It can be hard to feel encouraged about job prospects in a down economy, but just because some industries have lost positions doesn't mean it's impossible to find a job. The key is to look for jobs in career fields experiencing significant and continued growth. These fields struggle to fill open positions because not enough qualified individuals are available to fill them. If you want to increase your chances of finding and holding a job, consider pursuing training and education within the following 10 career fields cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as some of the fastest growing occupations.
1. Fitness trainers & aerobics instructors - 29.41% growth by 2018
With the obesity epidemic continuing to grow, there's a continued need for personal trainers and aerobics instructors to work in a wide variety of settings. While most fitness trainers will end up working at gyms and recreation centers, it is possible to find positions at hospitals, physical therapy centers and private, in-home settings. Requirements vary by company, but most personal trainers and aerobics instructors must at least hold a certification within the field. Some positions may require a bachelor's or master's degree as well.
2. Environmental engineering technicians - 30.1% growth by 2018
Americans are gradually becoming more environmentally-friendly, and as a result, a greater focus is being placed on improved environmental testing and standards. Environmental engineering technicians help test and operate equipment in the prevention and control of environmental issues, particularly waste management. These positions are often found in engineering and government settings, and require a minimum of an associate's degree.
3. Survey researchers - 30.36% growth by 2018
With all the options available to consumers, companies are looking for any edge they can get on the competition, and this means they need to know how to go about developing products and services that will meet the needs of their customers. Survey researchers design and conduct surveys to achieve this goal. In most cases, survey researchers must have a bachelor's degree, generally in business, research or statistics.
4. Dental assistants - 35.75% growth by 2018
If you're looking for a position in a health care field that doesn't require significant training, consider becoming a dental assistant. Most states don't require formal education, although you may benefit from going through a training program at a community college. Dental assistants are involved in a variety of technical and patient-care duties including updating patient records, cleaning equipment, and preparing patients for treatment.
5. Athletic trainers - 36.95% growth by 2018
Don't confuse athletic trainers with coaches or personal trainers. Athletic trainers are highly educated healthcare professionals who work with athletes to prevent and treat injuries in sports settings. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, although to work in collegiate or professional sports, a candidate may have to hold a master's or doctorate degree. State licensure or certification may also be required, depending on the state in which you hope to work.
6. Biochemists and biophysicists - 37.42% growth by 2018
Biochemists and biophysicists are scientists highly involved in researching and studying the physical properties or chemical composition of living organisms. They're particularly involved in researching complex issues like genetics, metabolism and the effects of medications or drugs on living cells. Almost without exception, a doctoral degree is required to hold these positions. Some individuals may hold multiple degrees in various fields including medicine, genetics and physics.
7. Skin care specialists - 37.86% growth by 2018
A high price is placed on beauty, and with baby boomers continuing to age, there are more and more career openings for skin care specialists. These individuals provide a variety of treatments to the face and body designed to enhance the appearance of skin. These treatments include everything from the standard facial given at a day spa to laser hair removal provided at a dermatology clinic. At a minimum, skin care specialists must graduate from a post-secondary vocational school, but certain skin care treatments may require additional certifications and licensures.
8. Fracking - 45% growth by 2015
Never heard of fracking? You're not alone. Fracking is actually hydraulic fracturing, a new, proven technology that can extract natural gas and oil from deep shale formations. Because it's so new, and because it shows so much promise for reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil, the industry is growing like crazy without enough workers to fill open positions. Because the entire industry is booming, positions vary widely and include everything from permit clerks to drilling technicians and engineers. Likewise, education also varies according to position, although some positions require a minimum of an associate's degree.
9. Home health aides - 50.01% growth by 2018
There are actually two home health fields seeing significant growth: home health aides, and personal and home care aides. Both of these career fields are seeing significant growth due to an aging population and a growing number of individuals suffering from long-term health issues like diabetes, obesity and debilitating arthritis. These aides enable chronically ill or disabled individuals to continue living in their own homes or residential care facilities, rather than in a treatment facility. Depending on the ability of the client, home health aides and personal and home care aides may perform light housekeeping duties, assist with dressing, bathing and hygiene and accompany the client to health appointments. Home health aides generally work under the supervision of a medical professional, while personal aides may be privately employed by the individual or family. These positions usually only require on-the-job-training.
10. Biomedical engineers - 72.02% growth by 2018
Biomedical engineers play a crucial part in the advancement of modern medicine. These professionals help design and develop products like artificial organs, prostheses and medical information systems. A strong background and knowledge of biology, engineering and biomechanics are required, and applicants should have a minimum of a bachelor's degree within one or more of these fields.
Before Entering a Booming Industry
Even booming industries have their downsides, so before committing extensive time, energy and money into education and training, make sure you do research into the field to make sure it's the right choice for you. As nice as job stability is, you don't want to find yourself tied to career that you don't enjoy.