Trying to decide what to study in college? These top jobs of the future have the highest anticipated job demand for 2024, and higher-than-average annual salaries. See the forecasted number of future jobs, job growth rate, median salary, and a brief description of work environments and job responsibilities relative to each best future job.
Registered Nurses – Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses also must be licensed. The median annual wage for registered nurses was $67,490 in May 2015. Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 16 percent by 2024. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care, increasing rates of chronic health conditions, and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population. The BLS estimates 439,300 new jobs in this field by 2024.
General and Operations Managers – Although education and training requirements vary widely by position and industry, many top executives have at least a bachelor’s degree and quite a bit of work experience. The median annual wage for top executives was $102,690 in May 2015. Employment of top executives is projected to grow 6 percent by 2024. Employment growth will vary by industry and is largely dependent on the rate of industry growth. The BLS estimates 151,100 new jobs in this field by 2024.
First-line Supervisors / Office Administrative Support Workers – First-line supervisors and office support workers typically have an entry-level education of a high school diploma or equivalent. The median annual wage in May 2015 was $52,630. Employment of first-line supervisors / administrative support workers is expected to grow 8% by 2024. The BLS estimates 121,200 new jobs in this field by 2024.
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing – Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer questions, and negotiate prices. In most cases, a high school education and on-the-job training will suffice for sales positions; however, some employers prefer applicants who hold bachelor’s degrees for positions that involve selling scientific and technical products. In May 2014, the BLS reported that wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives of technical and scientific products earned $86,750 on average, while sales representatives of products that were not technical or scientific earned $65,800 on average.
Accountants and Auditors – Most employers require a candidate to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Certification within a specific field of accounting improves job prospects. The median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $67,190 in May 2015. Employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 11 percent by 2024. In general, employment growth of accountants and auditors is expected to be closely tied to the health of the overall economy. As the economy grows, more workers should be needed to prepare and examine financial records. The BLS estimates 142,400 new jobs in this field by 2024.
Management Analysts – Management analysts often specialize in certain areas, such as inventory management or reorganizing corporate structures to eliminate duplicate and nonessential jobs. Some consultants specialize in a specific industry, such as healthcare or telecommunications. At the undergrad level, you may wish to major in management, accounting, marketing, economics, statistics, computer science or engineering. Some programs, such as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, offer concentrations that cater to those looking for careers as an analyst or consultant. The BLS reported that management analysts were expected to experience a 14% growth in the 2014-2024 period. According to the BLS, the mean annual wage for management analysts was $91,770 as of May 2016.
Software Developers, Applications – Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills. The median annual wage for software developers was $100,690 in May 2015. Employment of software developers is projected to grow 17 percent by 2024. The BLS estimates 135,300 new jobs in this field by 2024.
Electricians – Most electricians learn through an apprenticeship or by attending a technical school. Many states require electricians to be licensed. The demand for trained electricians is expected to rise in the next 10 years in response to more wiring needs in homes, businesses, and manufacturing plants, as well as an overall growth of the construction industry. Due to these needs, the electrician field is projected to see a much faster than average growth rate of 14% in the decade ahead, resulting in 85,900 new jobs by 2024. In addition, BLS notes that because many employers have reported difficulty finding qualified applicants, the job outlook for those going into this profession will be quite good. With a median income of $51,880, higher than the median for all occupations, electricians make livable wages in a high-growth career.
Computer Systems Analysts – A bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field is common, although not always a requirement. Some firms hire analysts with business or liberal arts degrees who have skills in information technology or computer programming. The median annual wage for computer systems analysts was $85,800 in May 2015. Employment of computer systems analysts is projected to grow 21 percent by 2024. Growth in cloud computing, cyber-security, and mobile networks will increase demand for these workers. The BLS estimates 118,600 new jobs in this field by 2024.
Market Research Analysts / Marketing Specialists – Market research analysts and marketing specialists fall right in between a STEM mindset and a liberal arts approach, dealing with both numbers and people. Market research analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in market research or a related field. Many have degrees in statistics, math, or computer science. Others have backgrounds in business administration, social sciences, or communications. Their job is researching market conditions in local, regional, or national areas, or gathering information on competitors and prices to determine potential sales of a product or service, or creating a marketing campaign. The BLS projects that jobs for market research analysts and marketing specialists will grow by 19% from 2014 to 2024. This much-faster-than-average growth projection is based on the increased use of data and market research across all industries. The median annual salary for market research analysts and marketing specialists is $61,290.
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