Part 2 -- The Intelligence Job Market From 20,000 Feet
Part 3 -- The Good News!
Part 4 -- Even Better News!
Part 5 -- Beyond The Big Three
Part 6 -- Beyond Borders
Part 7 -- Beyond Borders: India, Europe And South Africa
Part 8 -- Going It On Your Own
Part 9 -- The 5 Things You Must Have
Part 10 -- Advice From The Trenches
Special Report: Where The Jobs Are, 2009
Part 11 -- Advice From Intelligence Veterans
Part 12 -- Intelligence Job Links
I thought I was done with this series...until I received a very interesting email from the Federal Citizen Information Center pointing me to an article on Bankrate.com about "Fallback careers" -- careers that you can fall back on if something goes wrong in your main profession.
All of the careers on the list had evidence of growing demand and required less than a year of schooling to get certified according to the Bankrate article.
As I looked at the list, I immediately thought of a use beyond the one intended by the authors. These careers could also be a useful way of filling in the time between graduation and getting a clearance.
Many entry-level analysts get stuck waiting to start work because of a clearance. Predicting when a clearance will be complete is one of the hardest things to do (we had one student whose clearance took three years -- by which time she had married, moved, had a child and changed jobs!). Having a useful Plan B in this situation might allow one to avoid a "challenging career in the food service industry".
Obviously, in order to pursue one of these fallback careers, the job seeker would have to have the certification before graduation (which would likely necessitate summer or night school) and might, therefore, not be an option for everyone. If this is the case, then maybe seeking such a certification makes sense while waiting for a clearance (time and financing permitting). Likewise, if job offers are not as forthcoming as one would hope and grad school isn't an option, then pursuing certification in one of these fields might also turn out to be a good option.
What are the eleven "Plan B" careers?
- Emergency medical technician
- Police officer
- HVAC technician
- Drafter/CADD operator
- Medical assistant
- Truck driver
- Dental assistant
- Massage therapist
- Medical records and health information technician
- Nuclear medicine technologist
I also have some concerns about this list, though. Police officer seems overly optimistic, for example. While the facts in the article may be true, the number of people already seeking jobs in this field make it seem overly competitive for a fallback career. Maybe if you included all security professionals (including bank guards and mall cops for example), it might make some sense. Otherwise, I would not advise anyone to go this route strictly as a fallback career.
I was also surprised that more information technology positions weren't on the list. Certified computer repair guys and website administrators always seem to be in demand. Getting some sort of technical certification in these fields will benefit an analyst in the lean times and when they are working as an analyst as well.