There are many factors that give rise and fall to occupations in the U.S. Factors dealing with population trends, technology advancement, international affairs, the national economical state, new laws & regulations, environmental situations & natural disasters, political views, and more. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09 Edition by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "The U.S. civilian noninstitutional population is expected to increase by 21.8 million over the 2006-2016 periods." With the baby boomers (ages 55 to 64) reaching the retirement age, this opens up many executive & administrative jobs that need to be filled as well as an increase in demand for nursing home care givers and other occupations in the healthcare sector.
The latest economy trend that has employed millions within the last decade has been the burst of the digitized technology now prominent in our daily lives. With these technological advances come global advances leading to outsourcing & international business management. Environmentalism has become a worldwide trend as well; with Global Warming becoming more and more advocated jobs are following closely behind. "The environmental wave is creating jobs in everything from sales to accounting in companies making green products, regulatory positions in government, and grant writing, fundraising, and litigation work in nonprofits" (Ahead of the Curve Careers, Nemko). Not to mention the growth of careers in engineering & biochemistry. For example, one of the largest growing organizations in this industry is the California Energy Commission with a focus to stem greenhouse gas emissions & limiting the use of coal power. This organization has been actively recruiting for positions such as; Energy specialists in fuel & transportation, research & development, facilities, and energy efficiency to name a few. They have been recruiting at schools such as UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and CSU Sacramento.
Some projections for 2006-2016 as stated in the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09 Edition by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics state: of a 16.7 percent increase in jobs almost three-quarters of professional occupations will come from computer and mathematical occupations, healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, education, training, and library occupations. Healthcare support occupations and personal care service are expected to account for 2.1 million new jobs. By 2016, management, business, and financial occupations will be expected to increase by 1.6 million with social & community service managers and gaming managers growing the fastest. Construction managers will add about 77,000 new jobs by 2016; accountants, auditors, financial analysts and personal financial advisors will add the most jobs, 444,000, combined. Automotive service technicians & mechanics and general maintenance and repair workers will account for about 225,000 jobs by 2016. Sales and related occupations are expected to add 1.2 million new jobs by 2016. Among all occupations in the economy, healthcare occupations are expected to make up 7 of the 20 fastest growing occupations. See chart below-replica of Chart 7 in Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09.
So where does all this leave you? I bet you are asking yourself what opportunities your degree is going to give you. Below is a table replica of the Table 1 located in the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09 naming the fastest growing occupations between 2006-2016, by level of postsecondary education or training. This is simply a numbers game based on the factors of population & economy trends. This does not include any qualitative data on salary per occupation, job satisfaction, training difficulty, or prestige. Along the same lines, even though these careers seem to be in demand, supply will eventually catch up. So, if you are already in a business school or have your heart set on law school, keep going! Just remember that no matter what career you choose, there will always be a demand for the best, in every industry.
Tomorrow's Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Ahead-of-the-Curve Careers, Marty Nemko U.S. News & World Report 12/19/07
Table 1. Fastest Growing Occupations Between 2006-2016, by level of postsecondary education
||Veterinarians, Pharmacists, Chiropractors, Physicians & Surgeons, Optometrists|
||Postsecondary teachers, Computer & information's scientists research, Medical scientists, Biochemists & biophysicists, Clinical/counseling/school psychologists|
||Mental health counselors, Mental health & substance abuse social workers, Marriage & family counselors, Physical therapists, Physician assistants|
|Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience
||Actuaries, Education administrators, Management analysts, Training & development specialists, Public relations managers|
||Network systems & data communications analysts, Computer software engineers, Personal finance advisors, Substance abuse & behavioral disorder counselors, Financial analysts|