25 Fastest Growing Jobs

September 1, 2016 by Sam Stebbins

Wind Turbine Technician
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The U.S. economy is projected to add nearly 10 million jobs between 2014 and 2024. As the economy expands, shifting demographics and consumer demand will spur faster employment growth in certain fields.

To identify the fastest growing jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 480 jobs reviewed, 25 are projected to grow by more than 20% in the decade ending in 2024.

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Americans 85 and older are the fastest-growing age group in the country. As the baby boom generation ages over the coming decade, the population will require more medical attention. As a result, demand for most medical professions will increase in the near future. The number of occupational therapy assistants and aides, for example, is projected to grow by 40.1% by 2024, the second fastest growth of any job.

Click here to see the 25 fastest growing jobs.

Many of the medical occupations expected to grow the fastest are support roles. Assistants to physicians, physical therapists, and occupational therapists can perform many of the same services as their superiors — and often at a lower cost. Additionally, the BLS projects that state legislators will enact health care reform that will allow such assistants to perform a wider range of medical services and that insurance carriers will expand their coverage of such services. The number of physician assistants, for example, is projected to increase by 30.4% by 2024, twice the 14.0% growth rate for physicians and surgeons.

The need for new construction and infrastructure repair in the United States will also contribute to job growth. In a study by the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure received a D+ ranking. The BLS predicts that federal and state governments will increase funding for infrastructure improvement projects in the coming future, increasing the demand for construction occupations.

The ASCE’s report card singled out energy as one of the worst sectors of the nation’s infrastructure. As the growing population’s demand for energy becomes more difficult to service through traditional methods, employment in occupations related to alternative energy may expand. The number of wind turbine service technicians is projected to more than double in the decade ending in 2024, the fastest growth of any occupation in the country.

Occupations that deal with data analysis will also be in high demand. The increasing usage of smartphones, social media, and online search engines generates valuable consumer data that companies can use to make better-informed business decisions. As a result, the number of statisticians and mathematicians, who can analyze such consumer data, will increase faster than most occupations.

To determine the fastest growing jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment projections from the BLS for the period of 2014 to 2024. The fastest growing jobs were identified as the 25 occupations projected to grow by at least 20%. Total employment and median annual wages also came from the BLS.

These are the 25 fastest growing jobs.

Medical Secretary
Source: Thinkstock

25. Medical secretaries
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 20.5%
> 2014 jobs: 527,600
> 2024 jobs: 635,800
> Median annual wage: $33,040

Medical secretaries work in physicians’ offices and hospitals, scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling medical records. Occupations in the medical field will be in higher demand in the near future as the population ages and the share of Americans over 85 reaches a record high. The number of medical secretary positions is projected to increase by 20.5% through 2024, faster than the 6.5% growth rate for the job market as a whole.

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Computer and information analysts
Source: Thinkstock

24. Computer and information analysts
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 20.5%
> 2014 jobs: 650,700
> 2024 jobs: 784,100
> Median annual wage: $86,370

As organizations become increasingly dependent on computers, IT staff responsible for rolling out computer hardware and infrastructure, installing software, and troubleshooting issues will become increasingly essential. The number of computer and information analyst jobs is projected to increase by 20.5% by 2024. Not only is this one of the greatest projected increases, but also, with a projected workforce of more than three-quarters of a million jobs, the field could become one of the largest.

Mathematician
Source: Thinkstock

23. Mathematicians
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 21.4%
> 2014 jobs: 3,500
> 2024 jobs: 4,200
> Median annual wage: $111,110

Mathematicians are employed in a number of industries, including government, scientific research, universities, consultancies, and insurance providers. Mathematicians can analyze data to help businesses improve their processes and products. As smartphones, social media usage, and e-commerce become more commonplace, the amount of digital data will increase, as will demand for mathematicians. The number of mathematicians in the United States is projected to increase by 21.4% over the 10 years ending in 2024, faster than the 6.5% growth rate for the job market as a whole.

Massage Therapist
Source: Thinkstock

22. Massage therapists
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 21.6%
> 2014 jobs: 168,800
> 2024 jobs: 205,200
> Median annual wage: $38,040

Massage therapists help heal injuries, relieve pain, and improve circulation. Nearly half of all massage therapists are self employed, and a large share work in health practitioners’ offices. As the population ages and the share of elderly Americans reaches a record high, demand for medical services such as massage therapy will increase. Massage therapists may also be in higher demand as more health insurance companies incorporate these services into their treatment plans.

Media and communication equipment workers, all other
Source: Thinkstock

21. Miscellaneous media and communication workers
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 22.2%
> 2014 jobs: 94,500
> 2024 jobs: 115,400
> Median annual wage: $44,480

The number of people working in the media and communication industry in positions not specifically categorized by the BLS is projected to increase by 22.2% between 2014 and 2024. Such jobs include behind-the-scenes workers that help produce online, radio, print, and television media content. The increase in the number of workers is likely attributable to increasing media output. For example, many companies are expanding their video content from television to mobile and online platforms. The median salary of these jobs is $44,480 a year, higher than the typical annual wage among all workers of $36,200.

Stone Mason
Source: Thinkstock

20. Helpers–brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 22.4%
> 2014 jobs: 23,500
> 2024 jobs: 28,800
> Median annual wage: $29,320

Helpers of brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters often perform construction tasks that require less skill but are still an important part of the building process. As the population grows and the need for buildings, highways, and other infrastructure increases, the demand for masonry workers and their helpers will increase as well. Employment in the field is expected to grow by 22.4% by 2024, faster than the growth rate for the labor market as a whole.

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Medical Engineer
Source: Thinkstock

19. Biomedical engineers
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 23.1%
> 2014 jobs: 22,100
> 2024 jobs: 27,200
> Median annual wage: $86,220

The demand for biomedical engineers is projected to increase considerably in the coming years. Biomedical engineers use technology to improve health care tools and practices. Such engineers can have a range of duties, including designing prosthetic limbs and artificial organs, publishing medical research, and installing and maintaining biomedical equipment. Like most medical professions, growth in the field is attributable to both an aging population and rapidly advancing technology.

Miscellaneous health technologists and technicians
Source: Thinkstock

18. Miscellaneous health technologists and technicians
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 23.3%
> 2014 jobs: 116,400
> 2024 jobs: 143,500
> Median annual wage: $42,730

The aging baby boomer generation is largely responsible for the increasing demand for workers across the medical profession. Similarly, demand for surgical assistants, radiologic technicians, and ophthalmic medical technicians is projected to surge in the coming years. Health technologists and technicians are primarily responsible for operating machinery and equipment and assisting doctors during operations in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Reinforcing iron and rebar workers
Source: Wikimedia Commons

17. Reinforcing iron and rebar workers
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 23.4%
> 2014 jobs: 18,700
> 2024 jobs: 23,100
> Median annual wage: $48,010

In a study conducted by the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure received a D+ rating. The BLS predicts that federal and state governments will increase funding for several infrastructure projects in the coming years, which will likely increase demand for ironworkers. Many of these projects will likely be to rehabilitate, maintain, and replace older highways and bridges. Employment in the field is expected to increase by 23.4% by 2024, with the most job prospects in large metropolitan areas.

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Opticians, dispensing
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16. Dispensing opticians
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 23.7%
> 2014 jobs: 75,200
> 2024 jobs: 93,000
> Median annual wage: $34,840

Dispensing opticians help fit customers with prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. They can work either in optometrists offices or in stores that specialize in selling eyeglasses. Vision problems tend to become more common in older age, and as the baby boom generation gets older, more people are expected to need prescription glasses and contact lenses. As a result, the number of dispensing optician jobs is projected to increase by 23.7% by 2024, more than the vast majority of occupations.

Paramedics with patient
Source: Thinkstock

15. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 24.2%
> 2014 jobs: 241,200
> 2024 jobs: 299,600
> Median annual wage: $31,980

Jobs for emergency medical technicians and paramedics are projected to increase by 24.2% by 2024, far faster than the 6.5% increase across all occupations. EMTs and paramedics are the first responders in medical emergencies. As is the case with most medical professions, the increase in EMT and paramedics is attributable to an aging population as certain health emergencies, such as heart attack and stroke, become more likely in older age.

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Photovoltaic engineer or installer installing solar panel
Source: Thinkstock

14. Solar photovoltaic installers
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 24.3%
> 2014 jobs: 5,900
> 2024 jobs: 7,400
> Median annual wage: $37,830

Solar photovoltaic installers are responsible for installing and maintaining solar panels. With growing emphasis on renewable energy, state and local governments are offering incentives in the form of subsidies and tax rebates for households and businesses to use solar panels. As a result, the BLS projects a 24.3% increase in the number of solar panel installation jobs over the 10 years ending in 2024.

Nurse Midwife
Source: Thinkstock

13. Nurse midwives
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 24.6%
> 2014 jobs: 5,300
> 2024 jobs: 6,600
> Median annual wage: $92,510

Nurse midwives manage a range of responsibilities related to delivering babies. They can provide counsel and care to their patients, manage emergency situations during labor, and provide surgical assistance to doctors during caesarean births. While the dramatic 24.6% projected employment increase in the field is tied to the growing number of people born each year, it is also attributable to an increase in the number of people with health insurance — a direct result of the Affordable Care Act.

Personal care aide
Source: Thinkstock

12. Personal care aides
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 25.9%
> 2014 jobs: 1,768,400
> 2024 jobs: 2,226,500
> Median annual wage: $20,980

In addition to multiple jobs in the health care industry, the aging baby boom generation will also spur a dramatic increase in demand for personal care aides in the coming years. Personal care aides typically work in the residences of clients or in group homes. Job responsibilities typically include assisting clients with their schedules, household chores and upkeep, grocery shopping, and providing social companionship and interaction. For many elderly Americans who might have trouble taking care of themselves, personal care aides can be a viable, often less expensive alternative to nursing homes.

Woman doing eye test with optometrist
Source: Thinkstock

11. Optometrists
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 27.0%
> 2014 jobs: 40,600
> 2024 jobs: 51,600
> Median annual wage: $103,900

Just as a growing elderly population is driving demand for dispensing opticians, it is also driving demand for optometrists — and by a greater margin. For many, eyesight can begin to deteriorate in older age, and as the population continues to age, there will be increasing demand for doctors who can diagnose vision problems and prescribe corrective lenses. The number of optometrists is projected to increase by 27% between 2014 and 2024, more than all but a few other occupations.

Audiologist
Source: Thinkstock

10. Audiologists
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 28.6%
> 2014 jobs: 13,200
> 2024 jobs: 16,900
> Median annual wage: $74,890

Audiologists treat patients with hearing disorders, fitting hearing aids and providing auditory training, among other duties. Like most medical professions, audiologists will be in higher demand in the near future as the the population ages. Demand for the profession may also increase as hearing aid design improves and becomes a more attractive option for the hearing-impaired. The number of audiologists is expected to increase by 28.6% between 2014 and 2024.

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Operations research analysts
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9. Operations research analysts
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 30.2%
> 2014 jobs: 91,300
> 2024 jobs: 118,900
> Median annual wage: $78,630

Operations research analysts often work for the federal government, or for private finance and insurance firms. They typically work in a problem-solving capacity by collecting and analyzing data. As computer technology advances, the amount of useful data will also increase substantially. Understanding how to put data to use to increase efficiency and to aid in decision making will lead to a dramatic increase in the number of operations research analysts in the coming years. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of operations research analysts is projected to increase by 30.2%.

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Physician Assistant
Source: Thinkstock

8. Physician assistants
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 30.4%
> 2014 jobs: 94,400
> 2024 jobs: 123,200
> Median annual wage: $98,180

Demand for most medical professions will increase in the coming decade as the aging baby boom generation requires more medical attention. Physician assistants will be in particularly high demand as the range of services they can provide patients expands. State legislators are expected to change health care regulations to allow physician assistants to provide a wider array of medical services, and insurance carriers are expected to expand coverage of such services. Physician assistants can also perform many of the same services as doctors, often at a lower price.

Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians
Source: Thinkstock

7. Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 33.0%
> 2014 jobs: 19,600
> 2024 jobs: 26,100
> Median annual wage: $23,740

Ambulance drivers and attendants are responsible for the non-medical tasks related to ambulance services. While they often assist with loading and unloading stretchers, their primary responsibilities are driving the ambulance, maintaining the ambulance equipment, and keeping the vehicle sanitary. Elderly people are more susceptible to certain health emergencies, such as stroke and heart attack, and just as the aging population is driving projections for increased demand of EMTs, it is also largely driving the projected increase in demand for ambulance drivers and attendants.

Statistician
Source: Thinkstock

6. Statisticians
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 33.8%
> 2014 jobs: 30,000
> 2024 jobs: 40,100
> Median annual wage: $80,110

Statisticians analyze large datasets to help organizations make more informed business, health care, and policy decisions. They are mostly employed in scientific research and by federal and state governments. Statisticians may find more employment opportunities in retail, finance, and insurance businesses in the coming decade as the increasing usage of smartphones, social media, and online search engines generates more consumer data. Demand for statisticians may also increase in the pharmaceutical industry, where more biostatisticians will be needed to research medical products for the aging population. The number of statisticians is projected to increase by 33.8% by 2024, faster than all but a handful of occupations.

Nurse Practitioner
Source: Thinkstock

5. Nurse practitioners
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 35.2%
> 2014 jobs: 126,900
> 2024 jobs: 171,700
> Median annual wage: $98,190

Nurse practitioners typically have an area of expertise such as geriatric, pediatric, or psychiatric medical care. They typically work with patients to determine how best to improve their health. Depending on where in the country they practice, they can also prescribe medication and order laboratory tests. Due largely to the Affordable Care Act and the resulting increase in health insurance coverage, the number of nurse practitioners is projected to increase by 35.2% between 2014 and 2024.

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Home Health Aide
Source: Thinkstock

4. Home health aides
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 38.1%
> 2014 jobs: 913,500
> 2024 jobs: 1,261,900
> Median annual wage: $21,920

Just as the continued aging of the baby boom generation will lead to an increase in the number of personal care aides in the coming years, it will also contribute to a considerable increase in demand for home health aides. Home health aides are responsible for helping their clients, who are typically disabled and chronically ill, with daily living. For many elderly and disabled individuals, home health aides can be a less expensive alternative to nursing homes or hospitals. By 2024, the BLS projects there will be 1.26 million home health aides, a 38.1% increase from 10 years prior.

Physical therapist assistants and aides
Source: Thinkstock

3. Physical therapist assistants and aides
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 39.9%
> 2014 jobs: 128,700
> 2024 jobs: 180,200
> Median annual wage: $42,980

Physical therapist assistants, or PTAs, take direction from physical therapists to help patients recover from injuries and gain or regain mobility. The medical needs of the aging baby boom generation will likely necessitate a sharp increase in the number of PTAs in the coming years. Experts anticipate the generation will remain active into old age, which will inevitably lead to injuries that require rehabilitation. Additionally, advancing medical technology will help trauma victims and newborns with birth defects survive, further necessitating the need for more PTAs.

Occupational therapy assistants and aides
Source: Thinkstock

2. Occupational therapy assistants and aides
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 40.1%
> 2014 jobs: 41,900
> 2024 jobs: 58,700
> Median annual wage: $54,520

Occupational therapy assistants help patients, from children with developmental disabilities to the disabled elderly, perform day to day tasks. Many of the factors affecting the employment growth projections across the health care industry are also spurring growth projections for occupational therapy assistants and aides. The number of occupational therapy assistants is expected to grow by more than 40% in the coming decade, more than nearly any occupation.

Wind turbine service technicians
Source: Thinkstock

1. Wind turbine service technicians
> Projected gain 2014-2024: 108.0%
> 2014 jobs: 4,400
> 2024 jobs: 9,200
> Median annual wage: $51,050

Wind turbine service technicians are by far the fastest growing occupation in the United States. The number of technicians, known as windtechs, is projected to more than double between 2014 and 2024. Advances in wind turbine technology, in conjunction with an effort to increase the use of renewable energy, are largely behind the industry employment boom.

Opportunities for windtechs will not be spread evenly throughout the country. Wind farms are far more common in the Great Plains and the Midwest than they are in other regions. Windtechs can also find jobs in offshore projects as winds are most consistent offshore.