Career Advice, Jobs

11 Recession-Proof Jobs

Professor talking to students in college classroom

Are you worried about the next recession? While the U.S. economy is fairly healthy right now and it’s a jobseeker market, no one has a crystal ball, so no one knows exactly when the next recession will hit. But, economists warn an economic downturn will hit at some point, the same way there will be upswings in the economy.

While no job is completely recession-proof, there are industries typically impacted less in an economic downturn. Jobs in healthcare, government, education and accounting can be safer from cuts during a recession.

“Historically, there are industries and occupations that have been less correlated to business cycle fluctuations, like recessions, than others,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Chief Economist at Glassdoor. “If you are looking to reduce the risk of losing your job during times of a recession, we know that in the past jobs in healthcare, education and utilities have not suffered as many job losses as in other fields during a down cycle. Also, if you have a union job and/or work in government, we know these positions can be cushioned from the slings and arrows of economic variation.”

Here is a selection of 11 jobs, in no particular order, that are less likely to suffer losses if the economy takes a nosedive.

1. Teacher

Job qualifications: States generally require that public school teachers have a bachelor degree (usually in education). Additionally, public school teachers must be certified or licensed through each state’s own process.

Why safer during a recession: Teachers in public school systems are often members of labor unions, which can make their positions more difficult to layoff. And even when the economy isn’t doing well, children will still need to go to school, whether it be to elementary, middle or high school.

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2. Funeral Director

Job qualifications: A high school diploma and a postsecondary degree in funeral studies, like an associate degree in funeral service education, are usually necessary educational requirements for this job. In addition, it’s often necessary to pass state licensing exams in order to be certified as a funeral director.

Why safer during a recession: Well, to put it bluntly, recessions don’t stop people from dying. There are very few things you can predict in life, but death is one constant everyone can count on.

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3. Physician Assistant 

Job qualifications: A bachelor’s degree with the completion of specific prerequisites is necessary in order to apply to a Physician’s Assistant graduate program. Physician Assistant graduate programs can take around two years to complete, and can be comparable to an abbreviated medical school. Certain programs may require hands-on experience, and you must have state licensing in order to be able to practice.

Why safer during a recession: People will always need medical care, even in a troubled economy. Working as a physician’s assistant can also offer flexibility in location, making it easier to switch practices if necessary.

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4. Professor

Job qualifications: To be a professor, you’ll often need a doctoral degree in a particular academic concentration, with the necessary research and/or teaching experience in a specialized field.

Why safer during a recession: Academic tenure (although a lengthy process, and often difficult to obtain) can be like hitting the job security jackpot. Tenure can sometimes be almost synonymous with job security, making it one of the most enviable achievements in academia.

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5. Accountant

Job qualifications: To become an accountant, it’s preferred to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business, and to be a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), earned after passing a uniform, state-issued exam.

Why safer during a recession: Benjamin Franklin once famously stated: “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Regardless of the economic climate, there will always be accountants needed during tax season.

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6. Auditor

Job qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in either finance, accounting, or a specific concentration in auditing is often the minimum amount of education required to be an auditor. A master’s degree in either business administration or accounting can be preferable, and many employers may look for this additional education. Particular certifications can be available for various fields of auditing, and, depending on the employer, a certification may be required.

Why safer during a recession: Audits are often required by law for any company whose stock is traded on the stock exchange, meaning, audits can be a necessity for the economy, whether it’s in a recession or not.

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7. Nurse

Job qualifications: To be a registered nurse (RN), you may need a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. There’s also the option of completing a two-year associate degree in nursing and passing a licensing exam.

Why safer during a recession: Health care needs are still necessary even in an unsettled economy. And particularly with the aging baby boomer population, the demand for nurses is likely to remain high.

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8. Utility Worker

Job qualifications: In order to qualify for utility work, you’ll likely need a high school diploma or GED, plus technical experience in the field (like electricity, plumbing, maintenance, etc.) can be required. Physical stamina is also necessary.

Why safer during a recession: Even in a recession, utility workers are part of the basic foundations for how society operates. Utility workers are necessary in order to keep roads in good condition, the electricity working, trash taken away, and other basic aspects provided for. Behind every basic modern convenience is someone working behind the scenes to make it happen and keep it running, even if the economy is less than promising.

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9. Actuary

Job qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in either accounting, finance, mathematics, statistics actuarial science, or economics is often the minimum amount of education required. A higher degree in actuarial science is a significant plus. And a certificate earned through the Casualty Actuarial Society or Society of Actuaries is required to be a certified actuary.

Why safer during a recession: In a time of economic risk, the use of an actuary is particularly appealing as the nature of their job is to help companies make decisions in order to minimize risk. When evaluating areas of a business to trim, actuaries can be some of the most attractive people to employ.

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10. Teacher’s Aide

Job qualifications: An associate’s degree is the minimum amount of preferred education to be a teacher’s aide, with additional state licensing and certification requirements available.

Why safer during a recession: In the case of an economic downturn, educators will often still be needed. Teacher aides fall under the umbrella of education and teaching, which can earn them a safe space during a recession.

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11. Nursing AideSee Open Jobs

Job qualifications: A post-secondary certificate in nursing is necessary in order to be a nursing aide. This certificate can be earned through various institutions, like community colleges, or vocational or technical schools.

Why safer during a recession: As a nursing aide, there are many avenues for employment, like hospitals, nursing homes, home care, etc. When the economy turns sour, there will still be a need for health care services especially with an aging population.

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