Want to pursue a career that's hot? Check out these high-opportunity careers.
But don't give up hope just yet.
"Fifty years ago you could plan on stability, but today you can't hang your hat one place and feel safe. Industries change, technology changes, economics change - change is constant," says Curt Rosengren, founder of Passion Catalyst, a career coaching service that helps people find passion for their profession.
"At some point, you're probably going to need the skill of finding some internal stability in the midst of the storm."
That "internal stability," according to Rosengren, comes in part from allowing your passion to guide you to a new career. Once you've identified your interests, take that information into your job search.
Looking at careers with strong projected job growth from the U.S. Department of Labor, we've spotlighted six high-opportunity careers that might align with your interests. Keep reading to learn more.
Career #1 - Public Relations (PR) Specialist
Do you get a buzz from interacting with people and organizing big events for your friends? Consider pursuing a career as a public relations specialist.
With clients that might include businesses, universities, hospitals, or even nonprofit organizations, public relations specialists create and maintain positive relationships between the public and their company. As a PR specialist, you might be responsible for drafting press releases, arranging events, or handling publicity for an individual, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
- The PR specialist field is projected to experience 24 percent job growth and add 66,200 new jobs from 2008 to 2018.
- An increasingly competitive and global business environment could speed up the need for more public relations specialists.
Education Options: To prepare to pursue opportunities in PR, consider earning your bachelor's degree in a communications-related area such as public relations, journalism, or marketing, says the Department of Labor.
Career #2 - Accountant
Do you find satisfaction in balancing your budget and checkbook? A career as an accountant might be a great fit for you - and an in-demand one, at that.
Accountants generally are responsible for keeping accurate public records, paying taxes, analyzing financial documents, and offering budget analysis or financial planning advice. Of course, duties may vary depending on your desired field of accounting - public accounting, management accounting, government accounting, or internal auditing, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
- The accounting field is expected to see 22 percent job growth - 279,400 new jobs - from 2008 to 2018.
- A greater importance for accountability, transparency, and controls in financial reporting - as well as changing financial laws and regulations - could lead to more jobs for accountants.
Education Options: A bachelor's in accounting is generally required to pursue a career in accounting or auditing, according to the Department of Labor. Gaining certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) could help advance your accounting career.
Career #3 - Registered Nurse (RN)
Are you a natural nurturer who enjoys helping others? If so, you might want to consider joining the ranks of registered nurses who help make life better for patients.
RN responsibilities might include taking medical histories, performing diagnostic tests, administering medications, and even providing advice and emotional support to patients and their families, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
- The nursing industry can expect a 22 percent job increase with 581,500 new positions from 2008 to 2018. In fact, RNs represent the largest health care occupation, with 2.6 million jobs.
- An increased need for nurses in nursing care facilities will likely occur as a greater number of seniors could require long-term nursing care.
Education Options: An associate's degree in nursing is a common route to pursuing a nursing career, according to the Department of Labor. Combining coursework with hands-on clinical experience, an associate's program could help prepare students for the national licensing exam.
Career #4 - Physical Therapist Assistant
Want to play a part in helping patients regain more of their physical strength? A career as a physical therapist might be right up your alley.
Working under physical therapists, these assistants help patients improve their mobility through exercises or therapeutic methods like electrical stimulation, mechanical traction, or massage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Employment of physical therapist assistants is projected to experience 33 percent job growth - that's 21,200 new jobs - between 2008 and 2018.
- The baby boomer generation is entering the age period with a higher possibility of heart attacks and strokes, which could increase demand for cardiac and physical rehabilitation.
Education Options: If you want to pursue a career as a physical therapist assistant, an associate's degree in physical therapy assistance is recommended, according to the Department of Labor. Check to make sure that your program is accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association.
Career #5 - Personal Financial Advisor
Do you find yourself yearning to give financial advice to a struggling family member or friend? Consider putting that financial savvy to work by helping others as a financial advisor.
Duties might include helping clients plan for life goals like retirement or education as well as assessing their financial needs to help them with investments, taxes, and insurance decisions, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Employment of personal financial advisors is projected to experience 30 percent job growth - that's 62,800 new jobs - from 2008 to 2018.
- With millions of workers planning to retire in the next 10 years, and companies replacing traditional pension plans with retirement savings programs, there could be more need for financial guidance.
Education Options: Employers generally require personal financial advisors to have a bachelor's degree, according to the Department of Labor. Some relevant areas to consider: accounting, finance, economics, business, or mathematics.
Career #6 - Technical Writer
Do you find errors in instruction manuals and think you could do better? As a technical writer, you could take on that challenge.
By writing operating instructions, how-to manuals, or assembly instructions, technical writers try to explain complicated material in a way that's easier for people to understand, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. You could also play a role in preparing illustrations, photographs, diagrams, and charts to go along with this documentation, adds the Department of Labor.
- The technical writer occupation is projected to see 8,900 new jobs and 18 percent job growth from 2008 to 2018.
- Development and change in high-tech industries could lead to the increased need for users' guides, instruction manuals, and training materials.
Education Options: A bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, or English could be beneficial if you are hoping to pursue a career in technical writing, says the Department. But some technical writer positions might also require a degree or knowledge in a specialized field like engineering or medicine.
*All stability factors information is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010.
Next Article: Career-Focused Online Degrees »