Fastest-growing jobs in every state

Written by:
June 16, 2021
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Fastest-growing jobs in every state

2020 and 2021 were filled with change—and most of it was far from optimal. The coronavirus pandemic upended the lives of most people around the world, taking particular aim at careers. While many people began working from home, others kept commutes but wore masks throughout their shifts. Still others got lumped in with staggering unemployment statistics. These transitions have taken significant tolls on millions of people. If there is to be a silver lining in the employment space, it might be this: Now is a better time than ever before to switch careers.

To determine the fastest-growing job in every state, Stacker analyzed employment data released from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics on March 16, 2021. The data looked at employment growth rates from May 2015 to 2020. Any vague groupings of jobs or jobs that had "all other" in the name were omitted from the list, as they do not reflect an accurate portrayal of one specific occupation. Jobs of less than 1,000 employed were also removed from the dataset.

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Alabama: Medical and health services managers

- Five-year growth rate: 150.2%
--- 2014 employment: 2,610
--- 2019 employment: 6,530
- Median annual income: $82,610
- Total employment: 1,883,310

While doctors and nurses run the care side of things at hospitals and clinics, medical and health services managers run the business side. These professionals are responsible for maintaining financial and care records, scheduling staff, interacting with insurance companies, ensuring that the institution is fully supplied, and hiring staff. As the health care field grows in general, so too does the need for organized leaders.

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Alaska: Medical assistants

- Five-year growth rate: 71.2%
--- 2014 employment: 1,460
--- 2019 employment: 2,500
- Median annual income: $46,000
- Total employment: 327,250

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks at physicians’ offices. From taking down medical histories to gathering samples for lab work, from treating wounds to coding insurance forms, medical assistants are vital to the smooth running of our health care system. The need for these health care professionals is rising around the country as more offices open and as the number of elderly Americans, who require more robust care, grows.

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Arizona: Cooks, short order

- Five-year growth rate: 228.7%
--- 2014 employment: 1,150
--- 2019 employment: 3,780
- Median annual income: $26,870
- Total employment: 2,587,070

A short-order cook prepares easy-to-make food in coffee shops or restaurants that emphasize fast service and convenient options. For years, this portion of the food industry has relied on undocumented immigrants, but when the pandemic hit these employees were often among the first to get laid off. Today, restaurants are having a hard time finding workers to fill these spots, as citizens aren’t excited about the low pay and undocumented immigrants are now more cautious because of the way the last year has unfolded.

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Arkansas: Interviewers, except eligibility and loan

- Five-year growth rate: 212.6%
--- 2014 employment: 1,030
--- 2019 employment: 3,220
- Median annual income: $29,130
- Total employment: 1,176,130

A very broad career category, interviewers (except eligibility and loan) can work in industries ranging from medicine to higher education to science and technology. The core function of their job is to speak with people by phone, in person, or through the mail to collect information needed for polls, forms, questionnaires, or applications. The work requires a solid knowledge of computers as well as good interpersonal skills and strong attention to detail.

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California: Marriage and family therapists

- Five-year growth rate: 291.1%
--- 2014 employment: 8,340
--- 2019 employment: 32,620
- Median annual income: $49,230
- Total employment: 15,496,600

The Wall Street Journal, along with myriad other publications, have referred to millennials as “the therapy generation.” More millennials are seeking therapy and counseling sessions than any previous generation. This may be one reason why marriage and family therapists are in high demand, with five-year growth reaching almost 300%.

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Colorado: Information security analysts

- Five-year growth rate: 148.5%
--- 2014 employment: 1,710
--- 2019 employment: 4,250
- Median annual income: $104,450
- Total employment: 2,451,490

Almost all major businesses employ information security analysts to keep their networks and systems secure. These individuals monitor a business’s internal networks to ensure they aren’t breached or attacked, and that they are free from all threats. Qualified individuals in this field are increasingly in demand as cyberattacks against businesses are on the rise, jumping from 38% to 43% over the last year.

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Connecticut: Order clerks

- Five-year growth rate: 225.8%
--- 2014 employment: 1,590
--- 2019 employment: 5,180
- Median annual income: $36,810
- Total employment: 1,659,430

An order clerk receives and processes incoming orders for a specific organization. While these clerks can be employed in a variety of industries, the bones of the job—tasks like receiving orders, providing receipts, tracking shipment dates, preparing contracts, and handling complaints—remain the same. While the position typically doesn't require a high-level degree, computer and organizational skills are essential for being successful in the role.

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Delaware: Industrial truck and tractor operators

- Five-year growth rate: 718.5%
--- 2014 employment: 1,190
--- 2019 employment: 9,740
- Median annual income: $83,700
- Total employment: 7,925,300

Industrial truck and tractor operators are responsible for driving the heavy machinery needed to move materials around a warehouse, construction site, factory, or similar location. The job doesn’t require a degree, which makes it a great option for those looking to begin working straight out of high school. On the other hand, there is a certain level of physical labor required, which means the job may not be an option for everyone.

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Florida: Education administrators, postsecondary

- Five-year growth rate: 718.5%
--- 2014 employment: 1,190
--- 2019 employment: 9,740
- Median annual income: $83,700
- Total employment: 7,925,300

Working in colleges and universities, postsecondary education administrators oversee general academic plans, student services, and faculty research within their schools. Generally, an administrator will work within a certain department, like admissions or student life, allowing them to focus on one specific area of the school’s success rather than the overall picture. This is a job that requires a higher level of education, typically a master’s degree or a doctorate.

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Georgia: Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

- Five-year growth rate: 138.0%
--- 2014 employment: 1,290
--- 2019 employment: 3,070
- Median annual income: $35,230
- Total employment: 4,107,960

Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders work in vehicle factories that produce vehicles, metal or plastic products, and machinery. They operate and maintain the machinery that is needed to cut and create various tools and implements (like car doors or drill bits). The manufacturing job would make a perfect fit for an individual that is good with their hands and has a solid understanding of engineering but would prefer to opt out of obtaining a costly degree in order to put those skills to use.

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Hawaii: Computer systems analysts

- Five-year growth rate: 63.1%
--- 2014 employment: 1,110
--- 2019 employment: 1,810
- Median annual income: $77,190
- Total employment: 619,960

Designing and optimizing computer systems for businesses and organizations is the sole responsibility of a computer systems analyst. The nitty-gritty of the role includes researching which type of system would be best, preparing a cost-benefit analysis, installing the new system, training other employees in using it, and troubleshooting when problems arise. Many of these forward-facing positions will require a bachelor’s degree or higher as well as strong interpersonal skills.

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Idaho: Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers

- Five-year growth rate: 119.2%
--- 2014 employment: 1,460
--- 2019 employment: 3,200
- Median annual income: $43,120
- Total employment: 642,700

Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are responsible for putting these systems and appliances in place and keeping them running. While a college degree isn’t a requirement for a job, many HVACR professionals complete an apprenticeship or attend a technical school to obtain the knowledge required to do their job well.

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Illinois: Structural metal fabricators and fitters

- Five-year growth rate: 147.3%
--- 2014 employment: 1,650
--- 2019 employment: 4,080
- Median annual income: $40,630
- Total employment: 5,852,710

Also known as welders, structural metal fabricators and fitters create and assemble metal objects, like the beams of a building or the skeleton of a ship. Like an HVACR technician, this job does not require higher education, but an apprenticeship or some technical school experience is needed. The job is also best suited for those who are good with their hands, not afraid of physical labor, and who have strong STEM skills.

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Indiana: Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, record-keeping

- Five-year growth rate: 145.1%
--- 2014 employment: 1,530
--- 2019 employment: 3,750
- Median annual income: $37,340
- Total employment: 2,947,380

Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers are in charge of keeping track of the shipments and materials that come in and out of the warehouses, stockrooms, or shipping depots where they work. Typically, these clerical positions are found in retail and manufacturing industries, though occasionally they can be found in other fields. These jobs don't require education higher than a high school diploma, but they do require that you be good with technology since most of the information is recorded digitally.

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Iowa: Instructional coordinators

- Five-year growth rate: 80.1%
--- 2014 employment: 1,610
--- 2019 employment: 2,900
- Median annual income: $71,240
- Total employment: 1,526,950

Instructional coordinators are an essential part of the education system, as they are responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing a school’s entire curriculum. These professionals typically work in an office setting, but the job also requires plenty of time in classrooms, making sure things are being done properly. A master’s degree is a requirement for the job, and most instructional coordinators end up working in elementary, middle, and high schools.

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Kansas: Property, real estate, and community association managers

- Five-year growth rate: 83.9%
--- 2014 employment: 1,610
--- 2019 employment: 2,960
- Median annual income: $45,260
- Total employment: 1,371,630

Property or real estate managers are responsible for maintaining the day-to-day operations of a rental home, apartment building, or business office. These individuals are usually hired by the building’s owner to ensure their property retains as much value as possible while continuing to generate income and to tend to the immediate needs of the tenants. Knowledge of the local real estate market, as well as strong interpersonal and problem-solving skills, is essential for those looking to embark on this career path.

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Kentucky: Cargo and freight agents

- Five-year growth rate: 112.4%
--- 2014 employment: 1,210
--- 2019 employment: 2,570
- Median annual income: $41,230
- Total employment: 1,838,220

Airports, shipyards, warehouses, and trucking terminals all employ cargo and freight agents. These professionals are in charge of figuring out the logistics of moving a shipment of raw materials or finished goods from point A (usually the supplier) to point B (usually the purchaser). Though the position does not require a college degree, those looking to land a leadership role in the industry may want to take business classes.

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Louisiana: Special education teachers, kindergarten and elementary school

- Five-year growth rate: 99.2%
--- 2014 employment: 2,620
--- 2019 employment: 5,220
- Median annual income: $49,070
- Total employment: 1,939,300

Special education teachers wear many hats, working with their students on academics as well as teaching them emotional and practical skills. The role requires planning, frequent assessments, the creation of individualized education programs, and plenty of advocating for students’ rights and needs. Because of the amount of work required, as well as the high level of education and ongoing learning needed, the job won’t be a good fit for those who aren’t wholeheartedly devoted.

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Maine: Computer systems analysts

- Five-year growth rate: 45.5%
--- 2014 employment: 1,430
--- 2019 employment: 2,080
- Median annual income: $75,970
- Total employment: 591,520

In 2021, Maine was declared the best state in the Northeast for starting a small business. As new companies sprout up and achieve growth, the need for computer systems analysts to design their networks would logically grow as well.

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Maryland: Information security analysts

- Five-year growth rate: 110.4%
--- 2014 employment: 3,370
--- 2019 employment: 7,090
- Median annual income: $106,290
- Total employment: 2,596,630

Maryland is home to branches of several major corporations, like Johns Hopkins, Verizon, Northrop Grumman, and Constellation Energy Group. Each of these companies relies on security professionals to ensure their trade secrets remain safe.

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Massachusetts: Flight attendants

- Five-year growth rate: 94.7%
--- 2014 employment: 1,500
--- 2019 employment: 2,920
- Median annual income: $59,720
- Total employment: 3,396,840

Although most of us associate flight attendants with in-flight customer service, these workers have a much more serious role: to ensure the safety and security of passengers and captains. It’s a unique job that combines hospitality skills with life-saving ones (like providing emergency medical services or assisting in a crash). A high school diploma is required, though a bachelor’s degree is favored, as well as rigorous formal training from the hiring airline.

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Michigan: Chemical equipment operators and tenders

- Five-year growth rate: 229.7%
--- 2014 employment: 1,450
--- 2019 employment: 4,780
- Median annual income: $58,070
- Total employment: 4,146,600

A chemical equipment operator and tender is responsible for monitoring and controlling the chemical reactions that are required to create industrial and consumer products. They are trained to work with equipment like devulcanizers, steam-jacketed kettles, and reactor vessels through apprenticeships or hands-on training. Attention to detail, flexibility, and a basic knowledge of chemistry are all attributes required of those looking to enter the field.

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Minnesota: Court, municipal, and license clerks

- Five-year growth rate: 228.8%
--- 2014 employment: 2,330
--- 2019 employment: 7,660
- Median annual income: $47,410
- Total employment: 2,772,240

Different from a law clerk, court or municipal clerks fill more of an administrative role than a legal one. Their main jobs include things like preparing dockets of cases, typing agendas and bylaws for city councils, issuing licenses and permits, securing information for judges, and administering tests. Entry into the field doesn’t require a degree, though those looking to fill particular roles or work in upper-level positions may benefit from holding a bachelor’s in business administration or pre-law.

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Mississippi: Market research analysts and marketing specialists

- Five-year growth rate: 99.2%
--- 2014 employment: 1,210
--- 2019 employment: 2,410
- Median annual income: $40,160
- Total employment: 1,106,550

Helping clients identify their markets then understand what these markets want and how much they’ll pay is the business of market research analysts. These businesspeople have the difficult task of aligning objectively collected data with the emotional desires of consumers, which explains the required level of higher education (at least a bachelor’s degree) and particular personality types that succeed in the field. U.S. News & World Report ranks the job #9 among all business-related professions.

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Missouri: Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders

- Five-year growth rate: 206.3%
--- 2014 employment: 1,120
--- 2019 employment: 3,430
- Median annual income: $42,790
- Total employment: 2,712,240

If you’ve ever purchased a vehicle, coated appliance, or mass-produced home accessory, you likely have a coating, painting, and spraying machine operator to thank. These individuals use machines to apply paint, varnish, glaze, rust-preventing materials, and other types of finishes to items made of everything from wood to metal. While not one of the highest-paying jobs on our list, the position still provides an excellent option for those who have an artistic bent and no interest in going to college or beginning a career in the fine arts.

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Montana: Cooks, institution and cafeteria

- Five-year growth rate: 50.5%
--- 2014 employment: 2,080
--- 2019 employment: 3,130
- Median annual income: $27,950
- Total employment: 447,180

An institution cook prepares large quantities of food for places like hospitals, long-term care homes, or prisons. Basic cooking skills, as well as a general understanding of different dietary requirements (i.e., how to provide kosher or halal meals, or which foods work for those with celiac disease), are essential for the role, though high-end culinary experience or a degree in culinary arts is not. Much of the training for this type of role can be done on the job, making the field an excellent choice for those who want to hit the ground running.

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Nebraska: Computer and information systems managers

- Five-year growth rate: 103.0%
--- 2014 employment: 1,680
--- 2019 employment: 3,410
- Median annual income: $120,360
- Total employment: 953,710

As businesses’ reliance on technology grows, so does their need for devoted tech individuals. For example, a vast majority of companies now employ computer and information systems managers who plan, install, and troubleshoot all of the hardware and software that the organization may use. A four-year degree in some branch of computer science or IT is generally required for the role, though it is possible to break into the industry through hands-on experience as well.

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Nevada: Continuous mining machine operators

- Five-year growth rate: 133.3%
--- 2014 employment: 1,170
--- 2019 employment: 2,730
- Median annual income: $67,130
- Total employment: 1,232,800

Nevada leads the nation with the largest mining program, boasting over 180,000 active mines. So it makes perfect sense that the demand for continuous mining machine operators would be so high in the western state. These individuals use self-propelled machines to dig ore, coal, stone, and other substances from the ground.

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New Hampshire: Packers and packagers, hand

- Five-year growth rate: 174.3%
--- 2014 employment: 1,520
--- 2019 employment: 4,170
- Median annual income: $24,210
- Total employment: 635,360

Though much of the manufacturing process is completed via AI these days, there are still some aspects, like packing and packaging, that require a human touch. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals in these roles typically work in food and beverage stores (packing your groceries) or in warehouses (packing your Amazon orders). A perk of the job is that it requires no formal education and very little training, though a low compensation rate is certainly a downfall.

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New Jersey: Highway maintenance workers

- Five-year growth rate: 176.0%
--- 2014 employment: 1,500
--- 2019 employment: 4,140
- Median annual income: $48,140
- Total employment: 3,906,800

A highway maintenance worker is charged with keeping roadways in safe and working order. Regular tasks may include things like filling in potholes, clearing snow, and adding guardrails to perilous sections of the freeway. New Jersey, in particular, has an extensive highway and freeway system as well as plenty of town and city roads that need regular maintenance thanks to the high volume of cars that use them and the extreme seasons faced by the state.

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New Mexico: Market research analysts and marketing specialists

- Five-year growth rate: 73.6%
--- 2014 employment: 1,060
--- 2019 employment: 1,840
- Median annual income: $52,470
- Total employment: 798,150

A mid-level position, marketing specialists design, execute, and oversee marketing projects, usually specializing in a certain channel (like email marketing or digital marketing) or a specific type of product (beverages, weddings, etc.). These positions almost always require a bachelor’s degree, though some companies will accept commensurate experience in lieu of a diploma.

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New York: Financial examiners

- Five-year growth rate: 184.3%
--- 2014 employment: 4,070
--- 2019 employment: 11,570
- Median annual income: $105,460
- Total employment: 8,984,890

New York is the undisputed center of American finance. As a result, the need for financial examiners, or people who ensure that banks and other lenders and financial institutions are complying with the law, is higher here than in any other state in the union. To begin a career in the field, you need a four-year degree as well as a special certification from the Society of Financial Examiners.

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North Carolina: Cooks, fast food

- Five-year growth rate: 395.4%
--- 2014 employment: 8,070
--- 2019 employment: 39,980
- Median annual income: $18,870
- Total employment: 4,125,070

Fast-food chains like McDonald’s, KFC, and Chipotle continue to grow, even as more and more Americans claim to be looking for healthy alternatives. By 2022, the global fast-food market is expected to be worth $690 billion. As the industry prospers and new restaurant locations open, the need for experienced fast-food cooks increases. Unfortunately, since the economy deems many of these workers “unskilled,” their pay remains low.

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North Dakota: Cooks, institution and cafeteria

- Five-year growth rate: 58.8%
--- 2014 employment: 1,140
--- 2019 employment: 1,810
- Median annual income: $31,980
- Total employment: 447,820

Cafeteria cooks do essentially the same job as institution cooks, just in schools rather than other public organizations. It’s unclear why this job, of all the professions, is the fastest growing in North Dakota, but it may have something to do with retirement rates, especially as many of these cooks stepped away during the height of the pandemic.

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Ohio: Foundry mold and coremakers

- Five-year growth rate: 105.1%
--- 2014 employment: 1,760
--- 2019 employment: 3,610
- Median annual income: $34,240
- Total employment: 5,280,850

Foundry mold and coremakers create wax or sand molds that are used in the production of metal objects. Another position that’s an excellent fit for those who enjoy working with their hands, the field is shrinking overall but booming in Ohio, the third-largest manufacturing state in the U.S.

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Oklahoma: Nurse practitioners

- Five-year growth rate: 77.5%
--- 2014 employment: 1,110
--- 2019 employment: 1,970
- Median annual income: $109,690
- Total employment: 1,597,130

As autonomous clinicians, nurse practitioners can assess and diagnose patients, order medical tests, and prescribe medications. Because of the high level of care these medical professionals are capable of providing, a master’s or doctorate-level degree is required for these positions. Still, the schooling costs only a quarter of that of a physician, and patients generally report higher satisfaction after working with a nurse practitioner than they do after working with a doctor.

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Oregon: Electronics engineers, except computer

- Five-year growth rate: 286.6%
--- 2014 employment: 1,270
--- 2019 employment: 4,910
- Median annual income: $87,070
- Total employment: 1,735,220

Electronics engineers work in fields ranging from aerospace to telecommunications, developing electronic components used in everything from airplane landing equipment to handheld devices. Their expertise in circuits, and the devices that use them, is gained through a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Strong analytical thinking skills, problem-solving, and computer proficiency are required to be successful in this position.

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Pennsylvania: Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

- Five-year growth rate: 117.0%
--- 2014 employment: 6,100
--- 2019 employment: 13,240
- Median annual income: $95,290
- Total employment: 5,709,480

Postsecondary teachers instruct students at the college or university level, and those who work in health specialties teach courses in fields like dentistry, pharmacology, public health, or veterinary sciences. A master’s or doctorate is generally a prerequisite for the positions, as they require extensive knowledge in the field in addition to strong teaching skills. Postsecondary health specialties teachers in Pennsylvania may find employment at places like Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania, or Bryn Mawr.

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Rhode Island: Market research analysts and marketing specialists

- Five-year growth rate: 82.9%
--- 2014 employment: 1,400
--- 2019 employment: 2,560
- Median annual income: $66,560
- Total employment: 471,290

Despite its small size, Rhode Island is home to four Fortune 500 companies, including CVS, Textron, and Citizens Financial Group. The presence of these companies, in addition to the hundreds of smaller yet successful businesses in the state, explains the high demand for trained marketing professionals.

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South Carolina: Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

- Five-year growth rate: 160.3%
--- 2014 employment: 1,940
--- 2019 employment: 5,050
- Median annual income: $52,360
- Total employment: 1,928,140

The advanced manufacturing industry has seen employment grow by 18%, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, representing the second-highest rate in the southeast. This explains why multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders are in high demand in the area, even as overall growth for the profession looks bleak.

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South Dakota: Industrial truck and tractor operators

- Five-year growth rate: 85.0%
--- 2014 employment: 1,070
--- 2019 employment: 1,980
- Median annual income: $36,680
- Total employment: 413,260

Agriculture and mining, both industries which require plenty of heavy machinery, are major sectors of the economy in South Dakota. As these fields continue to grow, so does the need for qualified individuals who can cart crops and rocks from meadows and quarries to refineries and warehouses.

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Tennessee: Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

- Five-year growth rate: 329.3%
--- 2014 employment: 1,880
--- 2019 employment: 8,070
- Median annual income: $41,640
- Total employment: 2,814,230

In 2012, several automakers, including Volkswagen AG and Nissan, opened new manufacturing plants in Tennessee, making the state the 8th biggest auto producer in the nation. Among the thousands of new jobs these plants created were numerous positions for multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders who specialize in working with metal and plastic

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Texas: First-line supervisors of police and detectives

- Five-year growth rate: 143.7%
--- 2014 employment: 2,790
--- 2019 employment: 6,800
- Median annual income: $90,750
- Total employment: 11,572,540

First-line supervisors of police and detectives are responsible for managing police departments and coordinating activities between officers. More specifically, these positions include roles like police chief, sergeant, and shift commander. A leadership and administrative role, the job typically requires five years of previous experience. While no formal degree is required, a bachelor’s in law enforcement or criminal justice can help to set a candidate apart.

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Utah: Personal financial advisors

- Five-year growth rate: 110.6%
--- 2014 employment: 1,700
--- 2019 employment: 3,580
- Median annual income: $62,380
- Total employment: 1,324,460

A personal financial advisor works with individuals or couples to help them plan for short- and long-term money goals. To get started in the industry, you usually need a bachelor’s degree in a field like finance, economics, or accounting, though other certifications may be required along the way. Aside from offering advice to clients, a big portion of the job includes researching and staying on top of good investment opportunities and strategies.

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Vermont: General and operations managers

- Five-year growth rate: 83.1%
--- 2014 employment: 2,780
--- 2019 employment: 5,090
- Median annual income: $74,030
- Total employment: 303,550

In charge of all aspects of a company’s operations and production process, a general or operations manager is a vital piece of any business. General duties include things like hiring and training, managing quality assurance, monitoring existing processes, and creating systems that will lead to increased productivity and less waste. Nearly 45% of operations managers hold a bachelor’s degree, while a third have earned an associate’s degree.

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Virginia: Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders

- Five-year growth rate: 167.4%
--- 2014 employment: 1,410
--- 2019 employment: 3,770
- Median annual income: $46,440
- Total employment: 3,682,450

While not one of the state’s primary industries, the manufacturing of durable goods, including wood products, electric equipment, furniture, and transportation equipment makes up a sizable chunk of Virginia’s economy. All of these items typically require some sort of finish, whether it be paint, anti-rust solution, varnish, or all of the above, which explains the demand for coating, painting, and spraying machine setters.

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Washington: Avionics technicians

- Five-year growth rate: 168.3%
--- 2014 employment: 1,390
--- 2019 employment: 3,730
- Median annual income: $92,980
- Total employment: 2,983,930

Avionics is a specialized field that deals with the electronics used in aircraft, like navigation systems, autopilot, and radios. Avionics technicians are responsible for installing and maintaining this equipment. The career path involves obtaining a two-year degree in avionics maintenance technology, and successful technicians stand out for their ability to work under tight deadlines and eye for detail.

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Washington D.C.: Political scientists

- Five-year growth rate: 148.5%
--- 2014 employment: 1,340
--- 2019 employment: 3,330
- Median annual income: $129,410
- Total employment: 676,060

It’s no surprise that political scientist is the fastest-growing job in Washington D.C., where politics is the main export. Political scientists study the structure and theory of government to come up with solutions to current and future problems. The role usually requires a high level of education, like a master’s degree or doctorate, and while the field can be a hard one to break into, it can also be quite lucrative as you move up the ranks.

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West Virginia: Social and human service assistants

- Five-year growth rate: 84.9%
--- 2014 employment: 1,520
--- 2019 employment: 2,810
- Median annual income: $30,750
- Total employment: 707,000

Social and human service assistants are more commonly known as case aid workers, crisis intervention counselors, community support workers, mental health aides, or gerontology aides. Their primary function is to provide support for children, families, the elderly, those suffering from addiction, individuals in the midst of a mental health crisis, refugees, or anyone who could use an extra hand. A vital job, the assistant position generally doesn’t require any higher education, which means it’s a fairly easy field to break into if you’re looking to make an immediate difference in your community.

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Wisconsin: Psychiatric technicians

- Five-year growth rate: 143.2%
--- 2014 employment: 1,480
--- 2019 employment: 3,600
- Median annual income: $36,690
- Total employment: 2,771,600

An entry-level position, psychiatric technicians are a vital part of a health team as they are often the front line of mental health care. Working in psychiatric hospitals, mental health facilities, or long-term care homes, these professionals help patients with basic functions, like showering, dressing, and eating, as well as engaging with them in recreational activities, observing physical and mental behaviors, and intervening in times of crisis. Education requirements vary by state, though in Wisconsin just a certification (rather than a degree) is required.

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Wyoming: Office clerks, general

- Five-year growth rate: 19.0%
--- 2014 employment: 6,320
--- 2019 employment: 7,520
- Median annual income: $38,850
- Total employment: 283,830

Also known as receptionists or administrative assistants, office clerks perform a variety of tasks essential to a business’s operations, including answering phones, filing records, inputting data, and engaging in customer service. General office clerks can work in almost any imaginable industry, and much of the education required for the position is provided on the job. That said, a high school diploma or GED certificate is more often than not a baseline requirement.

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