The Road to SuccessThe Most In-Demand Jobs for Graduates


As graduation looms and high schoolers begin planning the next phase of their lives, they have important choices to make. What will they do after high school? Where will they go? What will they become and what steps are needed? It is true that anyone can be what they’ve always wanted to be – anyone can aspire to whatever they dream. It is also true that some paths to professional success and financial security are more difficult or riskier than others.

In the professional world, three distinct areas stand out as providing the best opportunities for professional success in the upcoming decade: Healthcare, Computer Science and Skilled Trades.


Healthcare in the United States is vitally important. Many current professionals are aging out or retiring due to new changes and new technology. The population is also unhealthier than it has ever been. Nearly every position in healthcare is understaffed and could use the help. To make an immediate impact and earn a high wage, those heading to college can concentrate their efforts on these Top 5 positions.

Healthcare Top 5

1. Nurse Practitioner – Nearly every position in nursing is in demand. Working as a nurse practitioner requires a master’s degree, but can be very rewarding and command an average salary of $120,000/yr.

2. Physician Assistant – Another job requiring a master’s degree, a PA provides diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative services under the supervision of a licensed physician. You won’t be a doctor, but you can expect to earn an average annual salary of $125,000.

3. Psychiatric Nurse/Licensed Counselor – The demand for mental health professionals is extremely high. As the world becomes more chaotic, mental health is becoming a major focus. Professionals in mental health can make an average of $100,000/yr.

4. Health Service Managers – People in this position specialize in running a department or service from a business outlook. Their domain includes policy, goals, personnel, reports, budgeting and more. Experienced managers can earn upwards of $150,000/yr.

5. Home Health/Personal Care Aid – We all know someone who needs help in their daily lives and finding someone trained to provide it is a challenge. Jobs in home healthcare are available throughout the country. A personal care aid can earn an average of $50,000/yr.

Computer Science

Computers and what they do are our future. From working in Artificial Intelligence, to E-commerce and programming, jobs will always be in high demand. For those looking to go into the field of computer science, here’s a word to the wise: specialize. Employers are looking for those with expansive knowledge in a specific field rather than a general degree. Choose to specialize in that which interests you most as you begin your career, and then branch out later.

Computer Science Top 5

1. Data Scientist/Engineer – Data is big business and data scientists make it all run. Professionals handle a number of jobs such as product creation, implementing statistical models and so on. Average salary for an experienced data scientist is $100,000/yr.

2. Information Security Analyst – We have all had a run in or two with a computer virus or worm or at least have had it happen to our employer or a friend. Those entrusted to protect our data are in high demand and can earn $120,000/yr. on average.

3. Web Developer – It makes the world go round. As the internet becomes the new spot for everything, it will constantly need to be added to, changed or updated. An experienced web developer should expect to earn an average of $75,000/yr.

4. Software Developer – We need the programs to run our games, business apps and more. Someone has to design them. New software will always be required as the world evolves and developers can make over $100,000/yr. on average.

5. Information Systems Manager – These are the people who store and manage all the data needed for organizations to operate. Server maintenance, software implementation and retrieval are only some of what they do. An Information Systems Manager can make almost $170,000/yr. on average.

Skilled Trades

Upon leaving high school, many grads have no intention of attending a formal college or university; instead, they opt to “hit the ground running” and join a trade school or business as an apprentice. There is nothing wrong with this and, in fact, they will always have a job somewhere if they stay licensed. The skilled trades will always be important as are the people who work in them.

Skilled Trades Top 5

1. Wind Turbine Technician – Renewable energy is going to be the next step for human civilization and wind energy will play a large role. After a two-year program, technicians can expect to start earning an average salary of $60,000/yr.

2. Solar Photovoltaic Installer – Here’s that renewable energy again. Solar is beginning to surpass wind as the choice for most communities and organizations and the demand is going to rise sharply as the world begins to wean itself off of fossil fuels. Installers start with an average salary of $60,000/yr.

3. Electrician – For those of us who own a home or business, we know how in-demand electricians are. Everything needs power and there will always be a need for those who have mastered it. Experienced electricians can earn more than $80,000/yr.

4. HVAC Technician – Made even more important with our changes in air quality and rising temperatures, these skills are needed now more than ever. Knowing how to properly heat, cool and filter our building’s air will always be important. An HVAC tech can expect to start at $50,000/yr.

5. Plumber – Plumbers will forever be needed in society. They handle all the tough (and dirty) jobs and get very little love. The profession can be quite lucrative for experts – plumbers can expect to start at $60,000/yr.

Other in-demand skilled trades include carpenter, brick mason, aircraft mechanic, welder and crane operator.

For those who are not drawn to healthcare, computer science or skilled trades, here are a few more professions to consider to increase your chances of future success.

General Career Top 5

1. Financial Manager – As long as money exists, helping organizations or individuals manage their complicated finances will always be in need. Successful managers make an average of $130,000/yr.

2. Actuary – Actuaries use math, statistics and data to evaluate risk. They typically work for insurance companies and make an average of $100,000/yr.

3. Social Service Manager – Social Service Managers handle programs that support public health, society advancement and well-being. They make $74,000/yr. on average, depending upon their represented organization.

4. Educator – One of the most needed positions today, educators are leaving the profession or retiring due to the political climate and struggles of today’s learning environments. Teachers are extremely important and can make a crucial impact on a child’s life. Teacher pay varies across the country with an average of $50,000/yr.

5. Chef – The Culinary Arts are a niche career that is in-demand in every city or town. A head chef can expect to make $50,000/yr. on average.

For those unsure of what they want to become or who would like to enhance their earning potential and chances of success, pursuing a profession that is in demand is the answer. The choice is yours!


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