Sizzling Careers For A Satisfying Future
By Chelse Benham
“The recipe for personal success: Find a need that beats your drum. Create a
plan, then make a dent. Trust that your rewards will come. And credit them as
heaven sent.” – Unknown
How fabulous would it be to choose a career that you love, that is in high demand
and that makes you a lot of money? Trends in different professions change with
the times. What was hot 20 years ago may not be now. There are still the basic
professions that consistently reap high dollar incomes such as a doctor, a lawyer
and an engineer, however, they require a great deal of education and training.
Some professions require far less education to immediately access the benefits
of the job. One such profession that requires a high school diploma or its
equivalent that is in high demand in the Rio Grande Valley is the telephone
Call centers, where telephone service representatives work, handle a variety of
services in areas of collections, customer service, customer care, technical
support and telemarketing.
“We have nine call centers in the area, and they are all relatively new.
Collectively, the call centers are trying to fill close to 1,000 jobs in the Valley.
There is a real need to fill these positions,” said Predro Salazar, associate
director for One Stop Capital Shop at The University of Texas-Pan American.
“The key point we are trying to get across is that call centers do different things.
Yes, some do telemarketing, but others do collections, customer service,
reservations, etc. It is true that call centers have a demanding work environment,
but the compensation can be very good and they are a great training ground.”
Cited in the San Antonio Express, Dr. Rosemary Batt, professor at Cornell
University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School and the author of “Low-wage
America: How Employers Are Reshaping Opportunity in the Workplace,” says
call centers have grown 20 percent during the 1990s and currently employ three
percent of the U.S. work force.
There are many reasons why call centers attract workers, but employee
satisfaction may be number one on the list. Batt lists in her article several
reasons why call centers attract so much of the U.S. workforce. The following
• good working environment,
• supportive management,
• opportunities for advancement,
• and great pay.
Call centers also offer a lot of benefits to keep their employees happy. Some
standard benefits among these centers include discounts on products and
services, medical, dental and vision insurance, flexible work schedules,
retirement plans, tuition reimbursement and opportunities for advancement.
Some centers are equipped with on-site gyms, childcare facilities and cafeterias.
Wages are individually driven and can be increased through bonuses, incentives
and prizes for such things as good attendance, exceeding quotas and
For more information about employment in call centers in the Valley visit
The telephone service representative is just one of many growing professions
that are in demand. In an April 2004Reader’s Digest article titled “Who’s Hiring?,”
the magazine list some of the most sought after and lucrative professions in the
country. According to the article, most of these jobs will value brains above all
else in what’s being called the “knowledge sector.”
“Who’s Hiring?” identifies some reasons why the following professions will offer
long term prospects. Many of these careers have some things in common.
• The jobs demand complex skills that get paid well for mastering them.
• Many of the jobs can’t be shipped abroad, therefore they offer long-term
• The jobs are in high demand.
The article lists the jobs by varying degrees of education levels. It uses the
following acronyms to indicate the different levels of education needed for each
profession. High school graduates of any age (HSG), experienced white-collar
managers (WCM) and recent college graduates (RCG) are used to identify the
levels of experience needed to enter the specific fields.
Surgical technologist: (HSG) Average salary is $35,000. Need to
pursue a professional certification from the Liaison Council on Certification
for the Surgical Technologist. For more information about certification and
the profession visit www.lcc-st.org or the Web site of the Association of
Surgical Technologists at www.AST.org
Health care administrator: (WCM) Average salary is $70,000.
Management skills and experience are required for this job. In the
profession you are expected to coordinate medical services, group
practices and supervise personnel within a hospital or medical facility. For
more information visit the Medical Group Management Association Web
site at www.MGMA.com
Registered nurse: (RCG) Average salary is $49,000. (Nurse anesthetists
can earn more than $125,000) This profession is in extreme demand.
According to the Bureau of Labor, 1999 Occupational Employment
Statistics Data almost 13 percent of the U.S. nursing positions are
currently vacant and the is expected to grow. For more information visit
the American Nurses Association Web site at www.nursingworld.org
Computer troubleshooter: (HSG) Average salary is $30,000. In this
profession you will fix and maintain computers, but the appropriate
certification from a trade school is required. The fastest growth in this field
is in computer system security. For more information visit CompTIA, at
www.comptia.org, the largest information technology trade association
Security-equipment installer: (HSG) Average salary range is $23,000 to
$52,000. This job requires you to install, monitor and maintain security
systems. A certification by the National Institute for Certification in
Engineering Technologies may increase your salary. For more information
Claims adjuster: (HSG) Average salary is $43,000. Property casualty
insurers need people to work with policyholders in evaluating losses and
settling claims. For more information visit the Web site for the Insurance
Institute of America at www.AICPCU.org
Medical records technician: (HSG) Average salary is $40,000.
Certification from the American Health Information Management
Association is preferred because the job requires workers to assign codes
to hospital procedures . For more information visit www.AHIMA.org
Technical writer: (RCG) Average salary is $43,000. A writer must create
clear, well organized instructions to help corporate users and consumers
manage technology and operate equipment. For information visit the
Society for Technical Communication at their Web site www.STC.org
The professions listed above are hot today, but what about the future? Is it
possible to speculate what will be the next wave of hot jobs? Time magazine did
just that on their web site www.time.com in an article called “Visions of the 21st
Century.” They list 10 hot jobs of the future; just a few are provided here.
Tissue Engineers: With man-made skin already on the market and
artificial cartilage not far behind, 25 years from now scientists expect to be
pulling a pancreas out of a Petri dish. Researchers have successfully
grown new intestines and bladders inside animals' abdominal cavities, and
work has begun on building liver, heart and kidney tissue.
Gene Programmers: Digital genome maps will allow lab technicians to
create customized prescriptions, altering individual genes by rewriting
lines of computer code. After scanning your DNA for defects, doctors will
use gene therapy and "smart" molecules to prevent a variety of diseases,
including certain cancers.
Hot-line Handymen: Still daunted by the thought of reprogramming your
VCR, let alone your newfangled DVD? Remote diagnostics will take care
of most of your home electronics, but a few repairmen will still make house
calls ... via video phone.
Narrowcasters: Today's broadcasting industry will become increasingly
personalized, working with advertisers to create content just for you.
Ambient commercials will also hijack your attention by using tastes and
smells, with the ultimate goal of beaming buy-me messages directly into
The article also speculates a number of jobs that may decrease or become
completely obsolete in the future they include:
Stockbrokers, Auto Dealers, Mail Carriers, Insurance and Real Estate
Agents: The Internet will eradicate middlemen by the millions, with a
hardy few remaining to service the non-Internet user.
Teachers: Distance learning is becoming more popular, and through the
miracle of online classes and electronic grading, today's faculty lounge
could become tomorrow's virtual help desk. Though a complete
conversion is unlikely, outsourcing our education system might cost less
than installing all those metal detectors.
Printers: Newspapers and magazines will make the switch to digital
paper. Xerox and other visionaries are racing to produce a material that's
as flexible as regular paper and as versatile as a computer screen.
Prison Guards: Microscopic implants will restrain convicts from engaging
in criminal activity.
Want the bottom-line on the best careers in the country? Here are the strongest
marketplace trends: technology and healthcare. One-third of 30 jobs projected to
grow in the next decade are in these two fields according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. As much as half of all those jobs are in human health care. Given
these numbers, it may be prudent to go into these fields when considering your
future, but then again, it may be best to follow your heart and hope it takes you
where the action and money are.
“Every era has a currency that buys souls. In some the currency is pride, in
others it is hope, in still others it is a holy cause. There are of course times when
hard cash will buy souls, and the remarkable thing is that such times are marked
by civility, tolerance, and the smooth working of everyday life.” - Eric Hoffer
(1902-1983) American social philosopher