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2. Real estate appraiser

The nitty-gritty: When real estate tanked a few years back, lots of people who worked in the industry moved on to other jobs. Now that the housing market is gaining some traction, there are opportunities to provide appraisal services, for refinancing or purchases. picked this as one of the best industries for starting a business.

The work is typically a combination of out of the office eyeballing of property and computer-based research for comparable properties.

Median pay: $23.32 per hour; $48,500 per year

Qualifications: You must be licensed or certified, but requirements vary by state. Check with your state's licensing board for specific requirements. For more information on licensing, visit the American Society of Appraisers and the Appraisal Institute, the nation's largest professional association of real estate appraisers.

3. Physical Therapist

The nitty-gritty: If you've worked in health care, this might be a nice segue for you. Employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 39 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Active boomers are helping spur the demand.

You may set up your business in your own space, but it's more likely you'll take your practice on the road to homes, fitness centers, outpatient clinics and assisted-living residences. The work can be physically demanding, but if you're in good shape and have the expertise, you shouldn't have trouble finding clients who want you to work your magic.

Median pay: $36.69 per hour; $76,310 per year

Qualifications: All states require physical therapists to be licensed. Requirements vary, but include passing the state-administered National Physical Therapy Examination. Educational requirements vary from a masters degree to a clinical doctorate. You can even start as a physical therapist assistant or aide, and receive on-the-job training while completing your education.

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