Jobs projected to grow the most in the next decade
With the world around us dynamically and quickly changing, the jobs of the next decade will look quite different from the jobs of the past. And although technology has served as a major disruptor for many of the most commonplace jobs in the United States, the tech industry is not slated to grow as fast as some other key industries.
The health-care sector is expected to experience a boom in the next decade. In fact, of the top three fastest-growing industries—specialty hospitals, home health-care services, and health-care practitioner offices—all fall under its umbrella. Other industries that made the top 10 for the next decade include power communication line construction, electronic shopping, and financial investment.
By 2030, experts also predict job-seekers will need a whole new host of skills to impress their potential employers. Those skills of the future include digital literacy, emotional and social intelligence, computational thinking, and cognitive flexibility. Taken together, these traits could signal both that top job applicants are willing to adapt to a rapidly changing environment and that human value—like a warm bedside manner—can’t simply be replaced by automation.
Stacker compiled a list of 30 jobs expected to grow the most by 2028, using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections data. Jobs are ranked by projected percent-changes to employment between 2018 and 2028 projected employment percent change, and ties are broken by the overall projected 2028 employment. Any occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that included “all other” in the name were excluded from the list because these occupations are groups of similar jobs and are not accurate representations of growth for one job or field.
Read on to find out which jobs you might be submitting your resume for in 10 years.
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#30. Computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers, metal and plastic
- Projected employment change: +4,900 (20% change)
- 2018 employment: 24,300
- Projected 2028 employment: 29,200
- Predicted annual job openings: 3,200
A computer numerically controlled machine tool programmer in metal and plastic is responsible for developing programs to control machines that process metal and plastic parts, writing computer programs, determining the sequence of machine operations, and updating programs to eliminate any errors. Typically, people with this job only need a high school diploma or an equivalent, and earn an average annual salary of about $53,190. Many youth apprenticeship programs offer on-the-job training for CNC programmers.
#29. Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary
- Projected employment change: +13,800 (20% change)
- 2018 employment: 69,000
- Projected 2028 employment: 82,800
- Predicted annual job openings: 7,700
Nursing schools in the United States are short-staffed. By 2022, there will be a need for 34,200 more postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers, with 24,000 of those expected to be new positions and 10,200 positions to replace current teachers and instructors. In particular, nursing instructors and teachers are needed at rural schools, all while the U.S. is projected to need 1.1 million registered nurses and nurse practitioners in the next five years. The average assistant professor at a nursing school with a master’s degree earns an annual salary of $73,633.
- Projected employment change: +5,000 (20.1% change)
- 2018 employment: 25,000
- Projected 2028 employment: 30,000
- Predicted annual job openings: 2,200
Actuaries work to manage risk and reduce the negative impact that potential risk might have at insurance companies, banks, investment firms, consulting firms, and other large companies. Currently, there are a few actuaries in the U.S., with just 24,600 actuarial jobs recorded in 2014. But because the current number is limited, actuarial jobs are expected to have a higher-than-average rate of job growth, especially as new risks for corporations emerge in the coming years.
#27. Market research analysts and marketing specialists
- Projected employment change: +139,200 (20.4% change)
- 2018 employment: 681,900
- Projected 2028 employment: 821,100
- Predicted annual job openings: 90,700
Market research analysts and marketing specialists sift through data to help companies determine how best to sell their products and determine the price consumers will pay. Employment of market research analysts is expected to grow 23% by 2026, largely because companies are increasingly relying on market data to make business decisions. The digital age has also ushered in new pools of data, which companies have used more to guide their business.
#26. Respiratory therapists
- Projected employment change: +27,900 (20.8% change)
- 2018 employment: 134,000
- Projected 2028 employment: 162,000
- Predicted annual job openings: 10,600
By 2024, the employment of respiratory therapists is expected to grow more than 12% as the United States population ages and respiratory conditions are likely to become more common. The health-care industry is also working to limit hospital patient readmissions, meaning that there will be more of a need for respiratory therapists in doctors’ offices and nursing homes. Additionally, air pollution has contributed to a higher demand for respiratory therapists as some people have been negatively affected by the poor air quality in their surroundings.
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#25. Physical therapists
- Projected employment change: +54,200 (21.9% change)
- 2018 employment: 247,700
- Projected 2028 employment: 301,900
- Predicted annual job openings: 16,900
Job opportunities for physical therapists are projected to be in high demand in orthopedic settings, skilled nursing facilities, and hospitals. The employment rate for physical therapists is expected to grow much faster compared to other jobs, and some have even predicted that there could be a shortage of physical therapists as the demand increases. On the plus side, increased demand for physical therapists also means that employers will probably start offering more competitive salaries.
#24. Cooks, restaurant
- Projected employment change: +299,000 (21.9% change)
- 2018 employment: 1,362,300
- Projected 2028 employment: 1,661,300
- Predicted annual job openings: 243,800
The growth rate for restaurant cook employment is attributable largely to casual dining and eateries rather than full-service restaurants, as dining trends indicate more people are looking to eat on the go. In California alone, the number of chefs and head cooks is expected to increase by 14.3% from 2016 to 2026. The median annual salary for cooks in the state is currently $47,848.
#23. Massage therapists
- Projected employment change: +35,400 (22.2% change)
- 2018 employment: 159,800
- Projected 2028 employment: 195,200
- Predicted annual job openings: 24,200
Massage therapist jobs appeal to many people who look for flexible work hours and job security—after all, massage therapy is one service that’s unlikely to become automated. In a survey of 1,200 massage therapists, 88% reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. Careers in massage therapy also appeal to many people because of the low barriers to entry: no college degree is required, and most massage therapists report finding jobs within a matter of weeks.
#22. Marriage and family therapists
- Projected employment change: +12,300 (22.3% change)
- 2018 employment: 55,300
- Projected 2028 employment: 67,700
- Predicted annual job openings: 7,500
In 2015, marriage and family therapists were projected to grow by 41% by 2020, and that trend is only just beginning to explode thanks to the increased mental health awareness and comfort with visiting a therapist. A provision in the Affordable Care Act of 2008 that required all new insurance policies to include coverage for mental and behavioral health treatment has also led to more people able to access therapy services.
#21. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors
- Projected employment change: +68,500 (22.5% change)
- 2018 employment: 304,500
- Projected 2028 employment: 373,100
- Predicted annual job openings: 41,500
The mental health counseling field is expected to grow at three times the rate of other fields, largely because of new health laws that require insurance companies to cover mental health counseling. Under the Affordable Care Act, an insurance company must provide the same amount of visits to a mental health counselor as they would to a medical doctor. There are expected to be 165,100 mental health counselors in 2022—an additional 36,700 compared to the number of mental health counselors in 2012.
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