Now that the economy is considered to be in full-blown recovery mode, there are a few things that potential students can do to make sure they earn degrees that will always be in demand regardless of economic conditions.

John Francis, president of, said manufacturers and builders are always looking for workers with experience in the skilled trades, including welders and electricians. He noted that the American Welding Society has a long list of career options for graduates with welding training including work at construction sites, nuclear power plants, computer chip factories and refineries.

According to the U.S. Electrical Contractors Association, the future of electrical contracting is looking very favorable. The industry is currently valued at more than $130 billion annually and employs 650,000 workers. Francis said that due to an aging population that is ready to retire, there will be a “dire” need for electricians in the near future.

Auto mechanics also made the list of “recession-proof” jobs. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job opportunities for automotive service technicians are expected to increase by 17 percent through 2020, with many employers looking to hire students who have graduated from auto schools and are industry certified.

Students who are considering a career as an automotive technician may also want to think about specializing in diesel technology. A recent study by ExxonMobil found that the demand for diesel in heavy duty trucks and vehicles is expected to surge through 2040. In addition, sales of new diesel vehicles have been on the rise over the past few years – increasing by more than 25 percent in 2012 alone. Autoweek predicts that there will be as many as 41 U.S. specific diesel models expected on the market by 2016, including cars from BMW, Audi, Mazda and Volkswagen.