Money Matters: How Lucrative is Your Career Path?

Today’s Money Matters article in brought to you in part by… my recent trip to the gyno. Seriously. I was waiting to have my vajay inspected at full cost (I have no insurance, but I still gotta protect myself), and reading an issue of More magazine- a magazine aimed at women over 40. It was either that or Highlights for Children. WTF?

Anyway, More had a list of the top five growing careers out there. Yes, even the golden age of layoffs, some jobs are still safe. And it made me think back a few years, before the recession hit. When I first declared a major in English, the employment gurus were saying it was a great major, thanks to its versatility. Now, not so much. So, as you continue to rack up all of those student loans, ask yourself: is your major going to pay off after college?

Since I felt guilty about ripping a page out of a middle-aged-lady mag in the gynecologist’s office, I came home to research the most lucrative jobs, and while More only listed five, Boston.com predicts thirty careers that will flourish by 2016.  Here is a sampling of some of the careers that will get your education the most bang for your buck.

#30: Physician Assistants

Screw the time and money it takes to become a doctor.  Physician assistants can test for their license after two years!  Boston.com predicts a 27% increase in this job market, up from 66,000 in 2006.  Three years ago, PA’s were raking in close to $75,000 a year!  Even in this rough economy, assistants are flourishing because they are often just as qualified as doctors to diagnose common problems such as the flu, and even with a five-figure salary, they are more cost-effective than a bevy of Physicians.

See also: Physical Therapists

#25 Computer Software and Systems Software Engineers

No surprise here, since everything is going digital.  The number employed in 2006 was a wapping 350,000, with a projected 28.2% increase by 2016.  That’s 448,000 computer-savvy employees…raking in a median of $87,500.  Damn!

See also: Database Administrators

#21 and #20 Marriage and Family Therapists/Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors

The divorce rate is skyrocketing, teenagers are getting pregnant, cyber-bullying is on the rise, and as the stress of a crumbling economy wears everyone thin, we’re all going to need some headshrinking to get through the day. Besides, when people have reached their wit’s end, it’s a lot easier to turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of escape.  And no matter how desparate people get, junkies and alcoholics will find a way to find their fix.  The pay is slightly lower, at about $40-45,000 a year, but this is another service that will always be needed.

#12 Financial Analysts

Ha. How ironic. (See also: Personal Financial Advisors)

#7 Theatrical and Performance Make-up Artists

Okay, I can see the substance abuse counselor positions rising. But seriously? Who’d have guessed theatrical and performance make-up artists were in high demand?  I guess hit musicals like Shrek: The Musical and Wicked are good for the job market.

#2 Personal and Home Care Aides

The number employed in 2006 was 787,000, and the expected increase in jobs in this field is 50%.  That’s an additional 390,000 something jobs popping up in just ten years.  I suppose that since everyone is struggling to get ahead in the office (or just to maintain an entry-level position), nobody has time to stay at home and care for a sick relative.  And as long as there are families, there are people who would do anything to see their loved ones properly cared for.

So there you have it.  A taste of some of the most rapidly expanding job markets.  I find it ironic that less than five years ago, Liberal Arts Degrees were all the rage, and barely any jobs mentioned above require such diplomas.  I’m not saying to give up your dreams; quite frankly, even if I’d tried to get through a Bachelor of Science in…anything, I’d probably end up a homeless drop-out.  So at least I’ve got something going for me.  But it’s good to know what kinds of opportunities may be waiting in your future.

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