Thursday, October 15, 2009

Best Careers in 2010

I just wrote an article on choosing a career that will appear in American Mensa's magazine. Part of the article consists of these descriptions of 16 careers I believe are particularly worthy of consideration by Mensans and other intelligent people. Perhaps you'll find one or more that you might want to check-out:

Researcher with expertise in two or more of these: physics, math, molecular biology, engineering, and/or computer science. Key specializations:

  • energy: e.g., developing space-based solar power, in-vehicle hydrogen fuel generator, algae that's genetically engineered for maximum net energy yield, efficient insulators such as nanolevel-designed coatings, long-cruising-range batteries for electric vehicles.
  • genomics : e.g., determining what gene clusters affect what phenotypes, developing safe, effective methods of gene knockouts and transfers.
  • neurophysics: e.g., understanding the physics of depression, ADD, schizophrenia, retardation, etc.
  • diagnostic imaging: e.g., developing molecular-level medical imaging.
  • pollution control: e.g., nuclear waste neutralizers, nanolevel pollution filters.

    Before getting too excited, remember that after getting that hard-science/math Ph.D, you may need a one-to-two-year postdoc. Learn more: Career Guide for Scientists: Science Careers:

    Federal government manager, especially in homeland security, energy, health care, veterans' affairs, defense, and the environment. Common federal job titles for degree holders: program analyst, program manager, director. Also needed are country experts, especially on China, India, and Middle Eastern countries. The Federal government will be the largest source of new jobs, with 300,000 hires expected within the next two years. Learn more: Partnership for Public Service:

    Corporate executive specializing in global business development or managing global workforces. Being bilingual/bicultural in Mandarin, Hindi, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, or Farsi is a plus. Learn more: Thunderbird School of Global Management Blogs:

    Finance specialist, especially with skills in raising funds globally. Learn more: Global Finance Magazine:

    Terrorism expert, especially on bioterrorism and nuclear/radiologic weapons of mass destruction. Learn more Careers in the Age of Terrorism:
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist. The Mental Health Parity Act now requires mental health to be covered as fully as physical health, but many insurers will cover only cognitive-behavioral therapy because it 's shorter-term and has generally shown greater efficacy than traditional therapy, which explores the impact of past experiences on your psychology. Among my thousands of career coaching clients, I've found that those who have undergone long-term traditional psychotherapy often suffer side effects from the therapy: excessive self-absorption, preoccupation with their past, and/or externalization of responsibility. Learn more: Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies:

    Immigration expert. President Obama has promised a path to citizenship for America's 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants. After ObamaCare is passed, that will likely rise on his agenda. Experts will be needed to figure out how to successfully integrate such a large population of largely minimally educated, limited-English-speaking, and high-health-care need people. Learn more: Department of Homeland Security: National Council of La Raza:

    Optometrist. This career offers high success rate with patients, good income, status, and shorter-than-MD training: four years after a bachelors, seven years in a combined BS/OD program. Learn more: Bureau of Labor Statistics profile:

    Genetic counselor. With personal DNA sequencing becoming ever more informative and affordable, people face many more gene-related decisions, for example, if your genome doubles your risk of breast cancer, should you have a preventive mastectomy? Or you're pregnant and a test reveals your baby has the gene for a genetic disease that may or may not be serious. Should you abort? Genetic counselors help people figure out what to do. A master's is the terminal degree. Learn more: National Society of Genetic Counselors:

    Health informatics specialist. Hospitals, insurers, and regional collaboratives are switching to electronic medical records. Nurses and doctors, urged to do more evidence-based medicine, are using computerized expert systems to guide diagnoses and treatment recommendations. Healthcare providers also are collecting more data to evaluate quality of care. Learn more: American Medical Informatics Organization:, American Health Information Management Association:

    Patient Advocate. Even Christopher Columbus would have had a tough time navigating the tricky waters of the U.S. healthcare system, and most people, especially when ill, aren't the best navigators. Enter patient advocates. They help ensure that the patient gets to see the right specialist. They do Internet research so the patient is informed when talking to the doctor. They educate family members on how to support the patient during a hospital stay. And they sort through the mountains of bills and, if necessary, negotiate fees with the healthcare provider, insurance company, or other payer. ("Medicare, how dare you refuse to pay for that surgery?!") Click here to find out more!Learn more: Becoming a Patient Advocate:

    Program Evaluator. Not withstanding politicians' rhetoric, is Head Start really worth the taxpayer dollars? What are the benefits and liabilities of online versus in-person training of lab techs? How might a teen-pregnancy prevention program further reduce teen pregnancy? Program evaluators address such questions. Learn more: Basic Guide to Program Evaluation:

    Higher Education Administrator. Even in tough times and despite annual more-than-inflation price increases and low freshman-to-senior achievement growth, many people continue to view higher education as worth the money. So manager types may find the job market better in higher education than in corporate America. Also, colleges are among the more felicitous work environments for bright people. Plus you get lots of vacation: Neat niche: Student affairs administrator. (No, I'm not talk about assignations.) Learn more: the book, The College Administrator's Survival Guide.

    Physical Therapist. Job satisfaction surveys rate this career near the top. One-on-one interaction, with progress usual, reasonable work hours, and you get to spend more than the physician's 12 minutes per patient. In addition, the job market will be decent as aging boomers are ever more likely to sustain weekend-warrior injuries and worse. A three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy has become the standard terminal degree. Learn more: Dept of Labor profile: Department of Labor profile. American Physical Therapy Association:

    Veterinarian. For many people, this career is more desirable than physician: shorter training, you get to do a wider range of procedures, less insurance paperwork, and you avoid the uncertainties of health care reform. Of course, your patients can't describe what's wrong with them. Learn more:'s veterinary career portal:

    Media coach. I include this self-employment opportunity because it has near-zero start-up costs, demand is strong and likely to grow, and many people would find it fun. Media coaches prepare executives, job seekers and others, to do well in front of a camera or microphone: YouTube, intranet, video-resume, as well as traditional TV and radio. Learn more: the book Media Training, A-Z.


    Anonymous said...

    Great post! Thanks Marty!

    But you didn't offer any resources for the career of Media Coach - which I am most interested in.


    Marty Nemko said...


    Leslie Olguin-Estrada said...

    Great blog are always so informative! Carmine Gallo Book author from Pleasanton Calif. has a great new book on presenting on and off camera...Mark Curtis of Danville, Calif would be a great contact for media coach...many years as a Fox Anchor and traveling political analyst.

    Anonymous said...

    Hmmm - I have ten years experience as a paralegal for immigration lawyers. I was laid off July 2009 and can't find a job using those skills to save my life. Therefore, with all due respect, I have to question the "immigration expert" field.

    Marty Nemko said...

    Just wait until ObamaCare is passed. Then Obama will turn to legalizing the 12 million illegals. That will open the immigration-expert job spigot.