Although many employers are hiring, there are still many long-term and chronic unemployed. You may want to ask the question of how they got into that predicament. Although there can be a variety of factors, one of the major ones is being in a job that simply has more supply than demand. If you're getting ready to enter the job market, or simply want to change careers, the following five occupations offer tremendous opportunities and are expected to grow significantly over the next five to seven years.
1. Financial Planner—Expected Growth through 2022: 24 Percent
Millions of baby boomers are hitting retirement age, and many need help managing their money to ensure their financial assets will carry them through their golden years. Many have seen the value of their investments vary substantially recently with the market cycles, making financial planning more important than ever.
2. Pharmacy Technician—Expected Growth: 21 Percent
Population growth and the aging lot of baby boomers have more and more people headed to the doctor's office. As this demand for medical care rises, so too does the need for medicine. Across the country, pharmacies are actively seeking out pharmacy technicians to help them handle the growing number of prescriptions. And to help fill this employment need, community colleges are beginning to offer quick prep courses in pharmacy technology to young and adult learners alike.
3. Physician Assistant—Expected Growth: 18 Percent
Nearly everyone agrees that the health care system in the United States needs improvement. Many also agree that increased use of physician assistants is a critical part of the solution. Under a doctor's supervision, physician assistants perform many of the basic duties traditionally done by a doctor: examining patients, ordering lab tests, suturing, setting and casting broken bones, and even prescribing drugs. This allows doctors to care for more patients, frees them to concentrate on patients with harder to diagnose or more serious conditions, and lowers overall health care costs.
4. Accountant—Expected Growth: 13 Percent
Fact or fiction: accounting is sexy. Well, if you subscribe to popular stereotypes, the answer is fiction. Accountants work in office buildings crunching numbers, organizing records, analyzing and communicating financial information, and balancing budgets. You're right. On the surface it may seem a little dull and slightly boring. But if you consider the fact that many accountants have steady employment, earn competitive salaries, and work in a field expected to grow 18 percent over the next decade—what could be sexier than that?
5. Teacher—Expected Growth: 12 Percent
Historically, local governments have been among the leaders in job creation during recession, with the bulk of those new jobs coming in education. This is not likely to change, because student enrollment at all levels remains strong, and teachers who are part of that baby boom generation are preparing for retirement. Those looking to enter the workforce as educators should find the greatest opportunities in the inner city and in out-the-way rural locations, and predominantly in regions with faster-than-average population growth such as Nevada, California, and Texas. On the whole, the BLS predicts "good to excellent" job prospects for teachers over the next decade.
The ups and downs of economic cycles have many people scared. And rightly so. However, some industries traditionally do better in both up and down economies. Finances need managing, budgets need balancing, children need an education, and everyone needs to see the doctor once in a while. So if thoughts of pink slips and mass layoffs have you reaching for an aspirin and a half-gallon of French vanilla, consider entering a job field that offers a little more security.