Best careers for 2012

by Salpeter, Miriam Tuesday, March 06, 2012
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Every year, I report on U.S. News & World Report’s “best careers” article. What are the “hot” jobs for this year? Are they different from last year’s “hot” jobs? (For the past year+, I’ve also contributed to their On Careers page.) U.S. News selects its jobs based on several factors. One is the growth potential in the various positions. However, the article explains, “…our rankings give you some context as to why you’d want to stick around. We use a formula that compares projected growth for the future to employment rates of the present. We then weigh in average salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and job satisfaction, as determined by the job review website Glassdoor.

How can you take advantage of this information?

Do Your Research

Every job seeker should keep an eye on his or her industry and make plans for the future with an informed outlook. I like to remind readers that it’s a good idea to set a Google alert for organizations and fields of interest to you so you’ll be aware when there are newsworthy ups and downs in your market. Clearly, there are trends in industries. While there are no guarantees, keeping an eye on these surveys and data should help direct those seeking career change make their plans.

Learn what you can about the number of job opportunities, salary expectations, educational requirements, job satisfaction — make a list of what is important to you and conduct a personal analysis to determine a good direction for your career.

Luckily, there are more and more resources every day to help you with your research.

You can go “old school” and talk to people you know or people they know via informational interviews. Or, expand your networking circle by using Twitter to research your job, LinkedIn to connect with new colleagues, Facebook (via BranchOut or BeKnown) to meet new people who may have advice, information or recommendations for you.

Learn what blogs are popular and respected in your niche (I like to use Alltop.com as a great resource) and find out what your mentors are saying. Find them on Twitter (WeFollow.com is my favorite list for Twitter) and learn who they talk to, what conferences they attend (and what they think of the speakers).

Hop on a Twitter chat to connect with people in your targeted industry. Before you know it — with skill and persistence — you can become one of them! (Read this story of someone who has decided to lead the way in his industry, even if his colleagues are not already joining him on social media.)

Clearly, there are many, many ways to learn what everyone is saying and — most importantly — to insert yourself into the conversations (via participating in social media, meeting local colleagues, attending professional conferences, etc.) to really get to know about a field.

Here is U.S. News & World Report’s list of top jobs for 2012.

#1 Registered Nurse
Salary:$44,190-$95,130
Also ranked in: Best Healthcare Jobs

#2 Software Developer
Salary: $87,790-$54,360
Also ranked in: Best Technology Jobs

#3 Pharmacist
Salary: $82,090-$138,620
Also ranked in: Best Healthcare Jobs

#4 Medical Assistant
Salary: $20,810-$40,190
Also ranked in: Best Healthcare Jobs

#5 Database Administrator
Salary: $115,660-$41,570
Also ranked in: Best Technology Jobs

#6 Web Developer
Salary: $43,190-$119,940
Also ranked in: Best Technology Jobs

#7 Computer Systems Analyst
Salary: $48,360-$119,070
Also ranked in: Best Technology Jobs

#8 Physical Therapist
Salary: $53,620-$107,920
Also ranked in: Best Healthcare Jobs

#9 Computer Programmer
Salary: $40,820-$114,180
Also ranked in: Best Technology Jobs

#10 Occupational Therapist
Salary: $48,920-$102,520
Also ranked in: Best Healthcare Jobs

#11 Maintenance and Repair Worker
Salary: $20,800-$56,090
Also ranked in: Best Social Services Jobs

#12 Elementary School Teacher
Salary: $34,390-$80,140
Also ranked in: Best Social Services Jobs

#13 Clinical Laboratory Technician
Salary: $24,210-$56,040
Also ranked in: Best Healthcare Jobs

#14 Speech-Language Pathologist
Salary: $42,970-$103,630
Also ranked in: Best Social Services Jobs

#15 Paramedic
Salary: $19,710-$51,370
Also ranked in: Best Healthcare Jobs

#16 Meeting, Convention & Event Planner
Salary: $27,090-$76,840
Also ranked in: Best Business Jobs

#17 School Counselor
Salary: $31,630-$86,250
Also ranked in: Best Social Services Jobs

#18 Social Worker
Salary: $26,170-$68,030
Also ranked in: Best Social Services Jobs

#19 Sports Coach
Salary: $16,380-$63,720
Also ranked in: Best Social Services Jobs

#20 Sales Representative
Salary: $26,970-$108,750
Also ranked in: Best Business Jobs

#21 Accountant
Salary: $38,940-$106,880
Also ranked in: Best Business Jobs

#22 Receptionist
Salary: $17,560-$36,910
Also ranked in: Best Business Jobs

#23 Financial Adviser
Salary: $32,660-$166,400
Also ranked in: Best Business Jobs

#24 Customer Service Representative
Salary: $19,550-$49,320
Also ranked in: Best Business Jobs

#25 HR Specialist
Salary: $31,110-$89,490
Also ranked in: Best Business Jobs