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Careers for the Future??
Old 01-20-2010, 01:33 PM   #1
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Careers for the Future??

I saw a thread on this from back in 2005, but I think things have changed, and I'd like some of the collective wisdom of this group. Our son is a University grad, in Sociology, and he is looking for a career. He is willing and able to go to grad school, or even back to undergrad for more courses. He has a decent job now, it is not something he wants to do forever...(working with mentally ill adolescents). DH and I are both lawyers, but lately I've been reading blogs about law school as a scam (Big debt small law, third tier reality, etc), and I have come to realize there is a great oversupply of lawyers. The amount of debt these students graduate owing is staggering. So, not such a good field. Our daughter is in graduate school in the humanities, which has not been a great career path at least since I was in college. But, at least they are paying her to go.
DH and I got to where we are by Living Below Our Means and avoiding debt. Our children seem to have absorbed the message. Law is out, academia is a longshot. What are the good careers out there? Everything is up for consideration except medical school and nursing. Son is not in a hurry, is willing to travel and get experience before deciding but could use some direction. Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:50 PM   #2
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Masters in Public Health Management or classes in hospital administration?
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:54 PM   #3
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If you can't ship the job to India or China, it's a good first cut.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:57 PM   #4
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One area I'm familiar with is the electric utility industry. Some crafts are facing 25%+ losses over the next 5 years due to the aging work force. Many of these positions are attained by apprenticeship training programs. No degree required, although a degree certainly helps your chances during the selection process. Depending on the area of the country, even entry level positions can pay $40k per year. Power system dispatchers can earn in excess of $100k per year. It's also about as recession-proof as you can get. And it's not the type of work that can be outsourced overseas.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:02 PM   #5
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First, what is his area of interest as if he is going to be doing it for 25 years or so it would help if he was in a field he was interested in.

I would have to say I think the medical field is probably a good option. There is no way that they can outsource those jobs overseas.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
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There is no way that they can outsource those jobs overseas.
That's one of the criteria I'd look for in advising any young person now. Law enforcement is another such field. It can be hazardous both physically and mentally, but it worked for me. Pick a large agency either federal, state or local and there are a variety of positions, from the obvious to forensic lab technicians, public relations people, school coordinators and so on.

Within law enforcement there are a wide range of agencies, to the crowded (think Los Angeles) to the isolated (think Alaska State Police - you need immediate help, they'll be there in a few days).

Essentially I'd say look for something that requires both expertise and a physical presence. DW's brother is a power plant operator and is doing very well without a college degree.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:26 PM   #7
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My nephew is a school psychologist for an entire school district. He goes from school to school to set up programs for problem children. It seems that Sociology could fit in such a scheme somewhere. But it does sound like it is similar to what your son is doing now.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:33 PM   #8
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That's one of the criteria I'd look for in advising any young person now. Law enforcement is another such field. It can be hazardous both physically and mentally, but it worked for me. Pick a large agency either federal, state or local and there are a variety of positions, from the obvious to forensic lab technicians, public relations people, school coordinators and so on.

Within law enforcement there are a wide range of agencies, to the crowded (think Los Angeles) to the isolated (think Alaska State Police - you need immediate help, they'll be there in a few days).

Essentially I'd say look for something that requires both expertise and a physical presence. DW's brother is a power plant operator and is doing very well without a college degree.
Good idea--professions within law enforcement and the court system (victims' advocate, etc.) seem like good fits for someone who chose to major in sociology.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:58 PM   #9
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Good idea--professions within law enforcement and the court system (victims' advocate, etc.) seem like good fits for someone who chose to major in sociology.
Building on that, with 77 million of us Baby Boomers about to retire, something age-related is probably a good bet over the next twenty or thirty years until we all shuffle off. I would imagine there are elder-service related career possibilities in government, private sector and non-profit.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:36 PM   #10
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First, what is his area of interest as if he is going to be doing it for 25 years or so it would help if he was in a field he was interested in.

I would have to say I think the medical field is probably a good option. There is no way that they can outsource those jobs overseas.
People are already going to mexico, and many other locales etc.. for health care.
Obviously not emergency care, but almost anything else may well be fair game.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:14 PM   #11
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Building on that, with 77 million of us Baby Boomers about to retire, something age-related is probably a good bet over the next twenty or thirty years until we all shuffle off. I would imagine there are elder-service related career possibilities in government, private sector and non-profit.
This reminds me of the cartoon in What Color is Your Parachute?:

"So, what makes you want to be a mortician?"

"Well, I like working with people."
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:24 AM   #12
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Three thoughts:

My former career was as a health inspector. It's a technical job and physically demanding (LOTS of walking, standing, crouching, reaching, etc.) but very, very social. Someone who likes people, likes talking to people, likes finding things out, and can hack the science background would be a good match. He can look up Registered Environmental Health Specialist. Different states have different requirements. Here in CA, a rigorous science BS is required before you can even enter the apprenticeship program (which took me a year) and then you have to pass a lengthy state exam before getting your registration. And, you have to be willing to be a regulator. But it was an enjoyable job.

2. Ultrasound technician, or radiology technician. Plenty of work, often on-call or flexible, and travels around the country well.

3. To be in public health administration or management, an MPH is virtually required (or an MD, and that's a black hole of money). But he might consider a physician's assistant position -- it's a one-or-two year program, and has a lot of hands-on medical. (Can't remember if this was a good thing or not...)
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:31 AM   #13
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Civil engineer looks good to me for the future. They can't outsource jobs for the city/county/state/federal infrastructure. In the private sector it still looks good. Somebody will have to build those bridges and tunnels and highways.

John Greaney (search for his name on this forum) was a civil engineer before he retired early (and showed us all how to do it).

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Old 01-21-2010, 12:54 AM   #14
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We had several sociologists in my agency and they earned as much as the scientists. Most had graduate degrees, though.

If you feel there is a possibility that the economy and unemployment could get worse, a job with the federal government is more stable than most.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:09 AM   #15
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The outsourcing threat for my career (software developer) has turned out to be a paper tiger so far.

There was much hype especially right after the dotcom bust that all the jobs were going to India. There certainly have been many but the ever increasing demand as technology increased its role in our lives, plus quite a few large companies getting burned trying to work with overseas developers has made for the career to continue to be somewhere on just about every list I see of jobs expected to have high demand in the future.

It's not for everyone, there are plenty who force themselves to do it but hate it and get burned out. However if you're okay with it I believe it's a career that makes pretty good money without huge education requirements, plenty of opportunity, extends to just about every industry including govt.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:47 AM   #16
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We had several sociologists in my agency and they earned as much as the scientists. Most had graduate degrees, though.

If you feel there is a possibility that the economy and unemployment could get worse, a job with the federal government is more stable than most.
Thanks to everyone, great responses. I'll pass these along to our son. I had thought of Public Health, and that is one thing he is considering, along with Biostatistics. Also, he was thinking of grad school for sociology. The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the BLS rates Sociologist as a good occupation.

I agree that civil engineering and allied health professions are good. I like the physician assistant programs. I'm not sure these are good for DS, however.

And to think I went to law school becuase I was an Anthropology major and I just wanted a job.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:50 AM   #17
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And to think I went to law school becuase I was an Anthropology major and I just wanted a job.
Yeah. These days you have to look at the likelihood of job security as well, and among those hopefully find something that might be (relatively) enjoyable and aligned with their aptitude.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:03 AM   #18
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Re: Civil engineer. It might be good for the future, but it is not good now. The governments have no money for infrastructure. And real estate developers are suffering, so land development is also in the dumps. It's a double whammy of lost projects from both the public and private sectors.

How do I know this? I am married to a civil engineer. Many of her colleagues have lost their jobs and their firms have gone bankrupt.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:41 AM   #19
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I used to work for a firm of Civil Engineers. At it's peak in 2007 we had close to 300 employees. Last I heard they were down to 80, so I don't believe it is a recession-proof career. Remember in bad times developers stop developing and as LOL pointed out, no government agencies have money to spend. I would certainly be crossing that one off the list.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:42 AM   #20
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Another thing to keep in mind moving forward is that in the current economy and what's on the mind of many people in terms of career decision making, j*bs that are expected to provide more security (i.e. recession-resistant and offshoring-resistant) will likely lag in terms of pay because the supply of people seeking those jobs will increase, perhaps considerably. In such a case, employers won't have to offer aggressive compensation to attract qualified new hires. People are likely to accept less in exchange for increased security.

No free lunch...
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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