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Fastest Growing Occupations

As you weigh your options for the right career for you, job security may be an important factor for you to consider. While job growth is on the upswing, employment rates have not yet returned to pre-recession numbers. This is nudging many job seekers in the direction of careers that are projected to grow significantly in response to the changing needs of the country. While these careers certainly do not provide a fail-safe guarantee of employment, it stands to reasons that the significant demand for workers in these areas has the potential to provide strong job security.

 
So, what are these growing career areas? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following occupations are projected to have the highest percentage growth rate between 2010 and 2020.

  • Personal Care Aides: 70% projected growth; $19,640 2010 median pay
  • Home Health Aides: 69% projected growth; $20,560 2010 median pay
  • Biomedical Engineers: 62% projected growth; $81,540 2010 median pay
  • Helpers - Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters: 60% projected growth; $27,780 2010 median pay
  • Helpers - Carpenters: 56% projected growth; $25,760 2010 median pay
  • Veterinary Technologists and Technicians: 52% projected growth; $29,710 2010 median pay
  • Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers: 49% projected growth; $38,430 2010 median pay
  • Physical Therapy Assistants: 46% projected growth; $49,690 2010 median pay
  • Helpers - Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters: 45% projected growth; $26,740 2010 median pay
  • Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners: 44% projected growth; $45,260 2010 median pay
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers: 44% projected growth; $64,380 2010 median pay
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants: 43% projected growth; $51,010 2010 median pay
  • Physical Therapy Aides: 43% projected growth; $23,680 2010 median pay
  • Glaziers: 42% projected growth; $36,640 2010 median pay
  • Interpreters and Translators: 42% projected growth; $43,300 2010 median pay
  • Medical Secretaries: 41% projected growth; $30,530 2010 median pay
  • Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists: 41% projected growth; $60,570 2010 median pay
  • Marriage and Family Therapists: 41% projected growth; $45,720 2010 median pay
  • Brickmasons and Blockmasons: 41% projected growth; $46,930 2010 median pay
  • Physical Therapists: 39% projected growth; $76,310 2010 median pay

 
What do the numbers mean? Take for example a biomedical engineer. This occupation has a 62% projected growth rate and the median annual pay in 2010 for biomedical engineers was $81,540. So, experts anticipate 62% more biomedical engineers will be employed in this field over the course of 2010 to 2020.
 
It also helps to take a look at occupations with the highest expected growth in terms of number of jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following occupations have the highest projected number of new jobs between 2010 and 2020:

  • Registered Nurses: 711,900 projected new jobs; $64,690 2010 median pay
  • Retail Salespersons: 706,800 projected new jobs; $20,670 2010 median pay
  • Home Health Aides: 706,300 projected new jobs; $20,560 2010 median pay
  • Personal Care Aides: 607,000 projected new jobs; $19,640 2010 median pay
  • Office Clerks: 489,500 projected new jobs; $26,610 2010 median pay
  • Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food: 398,000 projected new jobs; $17,950 2010 median pay
  • Customer Service Representatives: 338,400 projected new jobs; $30,460 2010 median pay
  • Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers: 330,100 projected new jobs; $37,770 2010 median pay
  • Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers: 319,100 projected new jobs; $23,460 2010 median pay
  • Postsecondary Teachers: 305,700 projected new jobs; $62,050 2010 median pay
  • Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants: 302,000 projected new jobs; $24,010 2010 median pay
  • Childcare Workers: 262,000 projected new jobs; $19,300 2010 median pay
  • Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks: 259,000 projected new jobs; $34,030 2010 median pay
  • Cashiers: 250,200 projected new jobs; $18,500 2010 median pay
  • Elementary School Teachers (not including special education): 248,800 projected new jobs; $51,660 2010 median pay
  • Receptionists and Information Clerks: 248,500 projected new jobs; $25,240 2010 median pay
  • Janitors and Cleaners: 246,400 projected new jobs; $22,210 2010 median pay
  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers: 240,800 projected new jobs; $23,400 2010 median pay
  • Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing (not including technical and scientific products): 223,400 projected new jobs; $52,440 2010 median pay
  • Construction Laborers: 212,400 projected new jobs; $29,280 2010 median pay

 
But what about pay and satisfaction? In looking at the numbers, be sure to consider job growth versus annual earnings, not to mention career satisfaction. For example, while home health aides, personal care aides, and other assistants in medical fields are expected to see a lot of growth over the next ten years due to the care needs of an aging population, it's important to note that these occupations have far lower annual pay, in general, than some other high-growth areas such as teachers and engineers. Depending on your priorities for your career, this is a difference you may want to note.
 
Interested in learning more about what criteria to consider when choosing the ideal career for you? Read our article about choosing your career here.
 

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