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Best careers for 2015
Did you know?
According to ManpowerGroup's annual Employment Outlook Survey, the staffing levels are expected to increase by 19%.
The fluctuating trends in the job market create questions like whether to change careers, which job sectors to choose, what kind of job roles to accept, and on what salary. Be it someone who is starting a career or someone planning a job switch, the most challenging thing is to choose the right field. Choosing a job is and should be an individual choice, but it is good to know what prospects different careers have and whether it is the right time to switch to a particular one. Here, we are talking about 2015. Fast-paced industries are in demand, and popular sectors like technology and health care continue to dominate the job market.

Top 10 Career Choices for 2015

This list of the best jobs of the year is based on the data of US News that ranks jobs based on various factors like growth volume and percentage in the near future, median salary, job prospects, rate of employment, as also the stress levels in that job and the work-life balance achieved. Their data is also based on the projected number of openings in various sectors as given by BLS. The median salaries given in this list have been sourced from PayScale.

1. Dentist
Estimated Growth: 23,300 new jobs through 2022

Median Salary: $1,22,953

Responsibilities: Diagnosing and treating oral ailments, prescribing medications, conducting surgeries

Requirements: Graduate degrees from accredited dental schools, a relevant experience, and a license to practice dentistry

* Advancement in the researches connecting oral health with overall health will lead to more demand for dentists in the future.


2. Nurse Practitioner
Estimated Growth: 37,100 new jobs through 2022

Median Salary: $84,731

Responsibilities: Taking patient histories, conducting physical exams, ordering labs, analyzing lab results, prescribing medicines, and educating patients and families about health care

Requirements: A bachelor's degree in nursing, passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), and then a nurse practitioner degree, which can take 2-4 years.


3. Software Developer
Estimated Growth: 140,000 new positions before 2022

Median Salary: $67,207

Responsibilities: Developing computer programs and applications that aid in doing specific tasks, developing programs that help to run computer networks

Requirements: A bachelor's degree in computer science, and thorough computer programming skills are needed.

* The major cause of growth in the employment prospects of software developers is the increasing demand for computer software.


4. Physician
Estimated Growth: 123,300 new openings through 2022

Median Salary: $137,198

Responsibilities: Diagnosis and treatment of diseases and instructing patients on proper diet, hygiene, and preventive care

Requirements: A major in subjects like biology, chemistry, mathematics with very good grades, passing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) on graduation, and 4 years in a medical school. In case of specialization, the internships and residency programs' type and duration varies based on the specialization chosen.


5. Dental Hygienist
Estimated Growth: 33.3% growth in employment by 2022

Median Salary: $32.51 per hour on an average

Responsibilities: Maintaining dental hygiene of patients (includes procedures for cleaning teeth, removing tartar and plaque, and floss) and educating them about proper oral care.

Requirements: An associate degree in dental hygiene is needed. A bachelor's and a master's degree in dental hygiene leads to better prospects in the field. In order to practice, a state-specific license is required. The requirements vary from one state to another, but most need a graduation from an accredited program and passing of a written and practical exam.


6. Physical Therapist
Estimated Growth: 36% growth by 2022

Median Salary: $66,205

Responsibilities: Evaluating patients, examining their medical records, planning and executing rehabilitative programs for improving the mobility of patients and increasing their strength. The treatment methods may include use of machines, hands-on therapies, exercises, and stretches. Physical therapists are concerned with giving holistic care to their patients.

Requirements: A bachelor's degree in physical therapy, followed by a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is needed. To gain practical experience, physical therapists choose a residency or fellowship, and do certifications to specialize in the field. A state-specific license is required for practice.


7. Computer Systems Analyst
Estimated Growth: 24.5% growth by 2022

Median Salary: $64,620

Responsibilities: Designing computer systems and processes for clients, helping run the computer systems smoothly, planning upgrades and overseeing the installation of new systems, testing systems and training people on them. Their responsibilities also include troubleshooting and repair, in case of problems with the system.

Requirements: A bachelor's degree in information sciences or computer science is needed. A master's degree in Business Administration is of help. Problem-solving skills, knowledge of information technology, and some business acumen is also required.


8. Information Security Analyst
Estimated Growth:36.5% growth by 2022

Median Salary: $70,668

Responsibilities: Protecting computers and computer networks from attack, protecting sensitive information from manipulation, and working towards generating awareness about threats to network security.

Requirements: A bachelor's degree in computer science, programming or engineering is needed. A Master of Business Administration in information systems proves to be an added advantage.


9. Registered Nurse
Estimated Growth:19.4% growth by 2022

Median Salary: $26.68 per hour

Responsibilities: Monitoring a patient's health condition, performing medical procedures, giving medicines, and monitoring progress in the patient's health condition is included. Their job involves working with patients of different health conditions and those belonging to different age groups. Those with a specialization may work with a specific group of patients, such as those of a particular age group or with a specific health condition.

Requirements: An associate's degree or a diploma program is required for an entry-level position. A bachelor of science in nursing is becoming an industry standard. A BSN degree program is required for graduates from other fields. Students also need to pass a national licensing exam and meet other state-specific requirements.


10. Physician Assistant
Estimated Growth: 38.4% growth by 2022

Median Salary: $85,935

Responsibilities: Interpreting X-rays and blood tests, recording patient progress, conducting routine physical exams and treating health conditions are the responsibilities. The work is done under the supervision of a doctor, the extent of which may vary from state to state.

Requirements: A master's degree from an accredited educational program is needed. Supervised clinical training is of help. Most states require professionals to pass a certifying exam from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. 100 hours of continuing education and a re-certification exam after 10 years are other requirements.

People looking for the best jobs on offer may choose between the options mentioned above, provided they have the relevant skills, qualifications, and experience.

Most Sought-after Careers

Health Care

With the current generation growing more health-conscious, and our apparent and obvious efforts in preventing and fighting illnesses, health care as a career is one of the most sought-after sectors. The report of the BLS states that we need to employ more people in the health care sector, while retaining the current employees.

To practice as a professional health care provider, one needs to obtain a valid license via Board Certification, in addition to passing a registry exam. Other than the license, which is common to all people employed in the health care sector, specific qualifications are needed depending on the area they are functional in. Generally, an undergraduate degree in medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, or other relevant fields is enough to qualify in order to apply for a job. Some of the most popular options in this field include:

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (Growth rate by 2022 - 27,000 job openings, Median Pay - $27 per hour)
Occupational Therapist (Growth rate by 2022 - 29%, Median Pay - $34 per hour)
Occupational Therapy Assistants (Growth rate by 2022 - 12,900 new job openings, Median Pay - $24 per hour)
Esthetician (Growth rate by 2022 - 39.8%, Median Pay - $12 per hour)
Pharmacists (Growth rate by 2022 - 14.5%, Median Pay - $107,100 per year)
Medical Equipment Repairer (Growth rate by 2022 - 30%, Median Pay - $51,447 per year)
Dietitian and Nutritionist (Growth rate by 2022 - 21%, Median Pay - $48,571 per year)

Radiologic Technologist, Epidemiologist, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse, Physical Therapist Assistant, Home Health Aide, and Pharmacy Technician are some of the other jobs in this sector that have been enlisted among the top 50 on the US News list of best jobs for 2015.

Engineering and Technology

A boom in the IT sector is expected and this field continues to be as much competitive and lucrative as it was in the past. But mind well that the employers are looking for innovative ideas and the right kind of skills.

The information technology sector is filled with a variety of jobs needing a variety of educational backgrounds. Having a thorough knowledge of computer science is necessary and either a bachelor's or master's degree in the subject is preferred. While a degree in management can add to your resume, some employers also prefer prior experience in the field. Popular options in this field include:

Database Administrators (Growth rate by 2022 - 17,900 new positions, Median Pay - $69,579 per year)
Web Developer (Growth rate by 2022 - 20%, Median Pay - $55,057 per year)
IT Manager (Growth rate by 2022 - 50,900 openings, Median Pay - $79,584 per year)

Mechanical engineers, civil engineers, and construction managers are among the few other jobs in the technology and engineering sector that appear on US News' list of top 50 jobs for 2015.

Business and Finance

There is a lot of scope for growth in this sector in terms of employment. There is a demand for accountants and auditors, who manage company accounts and yearly income statements. Financial analysts and financial planners who advise businesses on making the right decisions in order to earn profits, are in great demand too.

You can become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and boost your chances to climb the corporate ladder. There are numerous accounting and finance degree programs offered by various universities, leading to both, undergraduate and graduate degrees. Added to this, there are a number of certificate courses as well. The corporate sector is huge, and your experience can take you far. Here is a list of some of the most sought-after jobs in this sector:

Market Research Analyst (Growth rate by 2022 - 31.6%, Median Pay - $49,359 per year)
Marketing Managers (Growth rate by 2022 - 12.7%, Median Pay - $60,907 per year)
Accountants (Growth rate by 2022 - 166,000 new openings, Median Pay - $47,183 per year)
Financial Advisors (Growth rate by 2025 - 27%, Median Pay - $54,278 per year)

Jobs like Operations Research Analyst, Logistician, Insurance Agent, Loan Officer, Business Operations Manager, and HR Specialist also feature on US News' list of 100 best jobs for the year.

Education

Teaching jobs, whether in school or in college, will continue to be the most sought-after careers. After all, recession or no recession, there will always be a demand for good teachers. The salaries are competitive, while the experience of imparting knowledge is wholesome. All these pluses add to the demand for jobs in the education sector.

People aspiring to be teachers may start with a bachelor's degree in education from an accredited institution and can go on to do an education major in either elementary school education or middle and high school education. While it is not necessary for the private school teachers to acquire a teaching license, it is mandatory for the public school teachers to have one. Special needs educators need to have certifications in specialized fields such as dealing with students with visual impairments, and so on. To teach at the college/university level, one has to have a master's degree in education and a doctoral degree is preferred, sometimes with relevant experience. Here is a list of some of the most popular jobs in this sector:

School Psychologist (Growth rate by 2022 - 11.3%, Median Pay - $57,040 per year)
K-12 School Teachers (Growth rate by 2022 - Over 100,000 openings for elementary school teachers, 76,000 openings for middle school teachers, and over 50,000 openings for high school teachers, Median Pay - Range of $41,000 to $46000 per year)

Jobs in any of these sectors will provide you with the right kind of security and salary in the future. See where your interest lies, and then acquire the qualifications and experience required to enter the field of your choice. Apart from those enlisted above, jobs of Marriage and Family Therapists, Substance Abuse Counselors, and Opticians will also have a very good number of openings in the coming years.

Offbeat Career Choices for 2015

An offbeat career is one that is not commonly chosen by people. Sometimes, choosing to make a career in an offbeat field might prove to be the right decision, owing to lesser competition and good returns, if you possess the right skills. Given below are some options of offbeat careers you may choose from:

Calligraphers: Calligraphy is a fine art of creating new fonts and styling the existing scripts. Calligraphers are employed by craft stores, publication houses, print shops, and so on. But, they may also be freelancers, offering their expertise to individuals and organizations. A good calligrapher should be attentive to minute details, and should possess thorough knowledge of history, and historical scripts, and fonts.
Undercover Detectives: Undercover detectives are either private detectives or police officers, who hide their true identities in order to secretly gather information about people and crimes. This is a very responsible position and one has to undergo rigorous training for the same. One needs to be alert all the time as there is also a huge risk factor involved.
Chocolatiers: Chocolatiers are chefs who make confectionaries with chocolate as a core ingredient. However, they should not be confused with chocolate makers. Master chocolatiers not only make delicious desserts out of chocolate, but also create artistically crafted pieces out of it.
Funeral Directors: Funeral directors, a.k.a. morticians, are people in the business of funeral rites. They undertake the arrangements of the rites involved in cremation/burial of the deceased, alongside planning the entire funeral ceremony. They work full-time, mostly in crematories and funeral homes.
Brewmasters: Brewmasters are the people who brew beer in the brewery. Their job involves the entire process of beer-making, which includes numerous chemical processes as well. They are also responsible for the creation of unique beer recipes.

According to CareerBuilder, the number of companies planning to hire in 2015 will be 12% points more than last year. The hiring of full-time and permanent employees is set to increase this year. Those hired in the Information Technology, Financial Services, Manufacturing, and Health Care sectors will be much higher than the national average. Sales, Customer Service, IT, Production, and Administration are some other sectors that will dominate the recruitment of permanent and full-time employees. 46% employers plan to recruit temporary or contract workers, which is more than 42% compared to last year. According to TIME, unconventional careers like Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Medical Equipment Repairer, Digital Risk Officer, Health and Wellness Educator, and Industrial Organizational Psychologist are some new openings that may also pay well.