Why These 8 Jobs Are Risky Choices
Work hard to achieve good marks in grade school, participate in extracurricular activities, attend college, and strive for an excellent GPA — these are all things your parents, teachers, coaches, and family members may tell you throughout your life to help lead you on the path to a successful career. “You can be whatever you want to be, as long as you work hard,” and “the sky is the limit” are things you may hear from your loved ones, and these motivational words are true — to some degree at least.
It’s pretty rare, however, for people to talk about the fact that in some careers, your likelihood of success is higher than in others. That is, if you tailor your education and experience toward an in-demand career, you may have a better shot at obtaining that job than someone who tailored their education and experience toward a career few companies are hiring for. These career positions are expected to grow the most from 2012 to 2022.
8 Jobs With the Best Future Outlooks
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologists — 58 percent growth from 2012 to 2022 and 2012 median pay of $83,580 per year
- Personal Care Aides — 49 percent growth and median pay of $19,910 per year
- Home Health Aides — 48 percent growth and median pay of $20,820 per year
- Insulation Workers, Mechanical — 47 percent growth and median pay of $39,170 per year
- Interpreters and Translators — 46 percent growth and median pay of $45,430 per year
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers — 46 percent growth and median pay of $65,860 per year
- Helpers — brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters — 43 percent growth and median pay of $28,220 per year
- Occupational Therapy Assistants — 43 percent growth and median pay of $53,240 per year (physical therapists’ assistants have a comparable pay and job outlook)
With such rapid growth, these positions may be a bit easier to obtain than, say, a farming position. From 2012 to 2022, the BLS expects negative growth within the farming occupations. Labor statistics predict that there will be a 19 percent decline in the number of farming and agricultural managers during this 10-year time frame. This means, in 2022, there will be around four farmers for every five there were in 2012 (at least that’s the estimate).
Farming occupations aren’t the only positions like this. The BLS predicts that dozens of jobs will see negative growth over the next eight years. This list contains some of the jobs where this decline is significant. You may be surprised to see some of the career positions that are on this list.
1. Postal service workers
- Median pay: $53,100 per year
- Outlook: 28 percent decline
- Reason for decline: Advances in technology like automated sorting systems will reduce the need for certain workers. Budget constraints will also result in a lower number of postal service workers. There will be opportunities in some positions as workers retire, but competition for those jobs will be fierce. Clerks are expected to see the most significant decline — 32 percent — and mail carriers are expected to see a bit less of a decline — 27 percent.
- Requirements: The specific requirements for each position vary, but generally, applicants must pass an exam that tests the candidate’s English and verbal skills. Applicants may also have to undergo a physical examination, drug testing, and a background check.
2. Semiconductor processors (workers oversee the manufacturing of integrated circuits and microchips)
- Median pay: $33,020 per year
- Outlook: 27 percent decline
- Reason for decline: As automation in these plants grows, the need for workers will continue to decline. Also, computer chips are getting smaller and smaller, and therefore, more and more difficult for a human to handle and work on. It’s becoming more ideal for a machine to handle these small parts. For those who want to get into this field, prospects will be best for those with a bachelor’s degree and experience in high-tech manufacturing.
- Requirements: Most candidates have an associate’s degree (or higher) in microelectronics or a related field. Candidates also spend a long time (between one month and one year) training on the job.
3. News reporters and correspondents
- Median pay: $35,870 (some of the higher paid correspondents and reporters exceed six figures)
- Outlook: 14 percent decline from 2012 to 2022
- Reason for decline: More and more, news sources are practicing news sharing, which reduces the amount of reporters each source needs. Also, with the increasing demand for online news, the need for TV and print news is declining. Reporters with additional skills, like coding, publishing, and website design may have better opportunities. Local (smaller) newspapers and TV and radio stations may provide opportunities for those seeking employment as well.
- Requirements: Bachelor’s degree and experience in the journalism field. Some reporters obtain this experience in college through internships or by working on the school newspaper. Others work their way up to this position.
4. Travel agents
- Median pay: $34,600 per year
- Outlook: 12 percent decline
- Reason for decline: Internet sites, like Expedia and Hotels.com, have made it relatively easy for consumers to make their own travel arrangements. People will likely continue on this trend as time goes on. Some people will still seek the services of travel agents, though, and opportunities will likely be the best for people who have a specialty like “corporate vacations,” for instance.
- Requirements: Communications and computer skills are a must for a travel agent. Many employers also prefer agents who have taken some classes related to the travel industry. Some community colleges and vocational schools offer programs designed to prepare students for this specific career field.
5. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers
- Median pay: $35,350 per year
- Outlook: 10 percent decline
- Reason for decline: Most jewelry manufacturing will continue to be done overseas. Workers who are skilled at maintaining and repairing jewelry may have better opportunities.
- Requirements: Many workers learn their skills on the job, but some workers attend 6 months to one year-long trade school programs, too.
6. Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers
- Median pay: $68,230 per year
- Outlook: 8 percent decline
- Reason for decline: “Although electricity usage is expected to grow, advances in technology and increased energy efficiency will contribute to decreases in employment for the occupation,” says the BLS. Applicants with strong technical and mechanical skills and training will likely have the best opportunities.
- Requirements: Candidates need a high school diploma and some employers prefer some sort of vocational or career training. Many candidates train on the job.
7. Flight attendants
- Median pay: $37,240 per year
- Outlook: 7 percent decline
- Reason for decline: Economic difficulties and union contacts may inhibit growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Union contracts generally stipulate that furloughed flight attendants must be rehired before new employees are found. Competition for jobs will remain strong because the occupation typically attracts many more applicants than there are job openings. When entry-level positions do become available, job prospects should be best for applicants with a college degree. Job opportunities may be slightly better at regional or low-cost airlines.”
- Requirements: A high school diploma (or higher) is typically required for flight attendants. Some airlines require additional education and international flight attendants generally have to be fluent in more than one language. Flight attendants usually receive on-the-job training from their employer and must also be certified by the FAA.
8. Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers
- Median pay: $114,200 per year
- Outlook: 7 percent decline
- Reason for decline: Airlines will likely continue to take measures to increase profits. One such measure may be to increase the average number of passengers on each plane. They may also reduce or eliminate low-demand routes, and decrease the overall number of flights per day. The end result will be a decreased need for airline pilots.
- Requirements: Pilots typically have a bachelor’s degree and some attend flight school. Any pilot who is paid to fly must have a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Airline pilots must also have an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. Airlines may require that pilots have additional ratings or licensing.