Last Updated on February 18, 2021 by pf team
Many jobs hiring now offer a strong employment rate, which helps ensure job security well into the future.
Whether you’ll be new to the job force or you’re thinking about a career change, it pays to know which fields offer the fastest-growing careers.
Occupations surrounding healthcare appear often in the top 20 but you’ll also find careers ranging from IT to jobs in the great outdoors.
- Physician assistant tops the list as the highest paying job.
- Healthcare, IT, and Mathematicians offer the highest incomes, each with 6-figure salaries.
- Top paying jobs often require advanced degrees. For example, physician assistants can earn 6 figures. However, you’ll usually need a master’s degree.
- Two of the occupations on the list have faster than the average growth rate of over 50%. Both are in the renewable energy sector.
- Healthcare offers the most jobs with 12 careers on the list, some of which are expected to add over a million new jobs by 2028.
Where to get education and training
Learning a new trade can often be done online. For example, Coursera offers a broad range of training. You can earn certifications or even college degrees online.
Coursera also offers apps for iOS and Android devices, so you can learn on your own schedule.
Online degrees are also less expensive than on-campus degrees. You can save tens of thousands by choosing to learn online. Even better, you won’t have to sacrifice the quality of your education.
Coursera partners with top universities like University of Illinois, Arizona State University, and University of Michigan.
Not all careers on the list require a degree, though, and Coursera also offers several certification programs.
Where to find jobs
Consider well-known job portals like Monster, Indeed, and others. However, in some cases, specialized job boards may be among your best resources. For example, Dice.com comes to mind when looking for tech or IT jobs.
Also, search popular job sites like flexjobs.com. Flexjobs offers opportunities in nearly every field featured in the list. Many jobs are part time or contract work.
However, these jobs may offer a great way to build experience and expand your resume to match your new career path.
Fastest growing jobs hiring now in USA
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a frequently updated list of the 20 fastest growing job fields. Healthcare-related jobs appear more commonly than other types of jobs but you’ll find a wide variety of careers that match almost any skill set.
1. Solar photovoltaic installers
Median salary: $42,680
Employment change: 6,100 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: Most jobs require a high school diploma or GED. Employers may offer on-the-job training although training courses may also be available at tech schools.
What they do: As a solar installer, you’ll be involved in several duties including planning systems before installation. After system planning, you’ll install solar modules and panels in compliance with building codes.
Further duties can include service after installation. Expect to work outdoors but you’ll also work directly with customers, particularly for residential-based solar businesses.
Beginning solar installers may work on prep tasks, such as installing support structures and fitting PV panels. If you’re good with your hands and enjoy working outside, a career as a solar PV installer offers job security in an in-demand industry.
2. Wind turbine service technicians
Median salary: $54,370
Employment change: 3,800 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: As with most jobs, a high school degree is helpful. However, you can get training to work as a wind turbine service tech through a tech school. On-the-job training is often available as well, which offers a way to learn as you work.
What they do: As a wind tech, you’ll install wind turbines. Maintenance, inspection, and repair duties also keep the turbines working properly. Expect to travel to the worksite if a turbine problem is detected. Hours can also vary with on-call work.
Climbing and working outdoors are essential parts of the job, but you may also work below ground, servicing wind field substations or other essential systems.
Like PV installers, expect to work with hand tools and power tools. You may also need to use computers or diagnostic equipment.
3. Home health aides
Median salary: $24,200
Employment change: 1,185,800 new jobs predicted by 2028 (combined with personal care aides)
Education: To become a home health aide, certification is helpful but may not be required for all positions.
For example, when working with an organization funded by Medicare or Medicaid, National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) certification may be required.
Other employers may not require certification. Rules may vary by state, however. Training and certification are available through tech schools or community colleges.
What they do: Home health aides care for those in need at the patient’s home. However, positions are also available in care facilities.
Basic medical needs for those who are ill, elderly, or disabled can overwhelm family members. Home health aides offer much-needed care for those who need help with essential activities.
With over 1 million related jobs expected by 2028, a career as a home health aide offers both security and a chance to help others.
4. Personal care aides
Median salary: $24,020
Employment change: 1,185,800 new jobs predicted by 2028 (combined with home health aides)
Education: Personal care aides don’t provide any medical services, so no license or specialized certification is required. However, because job duties overlap with those of home health aides, getting certified as a home health aide can be a wise career move.
What they do: We all need a hand sometimes. Personal care aides assist with a variety of tasks like bathing, dressing, and homemaking. You may also be called upon to do some shopping or run errands.
In many cases, you’ll be working at someone’s home, although some employers also offer positions at care facilities or even doctors’ offices.
5. Occupational therapy assistants
Median salary: $60,220
Employment change: 16,000 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: In most cases, you’ll need an associate’s degree targeting subjects such as biology, pediatric health, and psychology. Look for programs accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
In most states, you’ll also need a license coupled with an exam. Some states may also have other requirements.
While you’ll have to invest more time in education than with some other careers, the median pay for occupational therapy assistants rivals the median household income for the US.
What they do: You’ll work with both children and adults, helping patients perform therapeutic activities. Leadership skills and patience are a plus because you’ll be helping patients to learn or relearn skills.
You’ll also teach patients how to use specialized equipment they may need for daily tasks.
Organization skills are also helpful. As an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll record patients’ progress and perform other administrative tasks.
6. Information security analysts
Median salary: $98,350
Employment change: 35,500 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: In most cases, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree. However, many employers require a master’s degree (MBA) in information systems. Specific certifications, such as penetration testing, can help you land specialized jobs.
More general certifications, like becoming a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, demonstrate your broad knowledge. States do not require licensing.
What they do: As an information security analyst, you’re the gatekeeper to the business, keeping digital threats at bay. You’ll monitor networks for security breaches and investigate breaches that may occur.
You’ll also install and configure firewalls and work with encryption tools that keep data safe.
Penetration testing is another common role for information security analysts. Based on your findings, you’ll help develop best practices and recommend changes.
Cybersecurity is a fast-moving world. You’ll have to stay informed on the latest trends and threats.
7. Physician assistants
Median salary: $108,610
Employment change: 37,000 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: In most cases, you’ll need a master’s degree to start your career as a physician assistant.
Nursing jobs or EMT jobs often provide stepping stones to a PA job. All 50 states require licensing which includes an exam.
What they do: As a PA, you’ll be licensed to practice medicine alongside doctors and surgeons. You’ll work directly with patients, diagnosing and treating as needed.
In most cases, PAs work in hospitals or doctor’s offices. However, some also make house calls or provide service at nursing homes.
Many times, PA work is specialized. For example, PAs might specialize in pediatric medicine or in surgical procedures.
You’ll be working directly with patients, so you’ll need a friendly bedside manner while also keeping a keen eye to details. You’ll order tests for patients and prescribe medicine.
Your daily duties can vary from setting broken bones to counseling parents of a young patient.
Median salary: $87,780
Employment change: 14,400 new jobs predicted by 2028 (combined with mathematicians)
Education: As another job with higher-income, statisticians often need a master’s degree. Focus education areas include mathematics and statistics. In some cases, employment may even require a doctorate degree.
What they do: Statisticians work to organize data and check for inaccuracies. You may also develop specialized software or unique code to to better organize and interpret data.
Jobs in statistics can be varied as your interests. For example, you may find work in sports, commerce, health, or even environmental fields.
You’ll also work side by side with teams in each field to understand which data is relevant and develop a way to organize that data.
While statistics may seem like computer work, it’s often performed in the field and provides a clearer understanding of the data needed to make decisions.
9. Nurse practitioners
Median salary: $107,030
Employment change: 62,000 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: Expect to invest in a master’s degree, but you’ll often earn six figures in this in-demand field.
Nurse practitioners belong to a select group of medical professionals called advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
As an APRN, you’ll need to get licensed in your state and pass a national exam.
What they do: Think of a nurse practitioner as a step up in training from a registered nurse. You’ll examine patients and provide treatment as needed. You’ll also prescribe medication as needed, much like a doctor.
Rules vary by state, but nurse practitioners can often provide up to 90% of the care offered by doctors.
As the demand for medical care increases, you’ll find your skills are also in high demand, which provides added job security. Recent BLS data suggest 26% job growth through 2028.
10. Speech-language pathologists
Median salary: $77,510
Employment change: 41,900 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: To begin your career as a speech-language pathologist, you’ll need a master’s degree in most cases. Expect graduate courses to include speech development, speech disorders, and swallowing disorders.
Certification through the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) is required by many states and most states also require licensing.
What they do: Sometimes called speech therapists, speech-language pathologists work with patients to diagnose and treat communication difficulties or swallowing disorders. You’ll work with both children and adults to improve communication ability.
Your patients can include those with autism, those who have suffered brain injuries, or children or adults with developmental challenges.
You’ll also work closely with families, teaching parents, spouses, and caregivers how to cope with speech or swallowing disorders and offer ways to provide encouragement.
Work environments range from schools to medical facilities. Primarily, you’ll work with patients and families. However, some administrative work is also required.
11. Physical therapist assistants
Median salary: $58,040
Employment change: 38,000 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: Becoming a physical therapist assistant allows you to earn an income on par with the national household median income. However, the educational requirements are much lower than with some other jobs in healthcare.
Typically, you’ll need an associate’s degree from an accredited program. Nearly 350 such programs are available throughout the US.
Licensing is required in all states and some states also require that you pass an exam.
What they do: As a physical therapist assistant, also known as a PTA, you’ll help rehabilitate patients and spend much of your time working one-on-one with patients.
People suffering from injuries or recovering from illness often need training or retraining to regain some or all of the abilities they had previously.
PTAs work under the guidance of physical therapists or a therapy team to help patients gain mobility and a greater level of independence.
12. Genetic counselors
Median salary: $80,370
Employment change: 800 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: You’ll often need a master’s degree to become a genetic counselor but the rewards can offset the time and financial commitments.
Certification is available through the American Board of Genetic Counseling, which bases certification on completion of an accredited program as well as passing a test.
Many states do not require a license. However, where a license is required certification is usually also required.
What they do: Genetic counselors work with doctors and patients to help both understand the risks of inherited conditions.
You’ll work closely with families to understand medical histories and the risks of genetic-based birth defects, diseases, or conditions that may occur later in life.
You’ll also counsel patients, discuss options for testing, and provide information about potential inherited risks.
Median salary: $101,900
Employment change: 14,400 new jobs predicted by 2028 (combined with statisticians)
Education: The roles of mathematicians and statisticians are often closely linked and both career paths usually require either a master’s degree or a doctorate.
Try to include computer programming courses in your studies because mathematicians often write code or entire applications to help with specific tasks.
What they do: Math is everywhere, so your career can carry you through many types of industries ranging from business to science. You’ll use your math skills and coding skills to solve equations and analyze data.
While work is often specialized, core skills in math and problem solving translate to a broad range of industries and applications.
Although the field is small compared to some others, employment opportunities are available through both private and public sector employers.
14. Operations research analysts
Median salary: $83,390
Employment change: 28,100 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: As an operations research analyst, you’ll need a strong background in math. However, educational requirements are lower than some other math related fields. Often, you can find employment with a bachelor’s degree.
What they do: Like other math-related jobs, you’ll find opportunities in a wide range of industries. Your job is to make sense of sometimes complex information and advise decision-makers, helping them to make a well-informed decision.
You’ll identify problems and offer solutions based on your analysis. Expect to work closely with others. As an operations research analyst, you’ll often collect input from several sources, which may include employees or customers as well as from databases.
You’ll also work with simulation software and modeling software that allow you to present possible outcomes to decision-makers.
15. Software developers
Median salary: $103,620
Employment change: 284,100 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: Expect to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a closely related degree. However, some employers may seek developers with a master’s degree.
Internships offer a common way to gain experience and may even lead to employment with the company.
No state licenses are required to work as a software developer.
What they do: As a software developer, you’re part of the team that builds the applications we all use — or even specialized applications.
Coding skills are important but often someone else is doing much of the coding while your focus is on the overall project.
From mobile apps to software to operating systems, opportunities are seemingly everywhere for software developers. Expect plenty of variety in your career. Changing trends and tech advances offer a constant demand for new software.
16. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists
Median salary: $39,600
Employment change: 1,300 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: Fire inspectors often come from a background in fire prevention or have served as firefighters. On-the-job training may be your greatest asset and college degrees often aren’t required.
However, depending on your role, some employers may require a specialized 2 or 4 year degree. Several government organizations offer training as well.
Certification through the National Fire Protection Association is a common requirement in many states.
What they do: You’ll be working on the front lines, enforcing regulations, inspecting potential hazards, and making recommendations to help reduce the risk of fires.
While not the highest-paid job on the list, working in fire prevention ranks high in job satisfaction and helps promote safety for both people and ecosystems.
Record-keeping skills and a keen eye for risks both play important roles in your workday.
17. Postsecondary health specialties teachers
Median salary: $97,370
Employment change: 155,000 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: In most cases, you’ll need a master’s degree, although some employers may require a doctorate. On-the-job experience is also helpful in many healthcare fields.
Depending on the health discipline you’ll be teaching, licensing may be required as well.
What they do: With 12 of the 20 fastest growing careers on the list focused on healthcare, someone needs to teach all those people.
Postsecondary teachers teach at colleges and universities, giving students the tools they’ll need to build a future and help others. Opportunities to teach may also be available at specialty schools or trade schools.
Median salary: $34,480
Employment change: 29,500 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: Although you won’t need a degree to become a phlebotomist, employers usually require certification from a phlebotomy program.
Certification requires both a written exam and a demonstration of your ability to draw blood. A handful of states require phlebotomists to earn a certification, although no states require a special license.
What they do: As a phlebotomist, you’re the person who draws blood for tests or donations.
You’ll work directly with patients, some of whom may be uncomfortable with needles. A steady hand and a reassuring manner are both plusses.
Attention to detail is also important along with an ability to assemble light medical equipment as needed.
19. Physical therapist aides
Median salary: $26,240
Employment change: 38,000 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: You’ll need a high school diploma in most cases. However, most employers won’t require a college degree or special certification. State licensing isn’t required.
What they do: You’ll interact with patients but therapy is provided by physical therapists or physical therapist assistants.
As a physical therapist aide, you’re the backbone of the office. You’ll set up equipment and clean as needed. You’ll also escort patients to treatment rooms and be sure they’re comfortable.
Other duties include scheduling appointments, processing intake forms, and completing insurance forms. Computer skills and people skills are both helpful. Employers will look for data entry skills and an eye for detail.
20. Medical assistants
Median salary: $33,610
Employment change: 154,900 new jobs predicted by 2028
Education: Unlike many healthcare fields, you won’t need an advanced degree to work as a medical assistant. Most times, you’ll only need a high school diploma, although some employers prefer candidates who have earned a certificate.
Certification programs often require 1 year of training. However, some schools offer 2-year programs through which you can also earn an associate’s degree.
What they do: Medical assistants can be administrative or clinical and some may even be more specialized, such as those who work with eye doctors.
As an administrative medical assistant, you’ll keep the paperwork in order and handle insurance forms. Phone work and greeting customers are also common daily tasks.
If you work as a clinical medical assistant, allowed duties can vary depending on your state. Common tasks include basic medical tests, like recording vital signs, or basic medical service, like changing dressings or removing stitches.
Choosing your career path can be a serious commitment, particularly if the career you’re considering requires an advanced college degree.
Higher education costs have risen in recent years and many students carry student loan debt for a long time after graduating. This is especially true if there are few opportunities in the field in which you’ve been trained.
By choosing a job in a fast-growing area, you’re choosing a safer way to invest your education time and money. As these fields continue to grow, often you’ll also be able to advance your career through promotion and new opportunities.
Money isn’t the only consideration, however. Be sure to choose a career that also provides you with job satisfaction. After all, the largest part of your waking hours are spent at work.
Look for jobs that can provide for you and your family while also being enjoyable.