In the past year, there's been so much talk about job loss, high unemployment rates, lack of jobs and employment declines that it's been hard to focus on anything else. It's important to realize, however, that while the recession undoubtedly has a negative effect on the job market, it also provides a few select sectors with opportunities for growth.
In February 2009, the unemployment rate for educational services dropped to 4 percent from 5.3 percent in December 2008. That's 4.1 percentage points less than the national unemployment rate of 8.1 percent.
There were 75,000 job openings in January 2009 compared with 65,000 in January 2008, according to the BLS. Additionally, new hires in education rose by 40,000, to 71,000 in January 2009 from 31,000 in December 2008.
So why is education thriving while so many other job sectors deteriorate?
For one, enrollment is on the rise for grades K-12: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools rose an estimated 26 percent between 1985 and 2007. Public elementary school enrollment (pre-kindergarten through grade eight) is projected to increase by 10 percent between 2007 and 2016.
Additionally, enrollment is increasing because of joblessness. Many job seekers are unable to find work in their preferred fields, and as a result, workers are going back to school to gain experience in other arenas. No matter what the reason, more people going back to school means higher enrollment numbers, which means a higher demand for faculty.
Finally, the majority of workers in education are over 45, which means job openings will continue to increase as those workers retire. Moreover, President Barack Obama's new stimulus plan allocates $53 billion to education and training -- a move that will surely create new jobs in the sector.
If you're looking for a career in education, here are 10 jobs to consider, along with their projected employment growth and mean annual wages, according to the BLS.
1. Adult literacy, remedial education, and GED teachers and instructors teach courses to children and adults in literacy and English as a second language, and in preparation for the General Educational Development test.
2006 employment: 76,000
Projected 2016 employment: 87,000
Mean annual wage: $47,830
2. Cafeteria cooks make large quantities of food for school breakfast, lunch and after-school programs.
2006 employment: 401,000
Projected 2016 employment: 445,000
Mean annual wage: $22,340
3. Coaches instruct groups and individuals about the fundamentals of sports; many coaches also work as teachers in the schools where they coach.
2006 employment: 217,000
Projected 2016 employment: 249,000
Mean annual wage: $34,720
4. Education administrators (preschool and child-care centers) are in charge of academic and nonacademic activities for young children in preschool and day care centers and programs.
2006 employment: 56,000
Projected 2016 employment: 69,000
Mean annual wage: $44,430
5. Janitors and cleaners keep schools spotless by cleaning all areas of the premises, from the gymnasium to individual classrooms. They may also perform maintenance repairs.
2006 employment: 2.39 million
Projected 2016 employment: 2.73 million
Mean annual wage: $22,710
6. Post-secondary teachers are usually college and university faculty. They work in different academic departments or fields and usually teach several different classes related to their specialties.
2006 employment: 1.67 million
Projected 2016 employment: 2.05 million
Mean annual wage: $56,120
7. School bus drivers take students to and from school, picking them up and dropping them off at different stops around their neighborhoods.
2006 employment: 455,000
Projected 2016 employment: 497,000
Mean annual wage: $26,190
8. School counselors work with students and faculty in many capacities. They might counsel students on social, personal or behavioral issues; high school counselors might also advise students on choosing a major or a college's admission requirements.
2006 employment: 260,000
Projected 2016 employment: 292,000
Mean annual wage: $51,690
9. Self-enrichment teachers instruct nonacademic courses that you might take in your free time, such as cooking or knitting. Classes might also include self-improvement courses.
2006 employment: 261,000
Projected 2016 employment: 322,000
Mean annual wage: $39,600
10. Special education teachers teach educationally and physically handicapped students basic academic and life processes skills.
2006 employment: 219,000
Projected 2016 employment: 262,000
Mean annual wage: Salaries vary from $51,230 to $53,020, depending on the level you teach.
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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