If the current pandemic has done nothing else for us, it has given us a new appreciation for certain career fields. Here are six that have proved to be essential during the pandemic and resulting economic downturn.

1. Computer science

Computer science is always in high demand. And while there are a myriad of career disciplines within the field, one that sticks out in our current situation is information security analysis. With hacking by foreign nations at an all-time high and increased traffic on computer networks from people now working from home and students going to school online, the need for network protection and cyber security are in high demand and predicted to continue in the future.

  • Projected Growth: 32%
  • Employment Change: 35,500
  • Annual Median Pay: $99,730

2. Trade & craft workers

The push toward getting a degree has been so great that we are now short of people skilled in the trades. Not only are they in high demand for creating new products, but also for maintaining existing infrastructure. Homes that need renovation use carpenters, plumbers and electricians. Welders and machinists are part of the manufacturing process, along with making replacement parts and welding repairs. For example, here are the job statistics for plumbers:

  • Projected Growth: 14%
  • Employment Change: 68,200
  • Annual Median Pay: $55,160

3. Truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license

During the coronavirus pandemic, the value of getting products to market, especially grocery products, was paramount to people surviving. Regardless of the economic situation, people still need to eat. Everything found in stores was delivered there by a truck. It may have come into a destination port by ship, plane or train, but it took a truck to get it from there to its final destination.

  • Projected Growth: 5%
  • Employment Change: 99,700
  • Annual Median Pay: $45,260

4. Automotive and diesel mechanics

As noted above, transportation moves our economy. Without it, people would not get to their jobs (those lucky enough to have one), and goods and products would not get to stores. Even when buying online, it is some form of transportation that gets that purchase to your house or business. In a downturned economy, people are more likely to keep making repairs to their current vehicle instead of buying a new one. While certain routine maintenance can be delayed, safety issues, such as brakes and tires, must be made. It is these unsung heroes that keep the trains, planes, ships, cars and trucks moving to keep the country moving.

  • Projected Growth: 5%
  • Employment Change: 13,800
  • Annual Median Pay: $48,500

5. Nurses and nurse practitioners 

People routinely get sick but in a down economy with an increase in stress, comes an increase in several medical conditions requiring services of a healthcare professional. Throw into the mix a pandemic and it is easy to see while a nurse with a BSN degree is one of the best recession-proof career in the healthcare field. From routine annual checkups, to assisting in surgery, to taking care of coronavirus-stricken patients in an ICU, these are the heroes on the front lines of medicine whose work is valuable at any time, but especially now during the pandemic.

  • Projected Growth: 12%
  • Employment Change: 371,500
  • Annual Median Pay: $73,300

6. Law enforcement and corrections officers

Civilized communities need rules and regulations to maintain law and order; offenders need to pay for their crimes by serving time in prison. It is these law and correction officers that keep a society from breaking down into unrestrained chaos. As we have seen lately, protests and even unintentional encounters can get physical and escalate to violence that requires law enforcement intervention during these times of enhanced tempers from stress.

  • Projected Growth: 5%
  • Employment Change: 37,500
  • Annual Median Pay: $65,170

All of these six career fields are essential in their own way. The great thing about all six of them is that veterans can use their Post 9/11 GI Bill to train in their field of choice. From a learning a trade at a vocational school, to getting a degree from a college or university or just getting a certificate to enhance job performance, or better position yourself if competing for a new job, any of these post-secondary education choices can be had for very little, if any out of pocket costs at all, by using the GI Bill.

(Note: Projected Growth, Employment Change and Annual Median Pay statistics courtesy of the Bureau of Statistics.) 

Related News

Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.