25 Breakout Jobs


We live in an aging, technology-hungry society -- and the jobs of the future prove it.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one-in-four new jobs will be in the health care and social assistance or the private educational service sectors, and computer occupations account for five of the 20 fastest growing occupations.

These 25 careers are expected to be among the hottest jobs in the fastest-growing industries in the United States through 2012. Some of them need applicants with a college degree. Some need people willing to learn on the job. All promise excellent job growth.

1. Computer Software Engineers

Salary: $74,980 (applications); $79,740 (systems software)*

What They Do: Computer applications software engineers analyze users' needs and design and maintain computer applications software. Computer applications software engineers coordinate and maintain companies' computer systems.

2. Detectives

Salary: $53,990 the jobs of the future prove it.

What They Do: Detectives gather facts and collect evidence for criminal cases.

3. Home Health Aides

Salary: $18,330

What They Do: Home health aides perform health-related services, including administering oral medications, to allow elderly or disabled persons to live at home instead of in a health facility.

4. Programmers

Salary: $65,910

What They Do: Computer programmers write, test, and maintain the programs computers follow to perform their functions.

5. Pharmacists

Salary: $84,900

What They Do: Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use.

6. Security Consultants

Salary: around $45,000 (specific salary data not available)

What They Do: Security consultants work to secure the safety of an organization against natural or man-made threats such as theft, earthquakes, computer hackers or terrorists.

7. Employment, Recruitment and Placement Specialists

Salary: $41,190

What They Do: Employment, recruitment and placement specialists recruit and evaluate applicants and attempt to match them with client firms.

8. Social and Human Service Assistants

Salary: $24,270

What They Do: Social and human service assistants aid the community in a variety of ways, including helping individuals establish their eligibility for benefits and services and providing emotional support.

9. Computer Systems Analysts

Salary: $66,460

What They Do: Systems analysts help solve computer problems, design new systems and add new software applications to help organization get the most from their technology.

10. Social Workers

Salary: $39,440 (all other)

What They Do: Social workers help individuals improve their relationships, living environments, personal and family problems.

11. Education Administrators

Salary: Ranges from $35,730 (preschool) to $74,190 (elementary and secondary)

What They Do: Education administrators serve as instructional leaders and manage the day-to-day activities of schools, preschools, and colleges and universities.

12. Database Administrators

Salary: $60,650

What They Do: Database administrators determine the most effective ways to organize and store data, such as setting up computer databases.

13. Occupational Therapists

Salary: $54,660

What They Do:Occupational therapists help people with disabling conditions become better able to perform daily living and occupational tasks.

14. Childcare Workers

Salary: $16,760

What They Do:Childcare workers care for and teach children of all ages in childcare centers, public schools, private households and other facilities when parents are away.

15. Fitness Trainers

Salary: $25,470

What They Do:Fitness trainers help clients to assess their physical fitness levels, demonstrate exercise techniques and help their clients set and reach their fitness goals.

16. Management Consultants

Salary: $63,450

What They Do:Management consultants analyze and propose ways to improve an organization's structure, efficiency or profits.

17. Physical Therapist Aides

Salary: $21,380

What They Do:Physical therapist aides help make therapy sessions more efficient by keeping the treatment area clean and organized and helping transport patients from one area to another.

18. Speech-Language Pathologists

Salary: $52,410

What They Do:Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent speech, language, voice and other related disorders.

19. Dental Hygienists

Salary: $58,350

What They Do:Dental hygienists examine patients' teeth and gums, remove deposits from teeth, teach patients good oral hygiene, and provide other preventive dental care.

20. Water and Liquid Waste System Operators

Salary: $34,960

What They Do:Water treatment plant and system operators treat water to ensure it is safe to drink. Liquid waste treatment plant and system operators, remove harmful pollutants from domestic and industrial liquid waste so it can be safely returned to the environment.

21. Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

Salary: $33,320

What They Do:Hazardous materials removal workers identify, remove and dispose of various hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, and radioactive materials.

22. Network Systems and Data Communication Analysts

Salary: $60,600

What They Do:Network systems and data communication analysts design, test and evaluate network systems including local area networks and the Internet.

23. Preschool Teachers

Salary: $20,980

What They Do:Preschool teachers use methods adapting to children's play to further language and vocabulary development, improve social skills, and introduce scientific and mathematical concepts.

24. Registered Nurses

Salary: $52,330

What They Do:Nurses observe, assess and record patients' symptoms, administer medications and assist in rehabilitation.

25. Environmental Scientists

Salary: $51,080

What They Do:Environmental scientists measure and observe air, water and soil to identify sources of pollutants, and make recommendations on how to best clean and preserve the environment.

* May 2004 BLS data

Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>

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