Automation, outsourcing and lack of interest might be reasons for a declining growth rate in certain occupations these days, but don't worry just yet. We've compiled a list of the top 20 jobs that started seeing increases in hiring in 2018 and are expected to continue to grow until 2028, based on projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
These careers are the ones hardest to replace by things such as technology or cheaper labor. They are jobs that require various levels of education, from high school diploma to graduate degrees.
Solar panel installers
A high school diploma and about one year of on-the-job training is the typical path to becoming a solar panel installer. Besides setting up the panels, installers also assemble the parts and maintain the structures after initial set up. The job outlook for this occupation is at a 63% growth rate - much faster than the average, which is 5%.
Home health aides
There were over 3 million healthcare aides in 2018, and that number is expected to grow by more than a million by 2028. The reason for the growth is a reflection of age demographics - the elderly and baby-boomer populations are increasing, and will thus need more care. The job requires helping people living with physical or cognitive disabilities or those with chronic illnesses. Right now, there is a 37% growth rate, and typically, assistance is needed for various daily activities at the client's home.
Personal care aides
This job is closely linked with home health aides. In fact, the growth rate is nearly the same at 36%, and the education required for an entry-level position is also the same - a high school diploma and some short-term training on the job. Rather than working at a client's home, personal care aides might work in group homes or as part of a day service program.
Occupational therapy assistants
Like the rise in home health and personal care aides, the need for occupational therapy assistants is also growing - by 33% - because of an increasing population of aging patients. Besides this factor, though, healthcare facilities are noticing the role this occupation plays in lowering the rate of patient readmission, according to AMN Healthcare.
Application software developers
Technological advancements require constant maintenance and updates in order to maximize efficient workflows for users. Creating, designing and building user-friendly programs is the key to this. Application software developers are looking at a 26% growth rate right now thanks to the increasing demand for new computer software.
Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists
In the 1990s, the average annual forest acreage that burned was 3.3 million. Every year since 2000, the average acreage has been about 7 million. Career positions for forest fire inspectors are limited because many positions are offered seasonally rather than permanently. The job outlook for these permanent positions is at a 24% growth rate and those who apply should expect strong competition.
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Technology and scientific innovation has given rise to genomics, which is the study of the genome. Because of this, counselors are able to more thoroughly analyze patient health to assess concerns such as inherited conditions, genetic disorders or birth defects. A master's degree and board certification are necessary for this job, which is growing at a rate of 27%.
Postsecondary health specialties teachers
Postsecondary teachers who enjoy teaching on topics related to health should look forward to a 23% growth rate thanks to an increased interest in healthcare and a higher enrollment in postsecondary institutions. Whether they are teaching at a public college, a private university, a professional school or a community college, these teachers generally must have a Ph.D., but sometimes a master's is enough.
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Information security analysts
Computer networks are constantly expanding and becoming connected through cloud computing, a method for storing data. Banks are in communication with credit card processors and businesses and computer companies can increase productivity, but not without the help of information security analysts who prevent hacking and other data breaches. This occupation, which typically requires a bachelor's degree for an entry-level position, is expected to grow by 32%.
Growing at a rate of 26%, mathematicians are unlike statisticians in that the job is more about applying pure theory rather than analyzing data for problem-solving. There is a heightened need for them in the federal government, in private research companies and in other engineering or science-based fields. While some positions are available to those with a bachelor's degree, a master's degree is typical for entry-level positions.
Similar to physician assistants, nurse practitioners must earn a master's degree and be licensed in any state in which they work. They also must pass a national certification exam in order to practice. The job outlook for this occupation is at a 28% growth rate, with a variety of healthcare establishments hiring for primary and specialty care.
Operations research analysts
Operations research analysts will use skills much like mathematicians and statisticians, but will use such numbers and information from research for problem-solving. Their job of tracking, analyzing and strategizing solutions for organizations leads to more efficient practices in companies. The 26% growth rate for this occupation is due to the need for companies to cut costs and increase productivity.
The need for blood is constant and sometimes critical, according to the American Red Cross. Like other healthcare-related fields, phlebotomists - those who draw blood for testing, transfusions, research or donations - are seeing a growth. They are expected to see a 23% increase.
Physical therapist assistants
The first recorded physician to prescribe exercise as a form of healing and recovery was Hippocrates. Today, physical fitness is still used to manage certain conditions and maintain physical and emotional health. Assistants to physical therapists is a job growing by 27%, and their duties include setting up equipment and helping patients under the supervision of physical therapists.
Physical therapist aides
Physical therapy aides are similar to assistants in that they work under the direction of physical therapists. Job growth is at a 23% increase due to a demand for meeting the needs of people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Physician assistants must have a master's degree and be licensed in any state in which they work. Similar to other healthcare fields, this field is growing at a rate much faster than average, at 31%. Their role is full-time and they can take on some of the same roles doctors have such as diagnosing patients and prescribing medications.
After completing a residency program and earning a master's degree, speech-language pathologists are able to assess patients, make diagnoses, and treat and offer preventative care for communication and swallowing disorders. The 27% growth rate is correlated with the aging baby-boomer population and the care they need to recover from strokes or dementia. These professionals also work in schools.
The 31% growth rate for statisticians is a good example of jobs being created as a result of technology, rather than technology taking jobs away from humans. Research companies, engineering firms and scientists are hiring statisticians to keep up with the increase in digital and electronic data.
Wind turbine service technicians
In 1850, Daniel Halladay and John Burnham opened the first U.S. windmill company. The original windmills were built to pump water for livestock and also for railroads that needed it for steam-powered locomotives. Today, kinetic energy from the wind is converted into mechanical power via wind turbines. It can then further be converted into electricity. The industry that installs, maintains and repairs these turbines can look forward to a 57% growth rate. This is one effort for more sustainable forms of energy.
Another healthcare job seeing positive job outlook is that of medical assistants. They can look forward to a 23% growth rate because of the baby boomers who have an increased need for medical services. Assistants in this field must earn a postsecondary certificate and their main tasks will involve administrative and clinical assistance.
While the future is positive-looking for these fields, not all jobs are seeing such growth. In fact, some jobs have a negative growth rate and are on their way to disappearing.