The bad is news is that the jobs that U.S. corporations (most of which are actually transnational now) have shipped to China, India and Mexico over the past thirty years are not coming back anytime soon. According to a recent National Public Radio report, it would take forty-eight consecutive months of adding 300,000 jobs every month just to replace those lost since the Wall Street collapse and subsequent bailout that took place just prior to the 2008 elections.

Nurse working in her career.

Health Care Careers are Rewarding

The good news is that over the next decade as aging baby boomers retire, there should be approximately 15 million openings in various fields. The problem is that they are likely to be either very high-paying jobs requiring specialized training, or low-skill positions that barely pay enough to survive – and very little in the middle.

One of the biggest growth industries however is closely related to the aging population – and that’s health care. According to the same NPR report, registered nurses and home health aids are going to be two of the occupations in greatest demand, as well as nursing aids and attendants. Nurses and nurse practitioners in particular are expected to be in high demand, with strong job growth in this area for at least the next six years.

Although the NPR article does not specifically mention physicians, the fact is that in many places of the country, there is a crying need for primary care (i.e., general practitioner) doctors and dentists, particularly in under-served inner cities and rural areas.

As you might expect (and this may also be good news to those of you who prefer warmer climes), a great number of these health care careers will be in sunnier areas of the nation – such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Florida, Austin and other areas with large retirement communities.

If the expense of medical or nursing school causes you to hesitate, you may be interested to know that the Obama Administration has proposals in place that would enable medical professionals to have their school loans canceled in exchange for serving in high-need areas for a certain period of time.

It should be noted that bilingual abilities in Spanish, Russian, Mandarin and Vietnamese will be a definite plus for health care workers in many areas, particularly in the western region and the Atlantic seaboard as immigrant populations continue to grow.

The current median salary for registered nurses is around $62,000 a year – and this is expected to rise as demand continues to outstrip supplies. In order to prepare for a nursing or other medical career, it is important to have a strong background in biology, chemistry and math; career counselors can advise you as to what courses you should take.