3 On Your Side Investigates: Top Jobs for 2019

Published: Feb. 15, 2019 at 8:09 PM CST
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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - It may not surprise you that all but two of USA Today’s Top Jobs for 2019 are in the medical field.

One of those jobs, #5 on the list, is a nurse anesthetist. Nurse Anesthetists, or CRNA’s, administer anesthesia in a clinical setting.

Emma To is just starting her career at the University of Mississippi Medical Center as a CRNA.

“Nervous, excited, but I’m ready,” she says. “School is very challenging.”

Nurse Anesthetist Emma To working at the University of Mississippi Medical Center
Nurse Anesthetist Emma To working at the University of Mississippi Medical Center

To spent more than eight years in school, securing her certifications and gaining practical experience. She describes the job as autonomous, meaning lots of responsibility.

“This is you. You’re educated on advanced pharmacology. And you know for your patient’s situation what drug to give to them for them to have a safe surgery.”

“It’s the top of our job. It’s the top nursing field in my opinion that there is,” says UMMC Chief CRNA Cheyne Robinson.

Robinson tells us UMMC employs 91 nurse anesthetists, so there’s a great chance you can land a job in the state of Mississippi if you follow the career path. The average entry level salary for a CRNA can be over $100,000 per year, depending on where you live.

What if the idea of charting patients all day doesn’t appeal to you, but the idea of charting numbers does? Let’s head to Jackson State University to talk about the #2 top job on the list: Statistician.

Right now, JSU is the only state university with an undergraduate degree program in statistics.

“We’re in the era of big data. All organizations are making decisions based on data analysis,” says Tor A. Kwembe, Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences.

Students studying statistics at Jackson State University
Students studying statistics at Jackson State University

Statistics sounds like high level math. But it’s really much simpler.

“We’re looking at graphs, we use a lot of programs on the computer. It’s not like number crunching on a pen and pad,” says Senior Thomas Tate, who is majoring in statistics.

Tate tells us a job in statistics would involve creating graphs that can predict outcomes in any field, like advertising, healthcare, or insurance.

“I heard about actuarial science and how much money you can make there. That’s why I specified with statistics,” he says. “Last summer I went to a conference for the International Association for Black Actuaries, and met a lot of people there, made some connections.”

Tate is looking forward to a solid career with a salary that could easily climb to six figures as he gains experience.

Top Job #3 on the list is a Physician Assistant, or PA. It’s a field where salaries can quickly reach $100,000 per year or more.

“I’ve been able to work in all the major hospitals in this area and learn with some of the best doctors,” says student Hae Jeung.

Physician Assistant Program at Mississippi College
Physician Assistant Program at Mississippi College

Jeung, currently a paramedic, is less than a year away from graduating from the only PA program in the state, at Mississippi College. It’s a rigorous 2 1/2 year program that’s training him do to essentially everything a doctor can do.

“You can work family practice in a clinic, in the hospital (or in other places)," he says. “I’ll probably be in the ER. As a paramedic, the ER is where I’m comfortable. The job outlook for PA’s is phenomenal. There’s a huge shortage of healthcare providers, especially in Mississippi,” he adds.

Here is USA Today’s complete list of Top Jobs for 2019, and information on each career path:

1. Software Developer

2. Statistician

3. Physician Assistant

4. Dentist

5. (tie) Orthodontist

5. (tie) Nurse Anesthetist

7. Nurse Practitioner

8. Pediatrician

9. (tie) Obstetrician and Gynecologist

9. (tie) Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

9. (tie) Prosthodontist

9. (tie) Physician

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