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May 8th, 2009

Hot careers in a cool economy
May 7th, 2009, 12:00 pm · posted by Colin Stewart
Despite the economic slump, employers are still hiring in many fields, says Fardad Fateri, chief executive of Irvine-based International Education Corp., which runs career training schools.

Careers such as health, education and technology still have a healthy demand for workers, he said.

His observations line up with other recent workforce forecasts, including the O.C. Register’s database of labor experts’ predictions of local job growth.

TECHNOLOGY

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts fast growth through 2017 for network systems analysts and data communication analysts — two relatively high-paying jobs — as well as for the relatively low-paying positions of home care aides and home health aides.

Fateri noted that the state Labor Market Information Division predicts that demand will grow 40 percent through 2016 for network systems analysts, computer software engineers and veterinary technicians.

HEALTH

Many hospitals and other health-related businesses are still growing during the recession. Edwards Lifesciences of Irvine, for example, is adding about 250 positions this year in Orange County.

Many varieties of health-care jobs showed up on U.S. News and World Report’s list of best careers for 2009, which aims to identify “jobs with the best outlook in this recessionary economy (and beyond), the highest rates of job satisfaction, the least difficult training necessary, the most prestige, and the highest pay.” You’ll have to judge for yourself how well the magazine balanced all those conflicting factors, such as high-paying jobs and jobs that are easy to prepare for.

The U.S. News said:

The aging of the baby boomer generation promises to place major demands on the healthcare system. There will be more need for physical therapists as active seniors work their way back from hip and knee replacements. A couple of national surveys also found that physical therapists rank high in job satisfaction.

Registered nurses, biomedical equipment technicians, and physician assistants will also be in hot demand.

Equipment technicians install, train, calibrate, and maintain a cadre of fast-evolving medical equipment, such as PET/CT scanners and robotic radiosurgery units.

Computer systems know-how is increasingly useful, and you can be an everyday hospital hero after only a two-year associate’s degree.

Physician assistants need two or three years of postgraduate education. Then they can do about 80 percent of what physicians do, and their salaries can reach six figures.

Fateri said health-care programs are popular at UEI, which has schools at seven locations in Southern California, but not in Orange County itself.

“The medical assisting program currently has the highest enrollment,” Fateri said. “We expect continued growth in these programs as demand for entry-level health-care workers expands.”

OTHER FIELDS

Fateri also cited several other careers with a healthy supply of jobs:

Even with the recession, Fateri says there is still demand for employees with business administration, administrative assistant and management consultant training. “Small and medium-sized companies need individuals to run their businesses so training for these areas always yields positive results,” Fateri said.

Criminal Justice is another hot career field, since there is always going be a demand for employees who can work in security, protection, investigation and law enforcement.

“Also, the education field is continuing to grow,” Fateri said. “With the retirement of thousands of educators and the increased demand for skilled workers, we will need thousands of teachers, teacher’s aides, administrative assistants, network systems technicians and support staff in the K-12 and the higher education system.”

Here is the full U.S. News list of top careers:

Audiologist
Biomedical equipment technician
Clergy
Curriculum/training specialist
Engineer
Firefighter
Fundraiser
Genetic counselor
Ghostwriter
Government manager
Hairstylist/Cosmetologist
Health policy specialist
Higher education administrator
Landscape architect
Librarian
Locksmith/Security system technician
Management consultant
Mediator
Occupational therapist
Optometrist
Pharmacist
Physical therapist
Physician assistant
Politician/Elected official
Registered nurse
School psychologist
Systems analyst
Urban planner
Usability/User experience specialist
Veterinarian
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