Americans have jobs. You’d have to go back 50 years to find the last time the number of Americans looking for work, in comparison to the number of employed Americans, was this small. What’s 50 years to an economy? Well, to put it in perspective, the federal minimum wage was $1.60 per hour. Today, while economists celebrate an unemployment rate that’s hovered right around 3.7% for more than a year, there is much hand-wringing about stagnating wage growth. The buying power of the typical middle-class wage today is roughly the same as it was back then. So, while the economy has grown, the ability for the typical American to participate in the economy hasn’t.
But some professions are bucking that trend. College graduates who stepped off the commencement stage and into the workforce had an advantage this summer if they prepared for certain types of careers. And as it turns out, many of those careers are as professionals licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
Let’s take a look at some specifics:
After crunching Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, Careerbuilder published a list of the fastest growing and best paid jobs in each state. Topping the list for California is occupational therapy assistant. These professionals, licensed by the Board of Occupational Therapy, make an average salary of $95,160. What’s more, the growth rate for employment in that profession is impressive, projected to increase a whopping 29% in the next four years.
But those aren’t the only DCA licensees doing especially well in the job market. At the beginning of this year, U.S. News and World Report published its list of “Best Jobs for 2019.” Of the 25 occupations listed, 20 of those were professions licensed by the various boards and bureaus of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Of those twenty, many were in the healthcare industry including nurses, surgeons and doctors of various specialties along with dentists and orthodontists. Physical therapists, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists almost made the U.S. News list. Those careers were joined by other DCA licensees too, including accountants and land surveyors. Each of these professions was identified as having generally high wages and very low unemployment rates.
If you’re a senior or graduate student grinding out your final year in higher education, a career path that leads you to a DCA license has good odds of being your ticket to making a good living. But then, you may already know that. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the vast majority of career recruiting on college campuses happens in the fall, and not the spring. So, you may already have had a recruiter knock on your door. Recruiters hitting campuses in 2019 will be looking for many of those professions already mentioned, and some others too. According to a NACE survey, graduates with degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering are more likely to catch the eye of recruiters. And it just so happens that DCA’s Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists licenses those professionals as well.