15 Recession Proof Job Markets

The 2007-2009 recession led to massive layoffs and downsizing. But not every job field had trouble. Some professions saw faster than average employment growth, and those same professions are still growing. Here are 15 jobs that could help you survive another recession.


1. Home Health Aide

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 48.5%*
  • Required Education: On-the-job training

Home health aides, or personal health aides as they are sometimes known, provide health and home-related services to elderly or disabled people. The growing demand for home services from an aging and convalescent population has created an overwhelming need for qualified aides who are willing to work in other people's homes.

2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 46%*
  • Required Education: Associate's degree

Diagnostic medical sonographers create images, known as sonograms or ultrasounds, of patients' organs and tissues for purposes of diagnosing medical conditions. Jobs for diagnostic medical sonographers are expected to grow as medical facilities replace expensive invasive procedures with cheaper and ever-evolving imaging procedures.

3. Occupational Therapy Assistant

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 42.6%*
  • Required Education: Associate's degree

Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) help patients with therapeutic activities that can help them develop, improve or recover skills they need to live and/or work. This career is expected to grow along with the aging population since older adults are more likely to experience conditions and ailments that might require occupational therapy, such as stroke and arthritis.

4. Physical Therapy Assistant

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 41%*
  • Required Education: Associate's degree

Physical therapy assistants facilitate treatment of physical therapy patients by helping them with exercises and stretches and recording their progress, which they report to a physical therapist. Employment in this profession is expected to grow much faster than average as the demand for therapy increases with the aging population.

5. Physical Therapist

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 36%*
  • Required Education: Master's degree

Physical therapists help patients who are suffering from disability, illness or mobility problems. New therapies and an increasing number of people with mobility issues should spur growth in this profession over the 2012-2022 decade. Job opportunities should be especially plentiful in rehabilitation and orthopedic settings.

6. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 31.4%*
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Counselors who specialize in substance abuse and behavioral disorders provide therapy to people who have problems with alcohol, drugs, eating disorders and similar issues. It's becoming increasingly common for people to seek treatment for these problems. This change in thinking is expected to increase demand for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors by more than 30%.

7. Veterinary Technician

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 29.5%*
  • Required Education: Associate's degree

Veterinary technicians provide nursing and/or emergency care to sick or injured animals, under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. They also might administer anesthesia and collect and process lab samples. Demand for vet techs is expected to grow as more and more pet owners seek advanced veterinary care for their pets.

8. Medical Assistant

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 29%*
  • Required Education: On-the-job training/diploma

Medical assistants perform clerical tasks, and in some cases clinical duties, for physicians, chiropractors and other healthcare practitioners. Technological advances and an aging population have led to increase demand for trained medical assistants.

9. Personal Financial Advisor

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 27%*
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Personal financial advisors use their knowledge to assist individuals with short- and long-term financial goals. Demand for personal financial advisors is expected to grow as more individuals in the baby boom generation retire and seek financial advice.

10. Dental Assistant

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 24.5%*
  • Required Education: On-the-job training/diploma

Dental assistants, who should not be confused with dental hygienists, perform clerical and clinical duties under the supervision of a dentist. Employment for this profession is expected to grow much faster than average as more people seek out preventative dental care.

11. Computer Systems Analyst

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 24.5%*
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Computer systems analysts help organizations implement and use technology more effectively. Demand for computer systems analysts is expected to increase significantly as organizations adopt more advanced computer technologies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting nearly 128,000 new jobs between 2012 and 2022.

12. Pharmacy Technician

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 19.9%
  • Required Education: On-the-job training/diploma

Pharmacy techs help pharmacists fill prescriptions. Technicians are assuming more of the duties routinely performed by pharmacists. This has led to an increase in demand. Job opportunities are also expected to grow as the aging population requires more prescriptions.

13. Environmental Science Technician

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 18.8%*
  • Required Education: Associate's degree

Environmental science technicians gather and test samples to control and determine the cause of pollution. The need for environmental techs will grow over the 2012-2022 decade thanks to an increased demand for compliance and regulation in the industry. Increased public interest in environmental hazards also is expected to lead to significant growth in this market.

14. Software Developer or Programmer

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 18.6%*
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Computer software engineers design and develop computer applications and software for home and business use. As the need for increased technological innovations and computer networking grows, so will the need for educated software engineers. The demand for engineers who work with applications is expected to be especially strong in coming years.

15. Database Administrator

  • Projected Employment Growth (2012-2022): 15.1%*
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Database administrators find ways to store, organize and manage data. The demand for administrators who work in computer design and related services is expected to increase substantially as the need to store and protect sensitive electronic information, such as medical records, grows.

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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