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Jobs expected to grow the most by 2026

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Wikimedia Commons

Jobs expected to grow the most by 2026

Deciding which career to pursue after high school often involves carefully balancing passion and finance, which only becomes harder when the average college graduate holds around $37,000 in student-loan debt. For the last decade, educators from elementary schools to colleges are pushing more students toward the growing fields of science, technology, math, and engineering to better their chances of finding a good job once they enter the workforce. Critics worry the renewed focus on STEM will lead to sacrifices in other areas of U.S. education. Others see STEM as the future of the U.S. economy in the 21st century, with growth of over 20% in these fields compared to just 4% in non-STEM sectors.

STEM occupations may be the present for the U.S. job market, but will they continue to be the wave of the future? Stacker analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data comparing 2016 statistics to projections for 2026 to rank the 100 jobs that will see the most growth over the next eight years by percentage change in jobs. If two jobs had the same projected growth, the field that employed more people was ranked higher.

It looks like the U.S. will be riding the STEM wave for a while longer. The results reveal that over 90 of the 100 jobs on this list require some level of technical knowledge, from pipelayers to computer programmers. Read on to discover the few non-STEM jobs that managed to make the cut, and see why pursuing the health care field might be the safest bet if you’re planning on job hunting in the next few years.

ALSO: Jobs expected to shrink the most by 2026

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Divulgação Petrobras // Wikipedia

#100: Geological and petroleum technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 16.4%
Total employment in 2016: 15,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 17,400


 

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U.S. Army

#99: Social and human service assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 16.4%
Total employment in 2016: 389,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 453,600


 

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Fred W. Baker III // USDOD

#98: Forensic science technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 16.8%
Total employment in 2016: 15,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 18,000


 

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Ethan // Flickr

#97: Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 16.8%
Total employment in 2016: 3,452,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 4,032,100


 

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Klaus Eichler // Wikicommons

#96: Film and video editors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17%
Total employment in 2016: 34,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 40,000


 

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USDA

#95: Counselors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17%
Total employment in 2016: 744,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 870,700


 

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Forestfolks // Flickr

#94: Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.2%
Total employment in 2016: 28,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 33,400


 

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U.S. Navy Seabee Museum // Flickr

#93: Pipelayers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.2%
Total employment in 2016: 44,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 51,700


 

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Pixabay

#92: Hazardous materials removal workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.2%
Total employment in 2016: 46,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 54,100


 

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Wikimedia Commons

#91: Miscellaneous health practitioners and technical workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.3%
Total employment in 2016: 70,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 83,100


 

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Juan Ci // Shutterstock

#90: Interpreters and translators

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.7%
Total employment in 2016: 68,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 80,300


 

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Staff Sgt. Taylor L. Marr // USAF

#89: Speech-language pathologists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.8%
Total employment in 2016: 145,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 171,000


 

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Sergey Galyonkin // Flickr

#88: Software developers and programmers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.8%
Total employment in 2016: 1,714,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 2,019,600


 

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Pixabay

#87: Optometrists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 17.9%
Total employment in 2016: 40,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 47,400


 

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Pixabay

#86: Social and community service managers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18%
Total employment in 2016: 147,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 173,800


 

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CDC Global // Flickr

#85: Community health workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.1%
Total employment in 2016: 57,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 67,800


 

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Pixabay

#84: Business teachers, postsecondary

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.1%
Total employment in 2016: 104,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 123,000


 

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Pixabay

#83: Helpers—pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.6%
Total employment in 2016: 55,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 65,800


 

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Sgt. Dani Salvatore // Wikimedia Commons

#82: Extraction workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.6%
Total employment in 2016: 194,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 230,600


 

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Pixabay

#81: Financial managers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.7%
Total employment in 2016: 580,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 689,000


 

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Pixabay

#80: Veterinarians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 18.8%
Total employment in 2016: 79,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 94,600


 

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Maj. [Dr.] Dennis Holt // USAF

#79: Prosthodontists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.1%
Total employment in 2016: 900
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,100


 

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Pixabay

#78: Oral and maxillofacial surgeons

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.1%
Total employment in 2016: 6,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 8,100


 

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Pixabay

#77: Dentists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.1%
Total employment in 2016: 153,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 182,800


 

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Pixabay

#76: Personal care and service occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.1%
Total employment in 2016: 6,419,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 7,647,400


 

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Pixabay

#75: Computer and information research scientists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.2%
Total employment in 2016: 27,900
Total projected employment in 2026: 33,200


 

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Pixabay

#74: Orthodontists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.3%
Total employment in 2016: 6,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 7,800


 

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ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#73: Mental health and substance abuse social workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.3%
Total employment in 2016: 123,900
Total projected employment in 2026: 147,900


 

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Cindy Funk // Flickr

#72: Cartographers and photogrammetrists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.4%
Total employment in 2016: 12,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 15,000


 

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Pixabay

#71: Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.4%
Total employment in 2016: 83,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 100,000


 

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Pixabay

#70: Dentists, general

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.4%
Total employment in 2016: 132,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 158,500


 

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wavebreakmedia // Shutterstock

#69: Hearing aid specialists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.5%
Total employment in 2016: 6,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 8,200


 

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Pixabay

#68: Ophthalmic medical technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.5%
Total employment in 2016: 44,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 53,200


 

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Pixabay

#67: Dental assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.5%
Total employment in 2016: 332,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 396,600


 

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Staff Sgt. Joshua Kleinholz // USAF

#66: Earth drillers, except oil and gas

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.6%
Total employment in 2016: 19,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 23,500


 

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Airman 1st Class Chester Mientkiewicz // USAF

#65: Helpers—extraction workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.7%
Total employment in 2016: 17,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 20,300


 

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santypan // Shutterstock

#64: Health technologists and technicians, all other

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.7%
Total employment in 2016: 127,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 152,900


 

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Cukierspace // Wikimedia Commons

#63: Dental hygienists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.7%
Total employment in 2016: 207,900
Total projected employment in 2026: 248,900


 

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Pixabay

#62: Miscellaneous health technologists and technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.8%
Total employment in 2016: 142,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 170,600


 

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Pixabay

#61: Therapists, all other

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 19.9%
Total employment in 2016: 24,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 28,900


 

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Pixabay

#60: Veterinary technologists and technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20%
Total employment in 2016: 102,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 122,400


 

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Pixabay

#59: Health care social workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20.1%
Total employment in 2016: 176,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 212,000


 

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Pixabay

#58: Medical and health services managers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20.5%
Total employment in 2016: 352,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 424,300


 

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Pixabay

#57: Nurse midwives

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20.7%
Total employment in 2016: 6,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 7,800


 

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Pixabay

#56: Audiologists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 20.7%
Total employment in 2016: 14,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 17,800


 

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Sanjay Acharya // Wikimedia Commons

#55: Wellhead pumpers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 21.7%
Total employment in 2016: 11,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 14,000


 

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Pixabay

#54: Miscellaneous health care support occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 21.7%
Total employment in 2016: 1,418,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,727,400


 

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Pixabay

#53: Animal care and service workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 21.8%
Total employment in 2016: 296,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 361,000


 

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Pixabay

#52: Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 21.9%
Total employment in 2016: 17,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 21,100


 

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USN

#51: Orthotists and prosthetists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.2%
Total employment in 2016: 7,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 9,500


 

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Pixabay

#50: Other health care support occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.2%
Total employment in 2016: 1,579,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,929,800


 

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Pixabay

#49: Actuaries

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.5%
Total employment in 2016: 23,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 28,900


 

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Pixabay

#48: Medical secretaries

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.5%
Total employment in 2016: 574,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 703,200


 

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Pixabay

#47: Athletic trainers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.8%
Total employment in 2016: 27,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 34,100


 

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Pixabay

#46: Therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 22.8%
Total employment in 2016: 723,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 888,000


 

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Pixabay

#45: Other personal care and service workers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23%
Total employment in 2016: 4,129,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 5,077,900


 

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Pixabay

#44: Mental health counselors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.1%
Total employment in 2016: 157,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 194,200


 

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Leval // Wikimedia Commons

#43: Diagnostic medical sonographers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.2%
Total employment in 2016: 67,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 82,900


 

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Pixabay

#42: Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.2%
Total employment in 2016: 102,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 126,200


 

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Pixabay

#41: Market research analysts and marketing specialists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.2%
Total employment in 2016: 595,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 733,700


 

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Pixabay

#40: Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.4%
Total employment in 2016: 41,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 51,100


 

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USDA // Flickr

#39: Marriage and family therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.4%
Total employment in 2016: 41,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 51,200


 

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Medill DC // Flickr

#38: Respiratory therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.4%
Total employment in 2016: 130,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 160,600


 

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USN // Wikimedia Commons

#37: Health care support occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.6%
Total employment in 2016: 4,315,600
Total projected employment in 2026: 5,335,200


 

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Pixabay

#36: Occupational therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 23.8%
Total employment in 2016: 130,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 161,400


 

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COD Newsroom // Flickr

#35: Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24%
Total employment in 2016: 67,900
Total projected employment in 2026: 84,200


 

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Raimond Spekking // Wikimedia Commons

#34: Derrick, rotary drill, and service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24%
Total employment in 2016: 69,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 85,800


 

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Pixabay

#33: Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24%
Total employment in 2016: 2,549,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 3,162,400


 

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BSEE // Flickr

#32: Rotary drill operators, oil and gas

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.2%
Total employment in 2016: 16,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 20,800


 

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RadioFan // Wikimedia Commons

#31: Nonfarm animal caretakers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.2%
Total employment in 2016: 241,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 300,000


 

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HYS_NP // Shutterstock

#30: Phlebotomists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.5%
Total employment in 2016: 122,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 152,800


 

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USN Seaman Joseph A. Boomhower // Wikimedia Commons

#29: Occupational therapy aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.7%
Total employment in 2016: 7,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 9,300


 

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health // Wikimedia Commons

#28: Roustabouts, oil and gas

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 24.8%
Total employment in 2016: 50,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 62,400


 

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*christopher* // Wikimedia Commons

#27: Health teachers, postsecondary

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 25.5%
Total employment in 2016: 301,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 378,300


 

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Ian Mantel // Wikimedia Commons

#26: Derrick operators, oil and gas

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 25.7%
Total employment in 2016: 11,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 13,900


 

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George Serdechny // Wikimedia Commons

#25: Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 25.9%
Total employment in 2016: 233,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 294,000


 

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Pixabay

#24: Massage therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 26.3%
Total employment in 2016: 160,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 202,400


 

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Staff Sgt. Mike Meares // USAF

#23: Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 26.6%
Total employment in 2016: 1,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 2,200


 

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Pixabay

#22: Operations research analysts

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 27.4%
Total employment in 2016: 114,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 145,300


 

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Pixabay

#21: Mathematical science occupations

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 27.9%
Total employment in 2016: 180,700
Total projected employment in 2026: 231,000


 

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Pixabay

#20: Physical therapists

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 28%
Total employment in 2016: 239,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 306,900


 

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Andre’ Askew // USAF

#19: Occupational therapy assistants and aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 28.3%
Total employment in 2016: 46,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 60,000


 

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Susan Lawson // USAF

#18: Information security analysts

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 28.5%
Total employment in 2016: 100,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 128,500


 

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Andre’ Askew // USAF

#17: Occupational therapy assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 28.9%
Total employment in 2016: 39,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 50,700


 

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Steve Pivnick // USAF

#16: Genetic counselors

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29%
Total employment in 2016: 3,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 4,000


 

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Pixabay

#15: Medical assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29%
Total employment in 2016: 634,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 818,400


 

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Moritz Poll // Wikimedia Commons

#14: Bicycle repairers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29.3%
Total employment in 2016: 12,400
Total projected employment in 2026: 16,100


 

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Pixabay

#13: Physical therapist aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29.4%
Total employment in 2016: 52,000
Total projected employment in 2026: 67,200


 

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Mathematical Association of America // Flickr

#12: Mathematicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29.7%
Total employment in 2016: 3,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 4,000


 

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Wikimedia Commons

#11: Occupational therapy and physical therapist assistants and aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 29.9%
Total employment in 2016: 187,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 243,000


 

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Flickr

#10: Physical therapist assistants and aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 30.4%
Total employment in 2016: 140,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 183,000


 

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Matthew // Wikimedia Commons

#9: Software developers, applications

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 30.7%
Total employment in 2016: 831,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,086,600


 

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Josep Suria // Shutterstock

#8: Physical therapist assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 31%
Total employment in 2016: 88,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 115,800


 

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2010 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships // Flickr

#7: Statisticians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 33.8%
Total employment in 2016: 37,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 49,800


 

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U.S. Department of State // Flickr

#6: Nurse practitioners

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 36.1%
Total employment in 2016: 155,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 211,600


 

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Robert Shields // USAF

#5: Physician assistants

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 37.3%
Total employment in 2016: 106,200
Total projected employment in 2026: 145,900


 

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agilemktg1 // Flickr

#4: Personal care aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 38.6%
Total employment in 2016: 2,016,100
Total projected employment in 2026: 2,793,800


 

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Myfuture.com // Flickr

#3: Home health aides

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 47.3%
Total employment in 2016: 911,500
Total projected employment in 2026: 1,342,700


 

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Pixabay

#2: Wind turbine service technicians

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 96.3%
Total employment in 2016: 5,800
Total projected employment in 2026: 11,300


 

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Pixabay

#1: Solar photovoltaic installers

Projected percent change in employment between 2016 and 2026: 104.9%
Total employment in 2016: 11,300
Total projected employment in 2026: 23,100


 

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