When choosing a career path, the potential for long-term job opportunities is an important consideration. Of course, salary is a necessary determinate as well, but in the end, it doesn’t matter how much a job pays if it becomes obsolete. The careers that will always be around include those that meet the needs of an ever growing population, and those that cannot be performed by computers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14 percent average job growth rate for all U.S. occupations from 2010 to 2020. However, biomedical engineering jobs are expected to increase by 62 percent. Biomedical engineers will always be in high demand because they combine the best of science and engineering to build replacement body parts such as artificial hips, knees and organs, and they also develop other medical devices and procedures. The minimum educational requirement for biomedical engineers is a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering.
Demand for software developers is expected to increase by 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, the BLS reports. That's more than double the national average. Jobs for web developers, information security analysts and computer network architects should increase by 22 percent. Although many U.S. jobs are being replaced by computers, there will always be a need for computer masterminds who can build data communications networks, design websites, create software applications and counter cyberattacks. Software developers need a degree in computer science, while web developers, information security analysts and computer network architects need a degree in computer science, programming or a related field.
Medical scientists are expected to see a 36 percent increase in employment from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. Medical scientists research conditions such as cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease. They also develop prescription drugs, new strains of antibiotics and other treatments. Because they play a vital role in the advancement of health, medical scientists will also be needed to perform research and development. The educational requirement to be a medical scientist is either a Ph.D. or a medical degree, although some people obtain both.
Home Health and Personal Care Aides
The BLS expects jobs for home health and personal care aides to increase 70 percent from 2010 to 2020. These aides assist people who are ill, disabled or impaired. They perform some medical functions such as checking the pulse, temperature and respiration rate of clients. Job growth will be driven by the growing population of senior citizens who need help with everything from medical care to shopping for groceries and preparing meals to performing household chores. Home health and personal care aides need a high school diploma. Home health aides who work in certified home health or hospice agencies also need formal training.
Physician Assistants and Nurses
Employment of physician assistants is expected to increase by 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, while registered nurses should see a 26 percent increase and licensed practical nurses a 22 percent increase. There will always be a demand for qualified medical professionals who can render healthcare services. However, because physician assistants and nurses earn less than medical doctors, they will be hired to perform as many medical procedures as possible to keep costs in line. Nurses are also needed to work in residential care facilities and with people who prefer to be treated at home.