2nd position, Network systems and data communications analysts inToday’s 20 Fastest-Growing Occupations

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For the past two years, as job growth has gone from nonexistent to lackluster, workers and job seekers have been waiting to hear good news. Job seekers on all fronts want good news. Unemployed job seekers need to pay the bills and get back in the work force. Employed job hunters want to get out of dead-end jobs and earn competitive salaries. College students on the verge of graduating are eager to embark on a career and use the education they accumulated over the past four years.

The job seeker situation can be summarized in one word: frustrating.

The economy is recovering, but the recovery is slow. If you’re in need of a new job, it’s too slow. You can’t wait several years until things are back to their pre-recession levels. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified 20 jobs that are expected to grow rapidly between now and 2018. These occupations are in high demand now and are expected to continue on this trajectory for the next decade.

Here are the 20 fastest-growing occupations between 2008 and 2018*:

1. Biomedical engineers
Percent change: 72 percent
Number of new jobs: 11,600
Annual median salary: $77,400
Why they’re growing: As the population ages, demand for new health-care equipment designed by biomedical engineers will increase.

2. Network systems and data communications analysts
Percent change: 53 percent
Number of new jobs: 155,800
Annual median salary: $71,100
Why they’re growing: Companies will continue to upgrade technology (such as networks) and will need to expand their IT workforce.

3. Home health aides
Percent change: 50 percent
Number of new jobs: 460,900
Annual median salary: $20,460
Why they’re growing: As the population gets older and lives longer, home health aides will see a rise in demand.

4. Personal and home care aides
Percent change: 46 percent
Number of new jobs: 375,800
Annual median salary: $19,180
Why they’re growing: The aging population will require more medical attention, often at home rather than in medical facilities.

5. Financial examiners
Percent change: 41 percent
Number of new jobs:  11,100
Annual median salary: $70,930
Why they’re growing: Financial institutions are under increasing watch by the government and will continue to be for the next decade, which provides many new opportunities for financial examiners.

6. Medical scientists, except epidemiologists
Percent change: 40 percent
Number of new jobs: 44,200
Annual median salary: $72,590
Why they’re growing: Advances in biotechnology have created new opportunities for medical scientists over the past two decades and are on track to continue.

7. Physician assistants
Percent change: 39 percent
Number of new jobs: 29,200
Annual median salary: $81,230
Why they’re growing: Health-care facilities will use physician assistants to ease some responsibilities from physicians who are being given heavier workloads.

8. Skin care specialists
Percent change: 38 percent
Number of new jobs: 14,700
Annual median salary: $28,730
Why they’re growing: Spas and other cosmetic centers are expanding at a fast pace and skin care specialists are some of their most in-demand employees.

9. Biochemists and biophysicists
Percent change: 37 percent
Number of new jobs: 8,700
Annual median salary: $82,840
Why they’re growing: Continued advances in biotechnology create opportunities for new research and development careers.

10. Athletic trainers
Percent change: 37 percent
Number of new jobs: 6,000
Annual median salary: $39,640
Why they’re growing: As Americans focus on preventative health care and organizations support these efforts, athletic trainers will see an increase in responsibilities and job opportunities.

11. Physical therapist aides
Percent change: 36
Number of new jobs: 16,700
Annual median salary: $23,760
Why they’re growing: In general, all physical therapy services will be in higher demand, and the need for aides will rise along with them.

12. Dental hygienists
Percent change: 36 percent
Number of new jobs: 62,900
Annual median salary: $66,570
Why they’re growing: Due to the aging population and an increased emphasis on health care, dental health services will create more opportunities for dental hygienists.

13. Veterinary technologists and technicians
Percent change: 36 percent
Number of new jobs: 28,500
Annual median salary: $28,900
Why they’re growing: The need for technologists and technicians will outpace qualified candidates who are graduating from institutions, creating an increased demand.

14. Dental assistants
Percent change: 36 percent
Number of new jobs: 105,600
Annual median salary: 32,380
Why they’re growing: Due to an aging population and better preventative dental care habits for adults and children, dental assistants will see rapid growth in the coming decade.

15. Computer software engineers, applications
Percent change: 34 percent
Number of new jobs: 175,100
Annual median salary: $85,430
Why they’re growing: Advances in technology and a continued reliance on computer networks ensure organizations of all industries will need software engineers.

16. Medical assistants
Percent change: 34 percent
Number of new jobs: 163,900
Annual median salary: $28,300
Why they’re growing: Medical assistants will increasingly assume some health-care provider roles in order to alleviate the increasing demands of physicians.

17. Physical therapist assistants
Percent change: 33 percent
Number of new jobs: 21,200
Annual median salary: $46,140
Why they’re growing: As the population ages, many people will turn to physical therapy for an increased quality of life.

18. Veterinarians
Percent change: 33 percent
Number of new jobs: 19,700
Annual median salary: $79,050
Why they’re growing: Pet owners are willing to spend more money for the health and well being of their pets, thereby putting veterinarians in high demand.

19. Self-enrichment education teachers
Percent change: 32 percent
Number of new jobs: 81,300
Annual median salary: 35,720
Why they’re growing: The types of coursework offered in this field are expected to broaden and create new positions for teachers.

20. Compliance officers, except agriculture, construction, health and safety, and transportation
Percent change: 31 percent
Number of new jobs: 80,800
Annual median salary: $48,890
Why they’re growing: Compliance officers are one of the fastest growing occupations due to tighter restrictions and more scrutiny on financial institutions.

*Growth rates and salary information for all occupations based on data from the BLS.

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