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50 fastest-growing jobs for the future

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50 fastest-growing jobs for the future

The fastest-growing jobs vary vastly: From solar photovoltaic installers to interpreters and translators, dozens of diverse sectors expect to soar before 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Stacker rounded up and researched the 50 fastest-growing jobs ranked by the projected growth rate between 2016–2026. Any professions that tied in projected growth were broken by the 2018 median annual wage of that vocation. Furthermore, any occupations that had the phrase “all other” in them were not included in the research since these occupations usually entail several similar jobs and cannot give accurate or detailed wage and growth data.

O*Net, national occupational information network, detailed dozens of the fastest-growing jobs skills, tasks, and qualifications, showing similarities and trends in many of the professions, including the increased demand for green job professionals and medical field assistants. CNBC reported in 2017 that solar and wind jobs were on the rise and make up some of the 50 fastest-growing jobs.

But it's not only the future of energy that directs the fastest-growing jobs; the aging population drives the medical field sector, which is calling for more assistants and specialists. “A number of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, have become more prevalent in recent years. More physical therapists will be needed to help these patients maintain their mobility and manage the effects of chronic conditions,” reports the BLS.

Home health aides were the most employed on the list and expect to reach over 4 million practitioners by 2026. Some of the soaring sectors now, including computing, engineering, and infrastructure professions, were popular a decade ago—even during the financial crisis—according to business media brand Fast Company.

Whether or not the jobs on this list will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but matriculating into one of these fields now promises a bright future.

You may also like: Jobs for millennials that didn't exist for their parents

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#50. Interpreters and translators

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 18%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 68,200
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +12,100
- 2018 median annual wage: $49,930
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Increased migration to the U.S. and globalization has accelerated this job sector more quickly than the average of all occupations combined through 2026, reports the BLS. Interpreters, who change one language into another dialect or the spoken word into sign language, differ from translators, who convert written material from one language to another. In 2016, there were more than 68,000 interpreters and translators, with up to 30% working in professional, technical, and scientific services.

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Photographee.eu

#49. Speech-language pathologists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 18%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 145,100
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +25,900
- 2018 median annual wage: $77,510
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

The U.S. school system employed two out of five speech-language pathologists in 2016, while a majority of the rest worked in health care facilities. Professionals in the industry must be licensed to diagnose and treat children and adults who suffer from communication disorders due to developmental delay, autism, hearing loss, brain injury, and stroke amongst others. Increased awareness of speech disorders in children and baby boomers suffering speech-related impairments from aging expect to drive the sector's growth 18%.

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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#48. Optometrists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 18%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 40,200
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +7,200
- 2018 median annual wage: $111,790
- Typical entry-level education: Doctoral or professional degree

Optometrists are #17 on the USA Today Best Jobs In America for 2019, with the newspaper reporting “those considering a career in health care may be inclined to focus on optometry because of the relatively high pay and low stress associated with it.” Vision degeneration in the aging population drives the employment sector, that requires state licensure and a Doctorate of Optometry. Up to 54% of the professionals own their own standalone business, while 16% work in offices with physicians.

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FrameStockFootages // Shutterstock

#47. Social and community service managers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 18%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 147,300
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +26,500
- 2018 median annual wage: $65,320
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Individual and family services were the largest employer of social and community service managers in 2016. Example jobs include: child welfare services director and community health service manager, who oversee programs, funding, and work with supporting agencies that assist low-income families, older adults, homeless, and veterans who suffer from substance abuse issues or have mental health needs.

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Rawpixel.com // Shutterstock

#46. Financial managers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 18.71%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 580,400
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +108,600
- 2018 median annual wage: $127,990
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Financial managers' projected job growth of 18.71% through 2026 is due to increased globalization and “an increased emphasis on risk management within the financial industry, and this trend is expected to continue,” reports the BLS. Financial managers, who must have a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or economics, advise clients on investments, taxes, and estate planning, among other financial matters.

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Maria Sbytova // Shutterstock

#45. Veterinarians

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 18.84%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 79,600
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +15,000
- 2018 median annual wage: $93,830
- Typical entry-level education: Doctoral or professional degree

As a doctor of everything animal, veterinarians provide a significant amount of services including vaccinations, wound treatment, setting bones, or performing surgeries. Practicing medicine on animals requires extensive schooling and licensure and comes at a cost. “The work can be emotionally stressful, as veterinarians care for abused animals, euthanize sick ones, and offer support to the animals' anxious owners,” reports the BLS.

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James Blair // NASA.gov

#44. Cartographers and photogrammetrists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 19.05%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 12,600
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +2,400
- 2018 median annual wage: $64,430
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Though there is a 19.05% growth rate for cartographers and photogrammetrists, who collect data to create online and mobile maps and surveys, the occupation is only expected to create 2,400 new positions before 2026. The need for more cartographers and photogrammetrists to develop accurate maps comes from government planning, forest and waterway management, and the operation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), “which are increasingly being used to map and locate areas that are in need during natural disasters,” according to the BLS.

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Pixabay

#43. Hearing aid specialists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 19.12%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 6,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +1,300
- 2018 median annual wage: $52,770
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

The profession ranked 29 of 30 in U.S. News & World Report's Best Health Care Support Jobs of 2019. “Hearing Aid Specialists made a median salary of $54,860 in 2017. The top 25% in the industry made a median salary of $70,140 that year, while the lowest-paid 25% made $39,670,” reports the media outlet. Furthermore, a specialist's opportunity for advancement and salary is ranked as above average, while the job's stress level rated below average.

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#42. Computer and information research scientists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 19.35%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 27,900
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +5,400
- 2018 median annual wage: $118,370
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

Increasing data collection and growing cybersecurity concerns are calling for more computer and information research scientists, who test software system operations, create computing language, and analyze algorithms. Up to 28% of the professionals in the industry work for the federal government and software publishers, while engineering and scientific services employ many of the remaining computer and information research practitioners in the U.S.

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dotshock // Shutterstock

#41. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 19.45%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 83,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +16,300
- 2018 median annual wage: $27,540
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Along with a high school diploma, veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers must graduate from a National Association of Veterinary Technician in America-approved program and pass an exam. Some job priorities include assisting veterinarians, cleaning and exercising animals, providing first aid, and administering medications. “Increases in consumers' pet-related spending are expected to drive employment in the veterinary services industry, which employs most veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers,” reports the BLS.

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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#40. Dental assistants

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 19.46%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 332,000
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +64,600
- 2018 median annual wage: $38,660
- Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

Taking x-rays, sterilizing instruments, and handling a suction hose are some job demands of a dental assistant, who in some states also perform coronal polishing and sealant application. As further medical research proves direct links between oral and general health, the increase for dental assistants is expected to increase almost 20% in the next seven years. The median annual wage for government-employed dental assistants is $42,390 annually, nearly four thousand dollars more than the private sector's office salary of $38,660.

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Serhii Boby // Shutterstock

#39. Ophthalmic medical technicians

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 19.55%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 44,500
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +8,700
- 2018 median annual wage: $36,530
- Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

The need for more ophthalmic medical technicians will continue to grow as the population grows since “most people need vision correction at some point in their lives,” according to BLS. Making prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses calls for high attention to detail and working well with your hands. Also referred to as manufacturing opticians, employees in the trade received a pay upgrade of on average $5,431 between 2016 and 2018, as reported by U.S. Bureau of the Census.

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Anna Jurkovska // Shutterstock

#38. Dental hygienists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 19.67%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 207,900
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +40,900
- 2018 median annual wage: $74,820
- Typical entry-level education: Associate's degree

For those that have an associate's degree and a love for cleaning teeth, job prospects through 2026 remain prosperous. “Demand for dental hygienists is expected to grow as state laws increasingly allow dental hygienists to work at the top of their training,” reports the BLS of those who attain bachelor's and master's degrees in dental hygiene. However, while the industry grows, so does the number of new dental hygiene program graduates, which has increased job competition within the industry.

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wandee007 // Shutterstock

#37. Earth drillers, except oil and gas

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 19.9%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 19,600
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +3,900
- 2018 median annual wage: $44,430
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Earth drillers are heavy equipment operators skilled in constructing holes to extract natural resources or build underground utilities. They use a variety of drills to extract sub-surface water and salt deposits, remove samples in mineral exploration, and facilitate the use of explosives in mining. California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are the states with the highest employment level for the industry. The Business Insider reports it's one of the “best low-stress jobs.”

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CREATISTA // Shutterstock

#36. Veterinary technologists and technicians

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 20%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 102,000
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +20,400
- 2018 median annual wage: $34,420
- Typical entry-level education: Associate's degree

Veterinary technologists and technicians, like veterinary assistants, work under a licensed veterinarian and are most often employed by private clinics and hospitals. However, with household pet numbers always rising, the Washington Post reports big box brand Walmart is seeking to bring in-store vet clinics. To become a veterinary technologist requires a bachelor's degree, and to become a technician only mandates an associate's degree.

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Kuznetcov_Konstantin // Shutterstock

#35. Helpers to extraction workers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 20%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 17,000
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +3,400
- 2018 median annual wage: $36,350
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

In assisting skilled extraction personnel like earth drillers, blaster workers, and mining machine operators, helpers must know the design, use, and maintenance of specific machines and tools and be able to observe, adjust and monitor equipment during extraction. The continued drilling and mining for natural resources drives the employment sector that is expected to grow up to 20% by 2026. While most helpers only need a high school diploma, others may require a certificate to assist in operating specific machinery.

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Wright Studio // Shutterstock

#34. Medical and health services managers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 20.47%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 352,200
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +72,100
- 2018 median annual wage: $99,730
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Medical and health service managers have vast knowledge of health care laws, regulations, and technology as they plan, direct, and coordinate physician services. Aging baby boomers and the increase in health care services drives the sector, which requires at least a bachelor's degree to gain employment. The two largest employers among the 352,200 jobs in the industry in 2016 were state and private hospitals at 36%.

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Erica Smit // Shutterstock

#33. Audiologists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 20.95%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 14,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +3,100
- 2018 median annual wage: $75,920
- Typical entry-level education: Doctoral or professional degree

Treating and preventing communication disorders as an audiologist entails administering hearing tests, fitting hearing aids, providing treatment, consulting patients, and more. Having a bachelor's degree in any field is required before entering the four-year doctoral degree in a program in audiology. “Demand may be greater in areas with large numbers of retirees, so audiologists who are willing to relocate may have the best job prospects,” reports BLS.

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#32. Wellhead pumpers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 21.74%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 11,500
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +2,500
- 2018 median annual wage: $53,490
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

This job entails operating power pumps to produce the flow of oil or gas requires monitoring control panels, running engines, and performing maintenance on auxiliary equipment. And it is not just for men as read in “The Oil-Pumping Adventures of Rachel Van Horn,” in the February issue of The New Yorker. While the job ranks #32 on the list, CNBC reports that for jobs unique to each state, wellhead pumpers win for Wyoming.

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peter verreussel // Shutterstock

#31. Animal trainers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 21.79%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 296,400
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +64,600
- 2018 median annual wage: $23,950
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

O*Net reports a “bright outlook” for animal trainers, who adapt animals to human voice and contact, and condition them to respond on command. Animal trainers, mainly employed in California and Florida, can do many things from training dogs for competitions or to guide the blind. Some types of jobs include being a racehorse trainer, service dog trainer, or dog obedience instructor. Bachelor's degrees in canine training and management are now available at Bergin University of Canine Studies in Penngrove, Calif.

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YURII MASLAK // Shutterstock

#30. Orthotists and prosthetists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 21.79%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 7,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +1,700
- 2018 median annual wage: $69,120
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

Based on physician's prescriptions, orthotists and prosthetists design and shape orthopedic and prosthetic devices. BLS reports that patients with traumatic injuries, “such as some veterans, will continue to need orthotists and prosthetists to create devices that allow the patients to regain or improve mobility and functionality.” Additionally, the aging populations need for braces, and orthopedic footwear will drive the professional sector forward by 21.79% by 2026.

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Pixabay

#29. Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 21.97%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 17,300
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +3,800
- 2018 median annual wage: $25,750
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Ambulance drivers do much more than ride to an emergency. Though a valid driver's license is required, some states call for Emergency Vehicle Operator Course certification and EMT-Basic licensure to transport the injured or sick. The growing population with constant emergent situations propels the profession's growth rate to almost 22%. Maintaining a clean driving record is required to hold an ambulatory driver position.

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fizkes // Shutterstock

#28. Actuaries

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 22.46%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 23,600
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +5,300
- 2018 median annual wage: $102,880
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Actuaries job growth may be at 22.46%, but because it is a “small occupation” according to the BLS “the fast growth will result in only about 5,300 new jobs over the 10-year period.” Additionally, employment opportunities will be considerably comprised of inexperienced applicants since the amount of students “sitting for actuarial exams has increased in the past few years,” according to the BLS. Mainly actuaries are employed in the insurance and finance sector to analyze risks and set premiums; most often they work in a 9-5 office setting.

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Goami // Shutterstock

#27. Athletic trainers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 22.66%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 27,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +6,300
- 2018 median annual wage: $47,510
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

The BLS details the “demand for athletic trainers is expected to increase as people become more aware of the effects of sports-related injuries, and as the middle-aged and older population remains active.” Athletic trainers recognize and determine injuries as well as develop and coordinate rehabilitation for injured athletes. The largest employers of the 27,800 athletic trainers in 2016 were educational services, including state, local, and private institutions.

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DedMityay // Shutterstock

#26. Mental health counselors

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 23.17%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 260,200
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +60,300
- 2018 median annual wage: $44,630
- Typical entry-level education: Not applicable

The need for mental health counselors will rise as states continue to change laws for drug offenders, who can now seek treatment and counseling services instead of serving jail time. “Job prospects are also expected to be very good for mental health counselors, particularly in rural areas or other communities that are underserved by mental health practitioners,” reports the BLS. Most mental health counseling positions require at least a bachelor's degree to be employed.

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#25. Market research analysts and marketing specialists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 23.23%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 595,400
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +138,300
- 2018 median annual wage: $63,120
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

The increased use of information and market research athwart all industries will drive the professional sector by 23.3% in the next seven years. BLS notes job prospects should be best for market research analysts and specialists, who collect data on methods of marketing and distribution, with a master's degree. “Those with a strong quantitative background in statistical and data analysis or related work experience will have better job opportunities than those without it,” reports BLS.

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#24. Marriage and family therapists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 23.37%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 41,500
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +9,700
- 2018 median annual wage: $50,090
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

The increased use of integrated care, which combines primary and mental health care, will drive the need for marriage and family therapists 23.37% before 2026. Additionally, retiring and vacating employees contribute to the occupation growth that the BLS reports is much faster than the average occupation. A master's in psychology, marriage and family therapy, or similar mental health field is required to attain a position, which is mainly employed through individual and family services.

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Dmytro Zinkevych // Shutterstock

#23. Respiratory therapists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 23.43%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 130,200
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +30,500
- 2018 median annual wage: $60,280
- Typical entry-level education: Associate's degree

U.S. News & World Report ranks a respiratory therapist as 19th out of the 29 Best Healthcare Jobs of 2019, noting it is both challenging and gratifying, especially since it only requires an associate's degree. The position, which entails examining patients, performing diagnostic tests, and consulting with physicians, will continue to increase with the aging population. Furthermore, the increased priority to reduce hospital readmission will likely result in an increased need for respiratory therapists in physicians offices and residential care facilities.

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Pixabay

#22. Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 23.43%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 41,400
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +9,700
- 2018 median annual wage: $47,860
- Typical entry-level education: No formal educational credential

Service unit operators, who work to remove obstructions from drilling wells, are highly sought out in Texas, Oklahoma, California, and are paid the highest in the more remote locations of Alaska, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. Unlike most of the 50 fastest-growing jobs, no formal education is required to work the job.

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#21. Occupational therapists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 23.77%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 130,400
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +31,000
- 2018 median annual wage: $84,270
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

Occupational therapists, who assist senior citizens in maintaining independence, is expected to increase as baby boomers age. Additionally, the BLS details the need for occupational therapy services will come from treating children with an autism spectrum disorder. “Therapists will continue to be needed in schools to assist children with autism in improving their social skills and accomplishing a variety of daily tasks,” BLS reports.

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#20. Rotary drill operators, oil and gas

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 23.95%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 16,700
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +4,000
- 2018 median annual wage: $53,800
- Typical entry-level education: No formal educational credential

Rotary drill operators, who maneuver drills to extract underground oil and gas deposits, and take core samples are most sought out in Texas and highest paid in Montana. Yahoo Finance reports the profession that “supports activities for mining is the only goods-producing industry” on the list of 10 recession proof vocations. Additionally, rotary drill operators earn an average of $29.99 per hour and work more than 40 hours a week.

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#19. Software developers, applications

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 24.08%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 1,256,200
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +302,500
- 2018 median annual wage: $105,590
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Forbes details the 10 highest paying states for software developers of applications, reporting Washington at $131,790 and Colorado at $106,730 at the top. The increased need for computer software for new applications on smartphones and tablets drives the sector soaring forward at 24.08%. Additionally, “the health and medical insurance and reinsurance carriers industry will need innovative software to manage new healthcare policy enrollments and administer existing policies digitally,” reports BLS.

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#18. Phlebotomists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 24.53%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 122,700
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +30,100
- 2018 median annual wage: $34,480
- Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

The ability to utilise blood analysis to diagnose disease, evaluate organ function, and monitor medication make phlebotomists a vital part of the medical field, increasing the need for more as the population grows. However, based on the BLS' recommendations, the more postsecondary nondegree awards obtained—including the National Center for Competency Testing and National Healthcareer Association—the better the job prospects within this profession that promises proliferation of almost a quarter percent by 2026.

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#17. Roustabouts, oil and gas

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 24.8%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 50,000
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +12,400
- 2018 median annual wage: $37,580
- Typical entry-level education: No formal educational credential

Recruiter.com reports assembling and repairing oil field equipment has been on the upswing since 2004 with career openings increasing by up to 51.43% nationwide. Understanding public safety and security, critical thinking, and mechanical knowledge are all required to succeed in the position most sought out in Texas and Oklahoma and highest paid in North Dakota and Montana. Other duties include walking flow lines and keeping the pipe and main decks clean.

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#16. Derrick operators, oil and gas

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 25.23%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 11,100
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +2,800
- 2018 median annual wage: $46,120
- Typical entry-level education: No formal educational credential

Derrick operators for oil and gas, who require no formal education, learn on the job how to prepare and maneuver mud pumps, place drill pipes, and inspect and repair rigs. When working in construction or shipping, derrick operators can be classified as hoist and winch operators, according to Study.com. Most are employed in mining, oil, and gas extraction, as well as the construction and shipping industries to build bridges, dams, and power plants.

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karelnoppe // Shutterstock

#15. Massage therapists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 26.26%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 160,300
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +42,100
- 2018 median annual wage: $41,420
- Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

BLS reports that although the field of massage therapy is limited by insurance coverage, it will continue to grow due to the amount of massage clinic franchises having increased in recent years. “Many franchised clinics offer more affordable massages than those provided at spas and resorts, making massage services available to a wider range of customers,” adds the bureau of the job that requires 500 or more hours of study to become certified.

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#14. Operations research analysts

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 27.46%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 114,000
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +31,300
- 2018 median annual wage: $83,390
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Those with a master's or doctorate degree in operations research or management science, who also have strong analytical skills and business experience, are more likely to land a job in this fast-growing sector, according to the BLS. Mostly employed by finance and insurance, and professional, scientific and technical services, operations research analysts can make up to $113,920 in the federal government, $92,170 in manufacturing, and $85,250 in company and enterprise management.

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wavebreakmedia // Shutterstock

#13. Physical therapists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 27.98%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 239,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +67,100
- 2018 median annual wage: $87,930
- Typical entry-level education: Doctoral or professional degree

The fact that this career is expected to grow by almost 30% through 2026 proves how popular physical therapists are, specifically in acute-care hospitals and orthopedic settings. Additionally, as medical and technological developments allow more newborns and trauma victims to survive, “physical therapists will continue to play an important role in helping these patients recover more quickly from surgery,” reports the BLS, adding that in 2017, more than 200 accredited physical therapy programs were available across the U.S.

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#12. Occupational therapy aides

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 28.21%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 46,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +13,200
- 2018 median annual wage: $57,620
- Typical entry-level education: Not applicable

In WalletHub's comparison of 109 entry-level jobs based on 13 key metrics, occupational therapy aids came up as one of the top growing sectors by 2026, further confirming the BLS forecast of growth due to aging baby boomers and an increasing elderly populace. Most aides are only required to have an associates degree to work, but must have adaptability, compassion, physical strength, and interpersonal skills.

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one photo // Shutterstock

#11. Information security analysts

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 28.5%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 100,000
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +28,500
- 2018 median annual wage: $98,350
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

The present climate of cybersecurity threats soars this sector forward so much that information security analyst is one of four callings to consider for bachelor degree graduates unsure of what to do, according to Student Loan Hero. While a bachelor's degree is required for employment, information security analysts must be abreast of the latest infiltration of computer systems. “These analysts will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks,” reports the BLS.

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#10. Medical assistants

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 28.99%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 634,400
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +183,900
- 2018 median annual wage: $33,610
- Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

Measuring vital signs, preparing blood samples, and scheduling patients are all parts of being a medical assistant, who are mostly employed by primary care physician offices that are continually developing in the health care sector. Though a high school diploma and on-the-job training are allowed for some medical assistants, most need to complete a postsecondary nondegree award for employment.

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TORWAISTUDIO // Shutterstock

#9. Bicycle repairers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 29.03%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 12,400
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +3,600
- 2018 median annual wage: $28,960
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Landing the top 10 fastest-growing jobs, bicycle repairers stand out among a list of health care professionals and oil drillers. Bicycle repairers, sandwiched between genetic counselors and medical assistants on the list, are in high demand especially in “Bike Cities” across the U.S. No formal education is needed to take on some of the job tasks that include assembling new bicycles and installing and adjusting brake pads.

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#8. Genetic counselors

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 29.03%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 3,100
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +900
- 2018 median annual wage: $80,370
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

The increased demand for genetic testing to prevent disease, which is often covered by insurance, calls for more counselors in the field. “Ongoing technological innovations, including lab tests and developments in genomics, are giving counselors opportunities to conduct more types of analyses,” reports BLS. While 33% of genetic counselors work in hospitals, 18% make their living in medical and diagnostic laboratories.

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#7. Physical therapist aides

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 30.43%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 140,300
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +42,700
- 2018 median annual wage: $48,090
- Typical entry-level education: Not applicable

While physical therapists rank 13 on the list of 50 fastest-growing jobs, their aides rank higher at #7. But don't let the demand for the job be deceiving. “Physical therapist aides may face strong competition from the large pool of qualified people because requirements for entry are low,” reports BLS. The main tasks for the job include observing patients during therapy, assisting with exercise, massaging and stretching, and some clerical duties.

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#6. Nurse anesthetists

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 31.5%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 203,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +64,200
- 2018 median annual wage: $113,930
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

Increased emphasis on preventative care along with aging baby boomers calls for more nurse anesthetists, who perform physicals, diagnose problems, and evaluate patient medications. Also referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN), professionals in the industry must have a master's degree and clinical experience to practice medicine. The work environment for the profession can vary from round-the-clock hospital hours to regular full-time business hours in a physician's office.

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#5. Mathematicians

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 33.5%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 40,300
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +13,500
- 2018 median annual wage: $88,190
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

Increased online business, social media, and smartphones are some reasons mathematicians, who design surveys and interpret data, are in demand. More data means more questions that only mathematicians can answer. “Analyses will help companies improve their business processes, design and develop new products, and even advertise products to potential customers,” reports BLS.

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#4. Physician assistants

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 37.29%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 106,200
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +39,600
- 2018 median annual wage: $108,610
- Typical entry-level education: Master's degree

Since physician assistants can perform many of the same tasks as a physician at a less expensive cost, the profession is becoming more prevalent as the aging population increases. While 56% of the physicians work in doctor's offices, another 23% practice in the state, local, and private hospitals. The remaining work in outpatient care centers and educational facilities.

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#3. Home health aides

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 41.29%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 2,927,600
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +1,208,800
- 2018 median annual wage: $24,060
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

The biggest group in the top 50, home health aides expect to exceed 4 million within the industry by 2026. Home health aides work in a variety of capacities, from assisting clients with personal hygiene to light housework duty. The field requires only a high school diploma to gain employment. An aging baby boomer population, as well as more widespread health care options, are among the drivers in the field.

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#2. Wind turbine service technicians

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 96.55%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 5,800
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +5,600
- 2018 median annual wage: $54,370
- Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

Though it lands second on the list of top 50 fastest-growing jobs as turbine service technicians jobs are fast growing, need varies by state. “Wind farms are generally more prevalent in the Great Plains, the Midwest, and along coasts, and wind techs will likely find more job opportunities in these areas,” reports the BLS. The small occupation of building wind farms will only produce up to 5,600 more jobs in 10 years for those with the respective postsecondary nondegree.

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#1. Solar photovoltaic installers

- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 104.42%
- Number of jobs in 2016: 11,300
- Projected employment change 2016-2026: +11,800
- 2018 median annual wage: $42,680
- Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

The brightest future for all fastest-growing jobs belongs to solar photovoltaic installers, who need no formal education to complete a day's work. Clean energy drives the profession, precisely due to government incentives for both residential and commercial solar installation. “States and localities that provide incentives to reduce the cost of PV systems should experience greater demand for workers,” reports the BLS.

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