The 20 Most Rapidly Growing Jobs
By Jada A. Graves
Just how good is a dream job if it's unnecessary to society? (Tweet this thought.) Not much good at all, and therein lies the reason hiring demand is the most pervasive factor U.S. News uses when selecting and ranking occupations annually. Every one of our Best Jobs is expected to create new openings between 2012 and 2022, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the best of the bunch will produce those openings at a percentage rate that's faster than 10.8 percent, the average for all occupations. The BLS estimates total employment will increase by 15.6 million by 2022.
For a handful of occupations on our list, new positions will sprout particularly fast. Here's the skinny, by industry, on those jobs where employment should spike by 30 percent or more:
The cause for job growth in this industry is easy to figure out – a large and aging population plus more insured people stemmed from health care reform – but specific reasons for the growth of particular branches of health care are more complex. For example, there should be openings in health care support positions in specialties such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and dentistry, because the qualified professionals who fill these jobs will enable rehabilitation centers and dentists' offices to treat more patients.
When it comes to wellness care, the new job openings and rate at which they'll pop up is different. Seeking treatment for emotional health is losing its previous stigma, so counselors trained to treat and advise on marriage and family issues plus substance abuse and behavioral disorders will face good job prospects. According to the BLS, job prospects will also be favorable because military personnel coming off active duty are expected to seek treatment and will need good therapists and counselors. Overall, health care and social assistance jobs should account for one-third of the projected increase for jobs, the BLS reports.
Here are the expected growth rates for the fastest-growing health care jobs between 2012 and 2022:
- Personal Care Aide: 48.8 percent
- Home Health Aide: 48.5 percent
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer: 46 percent
- Occupational Therapy Assistant: 42.6 percent
- Physical Therapist Assistant: 41 percent
- Esthetician: 39.8 percent
- Physician Assistant: 38.4 percent
- Medical Secretary: 36 percent
- Physical Therapist: 36 percent
- Nurse Practitioner: 33.7 percent
- Dental Hygienist: 33.3 percent
- Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor: 31.4 percent
- Marriage and Family Therapist: 30.6 percent
- Medical Equipment Repairer: 30.3 percent
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It costs a lot of money to develop and promote a product, so most companies want to sell something that's a sure bet to be bought. Enter the market research analyst, who studies our preferences and makes recommendations to clients on how to create, package and promote their materials to best entice us to buy. The drive for more effective marketing strategies will also drive hiring for this position, and the BLS predicts this occupation will grow by 31.6 percent from 2012 to 2022.
The other swift-growing business job on our list, meeting, convention and event planner, includes social event planners, but the BLS predicts the strongest job prospects will be for job seekers who want to coordinate the logistics of corporate functions. Big businesses have international offices and job openings throughout the globe, and although technology allows colleagues to connect in a variety of ways, face-to-face communication is still preferred. Companies are re-upping their budgets for corporate planners – for both the salaries to employ them and the events they'll plan – so this job should grow at a rate of 33.2 percent between 2012 and 2022.
Here are the expected growth rates for the fastest-growing business jobs on our list:
Our six ranked construction jobs are overshadowed by professions in information technology and health care. The No. 1 job for this industry – construction manager – is a great one, but it has 36 other occupations ranked above it that steal a skosh of its glory on the overall 100 Best list. And a few jobs we were bullish on in 2013, like carpenter and electrician, have skidded out of our rankings. None of this is to say we don't have high hopes for these jobs as the housing market and economy recuperate, and the jobs expected to open at the quickest rates didn't necessarily make our rankings list.
For instance, one of our unranked jobs, insulation contractor, should grow at a rate of 37.6 percent. There will be more growth for mechanical insulation work – installing heating and cooling material to pipes and ductwork as opposed to ceilings, walls and floors. Brickmasons and blockmasons construct or repair a building's structure. Their job is another unranked entry on our list; still, the BLS predicts employment growth of 35.5 percent for this profession between 2012 and 2022.
Here are the expected growth rates for the fastest-growing construction jobs on our list:
In the last 12 months, there have been major security breaches at Twitter, LivingSocial, Target and the University of Maryland. At this rate, there could be a cyberattack to yet another major corporation before you've finished reading this article. Take this lead-in – and that bad joke – to mean hiring opportunities for qualified information security analysts are cropping up. This job, which involves monitoring and maintaining software and networks plus analyzing and recommending the best cybersecurity practices, is expected to grow at a rate of 36.5 percent between 2012 and 2022. Keep your eye on openings at hospitals and other health care organizations, because as more medical records are transferred to electronic files, more information security analysts will be needed to protect patients' privacy.
Here is the expected growth rate for the fastest-growing technology job on our list:
- Information Security Analyst: 36.5 percent
Social services is an elephantine industry of occupations on our list of the 100 Best Jobs. And from that group, the fastest-growing job is expansive all by itself. Interpreters and translators could technically be two occupations – those who are strictly interpreters handle verbal communication while translators work with the written word – and professionals from both pie halves are further segmented by specialty and language. For instance, the BLS anticipates increased hiring demand for interpreters and translators who are fluent in frequently translated languages in the U.S. – such as the Romance languages, German and Russian – but if you speak lesser-translated languages, like Arabic, you're poised to enter the harder-to-fill positions. Video relay service technology now allows people who are deaf to participate in online video conferences, so there will also be a greater need for organizations to hire more people who know American Sign Language.
If you're interested in this line of work but are struggling to fit a niche, pursue a master's degree in international business. The BLS also predicts verdant job opportunity to facilitate international trade, and if you've complemented your communication skills with an understanding of global markets, you'll be golden. Altogether, the interpreter and translator occupation should grow by 46.1 percent between 2012 and 2022.
Here is the expected growth rate for the fastest-growing social services job on our list: