How to Choose a Recession-Proof & Lucrative Career

by Terri Williams

Some high-paying careers are expected to be in high demand regardless of the economic state of the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has pored over mounds of data, and projects that there are certain well-paying careers that will be in demand whether the country is in a recession or not, because these occupations provide invaluable services that are always in need. Some lucrative, recession-proof jobs have at least a 30 percent growth and pay over $75,000 a year.

Biomedical Engineering

According to the BLS, through 2020, the average growth rate for U.S. jobs is 14.3 percent through 2020. However, demand for biomedical engineers will increase at 62 percent, which is more than 4 times the national average. In addition, biomedical engineers earned a lucrative annual mean wage of $91,200, according to May 2012 BLS salary data. Among other things, biomedical engineers design artificial organs and new drug therapies -- and these types of inventions should provide job security for years to come. Biomedical engineers need an aptitude for chemistry, physics and biology, in addition to a degree in biomedical engineering.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapy is another high-demand career choice that pays well. Through 2020, the BLS projects a 39 percent growth rate for physical therapists. In May 2012, this occupation paid a comfortable annual mean wage of $81,110. Physical therapists help physically rehabilitate patients, a service that is growing in demand due to an aging population susceptible to injuries and illnesses. In addition to a master’s or doctoral degree in physical therapy, students should also have a firm understanding of the basics of anatomy, biology and chemistry.


The highest paying career on the list, optometrists earned $109,810 in May 2012, according to BLS salary data. Also, the demand for these eye doctors is projected to increase by 33 percent through 2020. Optometrists examine the eyes and treat vision problems such as injuries, diseases and other eye disorders. Sight preservation is a high priority in any economy, which should provide a level of job stability and security. Optometrists need a doctor of optometry degree, with excellent grades in biochemistry, anatomy and physiology.

Software Developers

The 30 percent growth rate projected for software developers through 2020 doubles the national average for other occupations. And the $90,470 annual mean wage earned by these professionals in 2012 is a testament to their value in the age of technology. An increased demand for computer software -- especially mobile applications – and the need for cyber security, fuels job growth in this profession. Software developers need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or math. In addition, they need a strong background in computer programming.

About the Author

Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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