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  Jobs of the Future
Jobs of the Future
With the economy expected to increase employment by 21.3 million jobs, there are sure to be plenty of opportunities, you just have to know where to look.
 

What kind of jobs do you envision when you think of jobs of the future? Alien zookeeper? Moon colony policeman? Well, until space tours drop below $20 million per trip, you'll have to put off building that Martian cage and make sure that you are ready for the real jobs of the future. Occupations such as janitor and dental assistant, though you might not see them in a futuristic Hollywood production, will nonetheless produce hundreds of thousands of new job openings in the coming years.

This spring, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its Occupational Outlook Handbook. In this publication, the BLS makes its employment projections for the decade spanning 2002 to 2012, highlighting the jobs expected to experience the highest growth percentage, as well as the largest net growth. With the economy expected to increase employment by 21.3 million jobs, there are sure to be plenty of opportunities, you just have to know where to look.

Jobs with Highest Percent Growth
It's 2012 and you're thinking that taking a job that has experienced tremendous growth is a great way to get your career on the right path. If you want to explore the opportunities of a fast-growing occupation, look into the healthcare field, stat! Amongst the jobs that will undergo the highest percent growth, seven out of ten of these will deal with medical care in some manner. With the Baby Boomer generation aging, more medical professionals will be required to manage the health needs of the elderly. Also, healthcare professions cannot easily be replaced by technology or automated processes. Making the largest leap in employment is the profession of medical assistant, expected to grow 59% by 2012.

Another observable relationship exists between education and fast growing jobs. Eight out of ten fast growing jobs listed below require an associate's degree or higher. A logical result from that is an increased need for college professors, which not-coincidentally ranks on the list of fastest growing jobs, expecting to increase their ranks by 38 percent. However, a warning when looking into the high growth occupations: high growth does not necessarily amount to more available jobs. For example, although the occupational therapist assistant profession will be growing by 39 percent, it is expected to only create 7,000 more job opportunities.

Fastest Growing Selected Occupations from 2002-2012
Job Title
Number Growth
(in thousands)
Percent Growth
Education or Training Required
Medical assistants
215 
59% 
On-the-job training
Physician assistants
31 
 49% 
Bachelor's degree
Medical records and health information technicians
69 
47% 
Associate degree
Database administrators
49 
44% 
Bachelor's degree
Dental hygienists
64
43% 
Associate degree
Personal and home care aides
246 
40% 
On-the-job training
Occupational therapist assistants
7
39% 
Associate degree
Postsecondary teachers
603 
38% 
Doctoral degree
Computer and information systems managers
103 
36% 
Bachelor's degree
Physical therapists
48
35% 
Master's degree
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Jobs with Largest Total Growth
Maybe you're not worried about becoming a member of a hot, up-and-coming profession. You just want to know which job will produce the greatest number of job openings. Interestingly, you will have a greater number of fields from which to select if you look at jobs expected to experience large total growth over the next decade. Unlike the healthcare-dominated fast-growth jobs, the list for jobs with high net growth includes multiple representatives from different fields, such as retail, service, healthcare and education. Registered nurses are expected to have the greatest numeric increase over the next decade, creating approximately 623,000 new jobs. However, you may be surprised to learn that a trend amongst jobs with the largest total growth is that a majority of them require no more than a high school diploma. Jobs that do not require higher education, such as retail salesperson and truck driver, will be the main force adding new jobs to the economy. Overall, the ten positions listed below are expected to add an approximate 4,370,000 job openings to the economy by 2012.

Selected Occupations with Largest Job Growth from 2002-2012
Job Title
Number Growth
(in thousands)
Percent Growth
Education or Training Required
Registered Nurses
623 
27%
Associate degree
Postsecondary teachers
603 
38%
Doctoral Degree
Retail salespersons
596 
15%
High School Diploma
Customer service representatives
460 
24%
On-the-job training
Cashiers, except gaming
454 
13%
High School Diploma
Janitors and cleaners, not maids/housekeepers
414
18% 
High School Diploma
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendents
343 
25%
High School Diploma
Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer
337 
19% 
On-the-job training
Teacher assistants
294 
23% 
High School Diploma
Personal and home care aides
246  
40% 
High School Diploma
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wage Issue
What about the bottom line? Where can you make the most money? Well, judging from current numbers, the jobs that will be experiencing the highest percentage growth will also produce a higher average salary. The national average salary of the 10 jobs with the highest percent growth now stands around $54,700, whereas the 10 jobs with the largest numeric growth are currently earning just under $33,000. There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at these salary numbers. First, although the average salary of the fast growing jobs is 66% higher than the average salary of the occupations with the largest growth, there are also 66% fewer of those fastest growing jobs expected to be created in the next ten years. So yes, the salary is higher, but the jobs may be tougher to find. They also tend to require more education, which does commonly command a higher salary. You will need to do more work to prepare yourself for one of those jobs, but if you do, there is a high likelihood that it will be the stepping-stone for a long and lucrative career. Therefore, give these jobs of the future a consideration, but keep your rocket fuel handy just in case.


- Jonathan Stanewick, Compensation Analyst

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