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If you’re thinking about switching careers or considering when to start one, here’s a look at job growth projections for 2020 and beyond.

In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that 20.5 million new jobs would be added by 2020. At the time of the report, the following professions were expected to see the most growth: healthcare, healthcare support, personal care aides, and construction.

While the trend of job growth in healthcare remains steady, some things have changed in a recently published report.

Solar Energy

When it comes to electricity generation in the U.S., the Department of Energy’s 2017 Energy and Employment Report suggests that the solar industry now employs more people than coal, oil, and gas combined. 

Jobs in both solar and wind energy are estimated to grow by nearly 100% through 2026 – specifically technician jobs.

The top two positions in this field that are expected to be in high demand are:

  • Solar photovoltaic installer – These technicians assemble, install, and maintain solar panel systems on rooftops or other structures
  • Wind turbine service technician – These technicians install, maintain, and repair wind turbines

Neither of these roles requires a college degree and both typically provide on-the-job training. According to the BLS, the median income for a solar photovoltaic installer is $39,490 and $53,880 for a wind turbine technician.

Home Health Aides

Home health aides and personal care aides help people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or cognitive impairment by assisting with their daily living activities. Aides work in a variety of settings, including clients’ homes, group homes and day services programs. The BLS predicts an almost 50% increase jobs in this field due to the high number of aging Baby Boomers who will require care. By 2030, nearly 61 million people will be between the ages of 66 and 84. Aides are required to have a high school diploma and the median salary for this position is $23,130.

Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners

The need for nurses and physician assistants is also increasing due to the aging population, but these jobs pull in a much higher salary. Depending on the accreditation you receive or specialty you choose, the average income could range between $60,000 and $100,000.

Physician assistants may examine patients, diagnose illnesses and even create treatment plans, although these may require a doctor’s approval. PAs also cannot perform surgeries, although they may assist doctors in the operating room. Becoming a PA isn’t easy, but it takes less time than becoming an MD. Qualifications vary from state to state, but most physician assistants become licensed after completing a four-year degree followed by a 25-month accredited physician assistant program and then a one-year clinical rotation.

Nurse practitioners are vital to the health care system. They make up the biggest health care occupation in the United States. Nursing job duties include communicating between patients and doctors, caring for patients, administering medicine and supervising nurses’ aides. All registered nurses must hold a nursing diploma or associate’s degree at minimum. An advanced practice registered nurse holds a master’s degree in a specific nursing specialty and can earn $100,000 a year on average.

Mathematicians and Statisticians

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply mathematical and statistical techniques to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. Employment in these fields is projected to grow 34% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected to result from more widespread use of statistical analysis to make informed business, healthcare, and policy decisions Many mathematicians and statisticians work in the federal government and in private science and engineering research companies. While these jobs typically require at least a master’s degree, some positions are available to those with a bachelor’s degree. The median annual salary for mathematicians was $103,010 in May 2017 and $84,060 for statisticians.

In addition to these top fields, the BLS estimate job growth in the following fields to increase between 25% and 30% through 2026: Software developers, bicycle repairers, medical assistants, genetic counselors, occupational and therapy assistants, information security analysts, physical therapists, forest fire inspectors and massage therapists.

While predictions are not guarantees of employment, keeping a careful eye on where job growth is headed will help you avoid unexpected employment surprises and potentially maximize your career opportunities.

Questions? Contact any of our recruiters in Newport News, Richmond or Chesapeake to chat more.

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