With the economy still shaky and unemployment far above pre-recession levels, choosing a career with staying power is a must. Once you are aware of the job sectors with the best growth prospects for the future, career planning becomes much more efficient.
The U.S. government is adept at parsing these numbers, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has published projections for job growth by industry for the decade between 2010 and 2020. As I looked over this report, a few jobs jumped out at me -- namely, those with stellar prospects over the long term that also pay a good median wage.
Here are three of the best-paying high-growth jobs, all of which generally require a four-year college degree. Note that the median pay for each position represents 2010 wage levels.
This occupation entails quite a lot of variety. Biomedical engineers may work on biomedical equipment, create software, or design medical prostheses, just to name a few responsibilities. The median wage for this job is slightly more than $81,000 annually, but those who specialize in scientific research and development make closer to $90,000 per year.
Much of the growth in this occupational group is due to an aging populace, which is expected to require more specialized medical procedures and care. The government estimates job growth at 62% between 2010 and 2020, though it is a small, specialized field, with fewer than 16,000 positions as of May 2010.
Market research analyst
There were nearly 283,000 market research analystsas of 2010 but, at a 10-year growth rate of 41%, there are expected to be nearly 117,000 more positions available by 2020, with a median pay of nearly $61,000 per year.
As the title implies, this job involves collecting data about consumers and market conditions in order to help companies sell their products and services. Those who gravitate toward employment with companies in the information sector tend to make more money -- approximately $71,000 annually.
This occupational group should also experience higher-than-average growth of 36% over the same 10-year period, with an anticipated gain of 67,500 jobs in that time. Growth prospects for this occupation look good, as construction rebounds and as companies continue to use cost estimators in an effort to save money. The median annual wage of almost $58,000 does not include overtime, which is common in this occupation.
Though a four-year college diploma is generally required for this type of work, construction workers with a background in cost estimation may be able to substitute experience for the degree requirement.
This is just a sampling of the career choices that will still be in demand several years from now, and probably well beyond 2020. In these times of stubbornly high unemployment, knowing where to find employment right out of college can give you a distinct advantage over your job-hunting peers.
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