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Personal Finance

New jobs pay well
Latest report from Labor Department find 20 occupations with good earning potential and growth.
June 23, 2004: 3:29 PM EDT
By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN/Money Senior Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - When the government came out with its 10-year jobs forecast earlier this year, observers noted many of the jobs with the greatest growth potential were fairly low-paying.

Click here for the full list

Well, in its latest quarterly outlook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) broke out 20 jobs with relatively high median earnings, and guess what: they're among the occupations with the greatest number of job openings projected up until 2012.

"High" earnings in this context doesn't mean Wall Street salaries.

It means the earnings of each occupation ranked in the top half of all occupations' 2002 median earnings.

The number of job openings projected for a given field is a combination of new jobs likely to be created and positions likely to open up as a result of workers retiring or otherwise leaving the occupation permanently.

So, for instance, the BLS projects that 95,980 jobs will open up annually between 2002 and 2012 for post-secondary teachers. The median earnings of those who hold the title -- meaning half earned more -- was $49,090 in 2002.

Even though the job market has been fairly dismal in recent years for tenure-seeking Ph.D.s in many fields of academia, BLS projected increased demand for post-secondary teachers for several reasons.

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First, it's likely a large number of tenured professors who started teaching in the 1960s -- when there was a large expansion of the education sector -- will be retiring over the next several years, said BLS economist Jon Sargent.


There's also been growth in the number of community and junior colleges, as well as in technical educational institutions, he said.

Whether schools will seek to hire as many tenured professors or will opt instead to bulk up on lower-paid adjunct professors, as some institutions have done, remains to be seen. If schools reduce the number of tenure track positions, it's possible the median earnings for the occupation could fall.

Also notable about the BLS list: not all of the jobs necessarily require graduate degrees, or even college degrees.

Among the occupations with relatively high median earnings and the potential for significant job openings are carpenters, truck drivers and auto mechanics.

For a look at the occupations, median earnings and the projected number of openings for each, click here.  Top of page

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