With unemployment nearing double digits, it's hard to imagine there are jobs, ready for the taking but it's true. Many companies are hiring, and can't fill their slots fast enough. Here are seven jobs companies are desperate to fill, and how you can qualify.
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Education: Bachelor's degree, CPA certification
Average Annual Earnings: $61,480
Accountants are the people that make sure a business runs smoothly, that records are kept, taxes are paid and the books are balanced. If you think accounting is boring, think again: many accountants work as forensic accountants, detecting fraud in criminal cases, or work as independent contractors, able to set their own hours.
If you're one of the many (business) degreed professionals displaced by the recession, look at adding an accounting track to your degree; many online and evening colleges offer accounting programs, preparing you for CPA certification. The Department of Labor expects the need for accountants to rise by 22% by 2018. Top CPAs earn over six figures, making accounting a very exciting field indeed.
2. Software Engineer
Education: Certification or higher
Average Annual Earnings: $85,430
What doesn't run on a computer these days? These computer applications in our daily lives all need software and engineers to develop and program them. Software engineering jobs are expected to grow 21% by 2018, much faster than other sectors. A bachelor's degree will get you the best opportunities and pay, although certification or an associate's degree will be enough if you can prove you have the skills to do the job - making software engineering a great field for those changing careers or starting out.
Education: On-the-job training
Average Annual Earnings: $38,940 and up
Few people grow up wanting to be a machinist, but it's a great field for those looking to enter the job market with little education. Many employers looking for experienced fabricators are having such a hard time finding qualified applicants that on-the-job training and training programs have grown for machinists. Pay is modest for those entering field, but grows with experience, making it a good place to grow a career.
4. Healthcare Workers
Education: High school diploma and higher
Average Annual Earnings: From $19,178
You've likely heard it before: healthcare is where the work is. From home care aides, a sector expected to grow 50% by 2018, to nurses and pharmacy technicians, healthcare jobs are on the rise. If you only have a high school diploma, look at starting as a home care aid at an average rate of $9.22 an hour - tough on the wallet, but a place you can get your foot in the door with little or no experience. Many colleges have vocational programs for radiologic technicians and other healthcare specializations that will greatly increase your earning power.
5. Biomedical Engineer
Education: Bachelor's degree or higher
Average Annual Earnings: $77,400
America's population is aging, and with it, our need for better healthcare equipment is rising. Biomedical engineers are needed to research, develop and test new devices - this job sector is expected to grow a whopping 72% by 2018. If you don't mind investing in the education required, biomedical engineering is a career with a very bright future.
6. Industrial Hygienist
Education: On-the-job training and/or certification
Average Annual Earnings: $45,360
Lead, mold and asbestos are all bad for our health, so removal of these toxic substances is vital. Industrial hygienists are the experienced professionals tasked with the dirty job of removing environmental hazards, and employers are on the hunt for qualified applicants.
Most education is gained from on-the-job training, although some colleges offer certification in the field. Jobs for industrial hygienists are expected to increase by 14% by 2018; top-earning professionals average over $73,000 in annual pay, making this a lucrative career path if you're lacking a college degree.
Education: Bachelor's degree or higher
Average Annual Earnings: $79,160
Geoscientists study the earth: its composition, including energy sources that can be derived from it - which is where the jobs employers are having a difficult time filling are. Finding qualified geoscientists, preferably those with a master's degree, isn't easy. This sector of the job market is expected to rise by 18% by 2018, with energy research spurring the growth. Geoscientists working in oil and gas extraction earn well into the six figures.
The Bottom Line
If you're unemployed, or looking for a career change, there are employers waiting for you to work in these hard-to-fill positions. The harsh reality is that you may have to go back to school, or work your way up to get the best salary in these fields - which is why employers are having such a hard time finding the right applicants. Patience and persistence are crucial for a future in these seven jobs.