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Top Jobs in Sugar Land, Baytown and Houston

Trying to find a career in the Houston, Texas, metro area? In general, the strongest jobs revolve around the fields of machinery operation and health care, according to state and federal data. Due to the projected growth in these fields, the job prospects are potentially quite promising.

Houston boasts multiple major industries. In fact, the area was recently ranked by Manufacturers' News Inc., as the top U.S. manufacturing city. In addition, the city is home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world, according to the Greater Houston Partnership, as well as oil and gas companies, and NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Together, the Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown area is home to more than 1.46 million adults age 18 to 64, meaning there is a large pool of potential employees in this part of Texas. Here are details on five of the fastest-growing jobs in the metro area, based on salary, education and long-term career data collected by the Texas Workforce Commission and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Biomedical Engineers

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas

Home Health Aides

Service Unit Operators-Oil, Gas and Mining

Typical Entry-Level Education

Bachelor's degree

Associate's degree

High school diploma preferred

Less than high school

High school diploma preferred

Mean annual salary metro area (May 2013)

$86,210

$67,540

$49,540

$20,120

$50,650

Mean annual salary statewide (May 2013)

$103,900

$65,490

$48,690

$20,530

$47,450

Projected growth metro area through 2020*

0%

25%

25%

41.8%

22.2%

Projected growth statewide through 2020

72.90%

51.9%

51.1%

50.4%

48%

Employment per 1,000 jobs
(May 2013)

0.133

0.382

0.953

2.465

2.996

With the exception of home health aides, all of these careers offer mean annual salaries close to or higher than the mean salary of all occupations in the area, which is $49,830, the BLS reports.

Notably, derrick operators and service unit operators receive decent mean annual wages and only require a high school diploma. As is often the case, higher education levels typically receive higher wages in the Houston, TX, metro area, according to the data, but they aren't the only jobs with strong growth potential.

*Projected growth from 2010 to 2020 for the Deep East Texas region, based on projections from Texas Labor Market Information.

These jobs were designated "top" based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Texas Workforce Commission, which called out that they were among the fastest-growing jobs relevant at both the regional metro and state levels.

Sources:

Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013,
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_26420.htm

Southwest Information Office: Houston Area Employment, Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2013,
http://www.bls.gov/ro6/fax/houston_ces.htm

"Houston's Top Industries," Greater Houston Partnership,
http://www.houston.org/business/industry-sectors.html

Projections - Occupation: Deep East Texas Workforce Development Area, Texas Labor Market Information,
http://www.tracer2.com/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Occprj

Career Exploration & Trends, Texas Workforce Commission,
http://www.twc.state.tx.us/customers/jsemp/career-exploration-trends.html