Top Jobs in a Tough Economy

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It's no secret that the tough economy has made it a challenge for job seekers to find new and exciting career paths. Countless industries have been hit hard by the economic recession, and viable job leads are hard to come by. There are, however, some career paths that are expected to remain stable in a tough economy or projected to grow in the near future. If you're in the job market and not sure where to go, here are some career paths you may not have previously considered.

Health Care: Doctors, Psychologists, Dentists, Nurses, Pharmacy Technicians, Medical Assistants

There will always be a need for medical professionals. In a November 2008 Time magazine article, career expert and author of 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs, Laurence Shatkin states that job opportunities for registered nurses are expected to grow 23.5% over a ten-year period of 2006-2016. "There's a huge demand, but the supply of people who want to do it isn't there," says Shatkin.

For dental hygienists, jobs are expected to grow by 30.1%. Of course, since most medical careers require advanced education a quick career change is probably unlikely. However, recent graduates considering going back to school may want to take into account the projected job growth in this field.

Technology: Computer Programmers, System Analysts, Consultants

As technology continues to evolve and the global marketplace becomes even more connected, positions requiring a broad set of skills will become valuable. For the field of computer systems analysis, jobs are expected to grow by 29%. Says Shatkin, "Because you have to work in [a] collaborative fashion, you probably need to be on-site or to be someone who can communicate very easily with the people on-site... It's much harder to ship that sort of job overseas than ones for computer programmers."

Public Services: Police Officers, Firefighters

Sociological research shows that crime increases in tough economic times. Those willing to contribute to their communities and make a difference may find a career in law enforcement rewarding. Jobs in public service, such as police officer, firefighter, and ambulance dispatcher, are expected to grow by 13.6%.

Utilities: Garbage Collectors, Electricians, Sewage Treatment Plant Employees, Funeral Directors

Let's face it—there are some things that keep moving regardless of how the economy is doing. We can't function without utilities and systems, so jobs around those industries have some stability. And while the job of funeral director—which Shatkin projects to have a growth of 12.5%—may not be for everyone, the job will always be there.