Salary Range: $41,570-$115,660
Does anyone even use file cabinets anymore? Much of today's storage lives on a datachip, and competent database administrators (DBAs) are needed to build and maintain the systems used to house that information. Challenger explains why now is prime time to enter into this IT job: "The educational system hasn't caught up with the demand for technology skills. ... The education and preparation people need to qualify for science and technology jobs is extensive enough and requires so much that the population has yet to fully recognize the requirements to do the job." DBAs should earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or management information systems, and might want to pursue a master's in business administration. You should also obtain certification for as many database platforms as possible, so that your skills are transferable from one company to the next.
Salary Range: $20,810-$40,190
The Labor Department reports that there is no formal training required to become a medical assistant. But if you want to distinguish yourself from the more than 160,000 persons looking to enter this profession, then training is preferred. Some vocational high schools and colleges offer medical assisting programs. And professional associations like the American Association of Medical Assistants offer certification credentials. It’s also possible for a medical assistant to receive certification in particular specialties, such as podiatry or optometry.
Salary Range: $82,090-$138,620
There are some obvious perks to this profession. The compensation is one—pharmacists earn one of the highest average salaries of all of our Best Jobs—and excellent job prospects is another. But these literal pill pushers also undergo years of study, several examinations, and a postgraduate residency before donning their white coats. And like many healthcare practitioners, pharmacists frequently work evening shifts, weekends, and some holidays. Place yourself ahead of the competition during your job hunt by trying to secure internships early in your education. Also consider taking a few business courses if your program doesn't already include them in the curriculum, since many pharmacists work within retail facilities.
[See our list of The Best Healthcare Jobs.]
Salary Range: $54,360-$87,790
According to Bryan Cantrill, the vice president of engineering with the cloud-computing company Joyent, software developers should have one hand writing code and the other on the pulse of the evolving IT world. Advances are constant in this industry, and having an inquisitive nature will serve a budding developer well. Nailing as much on-the-job training as possible will also help, particularly as some software developers are able to advance through the ranks based on their experience.
Salary Range: $44,190-$95,130
One of the first things you should determine when entering this field is what type of nursing you'd like to do. According to Michael Wolf, an economist with the BLS, one of the reasons this profession will gain nearly 712,000 positions this decade is because it's such an expansive profession, period. "Actually its growth rate is good, but not out of line with some other occupations," he says. "Registered nurses should grow by about 26 percent. The healthcare practitioner occupations as a whole have a growth rate of about 26 percent, though." The bench might be deep, but the playing field is still competitive. For a better chance at landing a nursing job, you'll want to determine your niche early, consider using virtual networking tools, and look for employment outside a hospital setting.