Best Careers

Making a list of the best careers is not a straightforward process. It's easy to think that careers in prestigious fields such as medicine and law are the best careers possible. However, not everyone is cut out for a career in those disciplines and even those with the top grades in relevant subjects will not necessarily be happy as doctors or lawyers.

Defining the Best Careers

Most people will automatically think that money earned and social standing are the top factors which determine whether a career is one of the best. These days there are a few more important considerations which spring to mind, namely job security (which was a given in many areas in the past but is now rare) and cost of training. As university and college fees increase and more and more students graduate with a mountain of debt and no prospect of a job, a good education could cost a great deal more than money.

So how can you work out which are the best careers for you or help your children decide which career path to follow.

How to Determine the Best Careers for You

With little guarantee that you'll even get a job, never mind keep it for any length of time, flexibility is important in deciding which way your career is headed. It's important to realize that you will have to continually update your skills and be open to new ways of working.

What does this mean? If you follow a traditional career path, you will still have to keep up to date with skills and techniques – many professions insist that to be able to continue practising you must complete a specified number of courses every few years. This is known as continuing education and may be bad news if you thought that you could throw away the books once you left college.

Career change is another trend which is becoming the rule rather than the exception. Many people are finding that they have no choice but to start new careers several times during their working life time.

Why is this significant? This is important because you need to be prepared for change on a regular basis. One of the best things you can do to be ready for whatever might come is to develop your transferable skills to a high level.

If you are considering a specific career you will ask yourself the obvious questions:

  • What are my job prospects?
  • Will I be able to climb the career ladder?
  • How much will I be able to earn?
  • Is there a shortage of skilled workers in this field?

In addition, you should ask:

  • How important is this job?

Obviously, all jobs are important to some extent, but there are some which will thrive in any economy, for example jobs in health care and education will still be there even in a deep recession.

  • What skills will I gain in this profession and where else could I use them?

Having good transferable skills such as communication skills and computer skills will help you get a job in a completely different career. So make sure you have transferable skills which are in demand in many different areas.

  • How easy will it be to move to a new career ?

This could be a problem if you choose a very narrow specialized area – you might find yourself typecast, as an actor might be. Your transferable skills will come in useful here. So if you don't use a lot of soft skills or computer skills in your job, make sure you develop them outside work.

It is also important to choose a career which you enjoy and which you are good at. Being good at something will enable you to progress and get promotions, and will mean you are less likely to be made redundant when cuts are being made than someone who is just average.

Enjoying what you do most of the time is also incredibly important, as you will probably have to work for longer than you might have expected if you want a decent pension.

And since you will almost certainly have to study to keep your skills and knowledge up to date, it is likely you will be taking course and reading in your spare time.

Where do you want to live?

This is another important consideration, as the availability of jobs will vary from place to place and this will change over time. So you have to think about whether or not you will be prepared to relocate.

To sum up, choosing the best career for you will depend on many factors: your own talents and preferences, the availability of work and training opportunities, your transferable skills and your willingness to be open to continuing your education and being flexible.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook lists home health aides, network systems and data communications analysts, software engineers, dental hygienists, medical assistants,biomedical engineers, biochemists, fitness trainers and vets amongst the fastest growing careers.