A recession can be frightening because struggling companies might lay off employees in order to stay in business. Not knowing if you will have a job tomorrow adds unnecessary stress to your life.
If you want to avoid this potential anxiety, working a recession-proof job can increase your odds of earning a consistent income through good times and bad.
Top Recession-Proof Jobs
Taking on a position that is unlikely to be impacted by an economic downturn is a wise choice if you want to maximize your chances of staying employed no matter what the economy is doing.
We’ve found the best recession-proof jobs and listed them in order of earning potential. The earning potential mentioned is the annual median pay according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or Glassdoor.
If you know how to promote brands, being a marketer might be right up your alley. Gifted marketers can earn more than $100,000 annually as marketing managers, making this one of the most lucrative recession-proof jobs.
A business-related degree is required for certain positions. That said, any real-world experience will help maximize your potential salary.
Earning Potential: $133,380 annually
2. Bankruptcy Attorneys
Sadly, recessions bring an uptick in personal bankruptcies. However, you can help filers navigate bankruptcy and minimize losses.
Along with going to law school, you can specialize in the U.S. bankruptcy code, which has different chapters for individuals and businesses. A background in accounting or finance is also helpful.
Earning Potential: $112,849 annually
3. Divorce Attorneys, Mediators and Arbitrators
The United States has the third-largest divorce rate, which signals job security for divorce attorneys. You can also help mediate separations between unmarried couples.
This position can be emotionally taxing as emotions between the separating couple run high. You will also work with accountants, psychologists and social workers to resolve conflicts.
Earning Potential: $112,172 annually
If you love animals, being a veterinarian is one way to give back to your community. Most vets work in private clinics or animal hospitals to treat acute conditions and provide routine checkups.
Traveling to livestock farms or working in zoos are also options if you want a change of scenery.
Earning Potential: $109,920 annually
Actuaries help insurance companies assess the potential risk and profitability of policies. You will analyze statistics, create reports and test proposed policies to determine the potential costs of a payout and the cash reserves a company needs.
Most actuaries work in these sectors:
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Pension and retirement benefits
- Property and casualty insurance
- Public sector benefits (i.e., Social Security, Medicare)
Earning Potential: $105,900 annually
6. IT Workers
The information technology (IT) field is a perennial favorite for earning a high income in our tech-driven society.
While tech startups may flounder, many established businesses need an in-house IT team. This creates a fairly stable opportunity to earn money. Plus, you might even be able to do this job remotely.
Earning Potential: $97,430 annually
7. Physical and Occupational Therapists
Sickness, injuries and surgeries won’t stop during a recession. As a physical therapist, you can help recovering patients improve their mobility as their body heals.
You will have the highest earning potential by getting a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). However, for less schooling, it’s also possible to become a physical therapist assistant and earn approximately $60,740 per year.
Earning Potential: $95,620 annually
8. Real Estate Investors
Home foreclosure rates increase as more households can no longer afford their mortgage payments. Others may sell to move into cheaper accommodations or to pursue a different job.
As a real estate investor, you can own rental property or fix and flip damaged homes. Your income potential depends on the health of the local real estate market, your skills and the available properties.
Earning Potential: $85,130 annually
9. Public Utility Workers
Depending on your skills and geographic location, well-qualified public utility workers can earn between $80,000 to $90,000.
The highest-paying vocations can help you install, maintain or repair electrical systems, power plants and telecommunications.
Entry-level and “helper” positions pay up to 50% less, with an annual salary between $40,000 and $50,000 for most utility jobs.
Earning Potential: $80,000 annually
10. Federal Employees
The federal government is one of the least likely employers to lay off employees. Additionally, federal jobs tend to pay more and offer better benefits than their private sector counterparts.
With many different agencies, there are federal openings in major cities and rural communities. It’s possible to find jobs at USA.gov.
Earning Potential: $78,795 annually
11. Accountants and Auditors
Accountants, auditors and bookkeepers are number-savvy and typically have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. However, you may also consider earning special certifications to qualify for more positions.
Your busiest work seasons will be during tax season and quarterly audits.
Earning Potential: $77,250 annually
12. Insurance Professionals
Being an insurance underwriter, provider or appraiser can be less rigorous than being an actuary, although many basic tasks overlap. Most insurance professionals handle life, health or property and casualty policies.
Your primary role is deciding if an applicant qualifies for coverage and what their premium should be. You will analyze the risk factors with the assistance of automation software.
Earning Potential: $76,390 annually
13. Law Enforcement
Police officers and detectives help keep the public safe. Prior experience as a first responder or corrections officer is helpful.
Pursuing a criminal justice field of study in college can lead to job opportunities as well.
Earning Potential: $66,020 annually
14. Social Workers
Social work is a noble way to help children and struggling adults improve their lives. Initially, most entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree.
Specializing in a specific field can help you find better opportunities with a particular agency that matches your interests.
Earning Potential: $63,010 annually
15. Judiciary Workers
There are many possibilities to work in civil or criminal courts at the local, state or federal level. For example, judicial law clerks can help judges research similar cases and prepare legal documents.
Most judiciary worker positions require a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Earning Potential: $62,730 annually
Whether you teach at the elementary, middle school or high school level, teachers and substitute teachers are present in every community. The pay potential varies by state and grade level.
You can start teaching after receiving a bachelor’s degree and completing your student teaching requirements. Depending on the school district, you may need a master’s degree to teach full-time.
Earning Potential: $61,350 annually
17. Librarians and Archivists
Despite the prevalence of ebooks and Kindle devices, local and school libraries require librarians and archivists.
You will need a master’s degree in library science to be a competitive candidate for jobs in this field.
Earning Potential: $61,190 annually
18. Funeral Workers
Funeral directors and workers will also have reliable income in a recession since death is inevitable.
Working in the evenings and on weekends is often required. It’s best to have a flexible schedule.
This occupation requires an associate’s degree in funeral service or mortuary science. Being able to help survivors through the grief process is also a valuable skill.
Earning Potential: $58,900 annually
19. Public Transit Workers
Operating a mass transit vehicle lets you keep the local economy moving as you transport passengers to work, school and more. Public transit workers have one of the most stable recession-proof jobs.
Most positions require earning a commercial driver’s license (CDL). You might even have to complete on-the-job training.
Earning Potential: $51,310 annually
20. Firefighters, Fire Inspectors and Investigators
There is a constant need for first responders. Firefighting is physically intensive, and openings can be limited at a particular department. Other positions are volunteer-only.
Consider becoming a wildland firefighter for more adventure and a potentially higher income. This apprenticeship program lasts up to four years, but you can protect large areas of land from destruction.
Earning Potential: $50,700 annually
21. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Professionals
You can earn a living by helping clients overcome behavioral, mental and physical struggles that may stem from addictions or trauma. Sadly, recessions usually lead to an increase in these situations as stress levels increase.
Since mental health is a broad field, you might specialize as an addiction counselor, behavioral disorder counselor or substance abuse counselor.
Earning Potential: $48,520 annually
22. Corrections Workers
As a corrections officer, you will most likely work within a jail, prison or youth detention center. There is a steady demand for this occupation in all economic climates because crime is a constant problem.
Becoming a bailiff is another possibility. In this position, you work in the courtroom, enforce the court rules and maintain a safe environment.
Previous experience usually isn’t necessary for local openings, although this job can be physically and mentally demanding. To pursue a federal job opening, you will likely need a few years of relevant experience and special training.
Earning Potential: $47,920 annually
23. Hospice Workers
Being a hospice social worker is a commendable calling if you want to help individuals through the final chapter of their life. There are several different roles you can train for, including personal care and counseling.
Keep in mind this is a highly emotional job.
Earning Potential: $47,444 annually
24. Auto Mechanics
Being an auto mechanic could be your calling if you enjoy working with your hands.
In addition to high school courses, most mechanics enroll in a vocational college. This advanced training lasts six to 12 months and covers automotive technology since many vehicles now depend on computer chips and electronics.
To earn more, consider specializing in a particular field. For example, you might become a diesel mechanic or an electric car mechanic.
Earning Potential: $46,880 annually
25. Credit and Debt Counselors
Becoming a certified credit counselor lets you help people improve their finances. This profession can be easier to qualify for than being a bankruptcy attorney.
No matter what is going on with the economy, credit and debt counselors will always be in-demand. This reality makes these some of the best recession-proof jobs.
Counselors are well-versed in these topics:
- Basic counseling principles
- Consumer rights
- Debt management
Consider the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Counselor Certification Program, which covers the topics mentioned above.
Earning Potential: $46,576 annually
26. Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians
As a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, you dispense prescription medication to patients.
Your training will help you determine the proper dosage and ensure there are no contraindications to a patient’s current medication routine.
Earning Potential: $37,970 (pharmacy technician) or $125,690 (pharmacist) annually
27. Health Care Professionals
The healthcare field has many high-paying jobs due to constant demand and the special training required.
Many support positions, such as dental assistants and medical technicians, earn approximately $37,000 annually.
Advanced roles such as nursing, general physicians and specialists require more education but can pay from $80,000 to $200,000 per year.
Earning Potential: $37,000 (assistants) to $200,000 (doctor specialists) annually
28. Delivery Drivers
Full-time delivery drivers can work for local businesses or a nationwide package delivery service like FedEx or UPS. You need to be able to lift heavy items and drive a light box truck.
It’s possible to earn more by obtaining a CDL license. Plus, working for a delivery company as a paid W-2 employee usually results in better pay and benefits.
If you prefer a more flexible schedule, you can be an independent contractor and use delivery apps to work part-time. Not only are these some of the best recession-proof jobs, they are also among the top side gigs.
Earning Potential: $36,660 annually
29. Senior Care Providers
You can provide at-home care to seniors. Depending on the person, you may only need to provide non-medical care. This includes making meals or keeping a tidy home as a home health aide.
However, many need basic medical assistance. As a result, you will need training as a personal care aide. These jobs pay more, and you can find local senior care jobs on Care.com.
You will likely need to be state certified and have CPR certification. Additional qualifications are necessary if your employer receives federal funding from Medicare.
Earning Potential: $29,430 annually
30. Grocery Store Employees
Working in a grocery store lets you enjoy consistent shifts and potentially receive benefits. This type of work can be more secure as households will stop buying merchandise before going hungry.
No special training is necessary, but prior retail experience and a willingness to work flexible hours can help you earn a higher starting salary.
Earning Potential: $29,180 annually
31. Child Care Workers
Working parents will continue to need full-day or after-school child care during a recession. You can work for an existing daycare center or offer care directly from your home through Care.com.
Your state may require special certifications and licenses to serve as a worker or run your own nursery. For example, the Child Development Associate (CDA) is a requirement in many states. You will also need to pass a background check.
Earning Potential: $27,490 annually
Related Article: Care.com Review
32. Military and Defense Personnel
The U.S. Armed Forces constantly need personnel and commissioned officers, making these recession-proof jobs.
Anticipate earning a base pay of approximately $24,648 (E-2 pay rank) immediately after completing boot camp and technical training.
Newly commissioned officers earn more but must attain a bachelor’s degree. They also need to complete pre-commissioning military leadership training.
Earning Potential: $21,996 (E-2 rank) to $41,727 (O-1 pay rank) annually
While no career field is entirely risk-free, pursuing recession-proof jobs can help you earn a steady income when others might be considering a career change to seek stability.
Since many of these positions require a specialized degree, you may want to search for college scholarships. This can help you avoid student loan debt and become more competitive in the current job market.