Ten Best Career Choices For Minorities

November 16, 2011
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Nursing offers not only a good wage, but also a career that gives back to ones community and is in great demand by hospitals, doctors, etc. Photo Credit: collegein.net

In such a volatile employment market, it is perfectly reasonable for people to ask, "What is the best career choice?" There are several great "recession-proof" careers, and minorities and various ethnic groups are represented in many of these jobs already. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed the following as the top 10 career choices based on current hiring trends.

Nursing
According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2011-2012, "Registered nurses (RNs) constitute the largest healthcare occupation, with 2.6 million jobs. Overall job opportunities are expected to be excellent, but may vary by employment and geographic setting; some employers report difficulty in attracting and retaining an adequate number of RNs across ethnicities or minority groups. The three typical educational paths to registered nursing are a bachelor's degree, an associate degree, and a diploma from an approved nursing program; advanced practice nurses – clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners – need a master's degree."

Engineering
According to the BLS, engineers will be among the top wage earners in the next decade, with Biomedical engineering in particular expected to grow by 72 percent. "Biomedical engineers should experience the fastest growth, while civil engineers should see the largest employment increase. Engineers typically enter the occupation with a bachelor's degree in an engineering specialty, but some basic research positions may require a graduate degree. Engineers offering their services directly to the public must be licensed. Continuing education to keep current with rapidly changing technology is important for engineers." This also means that minorities and ethnic groups need to become more aware of opportunities in the engineering field, and what is required to be successful.

Occupational Therapy
A valuable member of the medical community, occupational therapist help people learn valuable skills to care for themselves. Like many health professions, occupational therapists are always in demand. "Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase by 26 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. A master's degree or higher in occupational therapy is the typical minimum requirement for entry into the field. In addition, occupational therapists must attend an academic program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in order to sit for the national certifying exam." The field has high representation across ethnicities and minority groups.

Physical Therapy
Another high demand medical profession will be physical therapy, which the BLS projects to increase by 30 percent by 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. "Changes in restrictions on reimbursement for physical therapy services by third-party payers will increase patient access to services and, thus, increase demand. In 2009, there were 212 physical therapist education programs. Currently, only graduate degree physical therapist programs are accredited. Master's degree programs typically are 2 to 2.5 years in length, while doctoral degree programs last 3 years. Typical requirements for physical therapists include graduation from an accredited physical therapy education program; passing the National Physical Therapy Examination; and fulfilling State requirements such as jurisprudence exams." This is a great areas for members of ethnic and minority groups who may be interested in pursuing alternative careers in a tight job market.

Special Education Teachers play an important role in ensuring our students achieve the education goals that are tougher for some than others.Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers are another group of professionals that are always in demand across ethnicities and other socio-economic demographics. "Employment is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be excellent because many districts report problems finding adequate numbers of licensed special education teachers. All States require special education teachers to be licensed, which typically requires at least a bachelor's degree and the completion of an approved training program in special education teaching. Some States require a master's degree. Most States have alternative methods for entry for bachelor's degree holders who do not have training in education." The education field is often the profession of choice for many minorities and ethnic groups that seek advanced degrees.

Accountant
Given the continued state of the country's finances its little wonder why accountants will continue to be in high demand. Accountants "are expected to experience much faster than average employment growth from 2008-2018. Job opportunities should be favorable, and accountants who have a professional certification, should have the best prospects. Accountants "need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Many accountants choose to obtain certification to help advance their careers, such as becoming a Certified Public Accountant."

Allied Healthcare
Allied healthcare fields include radiology technicians, sonographers, laboratory technicians, etc. Most training programs "lead to a certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor's degree. An associate degree is the most prevalent form of educational attainment among technologists and technicians. Programs range from 9 to 24 months leading to a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree, and job opportunities are best for those who are certified and willing to relocate."

IT Professionals have the advantage of being able to live almost anywhere in the country while also finding a good job.IT Professionals
As time goes on businesses depend even more on their computer systems and as such, they need IT professionals to set up and manage these systems. According to the BLS, there is an 18 percent job growth expected over the next decade. "A bachelor's degree in a computer-related field is usually required for management positions, although employers often prefer a graduate degree, especially an MBA with technology as a core component. Common majors for undergraduate degrees are computer science, information science, or management information systems." There are secondary programs designed to increase the interest of minorities and underrepresented ethnic groups to choose profession in the technology field.

Paralegal
In the past, paralegals primarily assisted attorneys in preparing documents. However moving forward more companies use paralegals to do much of the work that attorneys did previously. With a projected growth rate of about 28 percent over the 10 years, becoming a paralegal has exceptional opportunities. "There are several ways to become a paralegal. The most common is through a community college paralegal program that leads to an associate degree. Another common method of entry, mainly for those who already have a college degree, is earning a certificate in paralegal studies. A small number of schools offer bachelors' and masters' degrees in paralegal studies."

Mathematics
Any education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will offer a wealth of opportunities in the next 10 years, according to the BLS. In 2005, a BLS survey found, "As a group, STEM workers earned about 70 percent more than the national average, and employment of mathematicians is expected to grow much faster than average, by about 22 percent. A Ph.D. degree in mathematics is usually the minimum educational requirement for prospective mathematicians, except in the Federal Government."

All of these degree paths welcome minorities, and ethnic groups or minorities often dominate in the case of STEM jobs. Due to a lack of qualified applicants at home, companies currently hire people from all over the world to fill these critical jobs. The key to success in all of these jobs is a good education, and with a little bit of foresight and planning, minority students can be ahead of the hiring curve.

Sources:

United States Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics

Major Decisions - Inside Higher Ed 

Comments

I believe that these top ten careers are the best choices for many minority groups. But the problem is that many minority groups do not have the same or equal opportunities that the dominant groups have. So it is very difficult for the minorities to achieve this careers.

It is encouraging that there are careers out there that are hiring and accepting minorities. The only thing that might hold minorities back is the fact that some of them are in the poverty level of the economy and might not have the chance to earn the education that is needed for these careers. However, it is still encouraging to know that they are being welcomed in, rather then being sent away due to their skin color. Due to how discriminatory our society is, I wonder if these careers are accepting the minorities due to the lack of people that are doing these careers, therefore, because of the demand they have to bring in more workers. Whatever the case, I am glad these opportunities are opening up for the minorities.

These top ten professions I feel like are not just for minorities but for everyone across the board. As a business major, I have heard time and time again accountants are still in demand in our society. The fact that you are a minority doesn't give you a better chance at getting the job, it just means that there is opportunity for anyone there. You need to have an enormous amount of knowledge in the accounting field and has a hard track, just like anything else, to become a certified public accountant. That being said, the ones that have the best opportunity are those who are given the opportunity to go to school and engage in academic learning.

These top ten are good but I think this apply for everyone. I would say that it would take more for minorities to actually make it in these fields though still they would be in high demand for these career paths.