15 Best Jobs for the Future

Even in a tough economy, some professions have a bright outlook for 2010 and beyond. According to O*Net, an online tool for career exploration and job search, we may see strong hiring in a number of professions. O*Net groups professions into one of five job "zones" based on levels of education, experience, and training necessary to perform the occupation. Here's a sampling of professions trending upward in each of the five categories.

Zone 1: Little or no preparation

1. Food Preparation Workers

Job description: Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.

Sample job titles: dietary aide, prep cook, food service worker, food service aide, dietary assistant, nutrition aide, food preparer, pantry cook, slicer

Find a Job in Food Preparation >>

2. Landscaping and Grounds-keeping Workers

Job description: Landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment. Workers typically perform a variety of tasks, which may include any combination of the following: sod laying, mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, raking, sprinkler installation, and installation of mortarless segmental concrete masonry wall units.

Sample of job titles: groundskeeper, outside maintenance worker, gardener, greens keeper, grounds worker, grounds/maintenance specialist, utility worker, grounds supervisor

Find a Job in Landscaping >>

3. Construction Laborers

Job description: Perform tasks involving physical labor at building, highway, and heavy construction projects, tunnel and shaft excavations, and demolition sites. May operate hand and power tools of all types: air hammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, small mechanical hoists, surveying and measuring equipment, and a variety of other equipment and instruments. May clean and prepare sites, dig trenches, set braces to support the sides of excavations, erect scaffolding, clean up rubble and debris, and remove asbestos, lead, and other hazardous waste materials. May assist other craft workers.

Sample of job titles: laborer, construction laborer, cement finisher, construction worker, helper, post framer, curb and gutter laborer, drain layer, drop crew laborer, punch out crew member

Find a Job in Construction >>

Zone 2: Some preparation needed

4. Animal Trainers

Job description: Train animals for riding, harness, security, performance, or obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities. Accustom animals to human voice and contact; and condition animals to respond to commands. Train animals according to prescribed standards for show or competition. May train animals to carry pack loads or work as part of pack team.

Sample of job titles: trainer, dog trainer, horse trainer, guide dog instructor, agility instructor, dog and cat behavior specialist, guide dog mobility instructor, licensed guide dog instructor

Find a Job in Animal Training >>

5. Bill and Account Collectors

Job description: Locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts by mail, telephone, or personal visit to solicit payment. Duties include receiving payment and posting amount to customer's account; preparing statements to credit department if customer fails to respond; initiating repossession proceedings or service disconnection; keeping records of collection and status of accounts.

Sample of job titles: collector, patient account representative, debt collector, account representative, collections manager, credit clerk, patient access specialist, telephone collector, accounts receivable specialist, biller

Find a Job as a Bill Collector >>

6. Customer Service Representatives

Job description: Interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints.

Sample of job titles: customer service representative, account manager, client services representative, account representative, customer service specialist, member services representative, hub associate, account service representative, call center representative

Find a Job in Customer Service >>

Zone 3: Medium preparation needed

7. Acute Care Nurses

Job description: Provide advanced nursing care for patients with acute conditions such as heart attacks, respiratory distress syndrome, or shock. May care for pre- and post-operative patients or perform advanced, invasive diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.

Sample of job titles: nurse manager, nursing director, progressive care unit registered nurse

Find a Job as an Acute Care Nurse >>

8. Correctional Officers and Jailers

Job description: Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, prison, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.

Sample of job titles: correctional officer, corrections officer, jailer, detention deputy, detention officer, correctional sergeant, deputy jailer, booking officer, public safety officer

Find a Job as a Correctional Officer >>

9. Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Job description: Provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, handling information requests, and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings. May also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff.

Sample of job titles: administrative assistant, executive assistant, executive secretary, administrative secretary, office manager, administrative coordinator, administrative aide, administrative associate, secretary

Find a Job as an Executive Secretary >>

Zone 4: Considerable preparation needed

10. Accountants

Job description: Analyze financial information and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain record of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.

Sample of job titles: accountant, certified public accountant, staff accountant, accounting manager, cost accountant, business analyst, financial reporting accountant

Find a Job in Accounting >>

11. Supply Chain Managers

Job description: Direct, or coordinate production, purchasing, warehousing, distribution, or financial forecasting services and activities to limit costs and improve accuracy, customer service and safety. Examine existing procedures and opportunities for streamlining activities to meet product distribution needs. Direct the movement, storage, and processing of inventory.

Sample of job titles: supply chain manager, supply chain director, supply chain vice president

Find a Job in Supply Chain Management >>

12. Software Quality Engineers and Testers

Job description: Develop and execute software test plans in order to identify software problems and their causes.

Sample of job titles: quality assurance analyst, quality assurance director, software quality assurance engineer, software quality engineer, product assurance engineer, software test engineer

Find a Job in Software Quality >>

Zone 5: Extensive Preparation Needed

13. Mental Health Counselors

Job description: Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. May help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; suicide; stress management; problems with self-esteem; and issues associated with aging and mental and emotional health.

Sample of job titles: therapist, counselor, correctional counselor, mental health therapist, case manager, mental health specialist, behavior support specialist, mental health program specialist, child care counselor

Find a Job in Mental Health Counseling >>

14. Physical Therapists

Job description: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.

Sample of job titles: physical therapist, home care physical therapist, pediatric physical therapist, registered physical therapist, rehabilitation services director

Find a Job in Physical Therapy >>

15. Treasurers and Controllers

Job description: Direct financial activities, such as planning, procurement, and investments for all or part of an organization.

Sample of job titles: controller, treasurer, business manager, finance director, chief financial officer, school treasurer, comptroller, business administrator

Find a Job as a Treasurer >>

You can view more job descriptions and sample job titles at O*Net.

Next: City Jobs: Top 50 Cities for Jobs This Fall >>

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I am an RN. "peace out" should know that to get into an associate degree rn program, you must first take 2 years of prerequisites to even be able to apply for the 2 year program. I have a BSN, so that was 5 years. And, it takes alot of on the job training before you are experienced enough to take care of patients in an ICU setting. There are also a lot of continuing education requirements and certification exams for your area of specialty. Not being able to urinate for 8 hours or get a drink or eat are some of the negatives. 12 hour shifts are usually 14-15 hour shifts. And you can be sued. Just sayin'

July 25 2011 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
peace out

Just to point out the obvious, there is a link to find jobs in a particular field. For those RN's complaining b/c your profession is listed as medium (wow, ego's are fantastic). The first 2 jobs I clicked on after following the "Find a Job as an Acute Care Nurse" link listed shows education required = 2 year degree and 0-1 years of experience. Just sayin'

Every role has an exception, some are more, some are less. Get over yourself. I don't see anyone saying anything about Animal Trainers being listed as only a zone 2. Don't tell the lion trainers for the circus about this article, they may flip their lid.

December 29 2010 at 1:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Audrey, CA

Wanna hear my job description? Sixty-five years experience required. Hours: 8a.m.- 11:30 p.m, Sunday through Saturday.
Duties: Feed and medicate old cat
Prepare Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner after shopping for the food and then clean up following the meals.
Vacuum once a week, dust when necessary, mop kitchen and bathrooms and clean toilets, sinks and tubs. Do laundry consisting of six loads or so a week. Wipe down outside furniture on balcony,water plants as needed. Salary: Dine out once a week

October 11 2010 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

a PT and RN work under the medical orders of a physician. That is correct. BUT in many settings the RN is the one who oversees all of the other disciplines. He or she is the one who initiates the order and makes sure the patient is receiving the correct care. PT just does PT and has no other responsibility for Plan of Care for the patient.

October 11 2010 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sister of a Nurse Practitioner

Well said! :) Thanks Doc!

October 09 2010 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To Nursing Student 10:

Don't let Keith's comments bother you, his lack of medical knowledge shows in his response in simple and overt ways. Keith, referring to a medical doctor as an "MD doctor" is a redundancy and the same as me referring to myself as Dr. NAME, PhD. MD and PhD clearly implies that the person is a doctor; "MD doctor" translates to Medical Doctor Doctor.

Secondly, Nursing Student 10 is correct that generally it is extremely difficult, especially in respect to the lengthy wait that it takes for potential nursing school candidates to become accepted into a nursing program. Beside the number of prerequisites that are required prior to admission, our country is sadly deficient in the number of nursing programs as well as qualified instructors in comparison to the number of candidates for said programs and more importantly for the high and urgent demand for nurses. As a result, many potential candidates pursue other careers rather than wait the typical 2-3 year wait to get into a program that can take 2-6 years, depending on the level of nursing status they choose to attain, from LPN to Nurse Practioner.

Keith, you may not be aware of Nurse Practioners who are RNs with Masters degrees in Nursing with Specializations in medicine. In many or most states, NPs are qualified to perform and execute the majority of the same tasks as MDs. Unlike PAs (Physicians Assistants), (in the states I've lived, worked and am familiar with), NPs are able to write Schedule II prescriptions including narcotics; whereas, based on my experience, PAs need to have MDs sign off on such a prescription. Being a NP is a highly coveted career with many of the qualifications and allowances of an MD without having the headache of being "on call" at a hospital. I don't know of many doctors who wouldn't love to give up that responsibility.

Furthermore, we all know people in various professions that don't seem very bright and many likely wonder how those individuals made it through the requirements/education for their career, i.e. nurses, teachers, lawyers, psychologists, yes, even engineers.

In fairness to the nursing profession in general, they are an intrical and critical mechanism in patient care. After the skilled surgeon performs his highly-trained craft, stabilizes the patient, issues orders, and returns home after a long hard day's work, it's the nurse's hands that you are in from there. The nurse carries out the orders, monitors EVERYTHING watching for any anomoly, symptom, deviation, or nuance that may signal immediate attention, change in protocol, or doctor notification.

The above is only one small example of the importance, accountability and skill encumbent on nurses. In fact, I'm sure it would surprise and possibly terrify many of the public to realize just how dependent hospitalized patients are on our nurses. In MANY SIZABLE hospitals and medical centers (meaning hundreds of beds) that are not "teaching hospitals" (where resident doctors are often there overnight), it is not uncommon to only have one doctor in the entire hospital throughout the night; that solo doctor manning the entire hospital would be the emergency room doctor. I know this first hand, I dated him for 11 years; the public is largely unaware as knowledge of this widespread typical practice may induce worry among many. The point in sharing this scenario is just one more factor in the magnanimous amount of responsibility, acountability, training and skill that is bestowed upon our nurses today.

Remember Keith, it just might be an RN who is "bagging you" when you come into the ER having a heart attack in the middle of the night until the "MD doctor" can get to your room! When you are stabilized enough to speak, please remember to thank him or her for NOT sitting next to you in one of your engineering classes.

And for the record, NO, I am not a nurse; while I am fascinated with medicine I wasn't sure I was bright enough to handle all those difficult medical classes, so I became what you may refer to as a "Doctor PhD."

Make It A GR8 Day & Smile At A Nurse Today! :-))

October 09 2010 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with you...BUT, the unfortunate fact is, there are to few people that actually see reality...the government has been dividing and conquering the American people so long, that the faction groups will be almost impossible to ever get together!
Also, did anyone notice that all the "best jobs for the future" are ALL low pay, high turnover, poverty level jobs...Good news for illegal aligns!..."The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades"

October 09 2010 at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


October 09 2010 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve R

OUTSOURCE OUR JOBS ..The Best Solution

The outsourcing (offshoring)of our jobs is exactly like a disease that will eventually destroy our once great nation if it is not stopped immediately. Not only have the production of almost all consumer and industrial products been outsourced, but now all types of services are being outsourced such as engineering, writing, administration, accounting, marketing, design, sales, word-processing, programming, tech support etc.

Our corrupt, careless government leaders don’t give a rat’s ass. They know their enormous pay and million dollar pensions are guaranteed. Instead of controlling inflation, They kick back and do nothing as prices skyrocket (Food, Utilities, Healthcare, Shelter, Taxes. Etc) everything up and up. All they do is laugh and vote themselves BIG pay raises instead of dealing with the problem. They don’t even care about the deficit, they’ll just continue to borrow money not only from the Federal Reserve (which is a privately owned bank not the government) but from other countries like communist China .

Face the facts, the main reason we have gone into a recession and are heading into a depression is because so many Americans are losing there jobs mainly due to the off-shoring and partly due hiring of illegal immigrants. Even people who haven’t lost there jobs yet see the jobs disappearing at an alarming rate and a worthless, lazy, corrupt, evil government who instead of stopping the outsourcing by penalizing them, they instead rewarded these multi-million dollar companies with tax breaks to encourage the offshoring.

There’s is ONLY one way to counter the recession/ depression. Reverse the outsourcing and bring the jobs back. All the government has to do is to start penalizing/ increase taxes on companies that outsource and lower taxes on companies that don’t. At the same time increase import taxes Level the playing field. Double, triple, or even quad triple the taxes on all American companies that offshore their labor. Tax them to a level that will encourage them to return the jobs back to this country and will discourage others to offshore who plan to. It’s simple as that. Use that tax money to create jobs, help bankrupt cities and lower the national debt.

Why doesn’t the government do this? It’s because outsourcing helps the filthy rich get richer and that’s all our government cares about. Stopping the outsourcing means stopping the bribes and favors the politicians receive and they aren’t about to let that happen. Of course our government is now almost completely controlled by Global Big Business through bribes via corporate lobbyists. Many of our government leaders actually want a depression so that these business's can turn us into helpless slaves.

Unfortunately Obama doesn’t have the balls to stand up to Big Business and the filthy rich corporations that don't give a damn about America like he promised during his campaign.

October 08 2010 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve R


First, the population is expanding (births and immigration) so logically you will need more jobs.

Second, a massive, and I mean MASSIVE campaign by big business to offshore every American job that's humanly possible. And now with the internet, they have been able to offshore almost everything and watch it from here. Automation or Outsource is the main goal of BIG BUSINESS which now completely controls our government.

And thanks to our worthless, greedy, corrupt beyond belief government, they have succeeded in offshoring more than 40 million American jobs over the last 25years. Thanks to all the bribes and favors our politicians received, deals by dick head Bill Clinton and AssWipes George Bush JR and Senior, the outsourcing overseas and to Mexico has snowballed.

Even if you stop the outsourcing, we would still have a shortage of jobs because the population is growing fast however when you combine this with massive offshoring of jobs you eventually end up with massive unemployment.

It’s simple mathematics.
Population expanding + massive offshoring = massive unemployment

Until we revolt and take back the government from Global Big Business and punish all the politicians that sold us out ( most of them) things will only get worse. People must understand that the Filthy Rich which includes Global Big Business and the Banks now completely control the government and they have found a way to suck up all the money leaving the country ready to collapse from major debt. And our economy will totally collapse unless we revolt and save it.

October 08 2010 at 11:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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