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Jobs for Veterans in 2013


The year 2012 is rolling slowly to its close, and if you’re like many veterans, you’re still looking for a job. Veterans’ unemployment is a national concern that several major employers – including the government – have made a priority to address. Unfortunately, challenges remain. If last month’s USA TODAY’s quarterly survey of economists is any indication, we have another year of modest-if-not-barely-above-stagnant growth to look forward to in 2013.

A few highlights according to the median estimate of USA TODAY’s 48 economists polled:

The economy will grow 2.3% next year, up from an average of 1.65% in the first half of 2012. (A healthy growth rate is considered 3% or more.)

By the fourth quarter of 2013 we will be adding jobs at an average monthly rate of 175,000. Fourth quarter 2012 is forecast to add about 130,000/month.

Business investment growth, estimated at 4.2% in this quarter, will rise to 7.5% in next year's fourth quarter.

When unemployment is high and jobs are hard to find, it’s hard to believe there are actually worker shortages in some industry sectors. But it’s true. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of the fastest-growing occupations, there are more than a million new jobs looming on the horizon. Will the pool of available workers be trained and ready to fill them?  That remains to be seen.

Here’s a look at some of the occupations to watch:

Home Health Worker

Projected growth: 50 percent/461,000 new jobs by 2018

Salary: $21,620 mean; could be up to $40,000 in more affluent areas

The Field: If the only thing you know about home health workers comes from the late 90’s sitcom Frazier, you have a lot to learn. Home health aids help frail or infirm individuals either in the comfort of their homes, at a nursing home or assisted living facility. They prepare meals, help with personal hygiene care, and perform light housekeeping. Theirs is a profession that requires licensing because they administer medication, operate medical equipment and check vital signs.

It’s Growing Because: Our population is aging. Demand for health workers already outpaces the number of qualified employees.

Training: Licensure typically requires between 75-120 hours of training, which is usually available through community colleges, hospitals and home health care agencies. Check to make sure your program actually offers licensure.


Biomedical Engineer

Projected growth: 72 percent/12,000 new jobs by 2018

Salary: $82,550 mean; $103,000 for scientific and technical consultants

The Field: This is a relatively new field, a sort of morph of the medical and engineering specialties. Think makers of the Million Dollar Man: biomedical engineers create and construct devices (artificial limbs, next-generation x-ray machines) and improve upon processes (making medications easier to administer).

It’s Growing Because: Technology moves at a breakneck speed, particularly in the genomic and pharmaceutical industries.

Training: A master’s degree is mandatory, as is a strong attraction to engineering, math, physics and chemistry.


Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst

Projected Growth: 53 percent/156,000 new jobs by 2018

Salary: $76,560 mean; $99,000 - $105,000 in top industries and in tech-y locations like San Jose and Santa Clara, Calif.

The Field: Analysts handle the virtual nuts and bolts of an I.T. department — designing, building, testing and maintaining information systems, internal or Internet-wide. They also know network and data communications hardware and software.

It’s Growing Because: Every organization needs someone who knows IT in and out. Mobile data and cloud computing have given IT departments new life.

Training: Although a background in computer science isn’t a necessity, some returning students may need to dust off some skills, particularly in networking, database and web design, mobile technology and internet architecture. Certification programs may be the most cost-effective and time-efficient approaches for career changers to be competitive.


Athletic Trainer

Projected Growth: 37 percent, or 6,000 new jobs by 2018

Salary: $41,340 mean

The Field: These are the people on sidelines at sporting events who help injured athletes, not the people at the gym telling you to do ten more pushups. Athletic trainers work under a medical doctor’s supervision. They have an education in sports medicine and are well versed in the techniques needed to prevent and treat skeletal and muscular injuries. They design training and strengthening exercises, and observe movement patterns and activities across a wide range of professions.

It’s Growing Because: Health care costs are rising, and major employers (from Disney to the FBI) employ them to help their workers stay physically fit and on the job.

Training: A bachelor’s degree in athletic training is a minimum requirement. Most states require licensing. Nearly 2/3rds of all athletic trainers have a master’s in athletic training. Admission to a two-year master’s program usually means prerequisite coursework in biology, chemistry, physics and anatomy, along with electives like nutrition, biochemistry or exercise physiology.


One of the many advantages that come with having a military background is not just the experience, but the access to education benefits. Find out how to use them so you can get a leg up on these growing career fields next year.

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