5 High-Paying Jobs In Demand In 2012

STEM careers growingBy Lori Michelle Ryan

Which fields are growing and offer well-paying jobs? STEM careers - those that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics - require special skills and training and professionals are in high demand now and will be in the future.

In the new edition of his book, 150 Best Jobs for Your Skills, Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., says that STEM careers include "work that discovers, collects and analyzes information about the natural world; applies scientific research findings to problems in medicine, the life sciences, human behavior and the natural sciences; imagines and manipulates quantitative data; and applies technology to manufacturing, transportation and other economic activities."

So which STEM jobs are growing fast? Here are the top five:

1. Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

Top skills: communication, science, thought-processing

Annual earnings: $85,270

Percent growth: 15.1

Annual openings: 4,000

-- Find health professor jobs

2. Computer network architects

Top skills: equipment use/maintenance, science, technology/programming

Annual earnings: $75,660

Percent growth: 53.4

Annual openings: 20,830

-- Find network architect jobs

3. Civil engineers

Top skills: management, mathematics, science

Annual earnings: $77,560

Percent growth: 24.3

Annual openings: 11,460

-- Find civil engineer jobs

4. Medical scientists, except epidemiologists

Top skills: mathematics, science, thought-processing

Annual earnings: $76,700

Percent growth: 40.4

Annual openings: 6,620

-- Find medical scientist jobs

5. Environmental engineers

Top skills: mathematics, science, thought-processing

Annual earnings: $78,740

Percent growth: 30.6

Annual openings: 2,790

-- Find environmental engineer jobs

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One more comment on this and then I will get off the stage. I agree skilled craftsmen are in demand. You can’t outsource a skilled craftsman. You can get that with a two year degree at a technical college. They get the intravenous education that is not encumbered by the four year institutions bent on making us "well rounded individuals". A good work ethic will get you farther than a well rounded education.

April 10 2012 at 7:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pinot Man

this listing is like telling me SEARS is hiring. how many of you have the type of educatioon needed for those jobs listed>>>??????

April 10 2012 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It will be difficult filling these jobs in a society that continues to reward high school students with the same honors as those challenging themself in the math and sciences. It is time we wake up and realize a four year degree is not required to answer phones. I would rather hire a C student that challenged themself in college with the math and sciences. Colleges need to deemphasize the arts and their value and emphasize the math and sciences. Business will continue to reward where there is profit. Keep government distorting influences out of market.

April 10 2012 at 7:34 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Excuse me? Everybody read those job titles. WHERE are the jobs for regular joes? Not everyone can be a quantum mechanics engineer, an astrophysicist or a molecular biologist. Get real AOL.

April 10 2012 at 7:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Kevin McCauley

I've got to agree with Ron.
I've been a tool maker for 35 years.
Have nothing but a HS deploma.
I make 70 k a year.
Never been unemploied.
We cannot find skilled help at all.
But then; everyone knows that only idiots work in tool shops, right?

April 10 2012 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just another comment, a collage education is very, very, expensive and can even take a couple of decades to pay off. My question is, how much of the tuition actually goes to pay for your education, and how much goes to pay for the schools athletic progams with their free athletic scholarships and such, I'll bet you can think of a lot more that comes out of your tuition that you don't personaly get a benefit from, is that what you want, is that what you want for your kids, thousands of dollars of waisted money? Get a real worthwhile education from a serious school that focuses on your education, and not so much on their own almightyness.

April 10 2012 at 6:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I do not have a college degree. I have held various jobs that required a high degree of detail and organization. One of the jobs was as a proofreader. Because of this job, I am aware that there is no 'age' in the spelling of college. A simple test run of your comment through "Word" or "Notepad" can save you social embarrassment, although it cannot catch every mistake.

April 10 2012 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Henry Danley


April 10 2012 at 4:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Also, most of these jobs require expensive traditional college degrees and usually that education does nothing in most parts of the country. Experience is another factor, without it, do you think you will be considered for high paying job today?

April 10 2012 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know how many times I have read these and said to myself, NO, NO, NO, the idea that you need a very expensive collage degree is faults. The nation, (even the world) desperetly needs skilled craftmen and women, the skilled trades are coming up very short on qualified trained people to fill thier possitions. In the automotive repair field alone, a good trained technican can make over six figuers a year, and there is no need for a high dollar collage degree, a good trade school deploma will go a lot further. For some reason people think they must go to collage to get a good job, I think this comes from a perception that if you are going to make it you must have a collage degree, pounded on us by society and our parents. I know people with collage degrees turning burgers at Mc Donalds and other meanial jobs, and so do you, with waisted degrees in a disipline that doesn't exist, or is over filled. Don't fall into the collage trap, or let your kids, high paying jobs are were the most demand for skilled workers are, make your choices wisely, don't spend mega bucks for nothing.

April 10 2012 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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