It pays to be smart when choosing your career, particularly now that the job market is (slowly) improving.
With the recession officially over, anyone who’s out of work or eager to change jobs is on the lookout for opportunities.
Click here to see the 50 careers you wish had in 2011>
But where, exactly, are the jobs? Which occupations offer decent salaries, quality of life—and are likely to stick around for the next decade?
Our list of 50 Best Careers answers those questions. We’ve highlighted dozens of high-opportunity professions—careers you may want to consider as you decide where to look for your next paycheck. Based on job-growth projections, salary data, and other factors like job satisfaction, these occupations span a variety of industries, so you can find the right position for you no matter what your interests.
What’s new on the list this year? Several of our picks reflect the recent uptick in the economy, while others are long-time contenders that finally muscled their way onto the roster. With an ageing baby boomer generation, healthcare continues to make a strong showing. All of the healthcare jobs on last year’s list have made the cut again this year, plus two new positions: massage therapist and athletic trainer. While the field of athletic training doesn’t offer the sheer number of positions as nursing or dental hygiene, it outranks nearly all other healthcare occupations for expected job growth.
Technology positions also account for a good chunk of our top-choice careers. Computer support specialist joins the ranks this year with upward trending employment numbers. Education administrator, which ranked particularly high for job satisfaction, made it onto our lineup of social service jobs. In the business category, we added sales manager, an occupation that’s making a comeback along with the economy.
On our creative and service jobs list, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technician is new this year, largely because of its high expected job growth. Interpreter/translator, an occupation that’s increasingly in demand as a result of globalization, also made the cut.
To come up with this year’s list, U.S. News considered job-growth projections from the labour Department, estimates for 2008 to 2018, the most recent data available. We narrowed it down to occupations that are expected to add jobs at an above-average rate over the next decade, as well as those that provide an above-average median income. Sales manager makes the highest median annual salary on our list, nearly $97,000. Computer software engineer, physician assistant, meteorologist and education administrator all bring in median average salaries in the mid-$80,000 range.
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