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April 8, 2009 > Counseling Corner: Top Jobs in a Poor Economy

Counseling Corner: Top Jobs in a Poor Economy

By Anne Chan, PhD, MFT

Spring is finally here in the Tri-Cities, bringing sunshine, new growth, and Easter egg hunts. For those anxious about the job market, I thought I'd dispel some of the gloom and doom about the economy with some sunny news about jobs.

Despite what you hear about the economy, there still is growing demand for jobs in a wide variety of sectors. Recently, the Departments of Labor and Education partnered to provide a list of the top in-demand occupations in the United States. This list was based on projected need and hourly wages. The top 20 jobs on the list are (drum roll, please):

1. Registered nurses
2. General and operations managers
3. Physicians and surgeons
4. Elementary school teachers (except Special Ed)
5. Accountants and auditors
6. Computer software programmers
7. Lawyers
8. Sales representatives (wholesale and manufacturing)
9. Computer Systems Analysts
10. Management Analysts
11. Secondary school teachers
12. Chief executives
13. Supervisors/Managers of Office and Administrative Support Workers
14. Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software
15. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts
16. Financial Managers
17. Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers
18. Construction Managers
19. Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
20. Electricians

You can see entire list of the Top 50 occupations in

Top 10 lists are helpful in giving information about projected job prospects. However, a few words of caution and advice before you rush into changing careers:
* Pick work that you love. If you choose to become, say, a registered nurse because it's a #1 job, but you hate people and hate blood, you're going to hate your job. Conversely, if you pick something you love, you'll be making money AND not feeling like it's work.
* Many of the top 20 jobs require advanced degrees. However, there are many jobs on the list that do not require a college degree. Consider going to a community college and checking out the certificate programs to get you to a top profession.
* Taking an introductory class can give you a taste of some professions. Check out local Adult Schools and community colleges where you can take a class for very little money.
* Talk to people about their jobs - ask them what they like and dislike about their jobs, as well as advice they would give you about entering their professions. They can give you the inside scoop on what the job is actually like and tips on how you can transition into their profession.
* Think about a specific niche you could specialize in - all of the above jobs have specialty areas. Having an expertise can give you access to more job possibilities.

Last but not least, remember that Top 10 lists, useful as they are, are not the end-all and be-all of job information. No one list can predict what will happen in the next 10 years. Some of the hottest jobs now did not even exist 15 years ago.

So be creative, resourceful, and smart when you manage your career and don't let one list decide everything for you. Good luck with your job searches and deciding on a career. I hope you are as successful as the kids are when they go on their Easter egg hunts!

Anne Chan is a career counselor and licensed psychotherapist in Union City. She specializes in helping people find happiness in their careers, lives, and relationships. She can be reached at 510-744-1781. Her website is

(c) Anne Chan, 2009.

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