An educated guess: What will the jobs of the future be?

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If you’re one of the millions of Americans starting (or changing) a career right now, you probably wish you could find a good fortune teller. The recession, slow recovery, stubborn unemployment, global outsourcing–it’s anyone’s guess what the economic future holds. If you prepare for a job today, will it be here tomorrow?

Good question, and while there are no certain answers, there is actually a great deal of solid information on which to base your career choices.  Many economists and government agencies make it their job to predict which jobs will or won’t be in demand in the near future.

When it comes to the Hampton Roads economy, CareerFocus dug up a few answers about the current state of jobs and some predictions for the near future.

Although Hampton Roads didn’t suffer in the Great Recession quite as much as the rest of the country, it has felt the shock wave of federal budget cuts. Military spending alone makes up about half of our local economy and, according to Old Dominion University’s economic forecasters, it may actually decline this year.

Meanwhile, growth in port activity, health care and tourism will help raise the region’s income, but job growth won’t necessarily follow. “As far as jobs are concerned, local firms, like their counterparts in other areas of the country, appear to have learned to do more with less,” the ODU forecasters say. The region’s unemployment rate is expected to stabilize around 5.5 percent this year. The figure doesn’t include people who have stopped looking for work.

Jobs requiring little or no education will continue to dwindle, but jobs requiring higher levels of skill and education will be in ever increasing demand.

“In today’s dynamic economy, jobs increasingly require education beyond high school,” says the Hampton Roads Partnership. “Whether it is a university or college degree, a degree or certificate from a community college, or a technical education certificate earned while in high school, additional education not only prepares individuals for the tasks required by a job, but it also enhances their ability to adapt to new working environments.”

Experts agree that the employment picture is brightening slowly.

The evidence

That’s just what TCC’s career services advisers are seeing, too. Adviser Babi Brock says new job postings have increased since 2012, with an increase in everything from entry-level to career opportunity jobs.

TCC hosts a job fair at the Advanced Technology Center on the Virginia Beach Campus every April, and Brock said the 2013 fair attracted more than 80 employers. “I actually had to turn people away,” she said.

Health care continues to be a high demand field, she said, especially occupational and physical therapy positions. TCC offers associate degree programs in both.

“Web design is a big thing, too, she said, noting information technology continues to be a “hot” field. “The hospitality industry has also picked up as we continue to open several new hotels and restaurants in this area,” Brock added.

TCC prepares you for tomorrow’s jobs

If there is a single message in the recent economic forecast, it’s “Get an education.”  Gaining skills and knowledge, whether you choose a degree or a certificate, increases the chances you’ll land – and keep – a job.

Job growth is predicted in the following broad categories. But how does that translate into jobs and education? Here are some answers. (For a full list of programs, see page 12.)

Medical and health care 

It’s probably no surprise that these jobs will continue to be in demand, especially as our population gets older and the federal health care law kicks in. Another development is the need for people who are experts with electronic medical records, or EMR. Doctors and hospitals are encouraged, under the federal health law, to use EMRs to be more efficient.

TCC programs that prepare you for these kinds of jobs:

• Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound)

• Emergency Medical Technician

• Health Information Management

• Medical Laboratory Technician

• Nursing

• Occupational Therapy Assistant

• Physical Therapy Assistant

• Pharmacy Technician

• Radiography

• Respiratory Therapy

Information and IT 

These jobs can be found in both large and small companies that develop and publish software, ranging from Google to one of the many small start-ups in the country.

TCC programs that prepare you for these kinds of jobs:

• Transfer degree in Science (specialization: Computer Science)

• Information Systems Technology

• Cloud Computing

• Database Specialist

• Geographic Information Systems

• Network Administration

• Network Security

• Web Development

Tourism and hospitality

Tourism is a major component of the Hampton Roads economy, which brings with it opportunities in restaurants and hotels.

TCC programs that prepare you for these kinds of jobs:

• Culinary Arts

• Catering

• Kitchen Management

• Hospitality Management

• Food Service Management

• Lodging Management

Automotive repair and maintenance

The complexity of today’s cars requires specialists who know how to use computers as well as a wrench.

TCC programs that prepare you for these kinds of jobs.

• Automotive Technology

• Brakes, Suspension and State Inspection

• Electrical, Electronic, Air Conditioning

• Engine Diagnosis

• Heavy-Duty Engine and Transmission

• Service and Parts Specialist

Professional and business service

These jobs cross a broad spectrum that includes computer systems design, legal services, accounting, engineering testing, scientific research and development, advertising and public relations.

TCC programs that prepare you for these jobs:

Transfer degree in Business


Administrative Support Technology

Financial Services


Paralegal Studies


Early childhood education has been shown to improve students’ success in elementary and secondary schools. Science and math teachers are in particular demand.

TCC programs that prepare you for these jobs:

• Most any TCC transfer degree program including associate degrees in Engineering, General Studies, Liberal Arts, Science and Social Sciences

• Early Childhood Development (infant, toddler, preschool)

• Early Childhood Instruction

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