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The 10 Best (and Worst) Jobs for the Future

The 10 Best (and Worst) Jobs for the Future
Credit: Gaudi Labs/Shutterstock

If you have your eye on the future when looking for work, you would be best served trying to find tech or health care jobs, new research suggests.

A report from Kiplinger revealed that the top six positions on this year's rankings of the best jobs for the future are in either the technology or health care industries.

"The flood of retiring baby boomers is fueling demand for all manner of health care workers to keep those aging minds and bodies in working order," Mike DeSenne, executive editor of Kiplinger.com, told Business News Daily. "As for high tech, the growing reliance on computers, smartphones and other gadgets is hard to miss."

Topping this year's list of the best jobs for the future is app developer.

"The proliferation of mobile technology is driving demand for development of new applications of all kinds, from news and games to music and social sharing," the study's authors wrote.

For the research, Kiplinger analyzed the median salaries, 10-year growth projections (2016-2026) and education requirement for 785 occupations to identify the best and worst jobs of the future. Much of the data used was provided by EMSI, a labor market research firm owned by CareerBuilder. [Just launching your career? Here are the best jobs for younger progrbest jobs for younger professionals]

These are this year's 10 best jobs for the future:

1. App developer

  • Total number of jobs: 798,233
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 21.6 percent
  • Median annual salary: $97,483
  • Typical education: Bachelor's degree

2. Computer systems analyst

  • Total number of jobs: 597,812
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 22 percent
  • Median annual salary: $85,080
  • Typical education: Bachelor's degree

3. Nurse practitioner

  • Total number of jobs: 145,331
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 32.3 percent
  • Median annual salary: $98,288
  • Typical education: Master's degree

4. Physical therapist

  • Total number of jobs: 226,661
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 30.4 percent
  • Median annual salary: $83,501
  • Typical education: Doctoral degree

5. Health services manager

  • Total number of jobs: 337,863
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 17.4 percent
  • Median annual salary: $93,294
  • Typical education: Bachelor's degree

6. Physician's assistant

  • Total number of jobs: 103,422
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 28.8 percent
  • Median annual salary: $98,869
  • Typical education: Master's degree

7. Dental hygienist

  • Total number of jobs: 207,223
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 19 percent
  • Median annual salary: $73,141
  • Typical education: Associate's degree

8. Market research analyst

  • Total number of jobs: 557,031
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 20.9 percent
  • Median annual salary: $61,816
  • Typical education: Bachelor's degree

9. Personal financial advisor

  • Total number of jobs: 251,715
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 23.8 percent
  • Median annual salary: $86,780
  • Typical education: Bachelor's degree

10. Speech language pathologist

  • Total number of jobs: 142,715
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 21 percent
  • Median annual salary: $73,334
  • Typical education: Master's degree

On the other side of the spectrum, manufacturing jobs don't appear to have a promising outlook.

"The U.S. manufacturing sector figured prominently in our list of the worst jobs for the future," DeSenne said. "Low-skill manufacturing jobs such as textile machine worker and metal and plastic machine operator are on the decline, either because the work is being outsourced abroad or because technological advances allow the work to be done more efficiently with fewer workers required – or both."

These are this year's 10 worst jobs for the future, and careers that those considering these jobs might want to pursue instead:

1. Textile machine worker

  • Total number of jobs: 22,173
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -21.2 percent
  • Median annual salary: $27,227
  • Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Alternate career: Machinists – These workers use machine tools such as lathes, milling machines and grinders to make items ranging from simple bolts to titanium bone screws for orthopedic implants. Job growth is projected to be nearly 12 percent by 2026.

2. Photo processor

  • Total number of jobs: 23,853
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -19.7 percent
  • Median annual salary: $27,324
  • Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Alternate career: Photographer – Photographers are seeing a better career outlook than photo processors. Over the next decade, the profession is expected to grow 12 percent.

3. Furniture finisher

  • Total number of jobs: 20,113
  • Projected job growth, 2015-2025: -0.7 percent
  • Median annual salary: $28,698
  • Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Alternate career: Carpenter – Despite the job losses it experienced over the past decade, the profession is expected to add more than 25,830 jobs, or 2.5 percent, by 2026.

4. Radio or TV announcer

  • Total number of jobs: 33,202
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -10 percent
  • Median annual salary: $32,383
  • Typical education: Bachelor's degree
  • Alternate career: Party DJ or emcee – These other types of announcers make up a small field of just 17,326 workers currently, but are expected to grow by 6 percent by 2026.

5. Floral designer

  • Total number of jobs: 53,463
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -5 percent
  • Median annual salary: $23,938
  • Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Alternate career: Interior designer – Positions for interior designers are expected to grow 6 percent by 2026.

6. Gaming cashier

  • Total number of jobs: 23,111
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 2 percent
  • Median annual salary: $22,970
  • Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Alternate career: Dealers and cage workers – These positions are expected to grow 8.7 percent and 12 percent, respectively, over the next decade. Another option is to apply your cashier skills outside the casinos. Currently, 3.6 million cashiers are working across the nation, and 6.2 percent more are expected to be added to the workforce by 2026.

7. Legislator

  • Total number of jobs: 56,514
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 1.5 percent
  • Median annual salary: $20,500
  • Typical education: Bachelor's degree
  • Alternate career: Social and community service manager – The number of these managers is expected to grow 15.7 percent by 2026.

8. Metal and plastic machine operator

  • Total number of jobs: 34,413
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -10.3 percent
  • Median annual salary: $30,620
  • Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Alternate career: Computer-controlled machine operator – More high-tech positions within the industry are on the rise. The number of operators of computer-controlled metal and plastic machines and programmers of computer numerically controlled metal and plastic machines are expected to grow by more than 17.5 percent each.

9. Door-to-door salesman

  • Total number of jobs: 77,462
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -20.3 percent
  • Median annual salary: $21,486
  • Typical education: No formal education
  • Alternate career: Insurance sales – The number of insurance sales agents is expected to increase 10.6 percent to 651,215 by 2026.

10. Print binding and finishing worker

  • Total number of jobs: 52,323
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -10.2 percent
  • Median annual salary: $30,264
  • Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Alternate career: Assemblers and fabricators who put together finished products, such as engines, computers and toys, and the parts that go into them – Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging and systems assemblers are projected to boost their ranks by 1.2 percent over the next decade.
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.