NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Changes in the job market are still on the top of everyone's mind in this uncertain economy, even despite the positive August jobs report with about 180,000 nonfarm payroll positions created. Yet with a steady 7.4% unemployment rate, job security, quality wages and upward mobility are key for today's most in-demand careers. Sometimes, though, you have to think outside the box, and there are some professions that fly under the radar in all three categories:
Becoming a paralegal is a great way to experience the law industry and all of the excitement and structure it brings. To become a paralegal you will need a certificate in paralegal studies or an associate's degree in paralegal studies. Both routes leave you with less debt and a quicker route to professional employment than traditional law school.
Be prepared to spend a lot of time preparing attorneys for trials and other forms of litigations. A strong attention to detail is needed as well as the ability to conduct detailed research.
What it Pays: Average salary $50,000.
Taking out the Trash
For decades, being a trash collector has been one of the most overlooked lucrative professions in this country. Early hours, a smelly work environment and the public stigma of the job makes the high standard salary a requirement.
For those who are early risers and love to live on a strict schedule, this job is for you. Education requirements can be minimal; however, continuing education is often necessary for management and supervisory positions.
What it Pays: Average salary $60,000.
On the Road Again
The major theme of jobs on this list are occupations that are essential, regardless of the economic environment. Being a light rail or taxi driver is no different. The training to become a light rail driver takes more time, three to nine months, depending on the city.
Becoming a taxi driver can be a feast or famine position, with uncertain hours and uncertain income, but many big city cab drivers work long hours and bring home a nice-sized check for their efforts.
Both jobs have several things in common: social interactions with different people, erratic hours and active listening skills. And once you have the job down, you can transfer your skill set to any city, even to overseas markets.
What it Pays: Average salary $55,000.
Seeing the Forest for the Trees
Were you the kid that was always climbing a tree? Not afraid of heights? In good physical shape?
Look into becoming a timber harvester or park ranger. The U.S. Forest Service and state forest departments are consistently one of the most popular government entities in this country.
Once again, these are both professions that are easily transferable with the ability to withstand tough economic times. You can enter both professions at a young age with the right motivation. Timber harvesters do have one of the highest danger levels for any occupation.
What it Pays: Park rangers average $55,000 while timber harvesters can average $70,000.
Your job area not on this list? No worries. As you read, all of these jobs have the same common themes for security and an above average salary. Look for these same qualities if you are changing careers or just starting out. And remember, as long as you have a passion for your profession and a hard work ethic, you will be successful.
Rodric J. Hurdle-Bradford, APR is a freelance writer based out of Scottsdale, Ariz. He covers casino gaming, personal finance and real estate topics for several publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.