10 Businesses That Will Boom in 2020

To zero in on fields with plenty of jobs and good pay, start planning now.

talking to a therapist
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5. Veterinarians. Pets are more popular than ever, and some of them get medical care that's practically fit for a human. The BLS expects the need for vets to rise 36 percent by 2020.

6. Environmental and conservation science. Making better use of the planet's resources will be essential as population growth strains existing infrastructure. Green energy, despite some political controversy, still seems likely to boom. Developers need more efficient ways to heat and cool buildings. And dealing with global warming may require new technology not even on the drawing board yet.

7. Some healthcare fields. It's well-known that the aging of the baby boomers will require more caregivers in many specialties. Some healthcare jobs tend to be low-paying, with a lot of workers flocking to what are supposed to be "recession-proof" fields. And the need to lower overall healthcare costs could pinch some doctors, hospital workers, and diagnosticians. But demand should be strong for nurses, optometrists, audiologists, dentists, physical therapists, and some doctor specialists.

8. Management. The boss earns a lot for good reason: His job isn't as easy as it might seem. Effective management in the future will require basic business knowledge plus the ability to oversee operations in many locations and countries, and some technical know-how. Anybody who can improve a unit's performance while lowering costs should rise quickly. The BLS and IBISWorld also expect growing demand for some support fields such as human relations, benefits administration, and event planning.

9. Finance. The movement and management of money is technically complex, and integral to most companies. Plus, nontraditional investing firms such as hedge funds and private-equity firms are likely to grow as the traditional banking sector complies with new regulations and reins in risk-taking. That means there will be more need for finance experts. There may even be a shortage as students once interested in finance veer into other fields, turned off by the 2008 financial crisis and the vilification of banks.

10. Entrepreneurship. It's often overlooked, but the need for innovators running their own businesses could be more important than ever in 2020. Forecasters expect strong growth in traditional businesses such as used-car dealers, hair and nail salons, pet grooming, and office services, which means anybody able to come up with better, cheaper ways to serve customers will reap a windfall. Technology startups will no doubt keep changing the way consumers work and live. And nobody really knows what the next iPad, Twitter, or Pinterest will be—except, perhaps, some entrepreneur who's dreaming about it right now. He or she may have a bigger impact on life in 2020 than anything the forecasters see coming.

Rick Newman is the author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback To Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman