Most people limit their career choices to the well-known: doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. Here are 10 professions that are not only under-the-radar, but that offer advantages over their better-known counterparts.
Take, for example, the first three, which are all healthcare careers. While they're less top-of-mind than doctor or nurse, they offer major advantages: high patient cure rate, regular hours, few emergencies, and thus, less stress.
1. Orthodontist. Unlike many other health care professions, an orthodontist gets to see their patients frequently over months or years, and so they build a relationship with them. Oh, and the average pay is more than $200,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One disadvantage is the amount of school required to become one: dental school followed by orthodontics school plus a residency. For more info, visit http://www.recruiter.com/careers/orthodontists.
2. Audiologist. The aging boomers are boosting the job market for these hearing specialists. And today's hearing aids are more effective and smaller, so more patients are likely to be delighted. You get to be called "doctor," although you won't have endured as many years of study associated with medicine stereotypically: If you have a bachelor's degree, the Doctor of Audiology degree requires only three or four years of study. For more information, visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/audiologists.htm.
3. Optometrist. Our aging population also ensures high demand for these eye experts. Two training options: a four-year post-bachelor's program or a seven-year B.S./O.D. program. For more info, visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/optometrists.htm#tab-1.
4. Employee Trainer. This is a good career for people who'd enjoy teaching but worry about their ability to handle unruly kids in a K-12 classroom, or those who don't have the Ph.D. usually required for college teaching. Corporate, non-profit, and government trainers may specialize, for example, in technology, communication, or diversity. But some are generalists who get to learn and teach something new all the time. For more information on this occupation, visit http://www.astd.org/.
5. Program Analyst. This government job title is a catch-all for people who plan and evaluate government programs, anything from a project to reduce AIDS in the Native American population to a program to recycle government desks. Of course, government jobs are well-known for their ample benefits, holidays, and job security, fiscal cliff or not. For more info, go to http://www.ehow.com/about_6122261_job-description-program-analyst.html.
6. Counterterrorism Specialist. As the Sandy Hook shooting and Libya embassy bombing remind us, terrorism can occur close to home or halfway around the globe. Alas, it's difficult to foresee a situation in which demand for counterterrorism experts will decline. The military, FBI, CIA, and other federal agencies will likely continue to hire counterterrorism specialists, especially people with Middle Eastern language and cultural competence. For more information, visit http://www.nctc.gov/careers/careers.html.
7. Genetic Counselor. Genetic counselors help people make such decisions as, "Your genetic profile indicates you have a 50 percent chance of passing on the genes for depression to your child. Should you get pregnant?" Over the course of your career, many more genetic tests will be available to assess the likelihood of you or your offspring getting a disease. In other words, demand for genetic counselors should burgeon. Visit http://www.nsgc.org/ for more info.
8. International Business Developer. The economies of regions such as East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are growing faster than the economy in the United States. To capitalize on that growth, corporations use business developers to expand into new locales, and to forge joint ventures, mergers, and licensing agreements. Big stakes, big payoff. For more information, visit https://www.wetfeet.com/articles/career-overview-business-development.
9. Arts Administrator. Museums, theaters, symphonies, etc., use administrators to hire, fire, manage, fund raise, and so on. The government also employs arts administrators of local arts commissions as well as of national entities such as the National Endowment for the Arts. Often, only a bachelor's degree is required. You'll find more info at http://harvardmagazine.com/breaking-news/arts-administration-in-challenging-times.
10. Energy Engineer. Whether figuring out how to wring more energy from a gallon of gas, make solar into more than a bit-player in the energy solution, or create and operate safer nuclear plants, an energy engineer is working in one of the more in-demand and viable technical hands-on careers. For more info, visit http://www.aeecenter.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Dr. Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach" and he was Contributing Editor for Careers at U.S. News. His sixth and seventh books were published in 2012: How to Do Life: What They Didn't Teach You in School and What's the Big Idea? 39 Disruptive Proposals for a Better America. More than 1,000 of his published writings are free on www.martynemko.com. He posts here every Monday.