Crisis proof jobs

14 essential jobs in the U.S

Christina Omlor

The recent developments with the novel coronavirus mean that the U.S authorities have called on 158 million workers throughout the country to stay at home. Yet this does not affect all of America’s employees. There are so called “essential critical infrastructure jobs” or short “essential jobs” which, despite the crisis, have increased job security due to the demand placed on these jobs to keep the infrastructure alive.

If you are wondering whether your job is part of these essential industries, or you are interested in switching your career right now to crisis proof jobs, this list might be of particular interest for you.

Essential Critical Infrastructure Jobs:

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), there are 14 employment categories under which employees are classed as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, which declares as crisis-proof jobs. THE CISA defines them as “so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety.” This also means, unlike other industries the job security is above average and workers can expect to stay in their jobs even as other companies are closing.

1. Healthcare and public health workers

First and foremost, this includes:

  • All hospital and laboratory personnel,
  • caregivers,
  • doctors, nurses,
  • researchers,
  • pharmacists,
  • social workers,
  • non-profit organization workers
  • as well as funeral home and cemetery workers. 

2. Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders

This includes emergency management personnel like:

  • police officers,
  • firefighters,
  • paramedics, and emergency medical technicians along with 911 call center workers
  • all of those who oversee emergency service operations. 

3. Food and agriculture workers

May be overseen, but are actually the first in line. They secure the survival of society by providing food in any sort of way:

  • animal agriculture workers,
  • farmers,
  • food processing workers,
  • warehouse workers,
  • food truck delivery drivers. 
  • restaurant staff, 
  • local grocery store workers. 

4. Energy employees

Maintaining the U.S infrastructure is a key essential industry and comes with a high job security for:

  •  telecommunications staffers,
  • natural gas/propane workers,
  • electricians, engineers,
  • cybersecurity/risk management staff,
  • and those working in environmental remediation. 

5. Water and wastewater

This includes all employees who:

  • operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure. 

essential critical infrastructure jobs1

6. Transportation and logistics

This includes:

  • mass transit workers,
  • trash collectors,
  • postal and shipping workers,
  • air traffic controllers,
  • air transportation employees,
  • dispatchers,
  • maintenance and repair technicians,
  • warehouse workers,
  • truck stop and rest area workers,
  • and all those who maintain and inspect our infrastructure every day.

7. Public works

Public works employees are those who:

  • operate, inspect and maintain dams, locks, levees, and bridges.
  • It’s also anyone who oversees sewer main breaks, traffic signals and buried/underground utilities. 

8. Communications and information technology

This also includes: 

  • technicians and operators, (wireline, wireless and cable service) 
  • call centers,
  • manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment.
  • anyone who is working right now to support our radio, television, and media services
  • data center operators, HVAC and electrical engineers, security personnel, IT managers,
  • software and hardware engineers, and database administrators. 

9. Other community-based government operations

This includes employees such as:

  • security staff,
  • trade officials,
  • weather forecasters,
  • customs workers,
  • educators.

10. Critical manufacturing

All employees who are involved in critical manufacturing for:

  • medical supply chains,
  • transportation, energy and communications,
  • food and agriculture,
  • chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities,
  • the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base.

In the current situation, this includes all of those workers making emergency respirators and all other critical products to ensure that all kinds of industries have the tools they need, during the shutdown. 

11. Hazardous materials

Anyone working with hazardous materials is also listed as an essential worker. Including:

  • nuclear facilities,
  • managing medical waste,
  • managing waste from pharmaceuticals and medical material production,
  • and anyone processing test kits.

12. Financial services

This includes all workers in financial/lending institutions or those supporting them.


Not working in an essential industry?


13. Chemical workers

This includes all of those people supporting and maintaining our chemical and industrial gas supply chains:

  • workers at chemical manufacturing plants,
  • in laboratories,
  • at distribution facilities,
  • people who transports basic raw chemical materials for the production of industrial and consumer goods: including hand sanitizers, food and food additives and pharmaceuticals.

14. Defense industrial base

This includes but is not limited to all of those working in:

  • military forces
  • aerospace, aircraft and weapon systems
  • mechanical and software engineering
  • security and intelligence support. 

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Sources: 

1 CISA