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.
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.)
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.
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
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
Millions of shoppers around the globe access our company's retail website daily. Each time consumers click a link, they're telling us something. We need a skilled tracker who can decode those messages to improve the e-buying experience -- and our bottom line. This challenging position involves collecting and analyzing large data sets to help improve our business efficiency, from staff scheduling to inventory management. Applicants should have a degree or certification in data mining or analysis. Math and computer skills are a must, as is the ability to think critically and present findings clearly and concisely. We offer a competitive compensation package. Salary: $79,000
State regulatory agency for banking, insurance, and finance seeks a candidate with an analytical mind and a knack for uncovering numbers that don't add up. You'll be responsible for ensuring that banks, insurance companies, and financial institutions comply with increasingly complex laws and regulations by examining and verifying their records. The ideal candidate will be a highly organized individual and possess a bachelor's degree in finance or accounting. CPA or certified financial examiner preferred. Some travel is necessary. Salary: $84,000
Do you have what it takes to protect our company from a hostile cyber attack? We're looking for a few good men and women to manage the security and confidentiality of our sensitive info and electronic infrastructure. You'll assess our vulnerability to thieves and e-terrorists, as well as develop, implement, and test various security protocols. This position requires technical know-how, strategic thinking, troubleshooting, and discretion in dealing with lots of confidential data. Must have a bachelor's degree in information technology or equivalent experience. Salary: $82,000
Our R&D firm specializes in the burgeoning field of biotechnology and nanotechnology research, formulating new composites for use in everything from medicine to construction. We need innovative scientists to develop these valuable materials. The ideal candidate possesses a bachelor's or higher degree in engineering, an inquisitive and experimental nature, and the ability to work well both individually and as part of a team. You'll be well-compensated for your expertise. Salary: $87,000 Note: We're also hiring engineering technicians to assist our scientists; associate's degree preferred. Salary: $62,000
Do your part to end cutthroat courtroom maneuvering. Use your legal know-how to help litigants find workable solutions to their legal dilemmas. Thanks to the cumbersome and expensive judicial system, our national network of arbitrators is looking to expand. You might be a strong fit for our team if you have a law degree or a master's degree in law, public policy, or a related field. We're looking for candidates who can remain calm and patient while guiding sometimes antagonistic litigants toward fair, amicable, and often creative resolutions. Additional state-specific certification or licensing may be required. Salary: $76,000
Your parents may not believe it, but your years of video-game playing are finally about to come in handy. Our firm needs artists with strong technical skills and a knowledge of virtual-reality environments. Projects may include designing virtual conference rooms, implementing holographic ad campaigns, and creating special effects for our line of augmented-reality apps. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in fine arts, a background in multimedia technology, and a portfolio that displays creativity and cutting-edge technique. You'll be an independent contractor. Salary: $68,000
Originally published in the August 2012 issue of Parents magazine.