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The Nine Fastest Growing Careers

The Nine Fastest Growing Careers for 2008

By Kristina Cowan

If you're looking for job stability in 2008, healthcare and information technology careers are a safe bet. Jobs in healthcare and IT continue to be among those projected to grow fastest, new government figures show.

Fastest Growing Careers in IT

Computer-related jobs lead the fastest growing careers pack, as organizations increasingly invest in more sophisticated information technology. Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing for Yoh, a talent and outsourcing firm, says demand is especially high for IT professionals with both management and technology skills.

Network systems and data communications analysts
Projected growth: 53 percent
Median hourly pay: $31.06
Job description: Analyze, design, test, and evaluate network systems, such as local area networks, wide area networks, Internet, intranet, and other data communications systems.

Computer software engineers, applications
Projected growth: 45 percent
Median hourly pay: $38.36
Job description: Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs, and analyze user needs and develop software solutions.

Fastest Growing Health Careers

America is getting older. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Americans 55 and older will grow from 29 percent in 2006 to 35 percent in 2016-and with an aging population comes a demand for services catering to the elderly, such as personal and health aides.

"An emphasis on less costly home care and outpatient treatment of the elderly population, rather than expensive institutional care, will lead to growing numbers of aides who provide in-home personal care and housekeeping assistance, as well as healthcare," according to the BLS's Monthly Labor Review, November 2007. And because patients of all ages are heading home faster from hospitals and nursing facilities, they may need continued home care.

Personal and home care aides
Projected growth: 51 percent
Median hourly pay: $8.54
Job description: Help elderly or disabled adults with daily living activities at home or in a daytime non-residential facility.

Home health aides
Projected growth: 49 percent
Median hourly pay: $9.34
Job description: Provide routine, personal health care to elderly, convalescent, or disabled people at home or in residential-care facilities.

Medical assistants
Projected growth: 35 percent
Median hourly pay: $12.64
Job description: Perform administrative and clinical duties under the direction of a physician.

Fastest Growing Careers in Animal Care

With more people treating family pets like humans, demand and pay for veterinarians is climbing, says Henry Kasper, a BLS economist. "You can get nose jobs for your dog, titanium hips for your dog. You can get CAT Scans, MRIs , kidney transplants, chemotherapy. People are spending insane amounts of money on their pets," Kasper explains.

Veterinary technologists and technicians
Projected growth: 41 percent
Median hourly pay: $12.88
Job description: Perform medical tests in labs for use in treating and diagnosing animal diseases. Prepare vaccines and serums for disease prevention.

Veterinarians
Projected growth: 35 percent
Median hourly pay: $34.61
Job description: Diagnose and treat animal diseases and dysfunctions.

Fastest Growing Careers in Finance and Entertainment

Other careers that will be in demand are in the finance and entertainment industries.

Personal financial advisors
Projected growth: 41 percent
Median hourly pay: $31.79
Job description: Advise clients on financial plans using knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate.

Makeup artists, theatrical and performance
Projected growth: 40 percent
Median hourly pay: $15.30
Job description: Apply makeup to performers suited to their roles' periods, settings, and situations.

Kristina Cowan is the senior writer for PayScale.com. She has over 10 years of journalism experience, specializing in education and workforce issues. Email Kristina Cowan.

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