Career Options

The US Bureau of Labor tallies a lot of data on work in the United States, and the article linked above highlights one of their more interesting analyses. Quick orientation: the horizontal axis is median annual wage, vertical axis is percent growth in employment for that kind of job, size of circle represent the numeric increase of jobs, and the colors represent job families. “Fastest growing jobs” certainly attracts attention, but it is not the whole story for people seeking guidance in starting a new career. Other broad areas worth a look.include the crafts and trades, and careers in engineering and the physical sciences.

Craft and trade careers might include electricians, plumbers, welders, carpenters, and so on. An electrician once told me that the median age of electricians in the San Francisco Bay Area is nearing 60 years old, and these people are not planning to work forever, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for newcomers. Crafts and trades do not require college degrees or college debt, and many of these careers will pay apprentices for on-the-job training. Good workers can earn wages that put them in the right-hand side of the chart shown above. Can an electrician live on a six-figure income in the Bay Area? Probably just as easily as a nurse practitioner or an actuary.

Another category worth a look includes engineers and positions in the physical sciences. These require college degrees with advanced training in mathematics and science. A bachelor of science degree may or may not be enough; many people choose to earn a master of science degree before launching their career. Maybe this is not the job you see portrayed in the movies (unless the villain is a mad scientist type), but it is pretty much a blue chip approach to career planning for those with the right aptitudes.

Other areas come to mind that may not ever show up on any list of fastest growing jobs. How about teaching children? What about spiritual care by going into professional ministry? Not everyone has the right gifts to become a pastor or a teacher, but those who do might benefit from a little loving encouragement in that direction. Food for thought.

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