2012 Graduate Jobs : Where Are They?

Newspapers are full of dismal predictions for 2012 graduates. Job growth over then past few years has slowed dramatically and overall employment numbers are not expected to return to pre-recession levels for several more years. Many students who are still in college have had to take a hard look at their choice of majors and change them to ones that are more marketable. For those new graduates who made these adjustments in the past few years, it may be easier to find an opening in the current job market than they had feared. Even for young people who only have a high school or community college education, there are several areas of job growth that can give them reason to feel optimistic, as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment projections chart, there are many career paths that are still in high demand and are expected to remain so until at least the end of this decade – which is good news for 2012 graduate jobs. Although the median incomes they list on their chart, and that are cited below, are from 2010, many people have found that salaries have changed very little in the past two years.

Growth in Health and Medicine Careers

One area that is still seeing strong job growth is the medical field. Registered Nurses, for example, earn a median salary of about $64,690. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of nurses working in the United States is expected to grow 26 percent from 2,737,400 to 3,449,300. This will offer tremendous opportunities to anyone interested in a career in the medical field. Other related careers which are expected to have a 20 percent  or higher growth rate during this decade are home health aides, nursing aides, medical secretaries, licensed practical and vocational nurses, physicians and medical assistants. Some of the median incomes for these careers include $20,670 for a home health aide, $28,860 for a medical assistant, $40,380 for a vocational nurse and $111,570 for a physician or surgeon. Clearly, for people who are interested in medicine, there are plenty of opportunities, even if the students only pursue a two year certificate or diploma degree program, rather than attending four or more years of college.

Business Boom

Students in high school and college are certainly not restricted to studying for careers in the medical field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for careers with the largest predicted job growth, salespeople will also be in high demand in the coming years. With the change in our economy over the past few decades from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, the percentage of people who work in sales continues to grow. Opportunities for retail salespersons are expected to increase by 16.6% between 2010 and 2020. These positions have a median income of $20,670, but the income levels may range dramatically depending on the business and the product being sold. An employee at a discount department store will earn significantly less than someone selling luxury automobiles. In addition, customer service representatives (who are often salespeople) have a median income of $30,460. Their ranks are expected to grow by 15.5% by 2020. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, who earn about $52,440, can expect 15.6% job growth.

A Steady Need for Educators

Another area with good anticipated job growth is education. College or postsecondary teachers, with a median income of $45,690, are projected to have 17.4 percent job growth between 2010 and 2020. Childcare workers, who have a median income of $19,300, can anticipate 20.4 percent job growth during the same decade. Elementary school teachers, who earn about $51,660, can expect 16.8 percent job growth. For anyone who wants to work with children in the coming years, this is encouraging news.

Trade Careers Flourishing

Job hunters can also expect an increase in the demand for workers who do not have college degrees. Among the expected opportunities will be a 14.8 percent increase in available positions for food workers, who have a median income of $17,950. Truck drivers will see a 20.6 percent increase in job openings. They currently have a median income of about $37,770. Laborers, janitors, and landscaping workers share a median income of roughly $23,000. Job growth in those fields ranges from 10.7% to 20.9%. Construction laborers, with a median income of $29,280, will see a 21.3 percent increase in job openings. Carpenters, who earn about $39,530, are projected to have a 19.6 percent growth in job prospects.

As is clear from these figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects in the coming years look quite positive for people who are in the right fields. For those who have a liberal arts education, it may not be too late for them to find jobs as sales representatives or in business offices. Many 2012 graduates will discover that there are available opportunities, once they begin to focus their job search in the right areas.

Statistics from: BLS.gov

About Allison Freeland

Allie Freeland is the Editor-in-Chief of CollegeOnline.org. She has been a professional writer for a decade and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She brings a wealth of information about higher education, online degrees, college life, and career advice. Follow her on G+.