The 10 Fastest-Growing Jobs in America
5. Massage Therapists
> Pct. 10-year job growth: 162%
> 10-year job growth: 43,880
> Total employed: 71,040
> Median annual pay: $35,970
The reason for the growth in massage therapists jobs has been a rise in the number of spas and massage clinics, according to the BLS. The Bureau also cites an increase in the nation’s elderly population as contributing to demand for massage therapists. The median salary for employed massage therapists was just under $36,000 last year, but the majority are self-employed and most work only part time. The median hourly wage for a massage therapist was $17.29 in 2012.
4. Interpreters and Translators
> Pct. 10-year job growth: 171%
> 10-year job growth: 31,720
> Total employed: 50,320
> Median annual pay: $45,430
As international trade expands and globalization continues, the need for interpreters and translators should continue to rise, according to the BLS. Already, the number of employed translators has jumped from less than 20,000 in 2002 to more than 50,000 in 2012. As the nation’s Hispanic population grows, interpreters and translators also will be needed. Translation pay varies considerably. The top-paid 10% of translators earned more than $91,800 annually last year, while the bottom 10% earned less than $23,570.
3. Music Directors and Composers
> Pct. 10-year job growth: 178%
> 10-year job growth: 15,960
> Total employed: 24,940
> Median annual pay: $47,350
It seems that Americans’ thirst for music is on the rise. This should drive job growth of music directors and composers. Another factor driving job growth for this occupation is the expected greater need for original music scores or transcriptions used in commercials and movies. In addition to musical talent and mastery of a variety of instruments, those in this occupation, especially the ones writing and conducting classical music, usually have a bachelor’s degree. About 10% of music directors and composers earned less than $21,450 annually, while the top 10% made more than $86,110, a high annual income compared with the same top 10% of other occupations on this list.
2. Petroleum Engineers
> Pct. 10-year job growth: 227%
> 10-year job growth: 25,280
> Total employed: 36,410
> Median annual pay: $130,280
Petroleum engineers are some of the highest paid workers in the nation, with a median wage that exceeded $130,000 in 2012. Their work typically involves assessing and planning drilling operations, as well as determining the equipment and methods necessary to extract oil and natural gas in the most efficient way possible. Petroleum engineers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering and must pass a licensing exam and have four years of work experience to be licensed. Oil prices play a major role in determining job outlook for petroleum engineers, partially because higher prices improve incentives to explore and produce oil from newer, more challenging sources. In the past decade, oil prices have risen dramatically, possibly accounting for much of the profession’s estimated 227% job growth.
1. Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas and Mining
> Pct. 10-year job growth: 365%
> 10-year job growth: 44,870
> Total employed: 57,180
> Median annual pay: $41,970
No occupation has grown faster than service unit operators working in natural resources extraction, where the number of workers jumped from just over 12,000 in 2002 to more than 57,000 in 2012. Workers in these fields typically are responsible for overseeing and maintaining wells and other technology used in extracting natural resources. Workers are most often employed in oil and gas producing states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and North Dakota. There are several potential reasons for the profession’s explosive job growth, including rising energy prices and the increased extraction of non-conventional fuel sources.