Learn about several careers for community college students that are likely to weather an economic downturn.
While many recent graduates may struggle to find sustainable work in amidst a declining economy, community college students are discovering new “recession-proof” career paths
that are both reliable and lucrative, despite economic hardships.
As Emily Gersema of The Arizona Republic argues, community colleges are becoming increasingly aware of job market demands, since “employers come to them to set up programs tailored to their staffing needs.” Careers in a variety of industries are proving to be strong and sustainable options for community college students after graduation.
Health Care Careers
According to research supported by Kiplinger, a renounced financial and economic forecasting company, health care is one the top options for students looking for a sustainable educational path, or for recent graduates seeking employment: “Many of the nation's fastest-growing careers are in the health care industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
As the population age continues to rise, careers in health care should remain reliable and strong, as the demand is projected for years to come. Specific health care jobs for community college students include careers in the field of nursing, physical therapy, nursing home aid, physician assistant, and many more.
And in specifically analyzing the rising demands, Gersema further explains, “Health-care needs…continue to rise. Clinics and dental offices are tapping programs such as the dental-hygienist program at Mesa Community College
for workers.” Paired with this, for individuals who are fluent in global languages[C1]
, particularly Spanish, jobs are also on the rise. “Demand is increasing for health-care workers who speak Spanish and English.” To adjust to the job market needs, many community colleges are implementing specialized health care courses that also incorporate concepts of bilingualism and communication.
As Kiplinger’s research supports, the educational field
is projected to be as equitably stable as the health care market. Concurring with this, Gersema also discusses the high demand for teachers, as natural population growth results in an increasing number of students who are continually entering schools. To respond to the growing teacher shortage, many community colleges are implementing a “special preparation program to help people with undergraduate degrees
get a teaching certificate.”
For community college students interested in teaching, Kiplinger asserts that some subject areas may be more sustainable than others; “teachers for any grade level who specialize in high-demand fields such as math, science or bilingual education should have an easier time finding and keeping a job.” Also, some locations may be more stable for educators, as the demand for teachers correlates with the area’s population trends. Therefore, the fast-growing areas of the south and the west, such as Nevada, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia, can expect more teaching opportunities than other less economically stable areas. Added to this, “Inner cities tend to have more sustained demand than rural or suburban areas.”
While the economy may be facing a recession, crime does not cease to exist; therefore, jobs in the field of security
and loss preventions are considered to be highly stable and protected amidst any type of economic decline.
A variety of jobs, including police officers, detectives, and security guards, are projected to be in steady demand. Also, according to Kiplinger’s studies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, security jobs
are often protected from pay-cuts and lay-offs: “In the off-chance law enforcement officers lose their jobs to budget cuts, they have little difficulty finding jobs with other agencies because the demand is so high.”
Protection with a Community College Degree
As community colleges are implementing new and revised programs to respond to the economic demands of the job market, Kiplinger asserts that individuals who possess a degree are far more likely to find success amidst a dwindling economy: “Workers without a higher education may have a harder time finding a stable career with a good paycheck.”
Kiplinger also explains that the time spent in school results in an increased amount of job security and a higher salary than non-degree workers. Also, graduates are able to provide employers with a more thorough resume, in addition to the fact that the college experience often provides students with opportunities to establish professional networks, relationships, and connections, which can help boost one’s chances of finding a job after graduation.
Preventing Job Loss During a Recession
For recent graduates aiming to protect their current jobs from any form of instability, look for work that cannot be outsourced or sent overseas. Paired with this, Kiplinger suggests that workers should continue to build contacts and networks within their professional field: “You should also work to promote yourself within the company […] Try to position yourself as the go-to person, and keep an eye out for ways you can save the company money or increase profits in tough times. Volunteer quickly for assignments, be cheerful, maintain high visibility and follow up with your boss to keep him or her abreast of your accomplishments.”
Gersema, Emily. “Community Colleges Know Where the Jobs Are,” The Arizona Republic, August 22, 2008, available at