Job security used to mean working at the same company for a lifetime and retiring with a well-funded pension. These days, the concept of a secure job has morphed into something much more fundamental: one that's less susceptible to layoffs.
That's obviously more likely if you're employed in an in-demand field. With the help of PayScale and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, AOL Jobs has compiled a list of the year's most secure jobs. The list includes a wide range of positions -- from those that require little training to highly skilled, professional jobs.
Some have job titles that you may never have heard before, while other positions are ubiquitous. But they all share this in common: They're based in sectors that have seen higher-than-average pay growth and are forecast to add jobs much more quickly than average through 2020.
Electricians are among a long list of skilled-trades positions that employers are finding difficult to fill. Most electricians gain their foothold in the profession through apprenticeships, though technical schools are another avenue. The job may involve working in hot, cramped spaces, such as attics, and the hours can be long, but an upside is that the work isn't as dangerous as many other construction-related jobs.
Projected 10-year job growth: 23.2 percent.*
Median annual pay: $41,400.**
Looking for a job as an electrician? Click here to get started.
If you'd like to help others overcome challenges in their lives, a career in social work might be for you. Social workers typically fall into one of two groups: Direct-service social workers, who help people with everyday problems; or clinical social workers, who treat patients' mental, behavioral and emotional issues. The job generally involves full-time work, and evening and weekend shifts may be required. Most positions involving social work require a bachelor's degree, though those involving clinical work typically require a master's degree and a license.
Projected 10-year job growth: 24.8 percent.
Median annual pay: $44,000.
Looking for a job in social work? Click here to get started.
Logistics are the methods involved in getting materials, goods and people where they need to be in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The field requires attention to detail and innate timing. Logisticians are needed in just about every industry, so it's no wonder that demand for them is so great. An associate degree is sufficient for many logistics jobs, though job seekers increasingly need a bachelor's degree to advance beyond entry-level positions.
Projected 10-year job growth: 29.3 percent.
Median annual pay: $48,100.
Looking for a job in logistics? Click here to get started.
In an age of ever-increasing costs for new buildings, roads, highways and other infrastructure, construction estimators play an important part in determining how much labor, time, money and other resources must be used to complete projects on time. This is typically an office job, though factory and construction-site visits are common, and the need to meet deadlines can be stressful. Highly experienced construction workers with analytical abilities are good candidates for this job, though employers increasingly require a bachelor's degree.
Projected 10-year job growth: 36.4 percent.
Median annual pay: $54,400.
Looking for a job as a construction estimator? Click here to get started.
As technology becomes increasingly common in diagnosing and treating disease, the demand for workers to operate complex equipment such as ultrasound machines continues to grow. Most workers in this field work in hospitals, medical offices or imaging clinics. The job frequently requires workers to be on their feet for long periods, and they may need to turn or lift patients. Training usually involves an associate degree or certification.
Projected 10-year job growth: 43.5 percent.
Median annual pay: $58,800.
Looking for a job as an ultrasound technician? Click here to get started.
The increasing complexity of financial laws and an aging population have combined to create big demand for financial experts. Also helping to boost job security is a push toward transparency and accountability in high-risk investments and business management. Personal financial advisers typically need a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree and certification can speed career advancement.
Projected 10-year job growth: 32.1 percent.
Median annual pay: $64,700.
Looking for a job as a financial adviser? Click here to get started.
Driven primarily by aging baby boomers and technology advances that improve survival rates for trauma victims and children with birth defects, the demand for physical therapy is forecast to continue to grow. The greatest need is in facilities serving older patients, as well as in rural and low-income areas. Physical therapists typically have a doctorate in physical therapy, and are required in every state to be certified.
Projected 10-year job growth: 39 percent.
Median annual pay: $70,800.
Looking for a job as a financial adviser? Click here to get started.
The demand for the broad category of engineers is forecast to grown at an average pace during the next eight years, but those specializing in biomedical engineering can expect to see far greater employment opportunities. Their expertise in developing improved replacement parts for the human body, such as hips and knees, is being spurred by an aging population and calls for safer, greener products. Biomedical engineers typically hold a bachelor's degree in the field. Those holding other engineering degrees gain entry into the field either by getting a graduate degree in biomedical engineering or on-the-job training.
Projected 10-year job growth: 61.7 percent.
Median annual pay: $72,300.
Looking for a job as a biomedical engineer? Click here to get started.
As the U.S. increasingly finds novel ways to extract oil and natural gas from the ground, the demand for petroleum engineers has gained steam. They typically work in offices or research laboratories, but also spend time in the field at drilling sites -- for stretches at a time. The position requires a bachelor's degree in engineering, preferably in petroleum engineering. Job growth in the field is about as fast as average, but a steep, steady drop in oil prices could substantially reduce demand.
Projected 10-year job growth: 17 percent.
Median annual pay: $116,000.
Looking for a job as a petroleum engineer? Click here to get started.
* According to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections.
**Median pay is based on salaries, bonuses and other cash earnings of workers with five to eight years of experience in their fields, as compiled by Payscale. Half of workers in the occupation made more, while half made less.
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David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.
Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.
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