With the economy humming, now is the time to make your move.
If you sit on the sofa after the bills are paid wondering how you’re going to get to the next payday, or if the thought of getting to work in the morning doesn’t thrill you like it once did, take heart.
Even though there are indications the Houston economy is cooling a bit from the red-hot growth it enjoyed the past few years, there are still plenty of well-paying, challenging career positions available if you know where to look and how to prepare.
According to the Greater Houston Partnership’s Employment Forecast for 2016, five top areas of opportunity are health care, construction, government, accommodation and food services, and professional and technical services.
Here, then, for your review, is a short list of careers with great prospects.
Houston’s population is growing—and aging—and those factors stimulate the need for additional health care workers. More than 90,000 babies are born here each year, and another 30,000 residents turn 65.
Medical records and health information specialist, commonly referred to as health information technicians or coders, organize and manage health information data. They ensure that information maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper files and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories. Most health information technicians work in hospitals or physicians’ offices.
Education and Training: Health information technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, although some may need an associate’s degree. Certification is often required. The HCC Health Information Technology program offers students four levels of completion: a two-year Health Information Technology AAS, a one-year Health Information Coding certificate, a nine-month Health Information Analysis certificate and a Cancer Data Management certificate.
Salary: The median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $37,110 ($17.84 per hour) in May 2015.
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The upper Texas Gulf Coast is in the midst of a $63 billion expansion in the petrochemical industry, which won’t peak until early next year. Estimates predict the industry an additional 8,000 to 10,000 workers will be needed next year. Add to that voter-approved municipal bond projects totaling more than $3.4 billion, which will build new county, city, and school facilities. It’s a pot of gold for people who enjoy building and are ready to train!
Welders use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join or cut metal parts. They also fill holes, indentations, or seams in metal products. They may work outdoors, often in inclement weather, or indoors, sometimes in a confined area. They may work on a scaffold, high off the ground, and they occasionally must lift heavy objects and work in awkward positions. Although most work full time, overtime is common.
Education and Training: HCC offers both a Basic Welding Helper (Certificate) and an Advanced Welding (Certificate), both of which offer students the necessary skills for entry level positions in the welding industry. There is an increasing demand for skilled welders in the fields of MIG (Metal Inert Gas), TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas), and Pipe welding.
Salary: The median annual wage for welders was $38,150 ($18.34 per hour) in May 2015.
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories. Electricians work indoors and outdoors in nearly every type of facility. Almost all electricians work full time, which may include evenings and weekends.
Education and Training: Although most electricians learn through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school. Most states require electricians to be licensed.
Salary: The median annual wage for electricians was $51,880 ($24.94 per hour) in May 2015.
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A growing population requires additional teachers for public schools and community colleges, as well as more first responders, law enforcement and security personnel.
Public school teachers are needed from kindergarten through high school. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading. They generally work school hours when students are present and use nights and weekends to prepare lessons and grade papers. High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market. Postsecondary teachers work for community colleges and universities, and instruct students in a wide variety of academic, career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.
Education and Training: A bachelor’s or master’s degree is required for most teaching positions. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job. HCC’s Accelerated Teacher Certification is a state-approved comprehensive educator preparation program that trains individuals for Texas standard certification in elementary and secondary education.
Salary: The median annual wage for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was $54,550 in May 2015. At the same time, the median annual wage for high school teachers $57,200 per year, while postsecondary teachers made a median $72,470.
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Child Development Associate
Police Officers maintain order and protect life and property by enforcing local, tribal, State, or Federal laws and ordinances. Police patrol a specific area; direct traffic; issue traffic summonses; investigate accidents and crimes; apprehend and arrest suspects, and serve legal processes of courts.
Education and Training: Most police must graduate from their agency’s approved training academy before completing a period of on-the-job training. HCC operates a Police Academy as part of its Public Service Center of Excellence on the Northeast Campus. Also available are:
Basic Peace Office Licensing (Certificate Level 1)
Salary: The median annual wage for police and detectives was $60,270 ($28.97) in May 2015.
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Emergency Medical Services (EMS) (AAS)
Emergency Medical Services Paramedic (Certificate Level 2)
Advanced Medical Services Technician (Certificate)
Sources: Greater Houston Partnership 2016 Employment Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics