The Best Jobs of 2012

Social and economic factors are fueling job growth in a number of professions. Entry into some of these fields requires little more than a high school diploma or a few weeks of vocational training.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors are some of the best jobs for 2012. Job growth is a little above average with a median salary of $61,690 a year. The bottom 10% earned less than $38,940 and the top 10% earned more than $106,880. These people organize and help maintain financial records for companies. They calculate earnings and taxes due. Accountants and auditors generally assess the financial operations of businesses. Entry into this field requires a bachelor’s degree. The working conditions are full-time office hours with busier than usual times happening periodically during the year. They make the list due to high median salary and decent working conditions. Advancement in this field usually means acquiring the status of a Certified Public Accountant. People who are good with numbers are a good fit for this field.

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teaching is another excellent profession of the year 2012. Job growth is only a few percentage points above the national average. The median wage of these teachers was $51,660 a year. The bottom 10% earned less than $34,390 and the top 10% earned more than $76,490. Elementary school teachers generally keep school hours. Their job is to teach the students basic subjects such as reading and math. Preparation for classes and grading homework is usually done in the evenings. Teachers usually do not work weekends or summers. Entry to this field requires a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certification to work in the public schools. The teaching profession has stresses and frustrations just like any other working environment. People best suited for this job are even tempered and generally enjoy working with children. Elementary school teachers made this list with a high median salary and working conditions that feature normal weekday hours along with extended time off. Advancement in this field requires moving into administration and becoming assistant principal or principal.

Resource: What do Elementary School Teachers do?


Nursing is one of the best professions of 2012. This will continue as a hot job for the next decade at least. Job growth is projected at 26% with the national average at 14%. The aging of the baby boomers will continue to drive the healthcare sector in terms of jobs and salaries. The median income of a nurse is $64,690 a year. The bottom 10% earned under $44,190 and the top 10% earners made more than $95,130 a year. This is a lucrative profession. Nurses work alongside doctors and other healthcare professionals caring for patients. Registered nurses will operate medical equipment and give patients treatments and medicines. Nurses work long hours and odd shifts on a regular basis. The faint of heart need not apply for this profession. Nurses must deal with disease and death as part of the job. The patients they tend will range from children to the elderly and it requires a tough person to perform well in life and death circumstances. Entry to this field only requires a two year degree. However, advancement in the field will require additional education and training. Licensed Practical Nurse, Licensed Vocational Nurse, and Registered Nurse are some of the titles in this field. Each represents a different level of training and education. Nurses made this list due to high job growth and excellent median salary along with relatively easy entry to the profession.

Wholesale and Manufacturing Representatives

Wholesale and manufacturing representatives is a top profession for 2012. The growth outlook is slightly above average, but the median salary is $56,620 a year. The bottom 10% earned less than $26,970 while the top 10% earned $108,750 in a year. These earnings reflect salary plus commissions for sales and any applicable bonuses. Their job duties typically include finding new customers and maintaining relations with existing clients. They must sell the products to the customers. They do this by identifying need, negotiating sales prices, and finding acceptable terms for the company and the customers. There is stress in any job where salary depends upon successfully doing the job. This is a position for people who have an aptitude for sales work and like to travel. This field requires little education or training other than the ability to sell. The sales representatives make the list due to ease of entry and high median salary. Sales representative can advance to sales managers.

Truck Driver

Heavy and tractor-trailer driving is a good job for 2012. Expected job growth is at 21% which higher than the national average. The median salary is also higher than average at $37,770 a year. Top 10% earners made over $57,480 while the bottom 10% earned less than $24,730. This job is usually paid by the miles driven. Drivers transport goods from one place to another with their trucks. In some case, they must unload the trucks also. Learning to drive one of these trucks requires a matter of 5-6 weeks vocational training. The work environment is difficult since the drivers are away from home most of the time. Advancement means becoming an owner-operator of a truck. This is one job that looks to hire older workers due to their reliability. This job makes the list because of ease of entry to the field with above average growth and wages. Independent people who enjoy traveling might consider this line of work.

Post-secondary Teaching

Post-secondary teaching is another great job for 2012. Job growth is higher than average by only a few points, but the median salary is $62,050 a year. The top 10% earners made more than $130,510 and the lowest 10% made less than $30,720. Entry into this field requires a doctoral degree in the field they will teach. There are some exceptions where a master’s degree is sufficient to allow teaching. This is especially true at two year schools and technical schools. Working conditions in this field are quite good. These teachers educate high school graduates in a variety of fields. They pursue scholarly research and publish papers reflecting this research or books. The different ranks associated with this profession are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. The goal of most professors is to achieve tenure. This puts them in a protected position where they cannot be fired without just cause. Tenured professors may advance to positions of dean or even university president. Post-Secondary teaching made this list due to good working conditions combined with high salary. Those who want to pursue academic research are the best candidates for this work. Read more about a career as a college professor here.