The 20 Fastest-Growing Jobs in America

Smiling woman sitting at a desk with a computer.
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Ready to start a new career? Then you may want to think about training for one of these 20 jobs. According to new data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these jobs should show the biggest gains from 2016-2026.

20. Derrick operators, oil and gas

pan denim / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 25.7 percent
Median pay (2016): $48,130
Education required: None

Renewable energy might be the talk of the town, but don’t count fossil fuels out yet. We’ll be using oil and gas for years to come, and derrick operators who run equipment for extraction are expected to be in demand. While not the most glamorous work, the pay is decent, and no special degree or advanced education is required either.

19. Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

Dental school instruction.
FrameStockFootages / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 25.9 percent
Median pay (2016): $99,360
Education required: Doctorate or professional degree

These teachers provide college instruction in the fields of pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, human medicine, public health and similar fields. These professionals get paid well, but they often need a professional degree or doctorate.

18. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists

tcacidima / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 26.6 percent
Median pay (2016): $36,230
Education required: High School diploma

Wildfires this year have ravaged parts of California, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, highlighting the need for qualified forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists. The occupation is expected to grow nearly 27 percent through 2026.

17. Operations research analysts

Professionals in a meeting
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 27.4 percent
Median pay (2016): $79,200
Education required: Bachelor’s degree

Every business is looking to get ahead of the competition, and they are counting on operations research analysts to help make that happen. If you want to work in the field, you’d better like math. These professionals spend many of their days running statistical analyses and creating predictive models to help companies decide which course of action will bring about the desired result.

16. Genetic counselors

pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 28.3 percent
Median pay (2016): $74,120
Education required: Master’s degree

As new types of genetic testing become available, demand for genetic counselors is expected to grow. These workers don’t actually do the testing, but they review family and medical histories and consult with patients about which tests may be beneficial, as well as their risks and limitations.

15. Information security analysts

leo_photo / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 28.4 percent
Median pay (2016): $92,600
Education required: Bachelor’s degree

Cyberspace can be a scary place, with hackers seemingly lurking around every corner. Information security analysts are charged with creating and maintaining systems that will keep an organization’s data safe.

14. Occupational therapy assistants

Senior health care pictured by a man with a walker and a nurse
Rob Marmion / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 28.9 percent
Median pay (2016): $59,010
Education required: Associate degree

As their name suggests, these workers help occupational therapists. They may help patients perform exercises, teach people how to use specialized equipment and record patient progress. The uptick in job opportunities for occupational therapy assistants can be attributed largely to the country’s aging population.

13. Physical therapy aides

Health care assistant
Tyler Olson / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 29.1 percent
Median pay (2016): $25,680
Education required: High school diploma

Physical therapy aides only need some short, on-the-job training to get started. Then, they are able to set up equipment, help transfer patients and provide clerical services. As demand for physical therapy services increases, so too does demand for physical therapy aides.

12. Medical assistants

Senior health care
imtmphoto / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 29.1 percent
Median pay (2016): $31,540
Education required: Postsecondary training

The person who takes your blood pressure at the doctor’s office might not be a nurse. He or she might be a medical assistant. These workers are increasingly employed by doctor’s offices and health care facilities to measure vital signs, provide patient intake services, prepare blood for testing and conduct administrative tasks.

11. Bicycle repairers

Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 29.4 percent
Median pay (2016): $27,630
Education required: None

Didn’t think this was a real job, did you? Well, 12,560 Americans apparently repaired and serviced bicycles for a living in 2016. Thanks to surging interest in bicycling both as a hobby and a way to commute, that number is expected to grow nearly 30 percent as another 3,700 people join their ranks by 2026.

10. Mathematicians

Merkushev Vasiliy / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 29.4 percent
Median pay (2016): $105,810
Education required: Master’s degree

Numbers geeks rejoice. Your love of mathematical equations could land you a job that is both high-paying and fast-growing. Businesses are looking for people who can help them wrangle big data, and mathematicians have the skills to do that. This occupation has the highest median income among the 20 fastest-growing jobs through 2016.

9. Software developers, applications

Vasin Lee / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 30.5 percent
Median pay (2016): $100,080
Education required: Bachelor’s degree

Practically all of us walk around with a computer, er, smartphone, in our pocket or our purse, and having a mobile app is practically a requirement for doing business today. Applications developers are paid big bucks for creating, maintaining and upgrading mobile, tablet and desktop apps. The profession is expected to see more than 30 percent growth by 2026.

8. Physical therapy assistants

Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 30.8 percent
Median pay (2016): $56,610
Education required: Associate degree

More physical therapy assistants — or PTAs — are needed to provide care for baby boomers who are now entering their senior years. Physical therapy assistants also provide services to manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, which are also on the rise. They may help patients with exercises, help them use equipment and educate people about health conditions they are facing.

7. Statisticians

thodonal88 / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 33.4 percent
Median pay (2016): $80,500
Education required: Master’s degree

As another prime job for numbers lovers, statisticians analyze data for employers in a variety of industries. Some may specialize in areas such as economics, business, agriculture or biostatistics.

6. Nurse practitioners

Nurse
GagliardiImages / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 36 percent
Median pay (2016): $100,910
Education required: Master’s degree

Many states allow nurse practitioners to perform tasks that were previously reserved for physicians. These include examining patients, ordering tests and even prescribing medicines. As a result, jobs for these professionals have soared as health care offices and facilities work to keep up with demand for preventive care and the needs of an aging population.

5. Physician assistants

Doctor using scope to look inside man's ear.
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 37.4 percent
Median pay (2016): $101,480
Education required: Master’s degree

Like nurse practitioners, physician assistants can perform many of the same duties as doctors. However, it takes less time to become a PA, as physician assistants are known, than a doctor. That’s a plus for anyone hoping to get into the medical profession more quickly.

4. Personal care aides

Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 37.4 percent
Median pay (2016): $21,920
Education required: None

The good news is there should be plenty of jobs available for personal care aides, and these don’t typically have any education requirements. The bad news is this fast-growing occupation is also the lowest-paying one on the list. Personal care aides are employed to help seniors and chronically ill people with housekeeping, meal preparation and transportation. They also provide companionship.

3. Home health aides

Home health care worker
Rob Marmion / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 46.7 percent
Median pay (2016): $22,600
Education required: High School diploma

Home health aides provide similar services to those of personal care aides, although their duties may include hands-on medical assistance. They may take a person’s pulse and temperature, change dressings or bandages and provide medication reminders.

2. Wind turbine service technicians

24Novembers / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 91.6 percent
Median pay (2016): $52,260
Education required: Postsecondary training

There were only 5,800 wind turbine service technicians in the United States last year, but that number is expected to almost double by 2026. As wind farms continue to sprout up across the country with the growth of renewable energy sources, there will be demand for qualified workers to install and maintain equipment.

1. Solar photovoltaic installers

bikeriderlondon / Shutterstock.com

Projected job growth: 105.3 percent
Median pay (2016): $39,240
Education required: High school diploma

We started this list with an old-school energy occupation, and we’ll end it with one that’s the new kid on the block. Solar photovoltaic installers– that is, workers who install solar energy panel systems — will see more than 105 percent job growth from 2016-2026. That’s pretty impressive, eh?

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