The 7 Most In-Demand Jobs of the Decade
Published on October 26, 2020
- The pandemic has caused an economic downturn, resulting in job uncertainty for the future.
- Tech advancements and outsourcing make the future of employment even hazier.
- High-demand jobs in the next 10 years include statistician and physical therapist assistant.
- Many of the top jobs that are in demand also boast above-average salaries.
We all face an uncertain future with regard to the economy. These days, concerns about job security are top of mind for many Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how fragile the job market can be. Business sectors like hospitality, retail, and food service were hit hard by the pandemic and may take years to fully recover. Many businesses have closed shop for good.
The coronavirus isn't the only cause for concern about job security; technological advancements are eliminating the need for certain positions, jobs are being outsourced overseas, and for some occupations there simply isn't enough demand to meet the growing supply of workers.
In addition to the pandemic, technological advancements are eliminating the need for certain positions, and more jobs are being outsourced overseas.
Add to all of this a projected annual employment growth rate of just 0.4% between 2019 and 2029, an unknown political landscape, a shift toward a globalized economy, delayed retirement, and some 4 million college graduates attempting to enter the workforce every year, and we have the perfect storm of job uncertainty.
You'll need to consider these issues when planning out your career. Whether you are considering going back to college for a second degree, or are a recent high school graduate still deciding what to major in, make sure you're choosing a career path that can weather any economic storm.
Top 7 Jobs in Demand for the Future
Nurse practitioners boast extensive medical education and training, beyond that of a registered nurse. Like a physician, these health professionals perform advanced physical assessments, diagnose medical conditions, and develop treatment plans, which includes writing prescriptions. Nurse practitioners are the primary healthcare providers for millions of patients.
Nurse practitioners can choose from among several specialties, such as pediatrics, neonatal, mental health, gerontology, adult care, women's health, family care, and acute care. They must make their specialty decision before applying to a nurse practitioner program.
The employment outlook for nurse practitioners is extremely strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these medical professionals will grow 45% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average for all jobs. The BLS also projects that there will be 24,200 openings for nurse practitioners each year over the next decade.
Increased demand for healthcare services, combined with an aging baby boomer population and concerns over preventative care, are all expected to contribute to this field's growth. Nurse practitioners make a median annual wage of $109,820.
Nurse practitioners are required to hold a master of science in nursing, have advanced clinical training, and pass a certification exam.
A small but exciting career field, genetic counseling is poised for rapid growth and long-lasting job security. Advancements in genomics and genetic testing have created demand for genetic counselors, who work with individuals and families to provide risk assessment, education, and support for inherited conditions.
Serving as patient advocates, genetic counselors perform tasks such as ordering genetic testing, interpreting data, and counseling patients on how to prevent or cope with certain genetic conditions. Individuals may be referred to genetic counselors when planning for pregnancy amid suspicions of potential genetic disorders, or for further evaluation of hereditary health issues in adults.
The employment outlook for genetic counselors is very strong, with job growth projected at 21% through 2029. According to the BLS, approximately 2,600 genetic counselors were employed in 2019. Increases in the availability of genetic testing, as well as the continuing development of and reliance on genomics, are expected to contribute to this field's growth.
Genetic counselors make a median income of $81,880, with the highest 10% earning more than $114,750 per year.
Genetic counselors must typically hold a master's degree in genetic counseling or genetics. Most positions require candidates to be board-certified or board-eligible in genetic counseling by either the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics or the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Working under the supervision of an occupational therapist, an occupational therapy assistant provides rehabilitative services to patients who have sustained an injury, have a disability, or are experiencing physical and/or cognitive changes.
Through their therapeutic work, occupational therapy assistants help people overcome the challenges associated with their conditions so they can regain independence and participate in everyday activities. Tasks may include aiding individuals with improving their mobility, balance, and coordination through exercise programs, and helping to improve the social skills of children who have experienced developmental challenges.
The BLS projects extremely high 35% job growth for occupational therapy assistants between 2019 and 2029. Currently, there are approximately 47,100 people employed in this field in the U.S. The aging population and reliance on occupational therapy to provide treatment of health conditions affecting the elderly is expected to contribute to this sector's growth.
The median annual salary for occupational therapy assistants is $61,510. The top 10% of this group make more than $82,210 a year.
To become an occupational therapy assistant, you must have an associate degree from an occupational therapy assistant program that's been accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association. You'll also need to complete a minimum of 16 hours of fieldwork.
Another occupation with a positive outlook is that of a statistician. Statisticians are mathematical professionals who gather, analyze, and interpret massive volumes of data across a wide range of industries in order to help businesses, governments, organizations, and other institutions with their decision-making processes. Essentially, they identify trends and relationships in data using math processes, and then advise on key findings.
Statisticians work in a large array of sectors, such as politics, healthcare, education, finance, public safety, sports, forensics, the environment, and market research. Manyspecialize in areas like biostatistics, business statistics, environmental statistics, economic statistics, population statistics, geostatistics, forensic statistics, and agricultural statistics.
Jobs for statisticians are projected to grow a whopping 35% between 2019 and 2029, according to the BLS. At present, there are approximately 42,700 people working as statisticians. Demand is projected to stem from the development of more sophisticated analytics technology and our increased reliance on analytics to make informed business decisions.
The median annual pay for statisticians is $91,160, though 1 in 10 makes more than $146,770.
Most statisticians hold a master's degree in statistics, mathematics, or another quantitative field. Some entry-level positions are open to candidates with just a bachelor's degree.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts are vital to the protection of data in this country and all around the world. These security experts serve as the gatekeepers of information systems, helping to protect data housed in computer systems and networks from unwanted cyber attacks, malware, and data breaches, which are growing more sophisticated each day.
A data breach can cost a company millions of dollars.
According to Statista, there were 1,473 data breaches in the U.S. in 2019, which allowed over 164.68 million sensitive records to be exposed. Each data breach incident can cost a company millions of dollars. The U.S. Council of Economic Advisers estimates that in 2016, malicious cyber activity cost the national economy between $57 billion and $109 billion.
With the ongoing rise in both the volume and sophistication of cyber attacks and data breaches, you can count on information security analyst jobs to stick around and remain in high demand.
Jobs for information security analysts in the U.S. are projected to grow 31% through 2029. The BLS estimates there are around 131,000 information security analysts. Demand is expected to come from the growing threat of data breaches and cyber attacks. Banks and businesses housing financial data are at highest risk.
The median income for information security analysts is $99,730, with the top 10% making more than $158,860 a year.
Companies hiring information security analysts usually require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems, software engineering, computer engineering, or a closely related technical discipline.
Physician assistants, also known as PAs, can expect rapid employment growth. PAs are highly trained medical professionals who — like physicians — diagnose medical conditions, develop treatment plans, educate patients, and prescribe medications. They often serve as the primary healthcare provider for the patients they treat.
Physician assistants work in all areas of medicine, including primary care, family medicine, geriatrics, emergency medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, and psychiatry.
The outlook for physician assistants is quite strong, with employment growth projected at 31% through 2029. An estimated 125,500 physician assistants currently work in the U.S.
High demand for more extensive healthcare services, an aging baby boomer population, and concerns regarding preventative care will contribute to this field's growth. Rural and medically underserved areas are expected to create the highest demand for physician assistants.
Physician assistants make a median annual salary of $112,260.
A master's degree from an accredited physician assistant program is required to become a physician assistant. You must also pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam and obtain a license in the state you wish to practice in. Laws and regulations governing physician assistant practice vary by state.
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of physical therapists to help injured patients and those with disabilities restore function, improve mobility, relieve and manage pain, and prevent further injury.
Many patients have medical problems that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their day-to-day lives. Oftentimes, treatment reduces the need for surgery and reliance on prescription drugs. Physical therapist assistants may also work with individuals on injury prevention through the development of fitness and wellness programs.
Physical therapist assistant jobs are projected to grow 33% between 2019 and 2029. Around 99,000 physical therapist assistants are employed in the U.S. The BLS projects approximately 15,100 job openings each year for these health professionals through 2029.
Reasons for this occupation's high demand include the aging baby boomer population and a growing interest in preventative healthcare services. Additionally, physical therapists are expected to hire more assistants to alleviate the cost of physical therapy services in long-term care environments.
The median wage for physical therapist assistants is $58,790 per year.
In order to become a physical therapist assistant, you must graduate from an accredited two-year physical therapist assistant program and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam, which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. State licensure or certification may also be required.
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