There are a lot of different factors that can affect trends in the job market. Modern technology and the internet have rendered certain professions, like that of a travel agent, nearly obsolete, but have simultaneously introduced entirely new occupations, like app developer. Similarly, advances in medicine and longer life expectancies mean that the senior care industry is booming.
If you're looking for a new job, or trying to decide what to get an education in, here are the top 10 fields that are expected to grow between now and 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Wind Turbine Service Technicians
Also known as windtechs, wind turbine service technicians install, maintain and repair wind turbines. This position is expected to grow much faster than average (108 percent) in the coming decade, because the field of wind electricity generation is expected to see tremendous growth. Technicians learn their trade by attending technical school and through on-the-job training.
Occupational Therapy (aides and assistants)
Job growth for occupational therapy aides and assistants is projected to increase 40 percent between now and 2024. People who work in this field help patients who are recuperating from physical or mental illness, and it is expected to continue to be an important part of rehabilitation treatment. Assistants need an associate's degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program, while aides usually have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Physical Therapy (therapists, aides and assistants)
Working under the supervision of physical therapists, assistants and aides help patients recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain. Assistants need an associate's degree from an accredited program, while aides have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training. These positions are expected to grow 40 percent, and are expected to keep growing as a result of an aging population. Physical therapy positions are expected to grow 34 percent, and those entering the field must obtain a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
Home Health Aides
Home health aides work with people with disabilities, chronic illness or cognitive impairment and help them with the activities of daily living. There is no formal education requirement for these aides, but most have at least a high school diploma. However, aides who are working in certified agencies must have formal training and pass a standardized test. This position is expected to grow 38 percent as the baby-boom population ages, increasing the number of elderly individuals in the general population.
Nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty health care, but the scope of practice varies from state to state. They must earn at least a master's degree, be licensed in their state and pass a national certification exam. This position is expected to grow 31 percent for the same reason as the other medical fields on this list: an aging population whose members are living longer, more active lives than people have in previous generations.
Statisticians use statistical methods to collect and analyze data to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, health care, etc. They need at least a master's degree in statistics, mathematics or another quantitative field, although a bachelor's degree is sufficient for some entry-level jobs. The need for statisticians is projected to grow 34 percent from now to 2024, as the use of statistical analysis to make informed business and health care decisions becomes more widespread.
Physician assistants (PA) practice medicine as part of a team that consists of physicians, surgeons and other health care workers, and they can examine, diagnose and treat patients. This position typically requires a master's degree from an accredited education program, and all states require PAs to be licensed. The field is expected to grow 30 percent, as the demand for health care services increases.
Operations Research Analyst
Workers in this field use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions. Employers prefer to hire applicants with a master's degree or Ph.D., but entry-level positions are available for those with a bachelor's degree in operations research, management science, analytics, math, engineering, computer science or another technical or quantitative field. As technology advances and companies seek efficiency and cost savings, the demand for operations research analysis should continue to grow, and this position is projected to grow 30 percent from now to 2024.
Personal Finance Advisers
Finance advisers provide advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes and retirement to help individuals manage their finances. This position is expected to grow 30 percent, and typically requires a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree and certification can improve a person's chances for advancement in the occupation.
Cartographers & Photogrammetrists
People in this field collect, measure and interpret geographic information in order to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education and emergency response. A bachelor's degree in cartography, geography, geomatics or surveying is the most common path of entry for this career. Some states also require individuals in the field to be licensed. The increasing use of maps for government planning has fueled employment growth, and this position is expected to grow 29 percent.
All growth statistics are currently accurate.