Thinking about a career change in 2011? Remember that some fields (financial analysis, for example) are expected to grow while others (manufacturing) will shrink over the next decade. Click through to see my 2011 picks for the top careers.

Note: Salary amounts are from the most recent (2009) figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics. Other statistical data come from the BLS, Manpower Inc., and California Labor Dept. Career fields are ranked according to median salary figures.
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Thinking about a career change in 2011? Remember that some fields (financial analysis, for example) are expected to grow while others (manufacturing) will shrink over the next decade. Click through to see my 2011 picks for the top careers.

Note: Salary amounts are from the most recent (2009) figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics. Other statistical data come from the BLS, Manpower Inc., and California Labor Dept. Career fields are ranked according to median salary figures.
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Top 10 Careers for 2011

Ten Best Careers
Ten Best Careers
Thinking about a career change in 2011? Remember that some fields (financial analysis, for example) are expected to grow while others (manufacturing) will shrink over the next decade. Click through to see my 2011 picks for the top careers.

Note: Salary amounts are from the most recent (2009) figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics. Other statistical data come from the BLS, Manpower Inc., and California Labor Dept. Career fields are ranked according to median salary figures.
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1. Career: Massage Therapist
1. Career: Massage Therapist
Median Salary: $39,780

According to the U.S. Labor Dept., this field is projected to grow in demand as baby boomers age and people of all generations recognize the physical and mental health benefits associated with massage therapy. Ranked near the top for career growth by the Milwaukee-based staffing firm Manpower Inc. (MAN) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapy offers a way to put one's whole body into one's work.
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2. Career: Athletic trainer
2. Career: Athletic trainer
Median Salary: $44,020

Athletic trainer jobs are expected to grow in 2011, as employers such as universities, corporations, and pro and amateur sports teams add to their training staff, according to the Labor Dept. These jobs require an understanding of physiology (don't skip biology classes, students) and strong listening and communication skills. Before investing in a certificate or degree program, buy a couple of personal training sessions at your gym and use the time to quiz your trainer about what the job entails.

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3. Career: Interpreter/Translator
3. Career: Interpreter/Translator
Median Salary: $45,700

It's a global economy, and vital connections and business deals can't happen without sophisticated interpretation and translation. Multilingual people who understand business and the nuances of language are in demand for interpreting presentations in real time and translating documents. Many translators can work from home and service clients around the world.
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4. Career: Computer Support Specialist
4. Career: Computer Support Specialist
Median Salary: $47,360

As teams go virtual and technology continues to morph, computer support specialists are already in short supply in many organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this job category to grow by 78,000 jobs between now and 2018, good news for parents of kids looking for hands-on roles with technology or midcareer types seeking a new hill to climb. Opportunities exist for both W-2 and self-employed workers.
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5. Career: Meeting Planner
5. Career: Meeting Planner
Median Salary: $48,060

If you're already the social air-traffic controller for your friends and find yourself saying, "Let's make a plan and a time line," you'll likely fit into the meeting-planning arena. These professionals put together educational, business, and leisure events and bring big convention and tourism dollars to needy cities and resort areas. The field is expected to grow faster than the economy overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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6. Career: Court Reporter
6. Career: Court Reporter
Median Salary: $52,460

Surprisingly, more than 70 percent of those in the profession work outside the courtroom, according to the National Court Reporters Assn. Many court reporters are self-employed. The profession requires great listening skills, fast fingers, and (we're conjecturing here) an ability to keep one's face immobile while people are saying outlandish and sordid things.
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7. Career: Public Relations Specialist
7. Career: Public Relations Specialist
Median Salary: $59,370

Wanted to work in media? With print publications struggling, journalism isn't the hot job field it once was, but public relations is booming, according to U.S. Labor Dept. figures. All types of organizations understand that a savvy PR pro's ability to grab media attention can make or break them. If you're an established or budding writer with a research bent and fearless about reaching out to reporters and bloggers, PR might make a great career.
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8. Career: Mediator
8. Career: Mediator
Median Salary: $63,250

Mediators are specialists in Alternative Dispute Resolution. They listen to both sides and help parties in business disputes, real estate wrangles, and other battles find common ground—and avoid court costs. Some mediators earn more than $100K per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in the mediation field to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018.
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9. Career: Film & Video Editor
9. Career: Film & Video Editor
Median Salary: $63,680

With YouTube now hosting more searches per day than any site save Google (GOOG), the need for film and video editors is clear. The California Labor Dept. expects the field to grow in 2011, as agencies, media firms, corporations, and institutions look to spread their messages via video—so don't limit your search to one sector. This field requires specialized training, of course. It makes a great choice for creative types who want to expand their horizons or for photographers and filmmakers looking to boost their earning potential.
10. Career: Financial Analyst
10. Career: Financial Analyst
Median Salary: $85,240

All organizations—government agencies, for-profit businesses, and nonprofits alike—need smart financial analysis to guide their leadership decision-making. People who love numbers and analysis, and can speak Human when dealing with numerically unsavvy types, are already in hot demand. If you're in school now, add a course or two in financial analysis to your program.
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