The Best Paying Jobs of the Future

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5. Dental Hygienists
> Pct. increase: 37.7%
> Total new jobs (2010-2020): 68,500
> Median income: $68,250
> States with the most jobs per capita: Michigan, Utah, Idaho

From 2010 to 2020, the number of dental hygienists is projected to rise by 37.7% to more than 250,000. Factors driving increased demand for this occupation include ongoing research linking oral health to general health, as well as an aging population keeping more of its teeth. Dental hygienists typically do not need a professional degree or previous work experience, though they often need an associate’s degree and a license. Typical job responsibilities include cleaning teeth and taking dental X-rays.

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4. Physical Therapists
> Pct. increase: 39.0%
> Total new jobs (2010-2020): 77,400
> Median income: $76,310
> States with the most jobs per capita: Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine

Physical therapists assist patients by helping to address and correct dysfunctional movement and pain. They are required to have a postgraduate professional degree, typically a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a license. Those completing these prerequisites join one of the fastest-growing professions in the country — by 2020, the number of positions is expected to rise by 39%. The BLS states that “demand for physical therapy services will come, in large part, from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life than previous generations did.” The top 10% of physical therapists earned more than $107,920.

3. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
> Pct. increase: 41.2%
> Total new jobs (2010-2020): 116,600
> Median income: $60,570
> States with the most jobs per capita: Delaware, Massachusetts, New York

Market research analysts work in most industries, monitoring and forecasting marketing and sales trends, as well as collecting and analyzing data on their companies’ products or services. To become a market research analyst, a bachelor’s degree is typically required, though many analysts have a master’s degree. Citing increases in the use of market research across all industries, the BLS projects the number of positions in the field will rise to almost 400,000 by 2020. Top-earning market research analysts made more than $111,440 annually.

2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
> Pct. increase:
> Total new jobs (2010-2020): 23,400
> Median income: $64,380
> States with the most jobs per capita: Rhode Island, Florida, South Dakota

Diagnostic medical sonographers work in hospitals and other facilities, conducting ultrasounds on patients and analyzing the resulting images. The BLS projects an increase of 43.5% in the number of positions between 2010 and 2020, which would raise the total number of such jobs to 77,100. Explaining the driving factors behind the growth, the BLS states that “as ultrasound technology evolves, it will be used as a substitute for procedures that are costly, invasive or expose patients to radiation.” Sonographers typically need an associate’s degree, and many employers prefer candidates to have professional certification. The top 10% of sonographers made more than $88,490 annually.

1. Biomedical Engineers
> Pct. increase: 61.7%
> Total new jobs (2010-2020): 9,700
> Median income: $81,540
> States with the most jobs per capita: Massachusetts, Utah, Minnesota

The work of biomedical engineers typically involves designing or maintaining biomedical equipment, such as artificial organs and X-ray machines. These jobs often require a great deal of technical knowledge in fields such as biology, engineering, math and chemistry. Because of this, a bachelor’s degree is typically needed. The professional requirements come with impressive compensation. The median income for such jobs was $81,540 and the top 10% earned more than $126,990. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of biomedical engineers is projected to rise by 61.7%, more than four times the projected growth rate for all jobs, which is 14%. To explain its growth projections for the profession, the BLS cites the baby boomer generation’s growing demand for biomedical devices and procedures as it “seeks to maintain its healthy and active lifestyle.”

-Alexander E. M. Hess and Michael B. Sauter

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