Top 25 In Demand Jobs and Fastest Growing Occupations

Discover the jobs that continue to grow despite the recession and what degree you need to land them.

It is no secret that job layoffs, outsourcing and cutbacks have become the norm in today’s economy. If you are just graduating college, looking to change your career or have been the unfortunate victim of company downsizing, you probably want to know America’s fastest growing jobs. This following list represents the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics report of America’s fastest growing jobs over the next ten years. Click on the job title to get more information on median salary, number of jobs, and education requirements.

01. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists     14. Meeting & Event Planners
02. Interpreters and translators     15. Market Research Analysts
03. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers     16. Nurse Practitioners
04. Occupational Therapy Assistants     17. Medical Equipment Repairers
05. Genetic Counselors     18. Marriage and Family Therapists
06. Physical Therapy Assistants     19. Actuaries
07. Skincare Specialists     20. Biomedical Engineers
08. Physician Assistants     21. Cost Estimators
09. Information Security Analysts     22. Computer Systems
10. Physical Therapists     23. Dietitians and Nutritionists
11. Orthotists and Prosthetists     24. Civil Engineers
12. Audiologists     25. Trainers and Physiologists
13. Dental Hygienists

1. INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS

Industrial-organizational psychologists help plan policies, carry out screenings, and develop training sessions that are best suited for the morale and personality of a particular company or organization.

Entry-level education   Master’s degree
Median Salary   $79,680*
Number of Jobs   1,100*
Job Outlook   53% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a industrial-organizational psychologist?

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Observational skills
  • Patience

Do industrial-organizational psychologists need a license or certification?

Licensing laws vary by state and type of position, but in most cases, practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist” requires licensure or certification.


2. INTERPRETERS AND TRANSLATORS

Interpreters and translators facilitate communication between people who speak different languages. Although some people do both, interpreting and translating are different professions: interpreters work with spoken communication, and translators work with written communication.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $45,430*
Number of Jobs   63,600*
Job Outlook   46% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for an interpreter or translator?

  • Business skills
  • Concentration
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Interpersonal skills

Do interpreters and translators need a license or certification?

There is currently no universal certification required of interpreters and translators beyond passing the required court interpreting exams offered by most states


3. DIAGNOSTIC MEDICAL SONOGRAPHERS

Diagnostic medical sonographers are highly skilled professionals who specialize in creating images of the body’s organs and tissues, known as sonograms (or ultrasounds) for assessing and diagnosing various medical conditions.

Entry-level education   Associate’s degree
Median Salary   $60,350*
Number of Jobs   110,400*
Job Outlook   46% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a diagnostic medical sonographer?

  • Detail oriented
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Physical stamina

Do diagnostic medical sonographers need a license or certification?

Most employers prefer to hire diagnostic imaging workers with professional certification that can be earned by graduating from an accredited program and passing an exam


4. OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANTS

Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Their Work duties range from teaching the proper way for patients to move from a bed into a wheelchair to the best way to stretch their muscles. Occupational therapy assistants also may work with people with learning disabilities to teach them skills that allow them to be more independent.

Entry-level education   Associate’s degree
Median Salary   $48,940*
Number of Jobs   38,600*
Job Outlook   41% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a occupational therapy assistant?

  • Compassion
  • Detail oriented
  • Flexibility
  • Interpersonal skills

Do occupational therapy assistants need a license or certification?

Most states require occupational therapy assistants to be licensed or registered. Licensure typically requires the completion of an accredited occupational therapy assistant education program, completion of all fieldwork requirements, and passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.


5. GENETIC COUNSELORS

Genetic counselors use genetics to predict whether a baby is likely to have hereditary disorders (such as Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis) as well as in order to test whether an adult is likely to develop chronic disease, or cancer. They share this information with other health professionals, such as physicians, and with patients and their families.

Entry-level education   Masters’s degree
Median Salary   $56,800*
Number of Jobs   2,100*
Job Outlook   41% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a genetic counselor?

  • Compassion
  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Speaking skills

Do genetic counselors need a license or certification?

Some states currently require a license in genetic counseling, and other states have pending legislation for licensure. Certification is typically needed to get a license. To become certified, a student must first complete a master’s degree program that is certified by American Board of Genetic Counseling.


6. PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS

Physical therapist assistants help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses to regain movement and manage pain by giving them therapy through exercise, massage, gait and balance training under the direction and supervision of physical therapists

Entry-level education   Associate’s degree
Median Salary   $39,430*
Number of Jobs   121,400*
Job Outlook   41% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a physical therapist assistant?

  • Compassion
  • Detail oriented
  • Dexterity
  • Interpersonal skills

Do physical therapist assistants need a license or certification?

All states except Hawaii require physical therapist assistants to be licensed or certified. Licensure typically requires graduation from an accredited physical therapist assistant program and passing the National Physical Therapy Exam administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.


7. SKINCARE SPECIALISTS

Skincare specialists provide facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages to improve the health and appearance of the skin. Some may provide other skin care treatments, such as peels, masks, or scrubs, to remove dead or dry skin. A growing number of specialists actively sell skin care products, such as cleansers, lotions, and creams.

Entry-level education   State Approved Program
Median Salary   $28,640*
Number of Jobs   44,400*
Job Outlook   40% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a skin care specialist?

  • Business skills
  • Customer-service skills
  • Initiative
  • Physical stamina

Do skin care specialists need a license or certification?

Skin care specialists require a state license, which can be obtained by completing an approved cosmetology or esthetician program and taking a practical exam.


8. PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS

Physician assistants work in all areas of medicine, including family medicine, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. The nature of their work depends in large part on their specialty and what their supervising physician needs them to do. Some physician assistants make house calls or visit nursing homes to treat patients, reporting back to the physician afterward.

Entry-level education   Master's Degree
Median Salary   $90,930*
Number of Jobs   86,700*
Job Outlook   38% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a physician assistant?

  • Communication skills
  • Compassion
  • Detail oriented
  • Emotional stability

Do physician assistants need a license or certification?

All states and the District of Columbia require physician assistants to be licensed. To become licensed, they must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).


9. INFORMATION SECURITY ANALYSTS

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization's computer networks and systems. They are also heavily involved with creating their organization’s disaster recovery plan, which includes preventative measures such as regularly copying and transferring data to an offsite location.

Entry-level education   Bachelor's Degree
Median Salary   $86,170*
Number of Jobs   75,100*
Job Outlook   37% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for an information security analysts?

  • Analytical skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Ingenuity
  • Problem-solving skills

Do information security analysts need a license or certification?

There are no licensing requirements for information security analysts, but many employers prefer job candidates to have a relevant certificate.


10. PHYSICAL THERAPISTS

Physical therapists help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. They provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from back and neck injuries; sprains, strains, and fractures; arthritis; amputations; neurological disorders, such as stroke or cerebral palsy; injuries related to work and sports; and other conditions

Entry-level education   Doctorate Degree
Median Salary   $79,860*
Number of Jobs   204,200*
Job Outlook   36% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a physical therapist?

  • Compassion
  • Detail oriented
  • Dexterity
  • Interpersonal skills

Do physical therapists need a license or certification?

All states require physical therapists to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state but all include passing the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.


11. ORTHOTISTS AND PROSTHETISTS

Orthotists and prosthetists design medical supportive devices, such as artificial limbs, braces, and other medical or surgical devices. Some O&P professionals may construct devices for their patients. Others supervise the construction of the orthotic or prosthetic devices by medical appliance technicians.

Entry-level education   Master’s degree
Median Salary   $62,670*
Number of Jobs   8,500*
Job Outlook   36% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for an orthotist/prosthetist?

  • Communication skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Leadership skills
  • Organizational skills

Do orthotists and prosthetists need a license or certification?

Some states require O&P professionals to be licensed; requirements vary by state. States that require licensure often require certification in order to practice.


12. AUDIOLOGISTS

Audiologists use audiometers, computers, and other devices to test patients' hearing ability and balance. They work to determine the extent of hearing damage and identify the underlying cause.

Entry-level education   Doctoral degree
Median Salary   $69,720*
Number of Jobs   13,000*
Job Outlook   34% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a audiologist?

  • Communication skills
  • Patience
  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Compassion

Do audiologists need a license or certification?

Audiologists must be licensed in all states; requirements vary by state. For specific requirements, contact your state’s licensing board for audiologists.


13. DENTAL HYGIENIST

Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care as well as educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Some states allow hygienists to place and carve filling materials, temporary fillings, and periodontal dressings.

Entry-level education   Associate’s degree
Median Salary   $70,210*
Number of Jobs   192,800*
Job Outlook   34% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a dental hygienist?

  • Compassion
  • Detail oriented
  • Dexterity
  • Interpersonal skills

Do dental hygienists need a license or certification?

Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and practical examinations are required for licensure.


14. MEETING AND EVENT PLANNERS

Meeting and event planners coordinate every detail of events, from beginning to end. They choose meeting locations, arrange transportation, consider the lodging and services that the facility can provide, how easy it will be for people to get there, and the attractions that the surrounding area has to offer.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $45,810*
Number of Jobs   94,200*
Job Outlook   33% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a meeting/event planner?

  • Communication skills
  • Composure
  • Customer-service skills
  • Organizational skills

Do meeting and event planners need a license or certification?

The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, a voluntary certification for meeting and convention planners. Although the CMP is not required, it is widely recognized in the industry and may help in career advancement.


15. MARKET RESEARCH ANALYSTS

Market research analysts perform research and gather data to help a company market its products or services. They gather data on consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits, using a variety of methods, such as interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, market analysis surveys, public opinion polls, and literature reviews.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $60,300*
Number of Jobs   415,700*
Job Outlook   32% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a market research analyst?

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Detail oriented

Do market research analysts need a license or certification?

Certification is voluntary, but analysts may pursue certification to demonstrate a level of professional competency.


16. NURSE PRACTITIONERS

Nurse practitioners diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illnesses, independently or as part of a healthcare team. They focus on health promotion and disease prevention, interpret and administer diagnostic tests, and prescribe medication.

Entry-level education   Master’s degree
Median Salary   $96,460*
Number of Jobs   151,400*
Job Outlook   31% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a nurse practitioner?

  • Communication skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Compassion

Do nurse practitioners need a license or certification?

Nurse practitioners must obtain registered nursing license, complete an approved graduate-level program, and pass a national certification exam. Each state’s board of nursing can provide details.


17. MEDICAL EQUIPMENT REPAIRERS

Medical equipment repairers, also known as biomedical equipment technicians (BMET), repair a wide range of electronic, electromechanical, and hydraulic equipment used in hospitals and health practitioners’ offices.

Entry-level education   Associate’s degree
Median Salary   $44,570*
Number of Jobs   42,300*
Job Outlook   30% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a compute system analyst?

  • Compassion
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Listening skills
  • Organizational skills

Do medical equipment repairers need a license or certification?

Although not mandatory, certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers.


18. MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with their family and relationships.

Entry-level education   Master’s degree
Median Salary   $41,500*
Number of Jobs   166,300*
Job Outlook   29% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a marriage therapist?

  • Compassion
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Listening skills
  • Organizational skills

Do marriage therapists need a license or certification?

In most cases, both mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists must be licensed. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience. In addition, counselors and therapists must pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes.


19. ACTUARIES

Actuaries advanced statistics and modeling software to analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. Most actuaries work at insurance companies, where they help design policies and determine the premiums that should be charged for each policy.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $93,680*
Number of Jobs   24,300*
Job Outlook   26% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for an actuary?

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Computer skills
  • Math skills

Do actuaries need a license or certification?

Two professional societies—the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA)—sponsor programs leading to full professional status, offering two levels of certification: associate and fellowship.


20. BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS

Biomedical engineers bring together knowledge from many technical sources to develop new procedures or conduct research needed to solve clinical problems.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $86,960*
Number of Jobs   19,400*
Job Outlook   27% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a biomedical engineer?

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Listening skills
  • Math skills

Do biomedical engineers need a license or certification?

No


21. COST ESTIMATORS

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $58,860*
Number of Jobs   202,200*
Job Outlook   26% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a cost estimator?

  • Analytical skills
  • Technical skills
  • Writing skills
  • Detail Oriented

Do cost estimators need a license or certification?

Voluntary certification can show competence and experience in the field. In some instances, employers may require professional certification before hiring.


22. COMPUTER SYSTEM ANALYSTS

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $79,680*
Number of Jobs   520,600*
Job Outlook   25% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a compute system analyst?

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Computer skills

Do computer system analysts need a license or certification?

No


23. DIETITIANS AND NUTRITIONISTS

Dietitians and nutritionists evaluate the health of their clients and advise them on which foods to eat and which to avoid to improve their health. Some dietitians and nutritionists provide customized information for specific individuals. Others work with groups of people who have similar needs. They may also work with other healthcare professionals to coordinate patient care.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $55,240*
Number of Jobs   67,400*
Job Outlook   21% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a dietitian or nutritionist?

  • Analytical skills
  • Compassion
  • Listening skills
  • Organization skills

Do dietitians and nutritionists need a license or certification?

Most states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed. Other states require only state registration or certification, and a few states have no regulations for this occupation.


24. CIVIL ENGINEERS

Civil engineers design, construct, supervise, operate, and maintain transportation routes, tunnels, bridges, flyovers, airports, government buildings and other structures required on a large public scale.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $79,340*
Number of Jobs   272,900*
Job Outlook   20% (much faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a civil engineer?

  • Decision-making skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Math skills
  • Organization skills

Do civil engineers need a license or certification?

Civil engineers who sell their own services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia


25. ATHLETIC TRAINERS AND EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGISTS

Athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. Exercise physiologists develop fitness and exercise programs that help patients recover from chronic diseases and improve cardiovascular function, body composition, and flexibility.

Entry-level education   Bachelor’s degree
Median Salary   $42,690*
Number of Jobs   28,900*
Job Outlook   19% (faster than average)*

What are most important skills for a athletic trainer or exercise physiologist?

  • Compassion
  • Decision-making skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Interpersonal skills

Do athletic trainers and exercise physiologists need a license or certification?

Athletic trainers must be licensed or certified in most states; requirements vary by state. The independent Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) offers the standard certification examination that most states use for licensing athletic trainers.


|* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm

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