Seeking a New Career? 5 Great Jobs in Growing Fields

Want a great career that will stand the test of time? Here are some of the top jobs for 2011.

Whether you’re a young graduate just deciding what to do with your life, you’ve grown frustrated with your job, or you’ve been laid off and are looking for a fresh start, there’s a lot to consider when thinking about what career path to follow.

First, and most importantly, will you enjoy the work? If not, look no further—life is too short to spend decades doing something you hate.

But there’s another consideration that probably looms large in your mind: In this age of outsourcing and constant layoffs, will your career stand the test of time? When so many people are out of work, you want to be sure that you’re latching onto a field that will provide you with long-term rewards.

US News and World Report has done the research to find 50 jobs that provide workers with good salaries, a high quality of life, and ample opportunities. Here are five of our favorites, along with what you’ll need to land them.

Athletic trainer. Love sports? Put your passion to work as an athletic trainer. You could work with athletes at a high school, a college, or even a professional sports team, where you’ll train them to use equipment properly, help them avoid injuries, and help injured athletes recuperate. Enroll in an athletic training program as an undergraduate, and you can get certified by graduation, though many trainers also hold masters’ degrees.

Translator or interpreter. In today’s increasingly global society, there’s more demand for translators than ever. So if you’re fluent in a second language, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to shine, whether it’s translating technical manuals or textbooks, or interpreting conversations for courtroom defendants or foreign diplomats. Generally, no specific certification is necessary for the job—just a rock-solid knowledge of English and at least one other language.

Meeting planner. Love planning parties? How about a convention for 3,000 dentists? If you love event planning and don’t stress out when things don’t go as planned, consider a career as a meeting or convention planner—the career field is growing, and requires only a bachelor’s degree and related experience.

Occupational therapist. Want a job that really helps people? Try occupational therapy. OTs work with people who have disabilities or injuries, helping them learn or recover the skills they need to live independently, such as feeding and dressing themselves. You could work in a nursing home, hospital, school, or mental health facility, or work with patients in their own homes. To become qualified, you’ll need a master’s degree in the field and professional certification.

Hydrologist. If you love spending time lakeside, why not do it for a living? If you’re savvy in science and in tune with the environment, a career as a hydrologist—where you’ll study bodies of water and analyze data—could be a great prospect. To get started, you’ll likely need a master’s degree in a related discipline like environmental science or geoscience.

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