Let’s face it: The workplace hasn’t been the same for a while, ever since overly creative minds generated several boom-and-bust phenomena that today have us all doing mental cartwheels as to how best to fit in the new but unimproved economy.
The good news is that there is still an economy, and believe it or not, some sectors of it are poised for growth. If your industry is shrinking or your occupation has become a dead-end path, a look at jobs that are in hot demand might give you the glimpse of a new alternative horizon.
You might have most of the required education already and need only some additional courses or an industry certificate to boost your credentials and make you eligible. Or you might be trying to get into a more professional level of employment, but the prospect of pursuing a four-year college degree in order to get a job with some future trajectory seems daunting, because of the time and financial commitment a typical degree involves.
To that end, a growing array of school training geared toward specific industries — particularly growing industries such as healthcare, information technology and logistics — can be completed in two years or less and set you at the doorstep of a new job. Such programs are proliferating as both public and private schools fine-tune training and curricula constantly, in order to match the skills of their graduates with those that employers are increasingly seeking.
Consider: The number of jobs requiring more than a high school degree but less than the typical four-year bachelor’s degree will increase at the same rate — about 18 percent — as the number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The trend favored Sadie Fox, who was a single mother of two small children when she decided to become a pharmacy technician, by completing an education program offering that certification. Before, the high school graduate could only find minimum-wage jobs as cashier or clerk. Now a pharm tech for Publix, she uses her specialized skills in preparing and dispensing medications, while finding a professional outlet for her people skills.
The program she completed at Everest University trains students for all kinds of pharmacies, but tries to match them with jobs in the pharmacy environments they prefer. For Fox, that was in a retail pharmacy rather than in a hospital or nursing home or mail order setting.
“For me it was retail because I like dealing with people,” Fox said. “In a hospital pharmacy, you just prepare the meds. In retail, you get to talk to people, to interact with them.” Her salary? “A whole lot better. We’re talking double.”
Everest’s pharm tech program is only one of a myriad of choices offered in institutions throughout South Florida, including the multiple campuses of Miami Dade College and Broward College, whose industry-specific programs keep expanding and innovating, while affordability remains one of their hallmarks.
Miami Dade College, for example, has identified one sector in which it wants to begin offering an associate degree soon — logistics. The college, which already offers some courses in logistics, is discussing the curricula that will go into a full-fledged associate degree and is seeking funding sources with the goal of having a degree program as soon as January.