What the Tech are You Planning for a Career?

College students who are willing to change career paths mid-stream, and workers who desire more advancement opportunities, are finding encouraging possibilities within reach. The three career paths below are targeted to experience higher-than-average growth in the next few years.

Veterinarian Technology and Technician Careers

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs outlook projects a 52 percent sector in veterinarian technology and technician career growth from 2010 to 2020. The average hourly wage in 2010 was $14.28. Four-year degree holding technologists garner higher salaries than AA or certificate-holding technicians.

For people who are already working, as well as new students, choosing to get an online education to become a vet technician at Pennfoster.edu or another accredited school has career advantages and financial benefits. The program offers a totally online platform, making it convenient, no matter what the student's schedule. Penn Foster offers an affordable no-interest financing option that won’t add to long-term debt. The school accepts transfer credits, saving students from repeating coursework.

Rural settings typically need vet technicians more than metropolitan counterparts. Vermont, New Mexico and South Dakota have pet-ownership rates higher than 65 percent, in contrast to metro Washington, D.C., which has the lowest rate— about 22 percent.

Engineering and Technology

One of the highest growth areas for the immediate and near future is engineering, specifically environmental and civil engineering specialties.

Today, there is a measurable gap between the workers available and the type of workers companies need to respond to the rapid advancement of technology and sustainable environmental developments. Many jobs in the engineering sector require not only a solid education, but experience and knowledge to support that degree.

Students who secure internships and apprenticeships early in their educational careers will have the best access to jobs. Fortunately, the government and many private organizations provide grants and scholarships for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. For example, the Navy provides a full scholarship for civilian students seeking a Master’s through their Federal Cyber Service: Service for Scholarship program.

Network and Computer Systems

With an expected average annual salary of nearly $70,000, IT jobs have a better than average growth rate of 28 percent, reports BLS information for 2010. There is a critical shortage in network administrative departments. In 2010, the government estimates 90 percent of IT administrators worked full-time.

Most IT Systems jobs require a four-year degree. Students with the proper skills and education should have positive opportunities to secure a job after graduation.

There are definitely specialty markets starving for employees today. All indications are that medical, technology and environmental sectors are going to grow exponentially in the next five to 10 years. It looks like it's time to brush up on those math skills if you want access to the best jobs.

What are your predictions for the job industry in 2013 and beyond? Share them in the comments.

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