The latest unemployment figures show 11.5 percent of the Las Vegas workforce is looking for work.
Countless others are stuck in dead-end jobs.
That has people looking for a career change, either out of choice or necessity.
Belinda Morse is a Las Vegas-based career coach who says continued education is the key.
"If you have your two-year or four-year degree and you're not continuing your learning or getting another certification or another level of achievement, then you will dinosaur yourself," Morse said.
There are five hot jobs that are expected to be in demand here at home and across the nation for the for seeable future.
The number of registered nurses is expected to climb by 26 percent by 2020 with a median salary of $64,690.
Dental hygienists will see a 36 percent growth with salaries averaging $68,250.
Computer engineers, paying nearly $100,000 a year, will grow by 34 percent
Accountants will see a 22 percent spike with an income of $61,690.
Sales representatives make an average of $56,620 with 16 percent growth expected in the near future.
All of these careers are attainable with some extra schooling.
Dr. Susan VanBueghe teaches in UNLV's nursing program where they've changed the curriculum to fast track students into the workforce.
"It's a four-semester program once they get into nursing," VanBueghe said. "It's a very quick program. It's not a shortcut, it's just a very fast, intense program."
That attracted Melissa Springer and Chris Delgado, both in their late 20s.
Springer is a mother of three and Delgado is an Iraq war veteran.
"I've looked at the job market and nursing is in pretty high demand and it has been consistently," Springer said. "I told the kids it's only temporary but I spend a lot of time studying. But it's all gonna pay off in the end. Ultimately, we're going to be better off."
"I know a lot of students and they graduate with a degree in whatever it is and pretty much all they have is a piece of paper," Delgado said.
Both will have good paying jobs waiting for them right here in Las Vegas when they graduate.
The same goes for dental hygienists, where new studies linking oral health to overall health are getting people in the dentist chair.
"The more research comes out, the more we see periodontal disease doesn't just affect your mouth but other parts of your body," said local dentist Thomas Shields.
Dental hygienist Jodi Hashagen changed careers after struggling to find a job her undergraduate prepared her for.
"It was a big factor just knowing that when I got out of school there would be a job for me," Hashagen said. "The financial aspect is nice, but you're also very flexible with the schedule."
While engineering may seem farfetched for many, UNLV will soon launch a master's program in information technology that will allow you to take skills from your current industry and put it to use in a growing field.
"UNLV will give you some core courses in information technology but you will also specialize in a specific area of interest to you or where the job market is," said Dr. Rama Venkat, dean of UNLV's College of Engineering.
The final two booming careers are broad by design; getting training in accounting and sales doesn't pigeonhole you into one defined marketplace, giving you job options in a tough economy.
"So if one industry is suffering in the city you're living in, you can always go to another industry because those skills are still valuable across any industry," Morse said.
It's all about creating your own breaks and putting yourself in the right position.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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