Ever thought of becoming a pharmacist? Or an economist? How about a veterinarian?
These are some of the highest-paying recession-proof jobs, according to Laurence Shatkin, author of “150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs,” a new book by JIST Publishing.
“Each recession is a little different than the one before in terms of sectors of the economy. The technology bubble in 2001 affected a lot of technology jobs. But construction was going well,” he says. “This time, the tech jobs are doing fairly well.”
What's not on the list? Notably absent are jobs in real estate, construction, banking and finance.
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The book is most useful for people making long-term career plans, young people or those making mid-career changes, the author says. Some jobs take a larger investment of time and money to pursue than others.
Industries with the highest concentration of recession-proof positions are transit and ground passenger transportation, hospitals and ambulatory care services.
The best recession-proof job is computer systems analyst, an occupation that typically earns nearly $70,000 a year. New positions in that field are growing 29 percent a year. Other fastest-growing jobs are network systems and data communications analysts, veterinary technologists and medical assistants.
People seek certain jobs for reasons that go beyond their interests or talents, the author says. “Income, leadership, independence, lifestyle and security matters to some people,” Shatkin says.
If you're looking at pay, the national average pay for a pharmacist is more than $94,000 a year. Economists make an average of $77,000 and veterinarians about $72,000, according to the book, which uses U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Barry Brown, president of Effective Resources, a Knoxville, Tenn., firm that tracks salary information, says if he were giving advice to a student or someone changing careers, it would be to pursue a medical-related job.
“If you're a nurse, you'll have a job for life in any country. The shortage of nurses is not going away,” he says.
A closer look shows there can be vast pay differences even in so-called recession-proof fields.
Dr. Andrew Turkell, owner of Calusa Veterinary Center in Boca Raton, Fla., says more graduates are going on to become veterinary specialists because that's where the money is. “Instead of a $300 office visit, it's $3,000 to $6,000 for a board-certified veterinary surgeon,” he says.
As for vets being insulated from the downturn, there are some vet expenses that are discretionary in tough financial times and some that are not. Consumers may put off shots for their pet, but they don't hesitate if the issue is more serious.
“For so many people their pet is a family member,” Turkell says. “If you have a dog that can't walk, you're taking it to the vet.”