Jobs that Require Quick Thinking

Quick thinking is often associated with the ability to act quickly as well. Careers in law, emergency services, sports, healthcare and transportation can all depend on the ability to think quickly and act accordingly.

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Career Options for Jobs that Require Quick Thinking

While there are some careers that emphasize routine tasks, other careers may involve varied tasks that can require professionals who are able to think fast and make quick decisions. Success in these careers can depend on a person's ability to respond to situations without hesitation.

Job Title Median Salary* (2016) Growth* (2014-2024)
Lawyers $118,160 6%
Psychiatric Technicians and Aides $28,670 5%
Air Traffic Controllers $122,410 -9%
Athlete and Sports Competitors $47,710 6%
EMTs and Paramedics $32,670 24%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs that Require Quick Thinking


Lawyers need a law degree and in order to practice law, they must have a valid law license. They provide legal advice and may be involved with preparing legal documents or appearing in court on behalf of their clients; this is where quick thinking is a clear asset. When witnesses are questioned they need to be able to respond to statements effectively. Although lawyers prepare questions for the court, they need to be able to change their line of questioning immediately if new information is revealed or a witness contradicts prior testimony.

Psychiatric Technicians and Aides

Psychiatric technicians and aides work in the mental health field and need to be aware of what is going on around them in order to intervene to prevent potential incidents or to respond to behavioral problems with patients. Although aides may only be required to have a high school diploma and on-the-job training, technicians need to complete postsecondary studies and earn an associate's degree or certificate. Aides and technicians are both responsible for routine tasks, such as keeping an eye on patients; technicians may also lead group activities for patients.

Air Traffic Controllers

Air traffic controllers are responsible for monitoring all aircraft within a given area; the requirements for air traffic controllers include being a U.S. citizen and passing a number of tests, as well as earning a bachelor's degree. They oversee aircraft and communicate with the pilots. Air traffic controllers may alert pilots to possible reasons for altering flight path. They must respond quickly to emergency situations; for example, if a plane is on fire they may need to have a runway cleared quickly and have fire and medical crews on hand.

Athlete and Sports Competitors

Athletes and sports competitors spend a lot of time training and practicing to compete in their sport. During competition athletes and sports competitors may need to be able to respond immediately to different situations; they may need to alter a play based on something members of the opposing team do, or they may need to adjust their plans due to weather conditions or other variables that may affect their performance. They do not need to complete any postsecondary training, although it's common for athletes and sports competitors to participate in a sport for many years.

EMTs and Paramedics

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics typically work in ambulances and respond to situations such as car accidents or personal medical emergencies. They need to be able to quickly and appropriately identify issues with people who are ill or injured. EMTs and paramedics must be licensed; they also need to complete postsecondary training to earn a certificate or associate's degree.

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