Special Report

America's Fastest Growing Jobs

10. Physical Therapist Assistants
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 41.0%
> Number employed, 2012: 71,400
> Number employed, 2022: 100,700
> Median annual income: $52,160
> Educational qualification: Associate’s degree

Physical therapist assistants work for physical therapists to facilitate patient treatment. The profession is expected to be among the fastest growing occupations in America. Typically, their job includes observing, stretching, monitoring, and educating the patients. According to the BLS, demand for physical therapy in general is expected to rise due to the greater needs of America’s aging population. Aging baby boomers may require more rehabilitation services as they grow old. Additionally, health conditions that are increasingly affecting the population, such as obesity and diabetes, are expected to require greater rehabilitation services.

9. Genetic Counselors
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 41.2%
> Number employed, 2012: 2,100
> Number employed, 2022: 3,000
> Median annual income: $56,800
> Educational qualification: Master’s degree

The BLS estimates a 41.2% growth in the number of genetic counselors between 2012 and 2022, more than double the rate of other health care practitioners. This growth is largely due to technological advancements in lab testing and genomics. Such development will allow genetic counselors to more accurately assess “individual or family risks for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders or birth defects,” the BLS noted. And yet, the field will remain relatively small. With only 2,100 people working as genetic counselors as of 2012, the extremely fast growth will result in just 900 new jobs.

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8. Occupational Therapy Assistants
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 42.6%
> Number employed, 2012: 30,300
> Number employed, 2022: 43,200
> Median annual income: $53,240
> Educational qualification: Associate’s degree

Like other medical related occupations, the demand for occupational therapy assistants is expected to rise the population ages. As baby boomers become more prone to stroke or arthritis, they will require treatment from an increased number of occupational therapy assistants. Therapy assistants help their patients recover and maintain the skills needed for daily living. Additionally, occupational therapists assistants will be required to meet continued demand for the care of children and adults with disabilities. The BLS expects the growing demand will result in a nearly 43% job growth, well above the national job growth rate of 10.8%.

7. Masons’ Helpers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 43.0%
> Number employed, 2012: 24,400
> Number employed, 2022: 34,900
> Median annual income: $28,220
> Educational qualification: Less than high school

Mason’s helpers provide assistance to lead masons, who make plans, read blueprints, and lay out foundation patterns. As of 2012, there were only 24,400 people working as masons’ helpers. However, the BLS forecasts that a post-recession rebound in construction will result in a large increase in new schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, and other buildings. This new construction will require a large number of workers with training in building fences, walkways, and walls. The BLS estimates that the need for onsite mason helpers should grow by 43% between 2012 and 2022, almost twice the growth rate of construction sector employment as a whole. Despite the expected construction boom, the construction sector, including mason’s helpers, is highly dependent on cyclical factors.

6. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 46.0%
> Number employed, 2012: 58,800
> Number employed, 2022: 85,900
> Median annual income: $65,860
> Educational qualification: Associate’s degree

Diagnostic medical sonographers provide medical imaging of the human body’s organs and tissues. Like other health occupations, demand for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow rapidly. As a large segment of the population ages and the health care industry grows, the need for diagnostic services will expand. Developments in medical imaging technology will make procedures less expensive and invasive, resulting in increased demand. The employment of medical sonographers is anticipated to grow by about 27,000, or 46%.

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