Where Will the Careers Be In 2011?


Forecasters see an upswing in hiring for skilled and qualified workers in 2011...and beyond.

By Tony Moton

Looking ahead to 2011, you may be wondering: Does the job market have brighter days in its forecast?

While not all the news is good news (the unemployment rate is expected to remain high), there are employment experts who believe things are looking up in certain industries.

Usually, these fields with growing career openings require higher education, career-focused skills, and proper preparation.

"It would definitely put someone at an advantage to have a college degree," says Andre Koncz, employment information manager for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). "The chances of getting a job for graduates are positive for 2011," Koncz adds.

[Click here to find a college degree program]

"An education is still very important, more so than ever," says Laurence Shatkin, author of 2011 Career Plan: The Best Moves Now for a Solid Future.

"The skill from [a] bachelor's degree is learning how to learn," Shatkin adds. "You need to keep on learning new products, new processes, and new business conditions in your industry."

Employment experts Koncz and Shatkin share their analyses of top industries projected to experience career growth in 2011 and the years following.


Accounting is one career that's projected to make strong gains. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants will see a 22 percent jump in new hires between 2008 and 2018. Other business services expected to make substantial increases in job totals include human resources managers (12,900 new positions) and personal financial advisors (62,800).

Expert Analysis:

"For the last six or seven years, when we ask our employer members which majors they plan to hire, accounting has always been number one," says Koncz. "Those graduates have always had luck when it comes to finding positions."

[Search for Accounting degree programs]

Education Options:

Bachelor's in Accounting/Finance
Bachelor's in Human Resources
Master of Business Administration

Average Salaries:*

Accountant: $67,430
Human Resources Manager: $105,510
Personal Financial Advisor: $94,180

[Find the right Business School for you]


The Department of Labor reports some 581,500 registered nurses (RNs) will be added to the labor force during the 10-year period from 2008-2018. Medical assistants, too, will find their value increase as a rise in medical services will necessitate more administrative and clinical duties.

[Find Nursing and Medical Assisting programs]

Expert Analysis:

"Nursing is a huge field and the opportunities are going to get better," Shatkin says. "There is a fair amount of turnover because the baby boomers are getting too old to do the work and nurses are now doing some of the work done by doctors."

Education Options:

Associate's in Nursing
Associate's in Medical Assisting
Certificate in Medical Assisting

Average Salaries:*

Registered Nurses: $66,530
Medical Assistants: $29,450

[Find Nursing and Medical Assisting degree programs near you]


The Department of Labor projects the health care industry, in response to a spike in the elderly population, will create 3.2 million new positions between 2008 and 2018. Nearly 105,600 dental assistants will be hired over the decade, joining medical and health services managers (45,400 new positions) and medical and health information technicians (35,100 new positions) as fields with tremendous growth in health care.

Expert Analysis:

People skills are likely required in this field. "With health care jobs, you have to be in the same room with the patient and have your hands on the patient," Shatkin says.

Education Options:

Certificate in Dental Assisting
Associate's in Medical Technology
Bachelor's in Health Care Administration

Average Salaries:*

Dental Assistants: $34,000
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians: $33,880
Medical and Health Services Managers: $90,970

[Find the right Health Care program for you]


Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, are expected to find more job openings in 2011 and well into the future, according tot he Department of Labor. In fact, positions for paralegals will expand by 28 percent, adding more than 74,000 positions during the 10-year span between 2008 and 2018, the Department of Labor reports.

[Click here to find a Paralegal program]

Expert Analysis:

"We live in a litigious society," Shatkin says. "People are always filing lawsuits; contracts have to be reviewed; and laws have to be complied with. More is getting done by paralegals as people try to offload some of the expense of lawyers."

Education Options:

Certificate in Paralegal Studies
Associate's in Paralegal Studies

Average Salary:*

Paralegals: $50,080

[Search for a Paralegal Studies program now]


An ever-increasing reliance on computers and online services will spur growth in information technology and network administration careers, according to Shatkin. Based on studies conducted by the Department of Labor, career prospects for computer network administrators and their counterparts will be excellent heading into 2011 and the years thereafter.

Expert Analysis:

"It's a huge area of growth because every time you buy something from a store online, you're going into a database," Shatkin says. "Computer networks and network database administration require [workers with] high levels of skill."

Education Options:

Bachelor's in Network Administration
Bachelor's in IT & Information Systems

Average Salaries:*

Computer Network Administrators: $70,930
Computer Programmers: $74,690
Computer Support Specialists: $47,360

[Search for local and online Technology programs now]

*Average annual salaries as reported by the U.S. Department of Lab or, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2009.

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