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The Best Job Opportunities of the Future

4. Pest Control Workers

> Future job openings as a pct. of 2010 employment: 70.9%
> New openings, 2010 to 2020: 48,500
> Median annual wage: $30,340

Pest control workers use traps, fumigants and various other methods to remove rats, roaches, bedbugs and other unwanted creatures from buildings. Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS estimates that the number of pest control workers will increase by 26.1%, as “population growth, particularly in the South, where pests are more common, should result in more buildings that will require additional pest management.” However, while there are projected to be 48,500 openings between 2010 and 2020, 30,600 of these will address replacements needs as workers leave the industry. Among possible reasons for such high turnover: work schedules that often include weekend and evening hours and an increased likelihood of injury and illness due to exposure to pest control chemicals.

5. Interpreters and Translators

Thinkstock> Future job openings as a pct. of 2010 employment: 69%
> New openings, 2010 to 2020: 40,300
> Median annual wage: $43,300

Becoming an interpreter or translator is not easy, usually requiring a bachelor’s degree, and above all else, fluency in English and at least one other language. Additionally, work experience is critical as many employers will only hire interpreters and translators with past work history. Some 40,300 openings for interpreters and translators are expected to become available between 2010 and 2020 as the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse and international trade expands. Though roughly 24,600 of these openings will come from new growth, the remaining 15,700 positions, roughly equal to 27% of the 2010 workforce, will be needed to replace previous workers. Many established interpreters and translators also have the option of working for themselves, as 22.9% were self-employed in 2010.

[More from 24/7 Wall St.: Cities losing the most jobs]

6. Optometrists

> Future job openings as a pct. of 2010 employment: 68.4%
> New openings, 2010 to 2020: 23,400
> Median annual wage: $94,990

The number of optometry jobs is expected to grow from the 34,200 jobs in 2010 to 45,500 jobs in 2020, an increase of 33.1%. The BLS projects 23,400 job openings will have to be filled, with 11,300, or just under half, to job growth. The other 12,100 openings, representing 35.4% of the current headcount, will arise due to replacement needs. But you better like school if you want one of these optometry jobs. In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree, optometrists must earn a doctorate in optometry, which takes an additional four years. The median pay of $94,990 is the 36th highest of all professions, but it is far smaller than the pay of physicians. The median pay for doctors in primary care was $202,392, while the pay for those in medical specialties was $356,885.

7. Natural Science Managers

Thinkstock> Future job openings as a pct. of 2010 employment: 68%
> New openings, 2010 to 2020: 33,500
> Median annual wage: $116,020

Natural science managers direct and supervise research projects for biologists, physicists and chemists. Most are former scientists who have taken on management roles, and many conduct their own research as well as supervise others. The BLS projects 33,500 openings for natural science managers will have to be filled by 2020. Just 3,800 of those are projected to come from the growth of new jobs, as research and development operations are outsourced to specialized firms. The remaining 29,700 are expected to address replacement needs. Finding replacements may be difficult, as the prerequisites include at least five years work experience and a bachelor’s degree.

8. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

> Future job openings as a pct. of 2010 employment: 67.8%
> New openings, 2010 to 2020: 191,800
> Median annual wage: $60,570

Market research analysts study market conditions, as well as sales and pricing trends of products and services. Between 2010 and 2020, a projected 191,800 analyst positions will have to be filled. Of these openings, 116,600 are expected come from job growth, as demand for market data and research increases.The remaining 75,200 of openings are expected to address job turnover and attrition. Most positions for market research analysts typically require at least a bachelor’s degree, though many analyst positions require a master’s degree.

9. Insulation Workers

Thinkstock> Future job openings as a pct. of 2010 employment: 67.5%
> New openings, 2010 to 2020: 34,700
> Median annual wage: $35,110

Insulation workers handle, install and dispose of fiberglass and foam insulation in buildings. Where asbestos is present, workers trained in removing hazardous material are used to remove the asbestos before insulators may install new insulation. Between 2010 to 2020, the BLS projects 34,700 more insulator jobs to become available. Of these projected openings, 20,300 are expected to address replacement needs as workers leave the profession due to the physical irritation caused by insulation as well as difficult working conditions. Demand for new positions is expected to come from increases in home-building as well as the need to make existing buildings more energy-efficient.

10. Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health

> Future job openings as a pct. of 2010 employment: 65.9%
> New openings, 2010 to 2020: 19,500
> Median annual wage: $41,380

According to the BLS, environmental science and protection technicians “monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination, including those affecting health.” Between 2010 and 2020, about 19,500 positions are projected to become available. The majority of these openings, roughly 12,500, are expected to address replacement needs as technicians retire or otherwise leave the profession. Other openings will be due to job growth, as the public becomes increasingly conscious of protecting the environment. Those looking for a job as a technician usually need an associate’s degree.


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