10 Careers That Didn’t Exist When You Were In Middle School

Posted October 24, 2012 by
Annie Favreau

Annie Favreau

Whether you’re hunting for your first job or need to turbo-charge a career change, you want to pick a field with a good future.

One way to tackle this challenge? Choose a career in a new or evolving field. Thanks to cultural shifts, unforeseen disasters, and technological changes, there are job postings for careers that didn’t exist a decade ago. And these on-the-rise roles are often in such new territory that the job market isn’t (yet) drowning in competition.

Check out these 10 career choices that have taken off in recent years:

1. App Developer

As the creators of the Angry Birds game mark its one-billionth download, it’s safe to say the mobile application industry has officially exploded. This means lots of opportunities for developers to hone their skills creating programs for the Smartphone market.

Average Salary: $93,000

2. Chief Listening Officer

According to Forbes, the first ever Chief Listening Officer was appointed in 2010 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2010/11/19/names-you-need-to-know-in-2011-chief-listening-officer/). The job may be less than two years old, but it’s certainly growing strong. CLOs are responsible for monitoring social media and web platforms to find out what’s being said about their company. This career—like all social media jobs—couldn’t have been predicted before the rise of Facebook.

Average Salary: $63,000

3. Green Funeral Director

The future of the death industry is looking very green. As an environmentally-aware funeral director, you help families lay loved ones to rest without a large carbon footprint. From bamboo coffins to pesticide-free burial sites, you make sure last rites are both respectful and low impact.

Average Salary: $53,000

4. Forensic Accountant

As a forensic accountant, you track down criminal activity hidden in paper trails and spreadsheets. Whether you’re investigating tax evasion or testifying as an expert witness, you use your accounting know-how to bring about justice. Technically, this job isn’t completely new, but demand has recently skyrocketed due to high-profile financial crimes like the Bernie Madoff scandal.

Average Salary: $73,000

5. TSA Officer

Since the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, TSA agents have been checking passengers and baggage to keep our friendly skies safe. As a TSA officer, you’re not only the frontline against danger, you can also expand your career options with more on-the-job training in security, intelligence, and counter-terrorism.

Average Salary: $38,000

6. Medical Coder

As the healthcare and insurance industries become more complicated, it’s generated a new field: medical coding and billing. In the role of medical coder, you help process medical claims so hospitals get reimbursed for patient care. Not only is this job in-demand, it can also be the first stepping-stone toward other medical office management positions.

Average Salary: $34,000

7. Environmental Economist

Environmental economists calculate the costs of going green. Working at the intersection of ecological and economical sustainability, you analyze company or government policies involving water quality, air pollution, global warming, and more.

Average Salary: $90,000

8. Patient Advocate

Navigating the healthcare system can feel overwhelming. And that’s where a patient advocate can help. Working one-on-one with patients, you schedule appointments, help choose treatments plans, and translate medical lingo into plain speech. It’s your job to make sure patients get the best possible care at the lowest possible cost.

Average Salary: $35,000

9. User Experience Designer

The goal of a User Experience (UX) designer is to make web pages and programs intuitive, accessible, and easy to use (there’s nothing worse than trying to navigate a clunky website, right?). For this state-of-the-art job you’ve got to understand how computers and humans work.

Average Salary: $93,000

10. Sustainability Officer

Since the creation of the first Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) in 2004, this area has steadily gained steam. As a sustainability officer, you combine your knowledge of business and environmental best practices to help your company go—and stay—green.

Average Salary: $165,000

All salary data from the US Department of Labor.

Which of these on-the-rise jobs would you choose?


Annie Favreau works for Inside Jobs a site that helps people discover careers they’ll love and find the right education to make it happen. Spark your future with Inside Jobs.

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