Between now and 2024, occupations in the service sectors dominate the job projections compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both the Fastest Growing Occupations list and the list of Occupations with Most Job Growth are dominated by jobs in the health care industries, but there are also jobs in financial planning, retail, customer service, computer technology and education. When planning for your future, consider ways that your talents, personality and aspirations can fit into these most needed jobs in the future.
For the Caregiver: Advanced Nursing Practitioners
Physician assistants (PA) and nurse practitioners (NP) both have more autonomy and responsibility than most registered nurses, but there are some major differences between the two occupations. PAs practice under the supervision of a doctor, most often in an office, clinic or hospital setting. While they can diagnose and perform many medical procedures, most states do not allow PAs to prescribe medication. Becoming a physician assistant generally requires a masters degree in nursing and state accreditation. NPs also require at least a masters degree, and may require a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in the future. In many states, they are allowed to prescribe medications and may not have to work under the supervision of a doctor. Other advanced nursing occupations include nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists. As of 2016, the median salary for nurse practitioners is $107,400, and job growth is expected to be around 34 percent, which is much faster than average. The median salary for PAs as of 2016 is $101,480, with a projected job growth rate of 30 percent.
For the Gym-Addict: Physical Therapist
Physical therapists (PTs) help injured or ill people improve their mobility. They work with patients who have chronic conditions or who have been injured through an accident, stroke or other medical condition. PTs may help with pain management, core stability, balance improvement and other areas important to mobility and independence. While they may practice on their own, PTs generally function as part of a medical team in a clinic, hospital or rehabilitative medical office setting. They may also provide injury prevention education, or work as a consultant to athletic teams and athletes. Physical therapists must have a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree and a license to practice. The median salary is $85,400 per year as of 2016. Jobs similar to this include audiologists, chiropractors, physical therapist assistants, and speech language pathologists.
For the Outdoorsy Type: Construction Work
The construction industry is expected to add nearly 800,000 jobs between 2014 and 2024. These jobs range from general construction laborers to specialists, such as brick masons. The growth rate in the construction industry ranges from around 13 percent for general workers to around 15 percent for brick masons and other specialty trades. The training required depends on the specific job, but most require only a high school diploma and offer on-the-job training. Some specialized trades may require an apprenticeship or graduation from a certificate program. Median incomes as of 2016 range from around $31,400 to around $43,100.
For the Curious Mind: Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists help injured or ill patients recover and improve the skills they need for living by therapeutically working through everyday tasks. Becoming an occupational therapist typically requires a master’s degree in occupational therapy, though in some cases a B.A. in psychology may be accepted. All occupational therapists are required to be licensed or registered. The median pay as of 2016 is $81,910 annually. Similar jobs include physical therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and exercise psychologists.
For the Math Minded: Personal Financial Advisor
The demand for personal financial advisors is expected to grow at a rate of 30 percent between 2014 and 2024, a rate that is much faster than the average job growth. Personal financial advisors help clients with financial planning, including tax planning, retirement planning, offering investment advice and advising on insurance and other financial instruments. They may work for a firm in the finance sector, though many are self-employed. In general, jobs in this sector require a bachelors degree, and there will be extensive on-the-job training. The median pay for personal financial advisors is $90,530 per year as of 2016. Similar careers include budget analysts, financial analysts, financial managers, and insurance agents.
For the Computer Lover: Software Developer
With the growing emphasis on computer technology, app development, and data communications, cyber buffs are in full demand. Software developers generally have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an in depth knowledge of computer programming tools and language. The median pay as of 2016 is $102,580 per year. Similar jobs include computer and information research scientists, computer hardware engineers, computer programmers, computer application engineers, and computer systems analysts.
For the Organized Mind: Management Analyst
Management Analysts brainstorm and plan ways to improve a company’s efficiency. They make recommendations on how to make organizations most profitable and are oftentimes responsible for budget and revenue goals. Most management analysts usually have a bachelor’s degree, but this is not required. Many companies do require some experience working in a related job or field for this position. The median salary is $81,330 per year as of 2016. Similar occupations include accountants, auditors, budget analysts, administrative services managers, market research analysts, and business executives.
For the Bookworm: Teacher
Teachers are responsible for the education of students within their field. There are teachers working with students at all levels from preschool to post-secondary, as well as instructors in technical, career and vocational fields. Of them all, post-secondary teachers, including college instructors and vocational/career instructors, feature the highest expected rate of growth - about 13 percent. Educational requirements vary, depending on state regulations and the specific area of instruction, but most require at least a masters degree, and many require a Ph.D. Relevant experience may also be required for vocational and technical instructors. As of 2016, the median salary for post-secondary teachers is $75,530.
For the English Majors: Technical Writer
Technical create instruction manuals, help files, journal articles and other supporting documents that help consumers and others understand products and technologies. While the job prospects for most writers are bleak, the market for technical writers is expected to expand by 10 percent between 2014 and 2023. In most cases, you'll need at least a bachelors degree to get a job as a technical writer, but relevant experience with the product or within the industry may be a more important qualification. The median pay for technical writers as of 2016 is $69, 850. Similar occupations include grant writers, editors and translators.
For the Biology Major: Biomedical Engineers
The entire health field is expected to grow substantially over the next several years, but some medical specialties will grow faster than others. Biomedical engineers, who create equipment, software, devices and computer systems used in medicine, will be in much higher demand than most medical researchers and scientists. The BLS projects much faster than average job growth of 23 percent for biomedical engineers. If you want to work in this field, you'll need at least a bachelors degree in bioengineering, or graduate degree with a concentration in relevant electives. The 2016 median income for biomedical engineers is $85,620. Similar occupations include biochemists, biophysicists and chemical engineers.