Most of us go to college seeking to better ourselves and secure our futures. Getting an education is an excellent step toward those goals, but it is just as important to think about what type of career you can have with that education.
For those who like to start with the end goal in mind, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections are a great place to begin the research on strong (and not so strong) industries. The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook puts out a list every other year of the fastest growing occupations in our country (based on the percent change of employment, 2012-2022). Here are five hot careers worth a look.
Interpreters and Translators
(46% growth rate; $45,430 median pay)
Globalization has played a big role in this career’s trajectory, driving large numbers of non-English-speaking people to the United States. As an interpreter, you can work in schools or hospitals, for the legal system, or as a freelancer. Here at Front Range Community College, we offer an A.A.S. in Interpreter Preparation, which prepares students for employment as sign language interpreters.
Home Health Aides
(48% growth rate; $20,820 median pay)
Home health aides often work with elderly adults who need assistance in a variety of settings. Although many enter this career with just a high school diploma, it can be a great pathway to becoming a Certified Nurse Aide or a Registered Nurse, both of which are offered here at FRCC.
(38% growth rate; $90,930 median pay)
Health care providers in general are in greater demand than ever before, and the outlook is very positive for physician assistants, who work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other settings. Physician assistants generally work under the supervision of doctors or surgeons, and can diagnose patients and provide treatment. At FRCC you can earn a certificate to be a medical assistant.
(41% growth rate; $56,800 median wage)
Genetic counseling is expanding due to “heightened public awareness coupled with scientific advances in reproductive technologies and knowledge about the genetics of a wide range of adult disorders,” (ExploreHealthCareers.org). Although you should plan to earn a master’s degree to enter this field, people come to the discipline from fields such as nursing, psychology, and public health.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers/Cardiovascular Technologists
(39% growth rate; $60,350 median pay)
Sonograms help diagnose all kinds of different medical conditions. If you are interested in health care, are a people person, and like the idea of working with high-tech imaging equipment to help physicians interpret images inside the human body, this field is one to explore.
(36% growth rate; $79,860)
Yet another health care occupation on the fastest growing occupations list, physical therapy is experiencing tremendous growth due to the aging but active baby boomer population as well as those with mobility-limiting conditions (such as diabetes and obesity). Physical therapist aides and physical therapist assistants also made the top 20, at 40% and 41% growth, respectively.
Explore for yourself
The latest research on the fastest growing occupations is available on the BLS website. No matter what your area of interest, it is valuable to do your homework. Explore the careers that interest you (and the hiring landscape) before you invest significant time and money into an education, only to discover that there are fewer opportunities available than you expected.
In the end, follow your heart—but as the saying goes, knowledge is power. When it comes to your life and career, why wouldn’t you arm yourself with as much as possible?