Not surprisingly, a recession has a big impact on employment. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the most recent recession's bottom in June of 2009, the unemployment rate spiked at 4.5% higher than at the start of the recession, peaking at 9.5%. But not every industry suffered; in fact, many careers have taken off during this same time period. According to PayScale.com, these careers have actually seen a spike in average salary since 2006.


SEE: 10 Careers With Great Job Prospects

1. Physician Assistant - $87,900
It isn't too surprising to learn that the fastest growing annual salary careers are in the healthcare sector. Physician assistants provide an extension of the services a doctor provides. They are supervised by a physician, but work independently. The degree of independency depends on the agreement. This field has experienced an 8.9% increase in the median annual salary.

2. Physical Therapist - $71,000
Physical therapists, or PTs, work with a wide variety of patients who are experiencing pain or a loss of mobility. They also help prevent injury and work to strengthen particular areas of muscular weakness. This kind of rehabilitation is very common after an injury such as a broken limb or after a car accident, and those who practice it have also seen an increase in their median annual salary of 8.9%.

3. Registered Nurse - $58,000
According to the BLS, registered nurses (RNs) make up the largest healthcare profession with over 2.6 million jobs in the United States. The majority of RN jobs are in hospitals treating patients. RNs generally hold a four-year degree and specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as surgery. This profession has also seen an 8.9% increase in median salary since 2006.

4. Marriage and Family Therapist - $48,900
Maybe it's an increase in financial stress, or the fact that the divorce rate is at 50% in the U.S., but this profession is doing quite well, experiencing an 8.1% salary increase since 2006. Marriage and family therapists assess clients and help them set and achieve goals for their lives.

5. Medical Case Manager - $45,700
Medical case managers, sometimes called case managers or nurse case managers, are healthcare professionals who oversee the treatment and care of patients. These professionals often come from a nursing background, and help to advocate for the patient as well as educate them. This career has seen an 8.1% increase in annual salary in the past six years.

6. Mental Health Counselor - $40,500
As awareness of mental health issues increase, so too does the demand for the professionals able to treat those issues. Those that do have seen an 8.1% increase in their annual salary. These trained professionals counsel families, individuals and couples through a variety of life issues. (For some other options, read 4 Careers That Are Easy To Get Into.)

7. Clinical Research Associate (CRA) - $78,600
As the name suggests, CRAs assist in the design, execution and implementation of clinical trials. According to the Michener Institute, which offers a 16-month certification in this field, CRAs may also assist in conveying findings to the research community. This field has experienced a 7.5% growth in annual salary.

8. Project Manager, Environmental - $57,200
Another job title that has seen a 7.5% spike in salary is the environmental project manager. This growing field oversees bidding on projects, organizing timelines and ensuring the work is completed with minimal risk.

9. Research Associate, Biotechnology - $53,400
A research associate works in a university or in another research setting assisting with projects led by senior advisors. In particular, those working in the biotechnology sector, the study of using living organisms to create or enhance products (such as genetically modified food), have enjoyed a 7.5% increase in median salary.

10. Biomedical Engineer - $73,900
Engineers are often in high demand, and those who specialize in the biomedical field may have noticed the 7.1% spike in salary. Biomedical engineers work on projects that integrate engineering with healthcare. Examples are pacemakers or artificial hearts.

11. Electrical Engineer - $71,900
Another engineering field that has seen a 7.1% increase in salary is electrical engineering. These practitioners design new and improved circuits, according to the BLS. (To learn more, see Top 10 Highest-Paying Jobs For 2011.)

12. Project Manager, Architecture - $51,300
Architectural project managers, like their environmental counterparts, are responsible for overseeing projects from inception to completion. On average, they have also seen a 7.1% jump in annual salary.

13. Software Developer - $72,500
Software developers (or software engineers) design, create, evaluate and troubleshoot computer software. The median annual salary for this field has jumped 6.3% since 2006.

14. Senior Software Engineer - $85,800
Senior software engineers will also perform the duties of a software engineer, but in addition they will delegate such tasks to a team to reach a common goal. The median annual salary for this title has also increased by 6.3%.

15. Web Developer - $54,800
This new media career has also seen a 6.3% growth in salary. Instead of software, these developers are focused on creating and maintaining websites. This may include elements of graphic design as well as coding the functionality of the site.

The Bottom Line
It may still be tough to get a job, but these careers are experiencing growth, and continued to do so through the last major recession. In these fields, pay has gone up by an average of 7.43% in the last six years, so you may want to check into them if you're considering a career change. (For more on jobs, check out 7 Jobs Companies Are Desperate To Fill.)

Salary data is provided by PayScale.com. Hourly rates listed are for workers with five-to-eight years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit-sharing.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    A Look at Greece’s Messy Fiscal Policy

    Investigate the muddy fiscal policy, tax problems, and inability to institute austerity that created the Greek crises in 2010 and 2015.
  2. Economics

    How Do Asset Bubbles Cause Recessions?

    Understand how asset bubbles often lead to deep, protracted recessions. Read about historical examples of recessions preceded by asset bubbles.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Elon Musk Success Story: Net Worth, Education & Top Quotes

    Read more about Elon Musk, the South African immigrant turned technology and engineering entrepreneur and inventor worth $13.6 billion.
  4. Professionals

    Holding Out for Capital Gains Could Be a Mistake

    Holding stocks for the sole purpose of avoiding short-term capital gains taxes may be a mistake, especially if all the signs say get out.
  5. Retirement

    Why are 401(k) contributions limited?

    Find out why contributions to 401(k) retirement plans are limited, including what the current contribution limits are and how limits encourage participation.
  6. Stock Analysis

    Why Walmart Raised Its Minimum Wage

    Read about the potential pros and cons of Walmart's promise to increase its minimum starting salary to $10 an hour.
  7. Investing News

    What Shook the U.S. Stock Market Today?

    What was looking as a decent year for US Stock market has suddenly gone off track as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 531 points in the week ending August 23, 2015.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    Millennials Guide: Freelancer vs. Employee

    How to decide if joining the gig economy is right for you.
  9. Savings

    All About Income

    Income is the money you or a business earns by providing goods or services, or through investments.
  10. Professionals

    Why Investors Should Consider Cash Right Now

    With so many market watchers thinking that the current stock rally is getting long in the tooth, investors might considering upping their cash holdings.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Regional Asset Liquidation Agreement ...

    An agreement between an asset manager and the Federal Deposit ...
  2. The New Deal

    A series of domestic programs designed to help the United States ...
  3. Accelerated Resolution Program ...

    A program designed to reduce the time and cost of resolving failed ...
  4. Back Pay

    The amount of salary and other benefits that an employee claims ...
  5. Payroll Card

    A prepaid card onto which an employer loads an employee’s wages ...
  6. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    A federal law designed to ensure equal pay for all workers, regardless ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does the risk of investing in the industrial sector compare to the broader market?

    There is increased risk when investing in the industrial sector compared to the broader market due to high debt loads and ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can I hedge my portfolio to protect from a decline in the retail sector?

    The retail sector provides growth investors with a great opportunity for better-than-average gains during periods of market ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between AGI (adjusted gross income) and gross income?

    In the United States, individuals pay taxes based on their adjusted gross income, or AGI, rather than their gross income. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the correlation between term structure of interest rates and recessions?

    There is no question that interest rates have enormous macroeconomic importance. Many economists and analysts believe the ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why should an investor in the retail sector consider the Consumer Confidence Index?

    Investors in the retail sector should consider the Consumer Confidence Index, or CCI, because it measures how consumers feel ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Which type of retailers tend to perform best during weak periods in the economy?

    Retail is a broad investment sector comprising many different market segments, such as automotive, building supply, grocery ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!