Archive for Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Nurses, truckers among hot careers

Nonprofit agency lists in-demand jobs that don’t require bachelor’s degree

September 27, 2005

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— Some U.S. jobs pay living wages, are in fast-growing fields, have a lot of openings and don't require bachelor's degrees.

Most of them aren't glamorous, but they won't be offshored anytime soon either, according to a newly published analysis by the nonprofit agency Jobs for the Future.

Among them: truck and bus driving, nursing, construction and computer-tech jobs.

"A lot of these industries are having difficulty finding reliable workers with the skills they require," agency official Jerry Rubin said.

His group, based in Cambridge, Mass., winnowed Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 725 job categories to find the best shots. It looked for jobs that paid at least $25,000, were in fields with at least 20,000 openings a year, offered at least some opportunity for advancement and had modest requirements for education and experience.

Its report, "The Right Jobs," profiles these winners:

¢ Registered nurse.

Income range: $40,100 to $57,500. Projected annual openings: 110,119. Education: associate degree in nursing.

Note: School admission is highly competitive but the acute nurse shortage is expected to double by 2015.

¢ Licensed practical nurse/ licensed vocational nurse.

Income range: $26,400 to $37,000. Projected annual openings: 29,480. Education: 11th-grade math and reading required for admission to a 12-month academic training program.

Note: Easier to get into than registered-nurse jobs. Lots of jobs in long-term care. Can lead to an R.N. career.

¢ Customer service representative.

Income range: $20,960 to $33,540. Projected annual openings: 74,137. Education: high school or college plus training provided by employers. Communication skills matter.

Note: The work - answering customers' questions in person, on the phone or via e-mail or the Internet - is stressful. The turnover rate is often high and offshoring is possible.

¢ Car/truck mechanic.

Income range: car, $22,080 to $41,270; truck, $27,310 to $42,730. Projected annual openings: auto, 31,887; truck, 10,655. Education: high school. Training for those without high school auto-shop experience lasts six months to two years and costs $3,000 to $24,000.

Note: Head mechanics at car dealerships can earn $100,000.

¢ Computer support specialist. Includes help-desk support, personal computer technician, network administrator and Web site development and maintenance.

Income range: $29,760 to $51,680. Projected annual openings: 21,579. Education: Entry-level jobs are available without much formal training, but vocational school certifications and degrees help win promotions.

Note: Network administrators are paid the best. Help-desk support jobs are the easiest to land.

¢ Building trades. (Carpenter, electrician, plumber.)

Income range: carpenter, $26,180 to $45,560; electrician, $31,100 to $55,120; plumber, $30,540 to $53,820. Projected annual openings: carpenter, 31,917; electrician, 28,485; plumber, 20,511. Education: high school. Preapprentice training lasts 12 weeks; apprenticeship, three to four years.

Note: Wages are 50 percent higher in unionized jobs, but they're tougher to get. A criminal record may be tolerated.

¢ Commercial driver. (Heavy trucks or buses.)

Income range: Truck, $26,020 to $41,610; bus, $21,870 to $39,510. Projected annual openings: truck, 62,517; bus, 25,000. Education: high school. Training programs usually run six to 12 months. Federal law requires interstate truckers to be 21 or older.

Note: New federal regulations that limit daily driving time are expected to yield 60,000 new jobs. School bus drivers trade lower pay for work close to home.

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