Steady Jobs in a Tough Economy
The U.S. unemployment rate surged to 6.1% in August 2008—discouraging news for ordinary Americans working hard to establish long-term financial stability for their families. It's true that some 20th-century jobs are disappearing forever. But new jobs, offering steady employment and steady pay, are emerging in both old and new industries. Identifying and pursuing work in one of these careers is one smart strategy for protecting yourself from the ups and downs of a rocky economy. A new occupation may require career training first, but plentiful job opportunities are the long-term pay-off, even when the overall unemployment rate goes up. Here are some ideas for unemployment-proof jobs and the education they require:
Accounting & Auditing Jobs and Training
Accountants, bookkeepers, and auditors make sure that organizations' financial records are accurate and up-to-date, and that financial operations run efficiently. If you have a knack for numbers, there is a range of employment opportunities in accounting and auditing that offer increasing levels of pay with additional postsecondary degrees or career training. Accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing assistants holding diplomas or associate degrees support professionals with bachelor and master's degrees.
Homeland Security Services Jobs and Training
Since September 11th, 2001, homeland security has become a huge industry. Encompassing multiple services and service providers, homeland security offers job opportunities in emergency response and management, public safety, law enforcement, risk assessment, criminal justice, and security services, including information security. Hundreds of technical and vocational schools, colleges, and universities have added degree and diploma programs in these fields, with a special focus on homeland security intended to train professionals to be prepared in the case of future disasters.
- Homeland Security Degrees
- First Responder Crisis Management Degrees
- First Responder Policy/Management Degrees
- Criminal Justice Degrees
- Law Enforcement Degrees
- Paralegal Degrees
Medical Assistant and Medical Billing & Coding Jobs and Training
Medical assistants have both administrative and clinical responsibilities. The first usually include greeting patients, confirming patient information for billing, and scheduling appointments. The second include escorting patients to exam rooms, taking vital signs, and preparing medical records for doctors. Medical billing and coding specialists are responsible for keeping patients' medical records up-to-date and accurately documented with an industry coding system used to determine insurance coverage and reimbursement for doctors' or hospital bills. Both medical assistant career training programs and medical billing & coding career training programs are offered at the diploma and associate's degree levels. (If you graduate from a qualifying accredited 2-year billing & coding program, you can take an exam to become a Registered Health Information Technician, which can boost your pay.) Both medical assistants and medical billing and coding specialists will be in great demand over the next 10 years, but pay varies with education, experience, and where you live. In general, the higher the degree you obtain, the more you can earn.
- Medical Assistant Degrees
- Medical Administrative Assistant Degrees
- Medical Coding and Billing Degrees
Medical Transcription Jobs and Training
A medical transcriptionist job requires listening to recordings doctors have dictated concerning their patients, and typing the information into documents that become part of the patients' medical records. Most medical transcriptionists work for hospitals and doctors' offices, but not necessarily on site; in fact, medical transcription can often be done at home on a subcontractor or freelance basis, as long as you respect patient confidentiality and adhere to medical records standards. (This is an excellent, high-paying career for stay-at-home moms.) Typical medical transcription training programs will help you learn medical information and vocabulary, proficiency with computers, and good grammar. These programs are usually one-year certificate or two-year associate programs that are offered through vocational schools, community colleges, and distance learning.
Nursing Jobs and Training
By now, we're all aware of the expected intense demand for nurses over the next decade. Nurses will be needed more than ever in the years ahead. There are several levels of nursing qualifications, including Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), Registered Nurse (RN), RN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN), and RN with a Master of Science in Nursing (RN-MSN). CNAs and Patient Care Technicians (PCTs) provide basic care and assistance to patients. As nurses' aides, CNAs and PCTs are considered part of the nursing team. LPNs and LVNs may hold either a nursing diploma or a 2-year associate degree in nursing (ASN). RNs typically hold no less than an ASN and usually have a higher level of responsibility and challenge in their jobs than LPNs or LVNs. Experienced nurses can advance to supervisory positions and, with master's degree, RNs may move on to a career in nursing education or nursing leadership. The right nursing degree makes a big difference in terms of pay. The more nursing education you achieve, the more your pay will increase.
- LPN, LVN, RN, and RN-BSN Degrees
- Certified Nursing Assistant Degrees
- Patient Care Technician Degrees
- Nursing Education Degrees
- Nursing Management & Leadership Degrees
IT Support and Help Desk Specialist Jobs and Training
Where would we be without the folks who answer the Help Desk phone? From the simplest question to the most puzzling problem, the IT Support Specialist has to figure out what a computer's problem is and how to solve it, often without being able to see the computer the frustrated customer is calling about. Tech support troubleshooters interpret and analyze a wide range of computer problems by using diagnostic software and their own detective skills and experience. Working on-site in an organization or at a computer repair center, they may install, modify, or repair computer hardware and software, and teach computer users how to use new computer equipment or programs. In addition to having the appropriate technical knowledge, IT support technicians must be patient and able to listen carefully. (And it doesn't hurt to have an intuitive understanding of technology.) Career training and degree programs range from certifications in software, database, and network applications to associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees in computer science and related subjects.
- Network Support & Repair Degrees
- Microsoft Degrees
- Cisco Degrees
- CompTIA Degrees
- Database Degrees
- Computer Science Degrees
- Information Technology Degrees
Video Game Designer Jobs and Training
Do you want to become a Video Game Designer and work with the game developers on the next version of Halo, World of Warcraft or the next great online game? Would you like to become a Video Game Designer working on the XBox 360, Nintendo Wii, or a future Playstation upgrade? Video games aren't just for kids any more—they are a serious business. Video game popularity and complexity are exploding, and so are the video game designer job opportunities at game companies and studios. Video game designers demonstrate creativity, problem-solving skills, and a passion for challenge. Career training and degree programs in software engineering and game art and design prepare graduates for jobs such as multimedia specialist, animator, video game designer, modeler, and visual effects specialist.
- Game Art & Design Degrees
- Animation Degrees
- Graphics Design for Web Degrees
- Multimedia Degrees
- Digital Arts Degrees
- Web Design Degrees
- Web Development Degrees
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition