2009 Money moves: When in doubt, get a job

If being a brainiac is your thing, study the list of jobs considered by Careercast.com as the best. Working as a mathematician is at the top of the list, with actuary, statistician and accountant nearing the top. My husband, who is an accountant who runs an actuarial department for an insurance company, says, "Girls love guys who know calculus."

Who am I to argue?

Anyway, Careercast ranked 200 jobs to compile this report, relying on five criteria to compare jobs, including stress, physical demands, hiring outlook, compensation and work environment.

Here are its top 10:

  1. Mathematician
  2. Actuary
  3. Statistician
  4. Biologist
  5. Software Engineer
  6. Computer Systems Analyst
  7. Historian
  8. Sociologist
  9. Industrial Designer
  10. Accountant
For most of us, making money means getting a job. And even if it's not the best job, a job is better than no job. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that over the next seven years, there will be 50 million new job openings with total employment expected to increase from 150.6 million today -- give or take -- to 166.2 million in 2016, about a 10 percent increase. The bulk of the new jobs will be in the following 20 fields, ranked by largest increase compared to today.

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Retail salespersons
  3. Customer service representatives
  4. Combined food prep and serving works, including fast food
  5. Office clerks
  6. Personal and home care aides
  7. Home health aides
  8. Post-secondary teachers
  9. Janitors and cleaners, including household cleaners
  10. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants
  11. Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks
  12. Food servers
  13. Childcare workers
  14. Executive secretaries and administrative assistants
  15. Computer software engineers
  16. Accountants and auditors
  17. Landscapers and groundskeepers
  18. Business operation specialists
  19. Elementary-school teachers
  20. Receptionists and information clerks

As you can see, you don't have to be a Ph.D. to do most of these jobs, although for a couple of them, it helps. And the rewards aren't likely to make you Bill Gates anytime soon, but working is sure better than not working. The DOL says that for 12 of these jobs, earning an associates degree is enough to get your foot in the door, then on-the-job training will ensure that you can actually do the work.

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