Dear Matt: I want to go back to school in the fall. How do I find out about hot careers of the future? Do you know where I can find information about these careers and potential salaries in these fields?

Matt: You can search the Internet and find numerous articles titled 'Top ten jobs of the future" or "Hot careers that will make you wealthy."

The question I have though is - how many of these so-called hot jobs would you really have an interest in pursuing? I still hold to the theory that a high-paying job doesn't always mean career satisfaction. However, if you can find a way to combine your skills and interests with one of those hot jobs of the future, you are definitely on the right track to career success.

Denise Felder of Minnesota State College and Universities is editor of MnCareers (www.iseek.org/mncareers), a publication that describes some of Minnesota's fastest-growing and shrinking occupations and other job trends. I agree with her when she says that in addition to researching which jobs will have a lot of openings in the coming years, matching those jobs to an individual's skills and interests is also important.

"Just because there are a lot of openings in healthcare, for example, doesn't mean that every healthcare job is right for each student or job-seeker," says Felder. "So, before researching occupations, take an interest or skills assessment to find out which jobs are likely to be a good fit."

ISEEK, Minnesota's education, career and workforce development website, lists several quick - and free - assessments. In ISEEK's Explore Careers section, job seekers can find a list of careers in demand. This section lists Minnesota's high-demand careers, growing careers, growing industries and high-demand and high-pay careers.

Before applying or committing to a school, talk to a counselor at the schools you are considering. Ask for information, statistics and job prospects related to the field you want to go into. Also, check with industry trade associations in the field you are considering. Look at what some of the jobs and trends are in those fields.

The key is to research, ask questions and then analyze what will be hot and how it will relate to you. A hot job or career for someone else might not be so hot for you. Be sure you focus on your goals, skills and interests, and then commit to a school or program that is best for you and you only.

"A few minutes of research can help any student or job-seeker develop his or her own hot jobs list," says Felder.


Matt Krumrie is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, and has eight years of experience reporting on the employment industry. The first Sunday of each month this column will answer readers’ questions. E-mail questions or subject ideas to askmatt@startribune.com.