Excellent careers for 2006
To learn more
OOH profile: www.bls.gov/oco/ocos081.htm
American Academy of Physician Assistants Information Center: www.aapa.org
Read: A Kernel in the Pod: The Adventures of a "Midlevel" Clinician in a Top-level World by J. Michael Jones
Pharmacist. You're not just filling prescriptions; with access to high-priced doctors getting more scarce, you're often the front-line healthcare provider. And well-paying jobs are available, not just in store pharmacies but in hospitals and on research teams as well. Unfortunately, as in many other fields, the training requirement has been ratcheted up: Now a doctor of pharmacy degree is standard, which typically requires seven years of post-high-school education.
Personal coach. I predict that demand for the services of psychologists and other psychotherapists will fade (see the entry for psychologist, below). There will always be a need, however, for professionals willing to help clients address their practical problems. This doesn't need to entail thorough exploration of family history or traumatic childhood events but someone to help the client set goals, develop an action plan to achieve them, keep on task, and be supportive when the client feels scared or deflated. Some psychotherapists, who practice cognitive or rational-emotive therapy, do those things, but personal coaches, also known as career and life coaches, can be adequately trained in far less time. For example, see www.coachu.com.
To learn more
International Coach Federation: www.coachfederation.org
Read: Coaching Manual: The Definitive Guide to the Process, Principles & Skills of Personal Coaching by Julie Starr.
Electrician. Among the trades, this is my favorite. You're less likely to ruin your back or knees than are carpenters or plumbers. And demand for electricians is likely to grow faster than for other trades because of our increasingly electrified world. Another plus is that this career, like most trades, is highly resistant to being offshored to low-cost countries like China. Formal training usually involves a paid four-year apprenticeship combining community college training with on-the-job, supervised practice.
Firefighter. All the firefighters I've met like their jobs. Disadvantages such as irregular hours and living in a firehouse are usually outweighed by the exciting, rewarding work of responding to emergencies and helping people. Plus, typically only a high school diploma or perhaps a two-year fire science degree is required. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, firefighting ranks 14th in likelihood of dying on the job. That sounds dauntingbut Nos. 1 and 2 are truck driver and farmworker, careers most people don't think of as inordinately dangerous.
Landscape architect. There are ordinary architects (see below), and then there are neat niches like this. Because most landscape architecture projects don't have as many components as the design for a building, young landscape architects may get to design entire projects. Also, the training is shorter: You typically can get a job with just a bachelor's degree and an internship of a year or less.