Best Jobs with the Fastest Growth Potential
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics want you to know the jobs to aim for with the greatest growth potential over the next several years. They have compiled a list of the top jobs with the most promise to drive prospective job seekers in the right direction. Perhaps the standard factory manufacturing jobs have gone and continue to move to Asia but there are plenty of new industries in addition to the growing medical sector due to the aging Baby Boomer population. Look for new service sectors to provide significant employment opportunity and growth. Those looking for a more stable future should take heed of these employment opportunities. Many trade schools, community colleges and four year colleges are gearing up for the anticipated industry growth fields. It’s up to you now to find your pathway to the future.
Fastest Growing Jobs/Occupations for Next Ten Years
#1 – Wind Turbine Technicians
Renewable forms of energy are at an all-time investment high. Much of this is due to environmental regulations and climate change issues demanding cleaner forms of energy. The push for wind and solar is stretching the limits of our ability to fulfill the open positions. The United States government energy website found at energy.gov projects wind industry power demands of over 404 gigawatts needed by the year 2050. That’s a tremendous amount of expected power from wind, an abundant and free source of clean energy! The push for a large workforce of qualified technicians to work in this sector is obvious. Applicants should have a good mechanical and electrical aptitude. Applicants should not have a fear of heights since much of the work involves tower climbing and working outdoors and around dangerous moving equipment at very high elevations. Typically, some college or technical or trade school is required but a degree is not needed. Salaries are good with a typical median yearly wage of $51,050 per year as of 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is the winner of our contest at 108 percent.
#2 – Occupational Therapy Assistants
The workplace can be a dangerous place and injuries will always be a byproduct of a workforce. With new heavy construction infrastructure jobs anticipated as a major push for the new administration workplace injuries are going to need to be addressed at an ever-increasing rate. Occupational therapy assistants work directly with and assist patients under the direction of a licensed occupational therapist. Occupational therapy assistants typically work at one of several locations such as an occupational therapists’ office, hospital, nursing home or senior care facility. They typically spend a lot of their time on their feet, setting up equipment. Because this is an assistant position, it is considered a move-up position to the higher-level positions of physical therapists. This is typically an associate level degree position that can be obtained from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program at a local community college or trade school. Most states require the licensing of these positions and a high school diploma or equivalent. The median annual wage for occupational therapy assistants is $57,870 as of 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is high at 43 percent.
#3 – Physical Therapy Assistants
As with an occupational therapy assistant the need for physical therapy assistants will only significantly increase due to similar factors in heavy construction jobs from the push for new infrastructure projects. Since this category covers a broader cross-section of patients beyond those injured from work-related issues there are additional growth factors. The gentrification of the United States because of the Baby Boomer generation also supports growth in this field. Physical therapy assistants help patients recover from a general injury or illness to become higher functioning or fully recovered. These positions provide an opportunity as a stepping-stone career to a full physical therapy positions. They tend to work more directly under the expert guidance of a licensed physical therapist and tend to develop a more personal relationship with their patients. If you are people person that likes to help others, then this is the job for you. The rewarding nature of assisting another fellow human being improve their quality of life or become whole again is significant. The median annual wage for physical therapy assistants is $55,170 per year as of 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is high at 41 percent.
#4 – Physical Therapist Aids
Due to all the above reasons for growth of both the occupational therapy assistants and physical therapy assistants, physical therapist aids will experience significant growth. It is important that we list out all the variations within the general category of physical therapist so prospective job seekers are aware of all the numerous opportunities available in the field of physical therapy and how they differ from each other. While an aid is a more introductory level position, is can lead to quick advancement through the ranks. It requires lots of time on the employee’s feet throughout the day setting up equipment and administering therapy to those injured or suffering from illnesses. These general three physical therapy positions as detailed above and in this paragraph, are very important to society in that they are helping with pain management and psychological wellness of individuals to eventually gain their freedom and rejoin the workforce. These aid positions work under a licensed physical therapist and can also report to the physical therapist assistant. Physical therapy aids typically work at one of several locations such as a physical therapists’ office, hospital, nursing home or senior care facility. This is typically an associate level degree position that can be obtained from an accredited physical therapy aid program at a local community college or trade school. Most states require the licensing of these positions and a high school diploma or equivalent is needed. The median annual wage for occupational therapy assistants is $25,120 per year as of 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is high at 39 percent.
#5 – Home Health Aids
This is a fast-growing job sector due to the Baby Boomer generation arriving at their senior years both now and over the next couple decades. Unfortunately, being generally an unskilled field, the pay is substantially lower than many of the other job sectors listed here. Home health aides provide a huge service to our country in that they allow seniors and incapacity or sick individuals maintain their home life without having to be placed in a care facility. They assist people with chronic illnesses or cognitive issues to accomplish their daily living needs and activities. Many of their clients are older citizens who require assistance with everyday life such as bathing, dressing, eating, and using the bathroom facilities. They also assist in administering medication, checking vital signs and other needs. Home health aides typically work in client’s homes, group homes and at adult daycare service programs. This position requires a kind and compassionate temperament with the ability to deal with body fluids and sometimes difficult or temperamental clients. There is typically no formal education required for this position other than some state certification and ongoing classes in basic emergency medical procedures and care. Most home health-aids/caregivers have a high school diploma. Some coursework may be required for higher levels of care requiring injections, catheter, taking vital signs or performing other basic medical care procedures under the direction of a licensed nurse or healthcare practitioner. The median annual wage for home health aides was $21,920 in May 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is high at 39 percent.
#6 – Commercial Divers
With the preponderance of big rig trucks on the highways, the ever-increasing number of FedEx and UPS delivery vans in and around cities and neighborhoods, it’s easy to see the growth in this sector. It seems that truck driving and delivery jobs will never be in short supply and the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures agree. The truth of the matter is there currently are not enough drivers to fill the nation’s needs. Growth in online retailing, construction industry growth and lower fuel prices are contributing factors to growth in this sector and the need for drivers. Commercial drivers typically drive large 18-wheel tractor trailers, bobtail trucks, delivery vans and other large cargo vehicles. They either drive local delivery routes or long-haul, cross-country routes where they may be away from home for days at a time. While many individuals may enjoy travel, others may find this difficult to be away from home for extended periods. Confinement in a tractor for 10 to 12 hours at a time may not be for everyone. Commercial Drivers need to be proficient in vehicle operational and road safety. Specialty driving trade schools provide training for drivers. A high school or equivalent diploma may or may not be required depending on the company and management. A (CDL) commercial grade driver’s license must be obtained from the state’s department of motor vehicles department to drive most delivery vehicles and heavy trucks. Various classes of license are available dependent on the type of truck, number of axles or load. Additional state driving endorsements may be required for dangerous, volatile or oversize cargo. Regular physical examinations are required to maintain a CDL. Detailed logs must be kept to ensure compliance with load limits, pickup and destination of load, hours and miles driven and so forth. If driving for a local delivery route, the driver needs to be able to lift and move heavy boxes and operate a hand truck. The median annual wage for commercial drivers was $50,470 in May 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is high at 37 percent.
#7 – Nurse Practitioners
Besides nurse practitioners, this category includes nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives as well. They are typically referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Nurse practitioners coordinate patient care at a level almost comparable to a general physician. They provide primary and specialty healthcare and report and work under a medical doctor in some states while they can actually diagnose interpret diagnostic tests and prescribe pharmaceuticals in other states. Growth in this job classification is occurring for several reasons, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowing more people to be insured, more aggressive implementation of preventive care modalities, and perhaps most importantly, the need for healthcare services from the aging baby-boom population. Once again, the Baby Boomers are playing an important role in our nation’s job growth, and probably will over the next 20 years or more. Boomers are living more healthy lives and living longer, thereby requiring extended healthcare services longer than just about any other generational group. Here we have a career with an extremely good salary dynamic and a fantastic growth rate that will allows a superior lifestyle well into the foreseeable future. Individuals taking on a job as a nurse practitioner are almost guaranteed a great paying job in just about any geographic location throughout the nation. While salaries are a bit higher in major metropolitan areas, more rural locations still offer a highly competitive salary. So, if you are interested in a way of getting out of the big city to a more laidback smaller town atmosphere, this may be your ticket. We won’t sugarcoat it here but these are very education-intense positions that require many years of college. Nurse practitioners must earn at least a master’s degree in a APRN related field to get their foot in the door of this highly respected field. They also must be licensed by a state licensing board and pass a national certification examination. The median annual wage for commercial drivers was $98,190 in May 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is high at 35 percent.
#8 – Physical Therapists
Down the list a bit in job growth potential, from the assistant and aid positions in the field is the actual job of physical therapist. These jobs represent the desired position that many aids and assistants aspire to become but require substantially more schooling. Many assistants and aids go to night school to continue their careers while working their entry level jobs. The schooling for physical therapist is essentially equal to becoming doctor but board certification is usually not required. To enter a physical therapy program applicants must first obtain a bachelor of science degree with certain science prerequisite coursework being mandatory. Volunteer work in the physical therapy field is also typically required. The graduate level physical therapy degree program is normally three years of coursework after the lower level degree accomplishment. The applicant’s GPA and GRE scores will be significantly considered on application to a doctoral level program. Maintaining good grades is crucial to acceptance. Areas of study for the doctorate program mirror that of medical doctors to include anatomy, musculoskeletal systems, neurological systems, pathology and clinical courses. Patient-centric coursework is also required with an emphasis on assessment, treatment, intervention, and focused patient care methodologies. Licensing for physical therapists is a must and is handled on a state by state basis with each state applying different testing and licensing standards. To be considered for licensing in most states, the individual must have graduated from an accredited program and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). Each state may have more requirements for continuing education and additional coursework. As mentioned above, board certification in a specialty is not required but can be a significant career boost and lead to additional opportunities. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) is the national organization responsible for board certification of physical therapists. To become board certified, you must complete over 2,000 hours of clinical practice in a specialty and pass an all-day, multiple-choice examination for the chosen specialty. Recertification in specialties is required in ten years. The path to becoming a physical therapist is not easy but the lifelong monetary benefits are substantial with almost limitless job opportunities in just about all regions of the nation. The work physical therapists do is highly rewarding as they are helping individuals reduce pain, increase mobility and once again become whole and regain quality of life. These societally important professionals rehabilitate those who have suffered life-changing and devastating accidents and illnesses. The median annual wage for physical therapists was $84,020 in May 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is at 34 percent.
#9 – Statisticians, Actuaries
Statisticians enjoy working with numbers and learning the reasons behind various areas including drug interaction and effectiveness, product safety, criminality and social dysfunction? They like knowing the details leading the results and are typically a detail-oriented person. Statisticians like to know why using in-depth analyst to discover answers used to modify the means based on the results. Statisticians are focused on the collection and analysis of data using various sources and methods, collecting numerical data and drawing conclusions from that data. They collaboratively work with federal, state and local government divisions, to determine things like population growth, demographics and housing trends and needs. Scientists, businesses, drug companies, television and movie producers, product makers, and service providers develop surveys and conduct studies that help make business direction and future marketing decisions. Statistician’s work can be very important as it often is used to help determine the direction a government, division, company, medicine or procedure. Just about all industries make use of statistics to determine the effectiveness of products and services of all kinds. Since government agencies are responsible for keeping track of and archiving statistics regarding demographics, governmental program effectiveness, and a multitude of other issues, approximately a huge percentage of all statisticians work for governmental entities or companies that do work for governments and academia. The growth of government and academia over the last few decades is helping drive the need for statisticians. The use of big data in private company analytics and artificial intelligence systems is also contributing to the need for more statisticians. Working in this field, you will most likely experience a good amount of desk and computer time in an office environment. Certain jobs in this sector require that you get out from time to time to collect data or to monitor a statistical survey that you have designed. Good Communications skills are required for this position with the ability to do data analysis, higher level mathematics and computer application skills while maintaining superior organizational abilities. This is a career for a well-schooled individual with junior-level positions requiring a bachelor’s degree at the minimum and a Master’s degree in mathematics or statistics being the norm. The median annual wage for statisticians was $80,110 per year in May 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is at 34 percent.
Actuary – As an alternative to statisticians, an actuary performs similar tasks consisting of compiling and analyzing statistical data. The difference here is an actuary’s data has a more specific function, to determine financial risk mainly for insurance purposes. Actuaries normally work in the insurance and also the investment sectors. The schooling requirement is the same as a statistician needing a bachelor’s degree in math, statistics or a related field for a junior-level position. These are almost always training positions. When adequately prepared the junior-level employee will take the actuarial certification exam. Professional actuary certification is required by almost all employers. Pension actuaries must meet the requirements for the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries.
#10 – Ambulance Drivers and Attendants
The job of ambulance driver takes a certain responsible and even-tempered personality as these individuals are engaged in a high stress job administering help to individuals in their most critical of life moments. They typically work driving an emergency transport vehicle usually for private companies. These individuals need to negotiate city and country roads at high speeds and through red light intersections in life-critical situations. Maintaining public and patient safety while transporting individuals is essential to this position. An exceptional driving record and extended licensing is often required in most states. An emergency vehicle operator course (EVOC) and grade of license are normally required for this position. Many times, ambulance companies provide specialized driver training for their employees to ensure they have an acceptable level of proficiency that meets or exceeds the company level of expected competency. Ambulance drivers also need to have strong backs and adequate stamina to lift sometimes very heavy patients into and out of emergency vehicles. Essential first-aid, basic life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills along with special certification are required. The ability to administer basic and critical lifesaving medical procedures in a timely and responsible fashion are essential requirements of the job. Drivers are also responsible for maintaining sufficient and replenished stock of medical supplies in their emergency transport vehicles. While most positions don’t require bachelor or master’s degrees, many states require drivers to be emergency medical technicians (EMTs), most states require some form of Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Basic Life Support (BLS) certifications. Many community colleges and vocational schools offers courses for these certifications that lead to entry level positions as an ambulance driver. This is a national-level certification administered through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Additional skills for this position include the ability to perform critical thinking under pressure, excellent active listening skills, clear and concise writing and verbal skills along with map reading/GPS navigation abilities. Additionally, applicants should be computer literate with a focused on Microsoft Office application skills for record keeping and inventory control of medical supplies. The median annual wage for ambulance drivers was $23,740 per year in May 2015. The 2014 to 2024 growth figure is at 33 percent.