What Are Good Career Opportunities During a Down Economy?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the country's unemployment rate was 5.0% in November 2015. For job seekers looking for 'recession-proof careers', a few fields are expected to see increased or steady growth through the 2012-2022 decade, despite economic conditions.

Always in Demand Careers

Careers in education, health care and construction continue to be in high demand. These careers have significant growth and produce many opportunities for qualified jobseekers. Candidates with the right training, education and experience can explore a vast variety of career choices. Forecasters predict that jobs for educators, health care professionals and construction workers will continue to dominate the labor force.

Important Facts About Education, Health Care & Construction Careers

Education Health Care Construction
Entry Level Education Bachelor's degree (elementary/secondary teachers)
Master's/doctoral degree (postsecondary teachers)
Postsecondary non-degree award (medical assistants)
Associate degree (nurses)
Doctoral/professional degree (physicians/surgeons)
High school courses in English, mathematics, blueprint reading, welding, and shop can be beneficial
Work Environment Schools, colleges or universities Hospitals, clinics, medical facilities In the field, construction sites, outdoors in all weather environments
On-the-Job Training None for postsecondary teachers; internship/residency for elementary/secondary teachers None for medical assistants and nurses; internship/residency for physicians/surgeons Short term on-the-job training for construction laborers and helpers
Median Salary (2014) $54,120 (elementary teachers)
$56,310 (secondary school teachers)
$59,720 (postsecondary teachers)
$29,960 (medical assistants)
$66,640 (nurses)
$187,199 (physicians/surgeons)
$31,090 (construction laborers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education: Primary, Secondary and Postsecondary

Regardless of slumping economic times, children under the age of 16 are required to be in school, meaning public educational institutions must retain teaching faculties. Teaching positions with elementary and middle schools were projected to increase by 12% from 2012 until 2022, the BLS predicted. In comparison, high school teachers might see only six percent growth during that period.

Postsecondary teachers, particularly those employed by public universities and community colleges, also should have excellent employment opportunities from 2012 through 2022, with the BLS forecasting 19% growth in the field. This increase is expected to create 236,400 jobs.

Health Care: One of the Fastest Growing U.S. Industries

Illness is inevitable, creating constant demand for health care workers, from nurses and medical assistants to doctors and surgeons, as well as large technical and support staffs in between. Both advances in medical technology and a rapidly aging population also contribute to an increased need for medical professionals.

In 2015, the health care industry provided almost 19 million Americans with jobs, and it shows no signs of slowing growth, according to data from the BLS. Between 2014 and 2024, nearly four million new jobs will be created within the health care and social assisting sector, more than any other industry. This includes both healthcare practitioners and healthcare support staff careers. Specific fields forecast to experience significant growth included home health care services, residential care facilities and private physicians' offices.

Construction: Opportunities for Growth

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the BLS indicated that careers related to construction and extraction could see a 22% increase in employment opportunities between 2012 and 2022. In this larger group, career opportunities might be best for those who assist brickmasons, stonemasons and blockmasons. Good prospects were also predicted for blockmasons and brickmasons, along with electricians' assistants and mechanical insulation workers.

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