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Although the National Bureau of Economic Research has declared the recession officially over, plenty of people are still struggling to make ends meet. The median family income is hovering at around $50,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the Consumer Price Index keeps rising. What’s a working stiff to do?
A salary boost to just north of that median income can help, and it may not be out of reach–even in this economy. Here are seven jobs that earn at least $60,000, according to online salary database PayScale.com, in industries that are expected to grow through 2018.
1. Senior staff accountant
Elizabeth Lions, a former recruiter and the author of “Recession Proof Yourself!” says that senior-level staff accountants in most industries earn over $60,000–with or without the CPA title. Most accountants have a college degree in accounting, and there are specialized certifications necessary for some positions. Lions says that the potential for growth is great. “From senior-level staff they would promote to accounting manager, then controller, and eventually CFO.”
2. Electronic discovery professional
Sally Kane, editor-in-chief of “Paralegal Today” magazine, says, “E-discovery is a $3 billion industry and growing rapidly.” These professionals use technology to manage electronic data and facilitate the exchange of information in litigation; they are invaluable to tech-challenged attorneys and clients. “Since the industry is new, no formal educational programs exist, and most training is on the job,” says Kane. To break in, obtain a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, computer science, or information technology, and obtain certification on specific software platforms.
3. Court reporter
A nationwide shortage of court reporters, and a growing need for closed-captioning services for television programs, has fueled the demand for court reporters, says Kane. Likewise, the BLS predicted that the need for court reporters would grow 18 percent between 2008 and 2018. Kane notes, “The amount of training required to become a court reporter ranges from less than a year for a novice voice writer to an average of 33 months for a real-time stenotypist.”
4. Paralegal
Kane points out that this is one of the fastest-growing positions in the United States, as clients demand lower legal fees and lawyers delegate an ever-widening scope of tasks to paralegals. Getting started can be as simple as earning a paralegal certificate or a two-year associate’s degree. People with a bachelor’s degree will find the most employment opportunities.
5. Physician’s assistant
The cost of health care is rising right alongside the need for specialized professionals. Hospitals’ and patient-care facilities’ efforts to control costs mean rapid job growth for physician assistants (PAs). The BLS estimated the demand for PAs would increase by nearly 40 percent between 2008 and 2018. Nurses, EMS workers, and paramedics can accumulate on-the-job training to become a PA. Other requirements include a college degree, completion of an accredited education program, and passing a national licensing exam.
6. Certified safety professional
Safety is a broad category, and a professional’s responsibilities run the gamut from designing safe work spaces or inspecting machines to testing air quality. Most jobs require a bachelor’s degree in occupational health, safety, or a related field–tapping into an industry that’s expected to post double-digit growth in less than 10 years may make the investment worthwhile. To bring down health-insurance and workers’ compensation costs, many businesses are looking for professionals specializing in construction safety and ergonomics.
7. School administrator
The BLS predicts robust growth for elementary or secondary school administrators over the next several years. Teachers have the best chance of moving into an assistant-principal or principal job in a public school, especially if they hold a master’s or doctoral degree. States do require that principals be licensed as school administrators.
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