During the Great Recession of the 21st Century, more than 12 million jobs were lost from the American economy, according to U.S. News and World Reports, citing a report from the Brookings Institution and the Hamilton Project.  Job seekers who were able to find work often had to settle for less money – the average wages for new jobs fell from $43,700 per year to $23,000 two years after the initial job loss. Indications do not point to the economy recovering to pre-recession levels – many of the jobs lost are gone for good.


However, in the midst of all this bad news, there are industries that are actively seeking new workers. While many of the best opportunities require advanced degrees, extensive experience, or both, some emerging careers do not require four-year degrees at all. What’s more, many of these jobs cannot be outtargetd.


Health Industry


There has been a chronic shortage of registered nurses for decades. However, nursing is hard work, and requires a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree or a specialized diploma. Salary varies widely – as of 2012 salaries ranged from under $45,000 per year to nearly $100, 000 per year, according to U.S. News and World Reports. To increase the autonomy you have over your work, as well as your earning potential, seek out a specialty, such as nurse practitioner or earn an advanced degree in business or law to position yourself as a medical consultant.


If you desire less direct patient contact than nursing, consider a career in pharmacy, another rapidly growing job market with a salary range in 2012 from approximately $80,000 to nearly $140,000, according to U.S. News and World Reports. Pharmacists require at least a bachelor’s degree, a residency and a series of examinations before earning their licenses. Savvy pharmacists also pick up business courses to position themselves to work in retail facilities.


Green Collar Jobs


Green collar jobs represent one of the most promising developments for displaced manufacturing workers as well as long-term unemployed workers. Although college degrees and specialized training are desirable, many companies hire workers for green collar positions and train them on the job. Green collar jobs also represent a growing opportunity for skilled workers such as engineers, architects and meteorologists.


Salaries for green collar workers vary widely according to job title, experience and other factors. However, the average salary for all green collar workers as of 2012 was $31,000, according to figures calculated by the Simply Hired website. By contrast, the median salary for chemical engineers who are hired in green collar jobs was just over $90,000 annually, the Investigating Answers website reports.


Information Technology


IT jobs are not limited to high tech firms. Computer and Internet technology are now a part of nearly every aspect of life in the post-industrial world, including manufacturing, medicine, entertainment and telecommunications.  As a result, throughout the Great Recession, when the overall unemployment rate in the United States exceeded nine percent, unemployment for workers in information technology related jobs averaged just four percent, CNBC reports, citing figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Automated manufacturing, microsurgery, digital movie cameras and smart phones are all the result of advances in technology. Although many IT workers have bachelor’s degrees or advanced degrees, it is possible to enter the field with an associate’s degree – if you’re willing to work hard to obtain relevant experience Salaries for new tech hires in 2012 ranged from $80,000 to $120,000, according to Bloomberg.


Guest Author Bio:

Guest post was contributed by Jordan Traeger on behalf of ShortTermHealthInsurance.net – an insurance company that provides temporary medical insurance quotes for freelancers and contractors.