Charting the 20 Top Growing U.S. Careers Based on Real Salary Projections

by howmuch

It’s great to work in a high-paying job, but what are the occupations with the highest growth over the next several years? This visualization focuses on the top 20 fastest growing job markets, letting you easily compare the top growing careers, how much money they make and the expected growth over the next decade.

Fastest growing jobs in US
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that wind turbine service technicians will see the fastest salary growth in the coming decade, jumping from $52,910 to $85,185 by 2029.
  • Solar photovoltaic installers are set to be the third fastest growing profession in terms of compensation, increasing by some $22,894 in the next ten years.
  • Nurse practitioners are expected to receive the highest total increase in salary over the next several years, starting from $109,820 and going up to $166,926.
  • In general, the occupations with the fastest salary growth tend to be either tied to a green economic future or ones in the medical profession which cannot be easily automated.

We found the original set of numbers for our visual at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS just updated their statistics with 2020 but are still showing 2019-2020 percentage increases. We decided to focus on 2019 salary numbers in orange and their 10-year projected growth rate from 2019 to 2029 in a blue sliding scale. We also ordered the ranking by the anticipated growth rate, showing the top 20 fastest growing careers in terms of salary in the coming decade.

Top Growing Careers in the U.S.

Occupation 2019 Median Pay (Yearly) Growth Rate (2019-2029)
1. Wind turbine service technicians $52,910 61%
2. Nurse practitioners $109,820 52%
3. Solar photovoltaic installers $44,890 51%
4. Statisticians $91,160 35%
5. Occupational therapy assistants $61,510 35%
6. Home health & personal care aides $25,280 34%
7. Physical therapist assistants $58,790 33%
8. Medical & health services managers $100,980 32%
9. Physician assistants $112,260 31%
10. Information security analysts $99,730 31%
11. Data scientists & mathematical science occupations $94,280 31%
12. Derrick operators, oil & gas $46,990 31%
13. Rotary drill operators, oil & gas $54,980 27%
14. Operations research analysts $84,810 25%
15. Speech-language pathologists $79,120 25%
16. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, mental health counselors $46,240 25%
17. Roustabouts, oil & gas $38,910 25%
18. Forest fire inspectors & prevention specialists $45,270 24%
19. Cooks $27,790 23%
20. Animal caretakers $24,780 23%

According to researchers at the BLS, the single occupation with the fastest overall increase in compensation for the next decade will be wind turbine service technicians. President Biden recently set ambitious goals for the country to meet certain greenhouse gas emissions standards by 2030. This no doubt promises to increase the demand for wind turbines and their maintenance, potentially pushing wages for service technicians up from $52,910 to $85,185, or 61%. Solar photovoltaic installers are also anticipated to receive a payday, coming out of the next decade averaging about 51% more in salary.

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But many of the occupations in our visual are starting the decade at a relatively low base number. A 34% increase sounds like a lot for home health & personal care aids, but they only take home about $25,280 to begin with. In terms of overall dollars, the occupation with the highest pay increase by the end of the decade will be nurse practitioners, who will see their income go up from $109,820 to $166,926. Physician assistants will likewise go up by $34,801 to $147,061 in median salary. Medical and health service managers are not far behind, expecting to see an increase of $32,314 to $133,294.

There are a few things to keep in mind about salary growth projections over the long-term future. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen in the economy. Inflation could take off thanks to Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan and radically change salaries for lots of different occupations. Biden’s capital gains tax plan could also reshape the U.S. economy in unexpected ways. COVID-19 has already changed employment in several U.S. industries. And most importantly, hot growth projections like this tend to attract more people into those jobs, which could slow down the anticipated increase in salaries. That being said, our visualization of the top 20 occupations with the fastest compensation growth all tend to be either directly tied to the green economy, or located in industries where it will be extremely hard for artificial intelligence to automate the work.

Do you think health care workers know they’re going to see some of the fastest salary growth in the coming years? Repost our article on social media and tag someone you know who is going to get big raises in the next decade.




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