In today's uncertain job market, even the jobs once marked as "recession-proof" are not as safe as we thought. So where should you focus your job search?
Several trends -- existing and emerging -- continue to drive job growth and creation throughout the United States. Developments in technology, health care, environmentalism and globalization, as well as current trends in the economy, are clearing the path for several cutting-edge careers to surface.
If you're in the market for a new job, here are seven emerging careers that are making a mark and poised for growth in the coming years. Please note that salary and job growth information is not collected for all positions because of the size and awareness of each job.
1. Home stager
The real-estate market is not what it used to be and homes are taking longer to sell. Potential buyers usually decide how much they like a property by picturing their own possessions in the house. That's not always easy if the home is cluttered with unattractive décor and furnishings. House stagers work with real-estate agents and their clients to improve the appearance of a home and make it more appealing for potential buyers.
Industry umbrella: Interior design
Job growth: N/A
Salary: Most stagers are self-employed and set their own fees. Prices may vary from $75 for an initial consultation to $500 for staging an entire house.
2. Health informatics technician
Each time you go to the doctor, everything about the visit is added to your medical file. As health-care facilities everywhere make the change to electronic medical records, informatics technicians not only transition the files, but they use computer systems to help doctors analyze, diagnose and treat patients based on the information they are given. This computer data also improves care, controls costs and provides documentation for use in legal actions.
Industry umbrella: Health care
Job growth*: 18 percent
3. Simulation developer
From entire virtual communities like Second Life to various online demonstration videos, simulations are becoming the way of the world. Be it pilots using in-flight simulators to prepare for high-risk situations; landscape architects using video reproduction to help clients envision proposed ideas and plans; or medical students diagnosing and treating virtual patients without risking a real person's life, simulators are a new way for professionals in all industries to train, practice and prepare for exciting -- and potentially dangerous -- situations before they happen.
Industry umbrella: Computer software engineers
Job growth: 38 percent, based on industry projections
4. Green jobs
The environmental wave, in addition to President Barack Obama's promise to create 5 million green jobs, is creating jobs in everything from sales to government to nonprofit organizations. Whether it's a company researching how to make green products or a consultant implementing recycling procedures, the "clean-energy economy" is creating several opportunities in sectors including, but not limited to, energy generation, transportation, agriculture, waste and wastewater, and research and advocacy.
Industry umbrella: Clean energy and energy efficiency
Job growth: Clean-energy jobs outperformed job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia between 1998 and 2007, the most recent year for which data are available, according to a study by Pew Charitable Trust.
Salary: Salaries depend on specific position
6. Career counselor
Workers need jobs; employers need workers. With the present economy, career counselors are needed more than ever. They offer job seekers career guidance and job-hunting advice, and can help them improve their well-being through their work. Career counselors differ from career coaches in that not only will they help you in terms of your career, they will also seek to improve your overall mental health.
Industry umbrella: Human resources
Job growth: N/A
7. Patient advocate
Anyone who's ever had health issues knows that the health-care system is not the easiest thing to navigate. That's what patient advocates are there for. As the population continues to age, patient care advocates will become more important to the job market. Advocates ensure that patients are informed, visiting with the right specialists and taking the right medicines. They also educate family members on how to care for their sick relative. Perhaps most importantly, patient advocates will sort through medical bills and negotiate fees with health-care providers and insurance companies.
Industry umbrella: Health care
Job growth: 24 percent (for medical and public health social workers)
Salary: $47,560 (for medical and public health social workers), according to the BLS
*Job growth through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
** US national average salary provided by CBSalary.com, powered by SalaryExpert
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CBwriterRZ.