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9 of the fastest-growing professions to help you choose a career path

health care professional nurse practitioner
July 19, 2019

By Maggie Tomasek

Whether you’re just starting college, getting ready to enter the workforce or simply looking to make a career change, it can be tough to figure out how to choose a career path.

So, where to begin?

For starters, there’s more to choosing a career path than simply finding something you want to do. It’s also about finding the right combination of work you enjoy and considerations like education requirements, how much it pays and job availability.

We dug around the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent reports to give you a jumping-off point. Check out these careers that pay well and are also among the fastest-growing professions to help you maximize your earning potential while ensuring job security for the long haul.

Fast-growing professions in health care

Physician Assistant

  • Median annual salary: $108,610
  • Typical education: Master’s degree
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 37%

If you enjoy helping people and aren’t afraid to take on an intense Master’s program, a career as a physician assistant could be good for you. Physician Assistants can prescribe medication and make diagnoses, similar to a doctor’s care. The profession’s huge projected growth is thanks to health care legislation, a bigger emphasis on preventative care, and a higher demand for health care services from the aging baby boomer population (who are living longer and more active lives than previous generations).

Nurse Practitioner

  • Median annual salary: $107,030
  • Typical education: Master’s degree
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 36%

Already an RN? Consider maximizing your earning potential by leveling-up to become a nurse practitioner (NP). NPs can work independently and provide a lot of the same care as doctors, like writing prescriptions or performing checkups. Similar to physician assistants, job growth for NPs is predicted because of changes in health care legislation and demand from baby boomers.

Physical Therapist

  • Median annual salary: $87,930
  • Typical education: Doctoral or professional degree
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 28%

There are those aging and active baby boomers again, driving the need for more physical therapists. Plus, as more and more medical advances are made, more and more people are surviving traumas and thus, need rehabilitative services.

Fast-growing professions in technology

App Developer

  • Median annual salary: $103,620
  • Typical education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 31%

The ever-expanding world of mobile technology shows no signs of slowing down, so new apps of all kinds are going to remain in high demand. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or another related field is a standard requirement, but a master's degree can give you a leg up on the competition.

Information Security Analyst

  • Median annual salary: $98,350
  • Typical education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 28%

As the threat of cyberattacks continues to increase, information security analysts’ responsibilities continue to expand and become more in demand. Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems, with most of these analysts working for computer, business and financial companies.

Other fast-growing professions

Statistician

  • Median annual salary: $87,780
  • Typical education: Master’s degree
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 34%

The world is forever changing, and statisticians can help solve and predict problems facing organizations. That’s why they are in such high demand. A big employer of statisticians is the federal government but many of them work in business, engineering, health care and other fields. Similar professions include economists, mathematicians and actuaries. A Master’s in Data Science could be a good way to enter this field.

Mathematicians

  • Median annual salary: $101,900
  • Typical education: Master’s degree
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 30%

Mathematicians are in demand in many sectors, including government, health care and technology. If you enjoy solving problems by creating models and analyzing data, this may be the career for you. Mathematicians are also one of the highest-paid jobs that require a Master’s degree.

Operations research analysts

  • Median annual salary: $83,390
  • Typical education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 27%

As organizations look to become more efficient and reduce costs, the demand for operations research analysts has grown. These analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations identify and solve problems within the organization. Experience with modeling and data are needed in this type of role.

 

Choosing a career path can be a challenging but fun endeavor. If you do decide to move forward in a field that requires a Master’s degree, deciding between a full-time or part-time program may be your next step. Then, follow these tips to better brand yourself on LinkedIn and soon you could be closer to that job you want.


Maggie Tomasek is the Social Media & PR Specialist at Alliant. She began her career as a journalist for newspapers in Utica, N.Y., Des Moines and Cincinnati before moving to Chicago in 2009. Maggie is a seven-time Chicago Marathon finisher and a lifelong creative writer with a passion for comedy. Her mom instilled in her a great sense of fiscal responsibility, and her big sister told her to throw that responsibility out the window every once in a while in the name of life experience. So far, that combination of financial advice has worked out pretty well for her.