Kids love to imagine what they'll be when they grow up -- a pilot, a teacher, a video-game designer. It's fun for parents to ponder too. And if you encourage your child's interest in bugs because a doctor needs to be a biology whiz, what's the harm? After all, ten of today's 30 fastest-growing jobs are in health care, according to Alexandra Levit, author of How'd You Score That Gig?
Wondering which other careers will be most in demand when your child's an adult? We checked with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and consulted career and workplace experts for predictions. It's no surprise that high-tech professions will have a major impact, but pinpointing them is a challenge. "Half the jobs coming up will be in areas we can't even conceive of now," says Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting From College to Career. When Mark Zuckerberg was toddling around in diapers, you can bet his folks didn't foresee Facebook.
Of course we're not suggesting you choose your child's career at this very moment. But it can't hurt to start thinking about the skills and education he might need when perusing help-wanted ads of the future.
Wanted: HVAC Technician
Now hiring full-timers to install and repair heating and air-conditioning systems. Must have six months of technical-school training or an apprenticeship. Knowledge of solar and geothermal energy systems is a plus. Successful candidates should be able to read blueprints and love figuring out how things work. This is a recession-proof industry with many openings. Salary: $46,000 (Wage estimates are based on the average salary for comparable positions in 2011 as compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
Wanted: Self-Enrichment Instructor
Do you possess skills others want to learn -- and the ability to teach them? A leading continuing-education company needs teachers in multiple subjects, from network-systems analysis to personal finance to guitar playing. Our well-received e-courses are overflowing with adult students looking to enhance their career and enrich their life by mastering new technologies, skills, and hobbies. We also need bilingual educators who are fluent in Spanish, Mandarin, and Arabic. A degree or formal training is required in some subjects, but we're also looking for skilled hobbyists (scrapbooking, knitting, genealogy). Instructors work on a contract basis with very flexible scheduling. Pay depends on the course load and expertise but prorates to $41,000 to $51,000.
Wanted: Personal-Care Coordinator
Our independent home health-care agency is expanding rapidly. We need hundreds of registered nurses with extensive case-management experience to coordinate the care of the elderly and infirm. Your role is vital: You'll serve as a liaison between patients and their home health aides, primary providers, specialists, and health insurers to make sure they're getting the best possible treatment. While qualified nurses can practically pick their position these days, why not choose an area where you can establish meaningful relationships with patients and truly make a difference in their care and their lives? Social workers, licensed practical nurses, and those with related training may also be considered. Salary for RNs: $69,000
Wanted: Yarden Architect
Large new housing development seeks a landscape architect to help homeowners design and install beautiful, productive gardens. Our "green" community encourages residents to replace hydro-intensive lawns and grow organic fruits and vegetables. The ideal candidate will have a degree in landscape architecture or related training. Experience in xeriscaping and other techniques that reduce or eliminate supplemental watering is preferred. Must have a current state license and enjoy getting your hands dirty. Salary: $67,000