We break down growing career options in six of today's hot industries.
The fluctuating economic news can confuse career changers and students who are trying to choose a degree.
Business, for example, is booming for some professions - whereas others are doing a Houdini-like disappearing act.
To help put a spotlight on some of the brightest careers in the biggest industries, we've researched hiring statistics and average earning potential. Keep reading for a breakdown of fast-growing careers in six of our most sizable industries.
Industry #1 - Health Care
There are plenty of reasons why this industry is on the rise. For one, 10 of the 20 fastest growing careers in the country are health care-related, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Some of the hottest health care careers include:
- Dental Assistant
Employment opportunities are projected to rise 36 percent through 2018, ranking this career among the fastest growing in the country.*
Average earnings: $34,140**
Education option: Dental Assisting
- Medical Assistant
Employment is expected to rise 34 percent through 2018.* Medical assisting programs could boost your job prospects, the Department of Labor says. These include certificate programs and associate degree programs.
Average earnings: $29,760*
Education option: Medical Assisting
- Pharmacy Technician: The future is also bright for pharmacy technicians, who are expected to see a 31 percent rise in career opportunities through 2018.*
Average earnings: $29,330**
Education option: Pharmacy Technician
Industry #2 - Business
The average wage in the United States for workers in professional and business services rose for the fifth straight month in May 2011 to $27.66 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That's up from $27.34 per hour in December 2010. While it may not seem like much, the needle is moving in the right direction in the business sector of the economy, and that's good news in these relatively tough times.
Some of the hottest career tracks in business include:
- Market and Survey Researcher
Employment prospects for this marketing research position are expected to rise 28 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $66,850**
Education options: Marketing, Business Administration
- HR Specialist
Employment opportunities are projected to rise 24 percent from 2008-2018 in this entry-level HR position.*
Average earnings: $57,830**
Education options: Human Resources, Business Administration
- Operations Research Analyst
Employment prospects are expected to grow 22 percent through 2018 for this profession that analyzes business practices.*
Average earnings: $76,980**
Education options: Business Administration, MBA
Industry #3 - Finance
Employment opportunities in the financial services industry are rising, according to a June 2011 report from corporate research firm Wanted Analytics. In May and June 2011, financial organizations posted more than 100,000 new online job ads - a 24 percent increase from the same 60-day period in 2010.
More good news for finance grads: more than half of all accounting and econ majors received a job offer prior to graduating, according to a 2011 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Here are some of the hotter career tracks in the financial services industry:
- Financial Examiner
This career track, which usually requires a bachelor's degree, is expected to rise 41 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $82,320**
Education options: Finance, Business Administration, MBA
- Personal Financial Advisor
Employment opportunities for this profession are projected to rise 30 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $91,220**
Education options: Finance, Business Administration, MBA
This occupation is expected to see a 22 percent jump in new job opportunities through 2018.*
Average earnings: $68,960**
Education options: Accounting/Finance, Business Administration, MBA
Industry #4 - Technology
Hiring in information technology (IT) is on the rise, according to a June 2011 analysis by corporate research firm Wanted Analytics. "Since IT-related jobs are in high demand for most companies across the US, recruiters and staffing agencies are likely to see some difficulties in sourcing potential candidates for open positions," Wanted Analytics wrote. "On the other hand, people with these skill sets that are looking for work are likely to find a job easily, since there are many employers looking to fill positions."
Check out these red-hot career options in technology:
- Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
This IT occupation is projected to grow at an amazing 53 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $81,250**
Education options: Network Administration, Database Technology
- Computer Software Engineers, Applications:
Employment opportunities for this career track, which usually requires a bachelor's degree, are expected to surge 34 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $90,410**
Education options: Computer Science, Programming & Software
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator
This career is projected to rise 23 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $72,200**
Education options: Network Administration, IT & Information Systems
Industry #5 - Educational Services
An ever growing population bodes well for teachers and administrators, since more students could lead to more teaching opportunities. The best job prospects for teachers will be found in inner cities and rural areas, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Keep in mind that those who already have a bachelor's degree, ideally in the area they want to teach, will likely need to get certified to teach public school. Private school teachers, on the other hand, don't need certification.
Here are some of the hotter career tracks in education:
- Education Administrator
While growth is expected to be a relatively modest 8 percent for this profession through 2018, which equals about 37,000 jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor says that employment prospects will be "excellent" for education administrators, due to "expected retirements and fewer applicants." Keep in mind that a graduate degree may be necessary.
Average earnings: $90,100**
Education options: Education Leadership, Curriculum & Instruction
- Special Education Teacher
Employment prospects for this profession are expected to grow 17 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $55,220**
Education options: Special Education, Teaching Certificate
- Elementary School Teacher: Job opportunities are expected to rise 16 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $54,360**
Education options:K-12 Education, Teaching Certificate
Industry #6 - Information
Thanks to new technology, we are processing more data than we know what to do with. In fact, a June 2011 study by market research firm IDC finds that the world's data is doubling every two years. And while some careers involve gathering the data, others analyze and help communicate the results.
Check out some hot information age careers:
- PR Specialist
Knowing how best to communicate to the public is key in this profession, which is projected to grow 24 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $59,150**
Education options: Communications, Business Administration
- Database Administrator
This career track, which involves pulling together vast amounts of data, is expected to grow 20 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $75,730**
Education options: Database Technology, IT & Information Systems
- Health Information Technician:
Employment of health information technicians, also known as medical records technicians, is projected to rise 20 percent through 2018.*
Average earnings: $35,010**
Education options: Medical Billing and Coding, Health Care Administration
*All job growth data is from the U.S. Department of Labor.
**Average earnings come from the U.S. Department of Labor using data from May 2010.