What are the Fastest Growing Occupations?

One popular piece of career advice provided to students or career changers is to “Follow Your Passion” or “Do What You Love.”

While having passion for your work can make it more interesting, you should also consider whether there will be job openings in the occupation in which you are interested.

If you are considering going to school and investing time and money in a new career, it can be helpful to know the projected job openings in that occupation to decide if the investment will be worth it.  

What are the fastest growing occupations?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook provides information about the outlook of different jobs in the United States.

The tables below show the jobs that are growing much faster than average and are projected to have 10,000 or more openings in the future. The approximate median annual wage shown for each job is based on 2018 data national data (wages may be higher or lower in different areas). The information is organized by the level of education and training needed for these top growing jobs.

High School Degree

These jobs require no formal educational credential or a high school diploma (except plumbers and pipefitters which require an apprenticeship).

Occupation2018 Annual Median Wage
Food Preparation and Serving Workers$21,800
Personal Care and Home Health Aides$24,100
Cooks$25,200
Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs$26,000
Social and Human Service Assistants$33,800
Construction Laborers$34,800
Medical Secretaries$38,800
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters$53,900
Fastest Growing Jobs that Require No Formal Credential or a High School Diploma.

Associate’s Degree

These jobs require training beyond high school such as a certification or diploma, or a two-year degree such as an Associate in Science (AS), Associate in Arts (AA), or Associate in Applied Science (AAS).

Occupation2018 Annual Median Wage
Veterinary Technologist and Technicians$34,400
Medical Assistant$33,600
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)$46,200
Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides$48,100
Paralegals and Legal Assistants$50,900
Computer User Support Specialists$53,500
Occupational Therapy Assistants$57,600
Respiratory Therapists$60,300
Radiologic and MRI Technologists$61,200
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers$67,100
Web Developers$69,400
Dental Hygienists$74,800
Fastest Growing Jobs that Require an Associate’s Degree.

Bachelor’s Degree

These jobs require a 4-year college degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB), or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Occupation2018 Annual Median Wage
Substance Abuse Counselors$44,600
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists$63,100
Registered Nurses$71,700
Management Analysts$83,600
Medical and Health Service Managers$99,700
Software Developers$105,600
Financial Managers$128,000
Fastest Growing Jobs that Require a Bachelor’s Degree.

Master’s Degree

These jobs require a postgraduate degree beyond a college degree, such as a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS).

Occupation2018 Annual Median Wage
Counselors and Social Workers$50,000
Occupational Therapists$84,300
Speech-Language Pathologists$77,500
Statisticians$88,200
Physician Assistants$108,600
Nurse Practitioners$113,900
Fastest Growing Jobs that Require a Master’s Degree.

Doctoral Degree

These occupations require a doctoral degree or other professional degree such as a PhD, PsyD, DVM, MD, DO, or DDS. In most cases, these degree require many years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Occupation2018 Annual Median Wage
Psychologists$79,000
Physical Therapists$87,900
Medical Scientists$84,800
Veterinarians$93,800
Dentists$156,200
Physicians and Surgeons$208,800 or more
Fastest Growing Jobs that Require a Doctoral Degree.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (bls.gov/ooh/)