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Behind the Scenes Jobs: 10 Important Careers You Might Not Know About

Americans account for only 5% of the global population, but they take home more than 20% of the world’s income. While much of that income is earned by popular American careers — doctors, lawyers, etc. — there’s also room for a variety of underappreciated professionals in the world’s largest economy. These careers don’t typically receive as much attention, but they still fulfill important functions in fields like healthcare, finance, and mechanics.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers combine knowledge of biology and medicine to solve different medical challenges. They design equipment, train clinicians, and perform research in various chemistry, biology, and health fields. No matter their daily responsibilities, all biomedical engineers work to improve the quality of patient health — whether through stem cell research or 3D biological printing.

A majority of biomedical engineers work in research for a physical, engineering, or life sciences employer. While some work directly in patient care facilities like hospitals, others work in laboratories or device manufacturing companies removed from frontline healthcare.

While doctors and nurses serve as the visual face of modern healthcare, they’re often supported by biomedical engineers behind the scenes. Though sometimes underappreciated, they help support interdisciplinary healthcare teams in protecting patient safety and developing new solutions to common medical problems.

Glazier

Glaziers serve as glass experts for a worksite, installing windows and repairing damaged panes. They also determine which windows or glass belong in certain locations, whether it’s a high-rise building or a new residential community.

Any construction site that needs windows also needs a glazier. Glaziers can replace old window panes, safely clean shattered glass, fasten glass into place, and add weather seals to make windows more tolerant of the elements. They also have experience following blueprints and working alongside other members of a construction crew.

A glazier isn’t typically a heralded construction role, perhaps because of the exposure. Though construction managers, electricians, and general contractors earn more of the spotlight, glaziers have a unique role at any project. They may not lay wires or pour concrete, but their intricate window work makes the rest of the job possible.

Diesel Mechanic

There are few positions more valuable in an auto repair shop than a diesel mechanic. They understand the intricacies of a diesel engine, fulfilling a role that requires both communication and intricate repair work. Most diesel mechanics spend time speaking with clients, troubleshooting engine issues, making repairs, and inspecting auto parts like brakes and engines.

Diesel mechanics likely don’t receive the recognition they deserve because of the engine type they focus on. While many modern mechanics exclusively repair gas engines, diesel mechanics work on alternative types of machinery. Mechanics are sometimes also lost in the spotlight of the people operating diesel vehicles, from long-haul truckers to farmers.

You’ll need skills in auto care and maintenance to become a diesel mechanic. Much of their time is spent fixing diesel engines. For example, diesel mechanics in the construction industry might repair C13 Caterpillar or C15 Caterpillar engines. You might spend more time fixing a 6bt Cummins or an ISX Cummins engine if you work in transit.

Prosthetist

A prosthetist creates medical devices that support people with a disability. In many cases, this means building artificial arms and legs for amputees. You may also fit people with artificial hands, feet, or other body parts. Most prosthetists work either in medical supplies manufacturing or ambulatory healthcare, where they spend time building devices for patients who need to restore their range of motion.

The work of a prosthetist directly improves the community. They provide a higher quality of life for disabled patients, keeping people mobile and independent through various supportive medical devices. Despite their importance, they don’t typically receive as much attention as doctors or other healthcare workers who work directly with patients. 

Logistician

Logisticians fulfill an important role in the business and financial space. They coordinate a product’s complete supply chain, from ideation and introduction into the market until its eventual disposal. A logistician is also responsible for maintaining direct relationships with buyers and identifying areas where the product itself can improve.

While they might not receive as much attention as product engineers or product managers, logisticians make the entire product lifecycle possible. Their work in the product inventory and distribution field helps connect sellers directly with customers. They also understand how to use complicated inventory management solutions, sometimes overseeing a company's complete product stock.

Logistician positions are expected to grow 18% through 2032, creating an estimated 21,800 openings each year. The continued growth of e-commerce sales makes the role of a logistician even more of a necessity for any company with a product inventory.

Back-End Developer

As a back-end developer, you’re responsible for the underlying code that sustains a website or mobile app. You will interact with both the software and hardware that support a program or website, including servers, databases, and shared data between users.

Virtually all companies that sell online need some form of website or payment processing tool. This requires the work of at least one back-end developer, someone who can use code in ways that gather, analyze, and protect user information. It also requires constant collaboration with other developers, IT specialists, and company stakeholders to build and protect a company’s digital infrastructure.

Back-end developers don’t always receive the same attention as the front-end coders who design the look and feel of a website. However, back-end coders are intimately responsible for the code behind the site — the “engine” that drives the website or app forward.

Community Service Manager

Becoming a community service manager is one way to make a positive impact close to home. Community service managers coordinate and oversee programs that support the public. These programs sometimes include public health initiatives, meal distribution, education, and therapy.

Community service managers work directly with, and in, their home community. They work with individuals and family service providers to offer programs that improve local quality of life.

In some cases, community service managers are overshadowed by the professionals they work with. For example, nurses and social workers who fulfill a local health program are more visible than the community service manager who creates the program itself.

Garbage Collector

Every community also has the need for garbage collection. Garbage collectors fulfill a physically demanding role, collecting and disposing of waste in designated areas. Without their contributions, garbage quickly accumulates and threatens public health and sanitation.

Timely, efficient waste disposal keeps families and businesses operating smoothly. It prevents unmanaged waste and often allows for opportunities like recycling and protecting the environment. Though garbage collection is sometimes regarded as a hands-on, dirty role, it’s a cornerstone for a clean community.

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers support several administrative functions of a business. Depending on their role, they might handle a company’s workforce, oversee benefits programs, and mediate disputes. They also handle employee recruitment, interviewing, onboarding, and offboarding.

HR managers equip employees with the tools they need to thrive. Though they may not receive the same recognition as company stakeholders or other C-suite leaders in front-facing roles, they work hard to protect the internal workforce. The work of an HR manager can directly affect employee turnover, retention, and satisfaction rates.

Paralegals

A paralegal supports the efforts of a lawyer through investigation, research, and document review. Depending on their role, they might spend time gathering formal statements, filing briefs or appeals, and corresponding with members of other legal teams. Alongside legal assistants, they help lawyers before, during, and after a trial takes place.

Paralegals sometimes operate in the shadow of the lawyers they support. Though lawyers earn more exposure with the public, paralegals provide them with valuable preparation. Their preparatory and follow-up work allows a lawyer to focus on active litigation.

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