As a senior job seeker, you should have awareness of employment trends. You also need to know where the biggest areas for job growth are. And of course, there is no better source of knowledge for this than the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, what are the fastest growing occupations? Using the bureau’s statistics, I have compiled a top ten list based on growth between 2016 and 2026.
I have conducted additional research and included this information. it will help you determine if a field is one you would like to pursue. But, if you’re already in one of these occupations, this information can help you decide if you should stay.
Furthermore, these occupations are ranked by growth, not by the numbers of jobs available. Thus, you will see that some are rapidly growing but have a relatively small number of openings compared to others.
Also, this information is relevant to the United States. Salaries, educations levels, etc. may vary if you live outside of the US.
1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 104.9
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 11,800
Median Annual Wage (2017): $39,490
For all you environmentally aware people, this is really good news. It shows that the age of sustainable energy is upon us. In this position you assemble, install and maintain solar panels on roof tops and other structures. Most work is outside. However, there may be situations where inside work is necessary to connect panels to the electrical grid.
Generally, you will need a high school diploma and a willingness to learn on the job. You can also take certificate programs and technical college courses.
2. Wind Turbine Service Technicians
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 96.3
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 5,600
Median Annual Wage (2017): $53,880
Again, this is good news for fans of renewable energy. In this position you are also known as a windtech. This job requires you to install, maintain and repair wind turbines. Generally, you will work outdoors in confined spaces and often at great heights. One of the growing segments is off-shore wind turbines and there will be good job growth in this area.
Keep in mind that there are certain areas of the US where jobs will be more plentiful. As of 2014 the states of Texas, Iowa, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, North Dakota, and Wyoming were tops in wind power production.
You will probably need to attend a technical school for a two-year technical degree to secure this position. You may have on-the-job training as well. It’s also beneficial to have mechanical abilities.
3. Home Health Aides
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 47.3
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 431,200
Median Annual Wage (2017): $23,210
In this position you are a trained and certified healthcare worker who provides assistance to patients in the home. This includes personal care such as hygiene, exercise, meal preparation, brushing teeth, giving medicine, checking vital signs and light housekeeping.
Keep in mind that this job requires both physical and emotional strength. In addition, you need to be friendly and tactful because you will likely have to deal with difficult patients. Good communication skills are a must.
You don’t need advanced formal education for this job but will need training.
A major reason this occupation is growing so rapidly is the proliferation of small businesses devoted to home health.
4. Personal Care Aides
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 38.6
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 777,600
Median Annual Wage (2017): $23,100
A personal care aide provides services to a person who is unable to care for themselves. These services may include activities such as cooking, dressing, bathing, restroom assistance, moving objects and simple housekeeping tasks. In this position you will care for people who are disabled, chronically ill and elderly.
You may work with just one or possibly several clients. In some cases you may actually live with the client and in others you travel between homes. Sometimes you will work in nursing homes or adult day centers.
In this position you need compassion and patience.
As a Personal Care Aide, you are often trained on the job by nurses and other aides. Some states require standardized training. You can find this through community colleges, vocational school and home healthcare agencies.
5. Physician Assistants
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 37.3
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 39,600
Median Annual Wage (2017): $104,860
Physician Assistants are medical care providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat illnesses. In other words, they can do just about anything a physician does.
As a PA you will have the opportunity to work in primary care or outside in medical specialties and surgery.
Physician Assistants are important in undeserved areas. Here they might be the only healthcare professional.
For this position, you must graduate from an accredited PA Program. Then you must pass the national certification exam and obtain a state license. There are also prerequisites that may include a bachelor’s degree.
The number of accredited PA Programs have increased and 90% offer a master’s degree. The rest offer bachelor or associates degrees or a certificate of completion. All these are acceptable to qualify for the certification exam, licensing and practice.
6. Nurse Practitioners
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 36.1
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 56,100
Median Annual Wage (2017): $103,880
As a Nurse Practitioner you provide a full range of healthcare services. These include ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests. You also treat chronic conditions, prescribe medication, manage care, counsel and provide health education. Nurse Practitioners work in hospitals, clinics, private offices, nursing homes and long-term-care facilities.
The core philosophy is individualized care that focuses on patient issues and the affect on the family. Further, Nurse Practitioners tend to concentrate on a holistic approach to healthcare.
Interestingly, there is much evidence that suggests Nurse Practitioners provide higher satisfaction to patients than doctors!
Sometimes, Nurse Practitioners may serve as a primary healthcare provider. In addition, they can also specialize in areas such as cardiology, oncology, pain management, surgery, orthopedics and others. Some may conduct research, teach and involve themselves in political lobbying.
To qualify for this position you must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or other undergraduate degree. Furthermore, it requires a Registered Nurse license as well as experience in this role. Then, you must graduate from an accredited MSN or Doctoral Program. After completing the required education, you must then pass a certifying program with a specific healthcare focus.
There is now a movement to require a Doctoral degree for entry into this profession.
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 33.8
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 12,600
Median Annual Wage (2017): $84,060
As a Statistician you collect, research, analyze, interpret and present quantitative data. You design and manage experiments and surveys and deal with data gathering. You then report findings and advise strategies based on the data.
Statisticians are able to take advantage of a very wide range of industries. Thus, they can work in almost any field of science, technology and business. In fact, variety is what many statisticians report as being the best part of their job.
To enter this field you need a Masters or Ph.D in Statistics. It’s also possible to find positions with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics or computer science.
8. Physical Therapist Assistants
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 31.0
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 27,500
Median Annual Wage (2017): $57,430
In this position you work under the direction of the physical therapist. You help patients who are recovering from injuries and illness regain movement and manage pain. Physical therapy can be used instead of surgery to treat a patient
Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) provide a variety of techniques. This can include therapeutic exercise, functional training, deep tissue massage, electrotherapy, ultrasound and recommending assistive devices such as wheelchairs and crutches. Subsequently, a PTA may help the client create a wellness- oriented program going forward.
Additionally, you will provide important information for the physical therapist about a client’s response to treatment. You may also have responsibility for billing and other administrative tasks.
The vast majority of PTAs work in hospitals or privately owned practices. Alternatively, others work in home health, schools and rehab units.
To qualify, you must graduate from an accredited physical therapy education program. This typically is a two-year associate degree. Then you must pass a state-administered exam to obtain your license (it varies from state to state).
9. Software Developers, Applications
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 30.7
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 255,400
Median Annual Wage (2017): $101,790
As a software developer you have a key role in designing, installing, testing and maintaining software systems. You may also be responsible for writing and coding or providing an entirely new software resource. Further tasks might include presenting ideas for system improvements, system review, writing codes, product testing and manual preparation.
Software developers find employment in just about every industry.
The skills that employers look for are expertise in current computer hardware and software. You must also have the ability to use one or more development languages. Additionally, strong communication skills, the ability to work as a team and analytical skills are necessary.
Most jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. You don’t need special licensing but may need certification. One option for certification is the Computer Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in percentage: 29.7
Expected employment increase 2016 – 2026 in number: 900
Median Annual Wage (2017): $103,010
Mathematicians use mathematical theory, computational techniques, algorithms and computer technology to solve economic, scientific, engineering and business problems.
Theoretical mathematicians advance knowledge by developing new principles and recognizing mathematical relationships. You also test old theories and discover new truths about numbers and the way they relate to each other.
If you are an applied mathematician you apply this knowledge practically to different fields such as science and engineering. Thus, you have knowledge of mathematics and of the field in which you work.
The industries that employ the most mathematicians are the federal government, scientific research and development services, education, management and manufacturing.
You typically need a master’s degree in mathematics although some positions are available for those with a bachelor’s degree.
If you have a doctoral degree, there is a likelihood you will work as a professor in higher education.
The skills that are used in the field of mathematics are creativity, researching, investigating, analyzing, imagination, communicating and problem solving
I believe you are never too old to learn a new skill or completely change careers. Why not? As they say, it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks! So, don’t let your age hold you back from pursuing your dream job!
If you don’t fit into any of the fastest growing occupations, there are many others. But, let’s say you don’t want to work for anyone. Maybe you want to be your own boss. Click here for another opportunity.