10 Jobs In High Demand In 2012 And Beyond

in-demand jobs

If you're job hunting, you've likely heard that some employers are having difficulty filling positions -- as incredible as that might seem in an era of 8-plus percent unemployment.

The reasons that many in-demand jobs go unfilled vary, with some businesses saying they're unable to find suitable candidates, while others report that job candidates are simply asking for more money than employers are willing to pay.

Perhaps more surprising than the shortage of workers in some professions is that many of these in-demand occupations don't require extensive education. A recent Manpower Group survey of 1,300 U.S. employers showed that six of the top 10 hardest jobs to fill didn't require a college degree.

So what are some of these in-demand jobs? Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data and updated rankings of the most commonly advertised job titles from Wanted Analytics, an employment data aggregator, AOL Jobs came up with 10 occupations that are aching to be filled.

The annual salaries of these occupations vary considerably, from about $25,000 to more than $110,000, as do educational requirements. For some, a high school diploma is all that is needed while others require a doctorate.

But all of these in-demand occupations have one or two things in common: More openings than candidates to fill them and demand that is to projected to grow by at least 12 percent through 2020 (about average, according to BLS forecasts).

This list of jobs, listed from lowest to highest paid, is by no means comprehensive; there are many more occupations that are heavily advertised, suggesting that employers, for whatever reason, are having difficulty filling those posts. Maybe one of these has something for you.


1. Pharmacist

Americans' increased use of and reliance on prescription drugs is helping to drive the demand for pharmacists, whose job it is to dispense doctor-prescribed medications and offer advice on using them properly. They typically work in pharmacies within drug and grocery stores, as well as clinics and hospitals.

  • Median annual pay: $111,570.
  • Typical education/qualifications: doctorate or professional degree; a license is also required.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 25 percent (faster than average).

Looking for a job as a pharmacist? Click here to get started.


2. Software Engineer

A perennially in-demand profession, software engineers develop applications that allow users to perform specific tasks on computers and other devices, or create operating systems that run the devices or control networks. Wanted Analytics notes that the job title of Java developer, in particular, is among the most commonly advertised.

  • Median annual pay: $90,530.
  • Typical education/qualifications: bachelor's degree and strong computer programming skills.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 30 percent (much faster than average).

Looking for a job as a software engineer? Click here to get started.


3. Physical Therapist

The job of physical therapist has the distinction of being among the hardest to fill, according to Wanted Analytics' survey. One reason may be the high barrier to entry into this field, which requires advanced education and state licensing. The job involves helping patients who have sustained sometimes debilitating physical injuries or illnesses by enabling them to regain mobility and manage pain. Employers include clinics, hospitals and nursing homes. Workers in this field spend a lot of time on their feet, actively working with patients.

  • Median annual pay: $76,310.
  • Typical education/qualifications: doctorate or professional degree.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 39 percent (much faster than average).

Looking for a job as a physical therapist? Click here to get started.


4. Speech Language Pathologist

A well-paying profession, speech language pathologists treat hearing, speech and language disabilities. Workers in this field frequently work with children, though as baby boomers continue to age, plenty of older people will require such treatment, suggesting job opportunities in this field are expected to remain robust for years.

  • Median annual pay: $66,920.
  • Typical education/qualifications: master's degree and state certification.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 23 percent (faster than average).

Looking for a job as a speech language pathologist? Click here to get started.


5. Registered Nurse

America's more-than-decade-long nursing shortage doesn't appear to be abating anytime soon. Forecasts show nursing to be one of the most in-demand professions. The need is particularly acute for registered nurses, commonly referred to as RNs, who generally have greater education and experience than practical nurses. RNs are responsible for coordinating patient care, as well as providing advice and education to patients and their families about illnesses and treatments. Hospitals and doctors offices are typical employers, but so are schools, the military and prisons.

  • Median annual pay: $64,690.
  • Typical education/qualifications: nursing program diploma; associate degree; or bachelor's degree
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 26 percent (faster than average).

Looking for a job as a registered nurse? Click here to get started.


6. Accountant

Often deridingly referred to as bean counters, accountants nevertheless play an important role in keeping a company's finances shipshape. Beyond ensuring the accuracy of financial records and ensuring taxes have been paid, accountants assess financial operations and help to ensure smooth business operations. Accountants are typically employed full time and it's not unusual for them to pull long hours during tax season.

  • Median annual pay: $61,690.
  • Typical education/qualifications: bachelor's degree.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 16 percent (about as fast as average).

Looking for a job as an accountant? Click here to get started.


7. Sales Representative

The title of sales representative may bring up visions of used-car salesmen, but here we're talking about those who generally work behind the scenes, selling goods on behalf of wholesalers and manufacturers to big customers, such as government agencies, businesses and other organizations. The job can be stressful, in part because most salespeople work on commission, meaning their earnings are tied directly to how well they perform. The job may also involve frequent travel, which, depending on your point of view, can be a plus or a minus.

  • Median annual pay: $56,620.
  • Typical education/qualifications: high school diploma, though positions involving more technical products may require a bachelor's degree.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 16 percent (about as fast as average).

Looking for a job as a sales representative? Click here to get started.


8. Administrative Assistant

More commonly referred to as secretaries in years past, administrative assistants perform routine clerical and organizational tasks. Duties include drafting messages, organizing files and scheduling appointments. Jobs in this field typically are found in schools, governmental agencies, hospitals, and legal and medical offices. The number of virtual assistants, who work from home rather than an office, has risen in recent years along with advances in technology.

  • Median annual pay: $34,660.
  • Typical education/qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 12 percent (about as fast as average).

Looking for a job as an administrative assistant? Click here to get started.


9. Customer Service Representative

People employed in this job are routinely viewed as the face (or voice) of a company or organization. The job involves frequent interaction with customers, which can challenge anyone's good graces, particularly if a customer is angry (for legitimate reasons or not). In addition to handling complaints, customer service representatives answer questions and may act as liaisons to help solve problems beyond their responsibilities. It's not unusual for workers in the job to work in a large call center, depending on the size of the employer. They include insurance companies, banks, retailers and others.

  • Median annual pay: $30,460.
  • Typical education/qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 15 percent (about as fast as average).

Looking for a job as a customer service representative? Click here to get started.


10. Receptionist

It may seem a lowly profession, but a job as a receptionist can be a stepping stone to a more substantial position within any organization. The job involves administrative tasks, including answering telephones, and providing clients and the general public with information. Receptionists are employed in nearly every industry, though health care and social service providers, including doctors offices, hospitals and nursing homes, dominate the profession. About 30 percent of receptionists are employed part time.

  • Median annual pay: $25,240.
  • Typical education/qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Anticipated job growth (through 2020): 24 percent (faster than average).

Looking for a job as a receptionist? Click here to get started.


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