Seven Careers To Pursue If You've Been Laid Off

Careers For Laid-Off Workers

Laid off this year? Get your life back on track with one of these seven careers.

By Andrea Duchon

If you're one of the unlucky ones who's recently been laid off, you're not alone. In fact, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, in May 2013, 127,821 workers were let go in a mass layoff.

That's an astounding number and a scary reality. Plus, even if you have a solid savings account, the uncertainty of not knowing what's around the corner or where your next paycheck will come from is enough to make anyone skittish about jumping into a new, unknown career.

And while you're unemployed and wondering what your next career move may be, taking the time to weigh your options now can go a long way in ensuring future stability.

"By taking time to look at the available options across different industries, you can start to make smarter career decisions across the board," says Karen Galli, a career consultant and president of One Leadership Group, a company dedicated to helping individuals develop professionally and personally. "Finding out which careers are growing in the upcoming years puts you in a good position to secure a job and hold onto it."

Ready to learn about seven booming careers you should consider when you jump back into the job search? Keep reading.

Career #1: Elementary School Teacher

2010 to 2020 Projected Growth: 17 percent, or 248,800 new jobs*

Teachers are the heart of the educational system, so it's no surprise that the profession is growing, particularly at the elementary level. Planning lessons, grading students' assignments, and communicating with parents about their child's progress are all typical duties of elementary school teachers, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It's Stable: "It looks like this career is bouncing back stronger than ever due to an increased focus on quality teachers and the student-teacher ratio in the classroom," says Steve Langerud, a veteran workplace consultant, career coach, and co-author of an award-winning guide to career planning.

And the good news, he says, is that more schools are looking to hire older employees, which works in favor of those who have been laid off and want to re-enter the workforce.

Next step: Click to Find the Right K-12 Program.

Preparing For Your Comeback: A bachelor's degree in elementary education and a state-issued license or certification is required for public school teachers, according to the Department of Labor. They also report that some states require teachers to major in a specific content subject, or require teachers to earn a master's degree after receiving their teaching certificate.

Career #2: Accountant

2010 to 2020 Projected Growth: 16 percent, or 190,700 new jobs*

Tax season isn't the only time of year accountants are put to work - they're needed all year long, and the profession is growing at a steady clip. Accountants spend much of their time examining financial statements to ensure that they're accurate, organizing and maintaining financial records, and suggesting ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It's Stable: "Every organization needs an accountant, and after 2008, many businesses realized the importance of having a good one," Langerud says. "Now that budgets are back up, this is a field that's growing steadily with no signs of slowing down," he adds.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Preparing For Your Comeback: According to the Department of Labor, most accountants need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. They also report that some employers may prefer to hire those with a master's degree in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting.

Career #3: Registered Nurse

2010 to 2020 Projected Growth: 26 percent, or 711,900 new jobs*

Before you meet with a doctor at a medical facility, you'll often interact with a registered nurse first. That's because nurses do everything from coordinating patient care to recording medical histories and then consulting with doctors, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It's Stable: Galli says there is a significant need for RNs, particularly with the health care reform beginning in 2014.

"Every American will be required to have health insurance, which will directly impact the health care industry," she notes. In fact, there is already a shortage in the field, so nurses are currently working long hours to compensate, says Galli.

She also adds that since the median age of a registered nurse is 46, there shouldn't be any concern about being the older, second-career worker or the newbie who is re-entering the workforce.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.

Preparing For Your Comeback: There are a few ways to pursue a career as a registered nurse, according to the Department of Labor. Registered nurses can either earn a bachelor's of science degree in nursing, an associate's degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Regardless of which path you choose to take, the Department notes that all registered nurses must also be licensed.

Career #4: Software Developer

2010 to 2020 Projected Growth: 30 percent, or 270,900 new jobs*

If you've interacted with a computer, you've also interacted with a software program. But have you ever wondered who created the software in the first place? Software developers, that's who. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, they are the creative minds behind computer programs, analyzing user needs, designing programs and apps, and then testing and developing software to match current needs.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Why It's Stable: "From iPad apps to Android phones, not to mention tablets along with PCs and Macbooks, software developers are always in demand," Galli says. "This could be a sweet career for someone who has always been interested in software developing on some level, or someone who doesn't mind going back to school or digging their heels into practical learning and training."

Preparing For Your Comeback: Usually, these professionals have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field, as well as strong computer programming skills, according to the Department of Labor.

Career #5: Medical Records and Health Information Technician

2010 to 2020 Projected Growth: 21 percent, or 37,700 new jobs*

If you're highly-organized and want to apply your skills to the booming health care industry, you might want to think about a career as a medical records and health information technician. In this role, you might organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries, review patient records for accuracy, and protect patients' health info for confidentiality, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It's Stable: "This profession requires very little schooling, which is attractive to those who have been laid off in another field and don't want to spend years earning a new degree," notes Ben Yeargin, a corporate recruiter for Craig Technologies, a small recruiting services firm headquartered in Florida.

"Plus, our aging population ensures that the health care field will continue to grow and provide great job stability - another boon if you've been laid off in the past," he says.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Information Technology Program.

Preparing For Your Comeback: Typically you'll need a postsecondary certificate to pursue a career as a medical records and health information technician, notes the Department of Labor. However, some of these professionals may have an associate's degree. They also say that many employers require professional certification.

Career #6: Management Analyst

2010 to 2020 Projected Growth: 22 percent, or 157,200 new jobs*

If you have business savvy and a talent for initiating change, a growing career as a management analyst could be right for you. The U.S. Department of Labor says that these professionals are responsible for proposing ways to improve an organization's efficiency. That includes things like gathering and organizing information about problems, and then developing solutions or alternative practices to a problem.

Why It's Stable: Galli says that the main function of a management analyst is to affirm, re-think, and often times reorganize the management team and their roles - in effect, make them run more efficiently. And since "[e]very company is looking for ways to cut costs and put money back into the bread and butter of their business," it's no surprise that these professionals are in demand.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.

Preparing For Your Comeback: Most of these workers have at least a bachelor's degree, according to the Department of Labor. Common areas of study include business, management, accounting, marketing, computer and information science, engineering, economics, and statistics. However, the Department also notes that some employers prefer to hire those with a master's degree in business administration.

Career #7: Market Research Analyst

2010 to 2020 Projected Growth: 41 percent, or 116,600 new jobs*

If you've ever answered a survey about a service or product you recently used, then you've probably helped a market research analyst do their job. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these men and women monitor and forecast marketing and sales trends, devise methods for collecting data in the form of surveys or questionnaires, and gather data about consumers, competitors, and market conditions.

Why It's Stable: Langerud boils it down like this: “People who can get to the heart of why we do what we do as consumers of goods and services are a necessary tool for success.” He says that finding skilled professionals who can get to the data, assemble it into a cohesive package, and then tell people what it means is a challenge. So, it's no surprise that market research analysts are in demand.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Marketing Program.

Preparing For Your Comeback: Typically, market researchers need a bachelor's degree in market research or a related field, reports the Department of Labor. However, many get their degree in a field like statistics, math, or computer science. Other analysts may have a background in business administration, communications, or one of the social sciences.

* Projected job growth rates from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 edition.

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