7 booming careers that are hiring now

Fast-Growing Careers

Having a hard time finding a job or changing careers? These seven careers are among the fastest-growing in the country and are creating a lot of job opportunities for people just like you.

By Lee Nelson

Want to get into a career that is in demand now and will be in the future?
New job opportunities continue to thrive for these seven fast-growing professions, and you could take advantage of that flurry of employment.

Why is the need for these careers growing so quickly? "Many of these jobs are about helping others, and everybody likes to help somebody," says Adam Bogren, corporate recruiter with Correct Care Solutions, a community health care organization, in Nashville, Tenn. Additionally, jobs in health care are growing rapidly because of the aging population, while the rise in technology has led other industries to hire people with creative and tech-savvy skills, notes Bogren.

These professions are creating an influx of job opportunities across the country. In fact, some of them have double the average job growth rate for all occupations, which is 14.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Read on to find out which careers are growing the fastest and why they're in demand.

Career #1: Market Research Analyst

Projected Job Growth
from 2010-2020
41 percent*
Projected
New Jobs
116,600*

You laugh or cry at some of the best commercials on television. But you always wonder if those ads really entice people to buy that product. That curiosity could help you if you pursue a career as a market research analyst, which is currently growing by leaps and bounds.

As a market research analyst, you might gather and analyze data on competitors to help determine a company's position in the marketplace, says the U.S. Department of Labor. You could also conduct research on consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits, while utilizing a variety of methods such as focus groups, opinion polls, interviews, and surveys.

Why It's Growing Fast: "Companies used to just spend a lot of money on advertising without truly knowing what the impact would be. They wasted a lot of money," says Bogren." Now, he explains, they are spending money on hiring market research analysts to figure out what makes people buy what they buy, which is why it's such a fast-growing profession.

As the economy has recovered, many companies have made it a priority to hire more marketing employees to get their names out there and start advertising again, says Kathy Wieland, career services director at Iowa State University's College of Business in Ames, Iowa.

"Now, they are hiring at a furious pace those in the marketing field who have a technical side to pull the data and help companies arrive at the right decisions about what the next evolution of their company will be," she says.

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

Education Options: The Department of Labor says most market research analysts need at least a bachelor's degree in market research or a related field, while many have degrees in fields such as math, statistics, or computer science. Others have a background in one of the social sciences, business administration, or communications. For leadership positions or positions that require more technical research, a master's degree is often required, notes the Department.

Career #2: Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk

Projected Job Growth
from 2010-2020
14 percent*
Projected
New Jobs
259,000*

Numbers fascinate you. Counting money is one of your favorite pastimes. Maybe you should consider pursuing a career as a bookkeeping, accounting, or auditing clerk. Job opportunities in the field are currently growing and will continue to grow tremendously in the future.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the particular duties you might perform as a bookkeeping, accounting, or auditing clerk include using bookkeeping software, online spreadsheets, and databases; receiving and recording cash, checks, and vouchers; and producing reports, such as balance sheets.

Why It's Growing Fast: With all the recent scandals involving various companies and banks, businesses are willing to spend a little more to make sure their books are accurate, says Bogren. He adds that with changes in health care and tax codes, "a lot of these companies are ramping up with clerks to get everything organized and ready to go when all the new rules happen next year."

The Department of Labor says the demand for these clerks is also driven by overall economic growth. As the number of organizations grows, so does their need to keep the books.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Education Options: To prepare to pursue a career as a bookkeeping, accounting, or auditing clerk, you need a high school diploma. However, some employers prefer applicants who have some postsecondary education, particularly in accounting, according to the Department. With the right experience and education, some bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks may become auditors or accountants.

Career #3: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Projected Job Growth
from 2010-2020
44 percent*
Projected
New Jobs
23,400*

Would you like a career that allows you to work directly with patients while using the latest medical technology? You might want to explore the rapidly growing career of diagnostic medical sonography. Despite only 23K new jobs projected by the U.S. Department of Labor, this field is definitely expanding rapidly, especially when you consider that it started with only 53,700 jobs in 2010.

Diagnostic sonography uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of organs, tissues, and other areas inside the body, says the Department of Labor. On a typical day, a diagnostic medical sonographer could be responsible for preparing patients for procedures, maintaining imaging equipment, analyzing those images to check for quality, and keeping track of patients' records.

Why It's Growing Fast: "Diagnostic medical sonographers are needed now and in the future, because the demand will grow with the aging population needing more medical care," says Georgia Smith-Vest, director of systematic evaluations and quality improvement for nursing at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.

The Department of Labor says that as ultrasound imaging technology advances, medical facilities will be choosing it over more invasive or expensive procedures or even those that expose patients to radiation.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Sonography Program.

Education Options: The Department says that if you're interested in a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer, you'll need formal education, such as an associate's or certificate. Bachelor's programs in sonography are also offered at colleges and universities. Most employers prefer applicants who have professional certification, which you could get by graduating
from an accredited program and passing an exam.

Career #4: Physical Therapist Assistant

Projected Job Growth
from 2010-2020
46 percent*
Projected
New Jobs
30,800*

Are you fascinated by the movement of the human body in everything
from sports to dance? Then you may want to pursue an in-demand career as a physical therapist assistant.

Under the supervision of physical therapists, physical therapy assistants are involved in the direct care of patients to help them regain movement and manage their pain after injuries, surgery, or illnesses, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It's Growing Fast: While the number of new jobs for physical therapist assistants may not seem like a lot, when compared to the size of the field, it's a sure sign of positive growth. "We are all getting older, and people are living longer," says Smith-Vest. "So, the need for physical therapy assistants is growing now and will continue to grow in the future." The aging population tends to have more falls and illnesses, which leads to needing more care, she adds.

According to the Department of Labor, the demand for this job will also rise as physical therapists increasingly use assistants to reduce the cost of physical therapy services.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Patient Care and Therapy Program.

Education Options: The Department says that to pursue a career as a physical therapy assistant, most states require an associate's degree
from an accredited physical therapist program, in addition to licensure.

Career #5: Elementary School Teacher

Projected Job Growth
from 2010-2020
17 percent*
Projected
New Jobs
248,800*

You will never forget Mrs. Connor, your third-grade teacher. She was so sweet, funny, and creative, and she brought you out of your shell. If you would like to play this important role in children's lives, you may want to consider pursuing a career as an elementary school teacher. Even better, this is a profession that's hiring now and is expected to grow.

As an elementary school teacher, you could use a creative, hands-on approach to help students understand abstract concepts, develop critical-thinking skills, and solve problems, the U.S. Department of Labor says.

Why It's Growing Fast: "There is a lot more emphasis on education across the nation, and jobs in elementary school teaching are growing now," said Bogren. "This is the ground floor of helping people." You can be an influence on children in their formidable years, he says, and be that person who inspires others.

The Department of Labor says the growth is also coming
from schools reducing their student-teacher ratios and enrollment increasing in various areas of the nation.

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

Education Options: To pursue a career as an elementary teacher, you should know that all states will require you to have a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a license, says the Department. Additionally, in some states, school teachers are required to major in a content area, such as math or science.

Career #6: Registered Nurse

Projected Job Growth
from 2010-2020
26 percent*
Projected
New Jobs
711,900*

Caring for others in your family has been something you are known for. How about building on those skills as a registered nurse, the profession expected to create the most new jobs
from 2010 to 2020?

Your responsibilities as a registered nurse could include operating and monitoring medical equipment, promoting general health by educating the public, and observing patients and recording those observations, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It's Growing Fast: "The need for registered nurses grows more and more each day," Bogren says. They are taking on more duties that were once performed by physicians, which there is a big lack of in this country, he says. "Nurses can help supply that care, and we all know that the population is aging and will need more medical care."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.

Education Options: There are different paths to pursuing a career as a registered nurse, including earning an associate's degree in nursing, a diploma
from an approved nursing program, or a bachelor's of science degree in nursing, according to the Department of Labor. Registered nurses must also become licensed by passing a national exam.

Career #7: Personal Financial Advisor

Projected Job Growth
from 2010-2020
32 percent*
Projected
New Jobs
66,400*

Money, money, money. You love it. You want more of it. And you actually can see yourself in a career helping others manage it. Well, there is no better time than now to look into a career as a personal financial advisor, because places are hiring right and left to fill these positions.

A personal financial advisor helps individuals with investments, tax laws, and insurance decisions, along with monitoring those financial plans through the years for clients, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It's Growing Fast: The number of new jobs in this profession may not seem striking, but the relative growth for this job is impressive. The projected demand for personal financial advisors shows how eager companies are to hire for this fast-growing career. Wieland has seen firsthand that businesses are heavily recruiting fresh college talent for personal financial advisor positions. "The drive is the baby boomers," she explains. "There were so many years of them delaying retirement because of the collapse in the market. Now, they are making the move and need people to manage that transition
from work to retirement."

There is also a heightened consciousness among younger generations to start planning early for retirement, she says.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

Education Options: A bachelor's degree is typically needed to pursue a career as a personal financial advisor, while a master's degree and certification could help advance your career, according to the Department of Labor. Even though employers usually don't require a specific major, degrees in finance, accounting, business, economics, mathematics, and law are considered to be good preparation for this profession.

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

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