The working world is in upheaval, with technology changing the way we do pretty much everything. Some careers that used to be sure things aren't so sure anymore. How do you know which jobs are worth pursuing, and which aren't? We checked in with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to get the lowdown on fields that are projected to grow over the next decade.
1. Financial adviser
With life expectancy on the rise, more people are expected to be needing financial planning advice. The BLS gives this profession a solid projected growth rate of 30 percent between 2014 and 2024, which it notes is "much faster than average." The median salary for a personal financial adviser was just over $90,000 as of 2016.
For this career, you'll need a bachelor's degree, but no advanced degrees are required. Becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is also helpful. Many financial advisers work for insurance or financial brokerage firms; others are self-employed.
2. Physical therapist
The demand for physical therapists is growing, too: There's an impressive 34 percent growth rate predicted over the 2014–2024 period, with more than 70,000 new physical therapist positions being added to the workforce. To become a physical therapist, you'll need to get a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. A DPT degree is a post-baccalaureate degree that usually takes three years to complete. Worth the time? Probably. The median salary for physical therapists, as of 2016, was about $85,400.
3. Registered nurse
Becoming a registered nurse continues to be a great career choice for the next 10 years, and probably beyond. More than 439,000 registered nurse jobs are expected to be added to the workforce by 2024. The median salary was just under $70,000 as of 2016. Approximately 60 percent of RNs work in hospitals, according to the BLS, with the remaining 40 percent working in clinics, doctors' offices, home health care roles, and other care facilities. To become a registered nurse, you'll need a degree in nursing. A four-year bachelor's degree is probably the best choice, as an associate degree may limit your career options and salary.
4. Physical or occupational therapy assistant
Assistants to therapists earn a lower wage than the therapists themselves, but it's still a good salary. The average annual pay for a physical therapy assistant was just over $56,000 as of 2016, while occupational therapy assistants brought in an average $59,000.
Occupational therapy is focused on helping people improve their ability to handle daily life tasks, such as cooking, or even eating. Physical therapy focuses on helping patients recover from illness or injury and regain physical ability. To be a therapist's assistant, you'll need an associate degree and perhaps a license, but that's all. Both jobs have a projected growth rate of about 40 percent between 2014 and 2024.
5. Computer systems analyst
If computer systems, information technology, and business are your thing, this is a great career choice. Systems analysts work with business managers to understand business needs and come up with information systems solutions. You'll need a bachelor's degree in information technology to get a job in this field, which has a 21 percent projected growth rate. A master's degree may open up more job opportunities and a higher entry-level salary. The median pay as of 2016 was more than $87,000 a year.
6. Industrial machinery mechanic
The projected growth rate for this career in the 10 years up to 2024 is a bit lower than others on this list at only 16 percent, but that's still much faster than average. You don't need any college education for this job; a high school diploma or equivalent is enough, and, of course, some mechanical capability is needed. Beyond that, you'll need appropriate training for the specialization you choose; an apprenticeship or on-the-job training are two common options. The median salary for this career was just under $50,000 as of 2016.
7. Computer support specialist
The outlook for computer support specialists shows a 12 percent growth rate, with more than 88,000 jobs expected to be added by 2024. With a median annual salary of over $62,000 as of 2016, it's a great career choice. You need some computer prowess, of course, and the ability to patiently guide people through solving their computer problems. That's probably the most challenging part! A college degree isn't always necessary, though an associate degree, or at least some computer-related courses, will help. Positions with a larger company may require a bachelor's degree, but many other support positions provide on-the-job training.
8. App developer
If you're good with code and have the business savvy to see a hole in the app market, this could be a great career choice for you. Even if you're not so great at the business side, this could still be a good career if you get a job with any number of app development companies. Mobile technology is only continuing to grow, and this job is growing along with it at a rate of over 22 percent, according to Kiplinger. The median annual salary is one of the highest on this list, coming in at over $96,000. You'll typically need a bachelor's degree in computer science to get started in this field.
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