Jobs expected to grow the most by 2026

Written by:
September 11, 2018
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Wikimedia Commons

Jobs expected to grow the most by 2026

Deciding which career to pursue after high school often involves carefully balancing passion and finance, which only becomes harder when the average college graduate holds around $37,000 in student-loan debt. For the last decade, educators from elementary schools to colleges are pushing more students toward the growing fields of science, technology, math, and engineering to better their chances of finding a good job once they enter the workforce. Critics worry the renewed focus on STEM will lead to sacrifices in other areas of U.S. education. Others see STEM as the future of the U.S. economy in the 21st century, with growth of over 20% in these fields compared to just 4% in non-STEM sectors.

STEM occupations may be the present for the U.S. job market, but will they continue to be the wave of the future? Stacker analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data comparing 2016 statistics to projections for 2026 to rank the 100 jobs that will see the most growth over the next eight years by percentage change in jobs. If two jobs had the same projected growth, the field that employed more people was ranked higher.

It looks like the U.S. will be riding the STEM wave for a while longer. The results reveal that over 90 of the 100 jobs on this list require some level of technical knowledge, from pipelayers to computer programmers. Read on to discover the few non-STEM jobs that managed to make the cut, and see why pursuing the health care field might be the safest bet if you’re planning on job hunting in the next few years.

ALSO: Jobs expected to shrink the most by 2026

1 / 100
Divulgação Petrobras // Wikipedia

#100: Geological and petroleum technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 16.4%
Total employment in 2016: 15,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 17,400


 

2 / 100
U.S. Army

#99: Social and human service assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 16.4%
Total employment in 2016: 389,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 453,600


 

3 / 100
Fred W. Baker III // USDOD

#98: Forensic science technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 16.8%
Total employment in 2016: 15,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 18,000


 

4 / 100
Ethan // Flickr

#97: Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 16.8%
Total employment in 2016: 3,452,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 4,032,100


 

5 / 100
Klaus Eichler // Wikicommons

#96: Film and video editors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17%
Total employment in 2016: 34,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 40,000


 

6 / 100
USDA

#95: Counselors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17%
Total employment in 2016: 744,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 870,700


 

7 / 100
Forestfolks // Flickr

#94: Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.2%
Total employment in 2016: 28,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 33,400


 

8 / 100
U.S. Navy Seabee Museum // Flickr

#93: Pipelayers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.2%
Total employment in 2016: 44,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 51,700


 

9 / 100
Pixabay

#92: Hazardous materials removal workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.2%
Total employment in 2016: 46,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 54,100


 

10 / 100
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Wikimedia Commons

#91: Miscellaneous health practitioners and technical workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.3%
Total employment in 2016: 70,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 83,100


 

11 / 100
Juan Ci // Shutterstock

#90: Interpreters and translators

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.7%
Total employment in 2016: 68,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 80,300


 

12 / 100
Staff Sgt. Taylor L. Marr // USAF

#89: Speech-language pathologists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.8%
Total employment in 2016: 145,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 171,000


 

13 / 100
Sergey Galyonkin // Flickr

#88: Software developers and programmers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.8%
Total employment in 2016: 1,714,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 2,019,600


 

14 / 100
Pixabay

#87: Optometrists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.9%
Total employment in 2016: 40,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 47,400


 

15 / 100
Pixabay

#86: Social and community service managers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18%
Total employment in 2016: 147,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 173,800


 

16 / 100
CDC Global // Flickr

#85: Community health workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.1%
Total employment in 2016: 57,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 67,800


 

17 / 100
Pixabay

#84: Business teachers, postsecondary

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.1%
Total employment in 2016: 104,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 123,000


 

18 / 100
Pixabay

#83: Helpers—pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.6%
Total employment in 2016: 55,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 65,800


 

19 / 100
Sgt. Dani Salvatore // Wikimedia Commons

#82: Extraction workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.6%
Total employment in 2016: 194,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 230,600


 

20 / 100
Pixabay

#81: Financial managers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.7%
Total employment in 2016: 580,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 689,000


 

21 / 100
Pixabay

#80: Veterinarians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.8%
Total employment in 2016: 79,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 94,600


 

22 / 100
Maj. [Dr.] Dennis Holt // USAF

#79: Prosthodontists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.1%
Total employment in 2016: 900
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,100


 

23 / 100
Pixabay

#78: Oral and maxillofacial surgeons

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.1%
Total employment in 2016: 6,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 8,100


 

24 / 100
Pixabay

#77: Dentists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.1%
Total employment in 2016: 153,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 182,800


 

25 / 100
Pixabay

#76: Personal care and service occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.1%
Total employment in 2016: 6,419,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 7,647,400


 

26 / 100
Pixabay

#75: Computer and information research scientists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.2%
Total employment in 2016: 27,900
Total projected employment in 2026: 33,200


 

27 / 100
Pixabay

#74: Orthodontists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.3%
Total employment in 2016: 6,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 7,800


 

28 / 100
ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#73: Mental health and substance abuse social workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.3%
Total employment in 2016: 123,900
Total projected employment in 2026: 147,900


 

29 / 100
Cindy Funk // Flickr

#72: Cartographers and photogrammetrists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.4%
Total employment in 2016: 12,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 15,000


 

30 / 100
Pixabay

#71: Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.4%
Total employment in 2016: 83,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 100,000


 

31 / 100
Pixabay

#70: Dentists, general

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.4%
Total employment in 2016: 132,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 158,500


 

32 / 100
wavebreakmedia // Shutterstock

#69: Hearing aid specialists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.5%
Total employment in 2016: 6,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 8,200


 

33 / 100
Pixabay

#68: Ophthalmic medical technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.5%
Total employment in 2016: 44,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 53,200


 

34 / 100
Pixabay

#67: Dental assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.5%
Total employment in 2016: 332,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 396,600


 

35 / 100
Staff Sgt. Joshua Kleinholz // USAF

#66: Earth drillers, except oil and gas

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.6%
Total employment in 2016: 19,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 23,500


 

36 / 100
Airman 1st Class Chester Mientkiewicz // USAF

#65: Helpers—extraction workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.7%
Total employment in 2016: 17,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 20,300


 

37 / 100
santypan // Shutterstock

#64: Health technologists and technicians, all other

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.7%
Total employment in 2016: 127,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 152,900


 

38 / 100
Cukierspace // Wikimedia Commons

#63: Dental hygienists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.7%
Total employment in 2016: 207,900
Total projected employment in 2026: 248,900


 

39 / 100
Pixabay

#62: Miscellaneous health technologists and technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.8%
Total employment in 2016: 142,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 170,600


 

40 / 100
Pixabay

#61: Therapists, all other

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.9%
Total employment in 2016: 24,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 28,900


 

41 / 100
Pixabay

#60: Veterinary technologists and technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20%
Total employment in 2016: 102,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 122,400


 

42 / 100
Pixabay

#59: Health care social workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20.1%
Total employment in 2016: 176,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 212,000


 

43 / 100
Pixabay

#58: Medical and health services managers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20.5%
Total employment in 2016: 352,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 424,300


 

44 / 100
Pixabay

#57: Nurse midwives

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20.7%
Total employment in 2016: 6,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 7,800


 

45 / 100
Pixabay

#56: Audiologists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20.7%
Total employment in 2016: 14,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 17,800


 

46 / 100
Sanjay Acharya // Wikimedia Commons

#55: Wellhead pumpers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 21.7%
Total employment in 2016: 11,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 14,000


 

47 / 100
Pixabay

#54: Miscellaneous health care support occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 21.7%
Total employment in 2016: 1,418,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,727,400


 

48 / 100
Pixabay

#53: Animal care and service workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 21.8%
Total employment in 2016: 296,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 361,000


 

49 / 100
Pixabay

#52: Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 21.9%
Total employment in 2016: 17,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 21,100


 

50 / 100
USN

#51: Orthotists and prosthetists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.2%
Total employment in 2016: 7,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 9,500


 

51 / 100
Pixabay

#50: Other health care support occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.2%
Total employment in 2016: 1,579,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,929,800


 

52 / 100
Pixabay

#49: Actuaries

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.5%
Total employment in 2016: 23,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 28,900


 

53 / 100
Pixabay

#48: Medical secretaries

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.5%
Total employment in 2016: 574,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 703,200


 

54 / 100
Pixabay

#47: Athletic trainers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.8%
Total employment in 2016: 27,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 34,100


 

55 / 100
Pixabay

#46: Therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.8%
Total employment in 2016: 723,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 888,000


 

56 / 100
Pixabay

#45: Other personal care and service workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23%
Total employment in 2016: 4,129,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 5,077,900


 

57 / 100
Pixabay

#44: Mental health counselors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.1%
Total employment in 2016: 157,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 194,200


 

58 / 100
Leval // Wikimedia Commons

#43: Diagnostic medical sonographers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.2%
Total employment in 2016: 67,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 82,900


 

59 / 100
Pixabay

#42: Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.2%
Total employment in 2016: 102,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 126,200


 

60 / 100
Pixabay

#41: Market research analysts and marketing specialists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.2%
Total employment in 2016: 595,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 733,700


 

61 / 100
Pixabay

#40: Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.4%
Total employment in 2016: 41,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 51,100


 

62 / 100
USDA // Flickr

#39: Marriage and family therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.4%
Total employment in 2016: 41,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 51,200


 

63 / 100
Medill DC // Flickr

#38: Respiratory therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.4%
Total employment in 2016: 130,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 160,600


 

64 / 100
USN // Wikimedia Commons

#37: Health care support occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.6%
Total employment in 2016: 4,315,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 5,335,200


 

65 / 100
Pixabay

#36: Occupational therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.8%
Total employment in 2016: 130,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 161,400


 

66 / 100
COD Newsroom // Flickr

#35: Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24%
Total employment in 2016: 67,900
Total projected employment in 2026: 84,200


 

67 / 100
Raimond Spekking // Wikimedia Commons

#34: Derrick, rotary drill, and service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24%
Total employment in 2016: 69,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 85,800


 

68 / 100
Pixabay

#33: Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24%
Total employment in 2016: 2,549,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 3,162,400


 

69 / 100
BSEE // Flickr

#32: Rotary drill operators, oil and gas

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.2%
Total employment in 2016: 16,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 20,800


 

70 / 100
RadioFan // Wikimedia Commons

#31: Nonfarm animal caretakers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.2%
Total employment in 2016: 241,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 300,000


 

71 / 100
HYS_NP // Shutterstock

#30: Phlebotomists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.5%
Total employment in 2016: 122,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 152,800


 

72 / 100
USN Seaman Joseph A. Boomhower // Wikimedia Commons

#29: Occupational therapy aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.7%
Total employment in 2016: 7,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 9,300


 

73 / 100
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health // Wikimedia Commons

#28: Roustabouts, oil and gas

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.8%
Total employment in 2016: 50,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 62,400


 

74 / 100
*christopher* // Wikimedia Commons

#27: Health teachers, postsecondary

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 25.5%
Total employment in 2016: 301,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 378,300


 

75 / 100
Ian Mantel // Wikimedia Commons

#26: Derrick operators, oil and gas

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 25.7%
Total employment in 2016: 11,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 13,900


 

76 / 100
George Serdechny // Wikimedia Commons

#25: Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 25.9%
Total employment in 2016: 233,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 294,000


 

77 / 100
Pixabay

#24: Massage therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 26.3%
Total employment in 2016: 160,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 202,400


 

78 / 100
Staff Sgt. Mike Meares // USAF

#23: Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 26.6%
Total employment in 2016: 1,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 2,200


 

79 / 100
Pixabay

#22: Operations research analysts

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 27.4%
Total employment in 2016: 114,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 145,300


 

80 / 100
Pixabay

#21: Mathematical science occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 27.9%
Total employment in 2016: 180,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 231,000


 

81 / 100
Pixabay

#20: Physical therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 28%
Total employment in 2016: 239,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 306,900


 

82 / 100
Andre’ Askew // USAF

#19: Occupational therapy assistants and aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 28.3%
Total employment in 2016: 46,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 60,000


 

83 / 100
Susan Lawson // USAF

#18: Information security analysts

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 28.5%
Total employment in 2016: 100,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 128,500


 

84 / 100
Andre’ Askew // USAF

#17: Occupational therapy assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 28.9%
Total employment in 2016: 39,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 50,700


 

85 / 100
Steve Pivnick // USAF

#16: Genetic counselors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29%
Total employment in 2016: 3,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 4,000


 

86 / 100
Pixabay

#15: Medical assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29%
Total employment in 2016: 634,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 818,400


 

87 / 100
Moritz Poll // Wikimedia Commons

#14: Bicycle repairers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29.3%
Total employment in 2016: 12,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 16,100


 

88 / 100
Pixabay

#13: Physical therapist aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29.4%
Total employment in 2016: 52,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 67,200


 

89 / 100
Mathematical Association of America // Flickr

#12: Mathematicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29.7%
Total employment in 2016: 3,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 4,000


 

90 / 100
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Wikimedia Commons

#11: Occupational therapy and physical therapist assistants and aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29.9%
Total employment in 2016: 187,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 243,000


 

91 / 100
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Flickr

#10: Physical therapist assistants and aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 30.4%
Total employment in 2016: 140,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 183,000


 

92 / 100
Matthew // Wikimedia Commons

#9: Software developers, applications

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 30.7%
Total employment in 2016: 831,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,086,600


 

93 / 100
Josep Suria // Shutterstock

#8: Physical therapist assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 31%
Total employment in 2016: 88,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 115,800


 

94 / 100
2010 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships // Flickr

#7: Statisticians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 33.8%
Total employment in 2016: 37,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 49,800


 

95 / 100
U.S. Department of State // Flickr

#6: Nurse practitioners

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 36.1%
Total employment in 2016: 155,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 211,600


 

96 / 100
Robert Shields // USAF

#5: Physician assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 37.3%
Total employment in 2016: 106,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 145,900


 

97 / 100
agilemktg1 // Flickr

#4: Personal care aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 38.6%
Total employment in 2016: 2,016,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 2,793,800


 

98 / 100
Myfuture.com // Flickr

#3: Home health aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 47.3%
Total employment in 2016: 911,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,342,700


 

99 / 100
Pixabay

#2: Wind turbine service technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 96.3%
Total employment in 2016: 5,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 11,300


 

100 / 100
Pixabay

#1: Solar photovoltaic installers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 104.9%
Total employment in 2016: 11,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 23,100


 

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