Are you thinking about retooling your career? Then you might want to consider where the jobs will be in the future. As hard as it is to believe, based on the current economy, the U.S. Department of Labor is predicting a labor shortage by 2018 due to the fact that there may not be enough trained workers. The greatest job growth will be in the healthcare, financial services and information technology sectors. A plus is that Greater Philadelphiais rich i employers who represent these industries.
What’s encouraging is that not all job growth will require a four year degree. In fact, for some of the fields, an associate’s degree or certificate may be the ticket. In an area that boasts one of largest number of higher education institutions in the country, it is possible to achieve your education and career goals right in your own backyard.
While it is always important to choose a career that’s a good fit for your interests, talents and skills, it pays to do some research on the future outlook for jobs in your field of interest. An excellent resource is The Occupational Outlook Handbook. (www.bls.gov/oco)
Here is a list of some of the fastest growing jobs reported by the U.S. Department of Labor:
Biomedical Engineer — Growth 72 percent — These engineers design and construct medical devices such as artificial limbs and organs and improve processes for imaging or making drugs. This field requires aptitude for math, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. Exponent and Vector Labs are examples of area employers that hire biomedical engineers.
Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst —Growth 53 percent — Analysts design, build, test and maintain internal or global information systems and have expert knowledge in network hardware and software. An undergrad degree in computer science that includes networking, database and web design, mobile technology and internet architecture is helpful but there are many universities in the area that offer certificate programs if you have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another discipline.
Home Health Aide — Growth 50 percent — These Aides work in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. This work requires 75 hours of training for licensure, which is provided by community colleges, hospitals and health care agencies.
Financial Examiner — Growth 41 percent — Examiners are internal auditors or compliance officers who examine a company or organization’s books to ensure legal compliance. You need a degree or strong background in accounting, finance or business.
Medical Scientist — Growth 40 percent —These scientists perform research on disease and work at pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, university research centers, medical centers or for the federal government. Senior positions are usually filled by medical doctors but those with master’s degrees in biology can perform lab work.
Physician’s Assistant — Growth 39 percent — Commonly known as PAs, these medical professionals serve on medical teams and are able to diagnose, examine and treat patients with mild conditions and illnesses. Training requires undergrad course work in biology, chemistry and statistics, a commitment to patient care and a graduate degree in health sciences. To practice, PAs are required to pass boards to receive a license. Arcadia University (www.arcadia.edu) offers an M.M.S. degree program for physician assistants.
Skin Care Specialist — Growth 38 percent — Skin care specialists treat primarily the faces of women; but beyond facials, they administer Botox, lasers, microdermabrasions and skin peels primarily working in spas and dermatologist offices. Training for this work requires 600 hours of clinical and classroom education focusing on anatomy, physiology and specific procedures. Certificate programs are offered through community colleges, cosmetology schools and continuing education programs. This field requires licensing by most states including Pennsylvania.
Biochemist and Biophysicist — Growth 37 percent —These scientists study and research living organisms at the molecular level. Biochemists focus on DNA and treating disease while Biophysicists using math and physics to examine mechanical and electrical energy and how it affects us. Training and qualifications are similar to medical scientists.
Athletic Trainer — Growth 37 percent — Athletic trainers treat injured athletes under a doctor’s supervision and develop strength training programs to prevent injury. They can also work with performance groups and federal government divisions such as CIA and FBI. Most athletic trainers have a master’s degree in athletic training with undergrad prerequisites heavy in the sciences. This profession requires state licensure.
If you don’t have a strong aptitude for science, math or technology, don’t despair. The education field will continue to grow with lots of opportunities for those who can teach English as a Second Language (TESOL). Social work and counseling will also experience continual growth especially in areas working with the elderly and those suffering from addiction. Even creative professionals will find great opportunities in multi-media services.
Whether you believe in the U.S. Department of Labor’s crystal ball or not, let’s hope that there will be plenty of new and interesting job opportunities in the very near future.