. "[Companies] have human talent that they want to manage and make happy. And trying to attract, hire, and retain people... is becoming a huge problem. But it's also an opportunity for the people who have human resources degrees."

The Department of Labor confirms an optimistic forecast for human resources specialists as companies continue to emphasize "the importance of finding and keeping quality employees."

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Education Options: Intrigued by this field? According to the Department, most human resources specialist positions require a bachelor's degree. But keep in mind that most employers favor candidates with a bachelor's degree in human resources, business, or a related field.

Booming Career #2: Health Care Administrator
Projected Growth Rate 2010 to 2020: 22 percent*

If you want to be in the booming health care industry, but gravitate more toward paperwork than patient work, consider pursuing a career as a health care administrator.

Health care administrators generally manage everything from an entire facility to a specific clinical department or private medical practice, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Common duties could include keeping up on new laws and regulations, maintaining and organizing records of the facility's services, and managing finances, says the Department of Labor.

Why This Career is Booming: With the large baby-boom population aging and remaining active later in life, the health care industry will need more managers to run the increased number of facilities, according to the Department.

"This will be a really hot job for the future," says Vincent. "The industry will need people who are really able to balance the budget, be fiscally responsible, and are able to interpret the complex regulations."

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Education Options: Want to pursue this career? Health care administrators generally need at least a bachelor's degree to prepare for this field, says the Department. Master's degrees in health services, public health, or business administration are also common credentials.

Booming Career #3: Personal Financial Advisor
Projected Growth Rate 2010 to 2020: 32 percent*

While others were living it up on easy money and false optimism before the economic downturn, were you soberly planning for a comfortable landing when the party plane crashed? A career as a personal financial advisor could be a great option for you.

As the title suggests, personal financial advisors often review their clients' financial needs and help them with everything from investments to taxes to insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But it's not all crunching numbers and reading company files. The Department of Labor says financial advisors could also spend time marketing their services through seminars or social networking.

Why This Career is Booming: The Department gives a few reasons. First, as the large population of baby boomers reach retirement, they will seek out personal financial planners. Second, there will be a greater need for personal financial planning as funds for corporate and state pensions decrease.

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Education Options: To prepare to pursue a career as a personal financial advisor, a bachelor's degree is generally needed, according to the Department. Although employers usually don't demand a specific major from their applicants, the Department says a degree in finance, economics, accounting, business, mathematics, or law makes for a good start.

Booming Career #4: Medical Assistant
Projected Growth Rate 2010 to 2020: 31 percent*

Looking for a growing career in health care? A career as a medical assistant could be a good fit.

Medical assistants are those multitasking people in your doctor's office. You know the ones; they could be doing everything from taking your medical history and measuring vital signs to scheduling appointments and preparing blood for lab tests, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why This Career is Booming: As the baby boomer generation ages and needs more preventive medical services, doctors will hire more medical assistants to complete routine administrative and clinical duties, says the Department of Labor.

Heathfield agrees: "It's a thumbs up for medical assistants in the future, because many doctors' offices are hiring them instead of the more expensive nurses to do a multitude of non-clinical tasks."

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Education Options: Think that this may be the career for you? Although most states don't have formal requirements for medical assistants, the Department reports that employers may prefer candidates who graduated from a formal education program like a certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting.

Booming Career #5: Database Administrator
Projected Growth Rate 2010 to 2020: 31 percent*

Are you comfortable in the world of bits and bytes and binary codes? If you're a data lover, you might love the career of database administrator, another job the U.S. Department of Labor sees as buzzing in the future.

Again, the job title says it all. According to the Department of Labor, database administrators could create, modify, and manage databases for businesses large and small. They also could ensure the security of a company's data.

Why This Career is Booming: Remember that booming health care industry? The Department says it will need more database administrators, thanks to the increase in electronic medical records. And database administrators will also be in demand to organize and present data, so it can be easily understood by analysts and other stakeholders, adds the Department.

Heathfield echoes positive news for database administrators.

"Network administration is going to continue to boom," she says. "Employers are out there looking for people in areas like network security and network administration because good ones are hard to find."

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Education Options: Ready to pursue this career? According to the Department, most database administrators earn a bachelor's degree in management information systems or a computer-related field.

Booming Career #6: Registered Nurse
Projected Growth Rate 2010 to 2020: 26 percent*

If caring for people is your thing, and you're looking for a career option with a healthy prognosis, a growing career in nursing could be the right fit.

Registered nurses (RNs) could care for patients in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and doctors' offices, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And other duties could include teaching patients how to manage their illnesses or injuries, administering tests, and sometimes even serving as public policy advisors or nurse educators, says the Department of Labor.

Why This Career is Booming: The Department foresees an optimistic future for this profession. In fact, they put registered nurse atop its February 2012 list of "Occupations with the largest job growth." Factors like technological advancements and the importance of preventive care will lead to continued growth in the nursing field, says the Department.

And Heathfield is equally upbeat: "Anything in the medical field will be hot going forward, but especially the hands-on jobs like medical assistants and nurses."

Click to Find the Right Registered Nursing Program.

Education Options: To prepare to pursue a registered nursing career, students could earn a diploma or an associate's degree in nursing from an approved nursing program, says the Department. And then you'll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination to get your nursing license.

*Potential job growth information is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, at (visited July 10, 2012).

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