With unemployment topping 10 percent in most states and news of layoffs continuing, most women are eager to find out what careers offer the most job security in the United States.
Gina Darling is one woman who said she is staying positive about her prospects of finding a job after she graduates.
“Of course I don’t know completely what to expect in job hunting as a new graduate,” she said. “But I know that hospitals will always need nurses, and I’ll find a place to work no matter what state or area I choose to move to.”
Darling, 23, is a year and a half into the three-year accelerated bachelor’s program at Chamberlain College of Nursing on Chicago’s North Side, where she is majoring in medical science and nursing.
According to the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, the top three occupations held by women are secretaries and administrative assistants, registered nurses and elementary and middle school teachers.
The 2010 census showed that registered nurses rank second among the top 20 occupations held by women. The survey showed that of all registered nurses, 91.1 percent were women.
Elissa Jenkins, 21, is a student at Illinois State University in Bloomington and is majoring in elementary education with language arts and social sciences endorsements.
Jenkins said she has always loved English and literature and knew she wanted to seek a career involving the two. However, it was her own middle school English teacher, Patty Britton, who pinpointed what she felt she was meant to do.
“Until I got into her classroom, I wanted to be an author,” Jenkins said. “She really instilled a passion for these subjects in me. After that, I just wanted everyone to enjoy English and literature as much as I did.”
Jenkins said she knows the hardships graduates face and that there are job seekers across the nation fully loaded with degrees. She said many are eager to inspire and mold the minds of young students.
“I worry all the time,” she said. “Not finding a position is the one thing I am worried about.”
In order to make her job possibilities more likely, Jenkins is also getting a Spanish minor, which will enable her to teach English language learners, English as a Second Language students, as well as being able to teach Spanish classes if she chose to.
“I mostly did that so I can work in areas that are mainly Hispanic and I could become an asset in the school,” she said. “By being able to speak to not only the students, but the parents, I can look in areas that some teachers can’t for a job.”
Jenkins is not the only person to follow this bilingual strategy.
Stephanie Wermes, 22, an Illinois State University alum, graduated in Fall 2010 with a degree in Spanish education.
Wermes is qualified to teach kindergarten through 12th grade, but is interested in teaching high school or middle school students.
She attends College of Lake County and will receive her TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate in December.
“The whole reason for getting this certificate is because the job market is so bad right now that I want to do anything I can to increase my chances of getting hired,” Wermes said. “It will make me more marketable to possible employers.”
According to the survey, 81.8 percent of elementary and middle school teachers are women. With A high percentage of women in education, Wermes said she does not worry her job will be given to a man.
She said she did notice that male colleagues were treated with more respect than women when she did her student teaching.
“I might not be able to find a job in the school or area that I want right away,” she said. “I don’t want to sound too confident, but, with all the work I’m doing and my traveling abroad, my resume will be good enough to get me a job somewhere.