With the U.S. unemployment rate now above 10 percent, millions of Americans are searching for new careers. A strange paradox currently exists, however. There are also many empty jobs that remain unfilled. So what's the problem? According to economists and hiring managers, the main problem is finding candidates with the right career training for jobs in emerging fields like energy, health care, and engineering.
Some of these careers require only one to two years of training, while others call for a four-year degree, but one fact remains clear: These new industries are here to stay. Investing in continuing education or career training might be a small price to pay to stay in the game for years to come. Below are some of the hottest careers in need of qualified professionals.
Environmental Science Technician
As scientific procedures have become more complex, the role of science technicians has steadily increased. Technicians not only solve problems in research and development, but also are specially trained in operating and maintaining laboratory equipment. Environmental science technicians perform their work with the goal of determining, alleviating, or controlling environmentally harmful substances.
Job growth for environmental science technicians is expected to be much faster than average from 2006 to 2016. The most common job requirement is a two-year associate's degree in science-related technology.
Average Annual Salary: $43,180.
Electrical equipment of all kinds is developed, designed, and tested by electrical engineers. From lighting to electric motors to the wiring of buildings, electrical engineers shine new light on the way we live and work. Most electrical engineers specialize in an area like power systems engineering or electrical equipment manufacturing.
A bachelor's degree in engineering, with a specialty in electrical engineering, is usually a requirement for entry-level jobs.
Average Annual Salary: $85,350.
Following a rash of corporate scandals coupled with the current financial crisis, companies are cracking down on waste, fraud, and mismanagement. Internal auditors evaluate an organization's financial and information systems while keeping an eye on efficiency and productivity. They also evaluate organizational compliance with corporate and government regulations.
A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is a good idea for auditors. Some colleges offer programs specifically geared towards internal auditing. Certification as a certified internal auditor (CIA) also boosts credibility and hiring potential.
Average Annual Salary: $65,840.
For many accountants, there has been a professional shift away from merely preparing tax documents. Management accountants work for businesses, recording, and analyzing their financial information. They also prepare budgets, financial reports, and cost management strategies. Management accountants often work as part of an executive team and communicate with company heads, stockholders, creditors, and regulatory agencies on a regular basis.
Employment of accountants is expected to grow by 18 percent over the next seven years. A bachelor's degree in accounting or finance is usually required, and those who have certification as a certified public accountant (CPA) or other professional certifications should have the best opportunities.
Average Annual Salary: $65,840.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
As sonography grows in popularity, and in some cases becomes preferable to radiologic procedures, there is a growing demand for sonographers. Diagnostic sonography helps in diagnosing ailments of all kinds, using high frequency sound waves to assess a particular part of the body. Sonographers are specially trained to use this equipment and evaluate the results. They also interact with patients, keep detailed records, and maintain sonography equipment.
Most employers prefer to hire registered sonographers who have trained for the position by earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in X-ray technology or a closely-related field. In some cases, those already working in the health care field can earn a one-year certificate that may suffice for entry-level sonography positions.
Average Annual Salary: $62,660.
These technologists assist physicians in diagnosing heart and blood vessel ailments. Their day-to-day duties often include scheduling appointments, explaining procedures to patients, and maintaining equipment. Cardiovascular technologists generally specialize in one of three areas: invasive cardiology, echocardiography, or vascular technology.
This career is expected to see much faster than average job growth in coming years, with 26 percent growth expected. Most cardiovascular technologists have an associate's degree in x-ray or cardiovascular technology. Certification is also available, but is not always required.
Average Annual Salary: $48,640.
Like it or not, it seems unlikely that outmoded industries will be making a comeback anytime soon. Rather than hitting your head against a career wall, consider training for a new career in an emerging field. The time spent may be rewarded in a fulfilling new career and an end to your lay-off worries.