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By Jen Hubley Luckwaldt / PayScale
January 6, 2016

Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics updated their Occupational Outlook Handbook to reflect projected job growth from 2014-2024. The updated Handbook is essential reading for anyone who’s thinking about changing careers in the next few years, and wants to make sure that there are jobs waiting for them on the other side of retraining.

Overall, employment is expected to increase by around 7% by 2024, with healthcare occupations leading the pack for growth. In fact, more than half of the fastest-growing occupations were healthcare-related.

Of course, if you’re choosing a new occupation, growth isn’t the only factor that matters; earning potential, training and education required, and job satisfaction are also important considerations. Embarking on a relatively secure career is meaningless, if you’re underpaid and unhappy in your new job.

The ranking below lists the 12 occupations predicted to grow by at least 30 percent over the next decade, plus their current median salary according to PayScale data, the typical education required, and how PayScale users with these jobs rate their job satisfaction.

1. Home Health Aide

Median Salary: $21,862

Typical Education and Training: No formal educational requirement; short on-the-job training

Job Satisfaction: Highly Satisfied

2. Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary: $86,211

Typical Education and Training: Master’s Degree

Job Satisfaction: Extremely Satisfied

3. Occupational Therapy Aide

Median Salary: Data not available; Healthcare Aides earn a median hourly wage of $10

Typical Education and Training: High school diploma or equivalent; short on-the-job training

Job Satisfaction: Data not available

4. Occupational Therapy Assistant

Median Salary: $38,106

Typical Education and Training: Associate’s Degree

Job Satisfaction: Highly Satisfied

5. Operations Research Analyst

Median Salary: $74,843

Typical Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree

Job Satisfaction: Extremely Satisfied

6. Personal Financial Advisor

Median Salary: $58,527

Typical Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree; Long-term on-the-job training

Job Satisfaction: Extremely Satisfied

7. Physical Therapy Aide

Median Salary: $25,302

Typical Education and Training: High school diploma or equivalent; short on-the-job training

Job Satisfaction: Extremely Satisfied

8. Physical Therapy Assistant

Median Salary: $45,088

Typical Education and Training: Associate’s Degree

Job Satisfaction: Extremely Satisfied

9. Physical Therapist

Median Salary: $66,560

Typical Education and Training: Doctoral or Professional Degree

Job Satisfaction: Extremely Satisfied

10. Physician Assistant

Median Salary: $86,618

Typical Education and Training: Master’s Degree

Job Satisfaction: Extremely Satisfied

11. Statistician

Median Salary: $71,899

Typical Education and Training: Master’s Degree

Job Satisfaction: Extremely Satisfied

12. Wind Turbine Service Technicians

Median Salary: $44,136

Typical Education and Training: Some college, no degree; long-term on-the-job training

Job Satisfaction: Highly Satisfied

 

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