Tuesday, Jun. 02, 2009


O.K., so this isn't on anyone's list of sexy occupations. But virtually every career expert I contacted for this list put accountants at or near the top for job security, pay and mobility. Some 3,500 new accounting positions were created in March and April, and employment growth is projected to grow 15% annually for the next decade. This is an aging profession that will lose 75% of its current practitioners to retirement by 2020, according to industry estimates. So job openings will be abundant for years. "It's a flexible career choice, and offers a variety of paths," says Bill DeMario, chief operating officer of Ajilon Professional Staffing. Accountants may progress up the management ladder or, if work/life balance is more important, scale back and open up a small consultancy or do contract work. The skill set is transferable across regions and industries, so accountants can go wherever the action is hot. If you are at midlife, you can get trained in one or two years at a community college. The pay varies by state and experience but is well above average, paying $45,000 or so for starters. After 10 years, you could be making nearly twice that.