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30 fastest-growing occupations

health care careers

Whether you’re a prospective pupil who has yet to enroll or a student trying to chart a course of study, knowing the low-down on what’s up-and-coming in the job market is important when planning your next steps. When honing in on the perfect school or career choice for you, it helps to know what types of jobs are expected to be in-demand.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov, 2012) recently released the occupational employment projections from 2008 to 2018 – the data was published in November 2009 and updated December 2010.

Among the top 30 fastest growing occupations, biomedical engineers, network systems and data communications analysts, personal and home health aides and financial examiners lead the pack.

While it may not be surprising that technical and health care professions are in the top five, skin-care specialists and athletic trainers are also in demand, placing in the top 10, at numbers eight and 10 respectively.

Making sense of the stats

In addition to being aware of what jobs are slated for the most growth as a percentage increase, it’s also important to know how many new actual positions are expected to be available. A particular occupation may be more in-demand than it once was, but the actual number of new hires could still be fairly low.

For example, occupations with low levels of employment, such as financial examiners, may grow very rapidly – 41.2 percent from 2008 to 2018 – but generate relatively few new jobs, 11,100 for the decade. Alternatively, an occupation with a large number of jobs, such as retail salespersons, may grow more slowly, at 8.3 percent, but a much larger number of new jobs – 374,700 – may be available, according to the BLS report.

One more note on interpreting the stats: it’s also smart to find out which jobs are in-demand in your state. Information on that can be found at the BLS website.

So what does that mean for you?

Ideally, you’d want to focus on a job that is poised to rapidly grow in terms of how many new hires are expected and that also has a high percentage of increased growth forecasted for the decade. Leading this category are network systems and data communications analysts, computer applications software engineers, home health aides, and personal and home care aides. These four occupations will grow at a minimum rate of 34 percent by 2018, and expand by at least 155,800 jobs over the 10-year period beginning in 2008, according to the  BLS.

Good bets

Despite the cautionary notes in interpreting the BLS data, it’s always beneficial to know which occupations are going to be in demand and what type of preparation is required for them when embarking on an educational journey.

For 14 of the 30 fastest growing occupations, a bachelor’s or a graduate degree is the most significant source of educa­tion or training. Seven are in the postsecondary vocational award or associate degree category, one is categorized under work experience in a related occupation, and the remaining eight are in an on-the-job training category. A substantial portion of the 30 fastest-growing occupa­tions are directly related to health care.

Here we outline the top 30 fastest-growing occupations in order (highest to lowest) of their percentage of projected growth, based on the BLS report.

 

Hot Job

Projected Growth (%)

Projected New Jobs

Starting Salary ($US)

Minimum Degree Required

Biomedical engineers

 

72

11,600

51,540

Bachelor’s

Network systems & data communications analysts

 

53

155,800

51,540

Bachelor’s

Home health aides

 

50

460,900

21,590

short-term, on-the-job training

 

Personal & home care aides

 

46

375,800

21,590

short-term, on-the-job training

 

Financial examiners

 

41.2

11,100

51,530

Bachelor’s

Medical scientists

 

40.4

44,200

51,540

Doctoral

Physician assistant

 

39

29, 200

51,540

Master’s

Skin care specialist

 

37.9

14, 700

21,590

Postsecondary vocational award

 

Biochemists and biophysicists

 

37.4

8,700

51,540

Doctoral

Athletic trainers

 

37

6,000

32,390

Bachelor’s

Physical therapist aides

 

36.2

16,700

21,590

short-term, on-the-job training

 

Dental hygienists

 

36. 1

62,900

51,540

Associate’s

Veterinary technologists

 

35.77

28,500

21,590

Associate’s

Dental assistants

 

35.75

105,600

21,590

Moderate-term on-the-job training

 

Computer software engineers, applications

 

34

175,100

51,540

Bachelor’s

Medical assistants

 

33.9

163,900

21,590

Moderate-term on-the-job training

 

Physical therapist assistants

 

33.2

21,200

51,540

Associate’s

Veterinarians

 

32.9

19,700

51,540

Doctoral

Self-enrichment education teachers

 

32

81,300

32,390

Work experience

 

Compliance officers (except agriculture, construction, health and safety and transportation)

 

31

80,800

32,390

Long-term on-the-job training

Occupational therapist aides

 

30.7

2,400

21,590

Short-term on-the-job training

 

Environmental engineers

 

30.6

16,600

51,540

Bachelor’s

Pharmacy technicians

 

30.5

99,800

21,590

Moderate-term on-the-job training

 

Computer software engineer, system software

 

30.4

120,200

51,540

Bachelor’s

Survey researchers

 

30. 3

7,100

32,390

Bachelor’s

Physical therapists

 

30.2

56,200

51,540

Master’s

Personal financial advisors

 

30.13

62,800

51,540

Bachelor’s

Environmental engineering technicians

 

30.1

6,400

32,390

Bachelor’s

Occupational therapist assistants

29.7

7,900

32,390

Associate’s

Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors

29.4

76,800

21,590

Postsecondary vocational award

 

 

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