The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently offered a 10-year economic forecast that outlines what economists predict the job market to do over the next decade.
While trying to predict the economic future can be tricky, the forecasts can be instructive, particularly for young people deciding what kind of career they’d like to pursue.
BLS Job Projections
In its report, BLS projected the US economy to add 8.4 million jobs over the next decade, reaching a total of 169.4 million jobs in 2028. The projection reflects an annual growth of 0.5 percent, slower than the 0.8 percent annual growth of the last decade.
Many of the largest job gains are expected in the low-skilled fields of personal care and home health assistance, which pay a median wage of about $24,000, news reports noted.
However, BLS data show that many of the fastest-growing fields offer attractive salaries. Here’s a look at five of them.
1. Occupational Therapy Assistant (Median Salary: $60,220)
Occupational therapy assistants help patients recover from injuries and medical operations, as well as help them improve or maintain the basic skills needed for daily living. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in therapy with patients, whereas occupational therapy aides tend to perform support activities.
Over the next decade, the US is expected to add 14,500 new occupational therapist assistant jobs, a 33.1 percent increase, which is well above the national average.
To become an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll need an associate’s degree from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)-accredited institution or a one-year certification program.
2. Information Security Analysts ($98,350)
For companies, the increasing number of cyberattacks is a problem. For information security analysts, it’s great job security. These workers install software and create firewalls to protect data networks.
Over the next decade, the US is expected to add 35,500 new information security analyst jobs, a 31.6 percent increase, which is much faster than average. The median salary of an information security analyst was nearly $100,000 in 2018, BLS data show.
While most employers will ask for at least a bachelor’s degree, a savvy information security analyst can land an entry-level position with some basic certification or by graduating from a cybersecurity boot camp.
3. Statisticians ($87,780)
Statisticians analyze data and apply statistical techniques to solve problems. It’s not uncommon to find statisticians working for the federal government, engineering companies, or research firms.
The economy is expected to add 13,600 statistician positions over the next decade, an increase of more than 30 percent. They make $87,780 on average.
To become a statistician, you’ll likely need an advanced degree in math or statistics. However, a bachelor’s degree will suffice in some cases.
4. Nurse Practitioners ($107,030)
Nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and may provide primary or specialty care themselves. The economy is expected to add more than 50,000 nurse practitioner jobs over the next decade, an increase of 28.2 percent.
The median salary of a nurse practitioner is $107,030, but to practice, you must have a master’s degree and a state-issued license.
5. Physician Assistants ($108,610)
Physician assistants are medical practitioners who work on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other health care employees.
The economy is projected to add some 37,000 physician assistant jobs over the next decade, an increase of 31.1 percent, making growth in this job faster than in most positions. The median annual income of a PA in 2018 was $108,000, according to the BLS.
Physician assistants generally need a master’s degree and a state-issued license to practice.
These five jobs represent a small slice of the overall economy. While BLS data show we can expect many of the fastest-growing careers to come in the areas of health care, computers, and energy, it’s clear that individuals who commit to developing job skills in high-demand fields will find the marketplace rewarding.