Which jobs will be most in-demand in the next several years? What are the highest paid occupations in each industry? Where is the highest growth in terms of the greatest number of new job opportunities going to be? What is the minimum acceptable educational qualification by occupation? These are all questions that we need to ask to determine what you should study in college and which occupations you should focus on for your future career.
Here are the occupations with the topmost job opportunities:
- Physicians and surgeons in the healthcare sector are the highest paid occupations among all industries.
- The highest number of new job opportunities are for food and beverage related workers and specifically in the food industry.
- The second-highest number of job opportunities are for home health aides and personal care aides, once again in the healthcare industry.
Here are the education requirements for some popular occupations:
- Occupations in the Science or Technology, Business, Financial, Management or Education industries generally require a Bachelors degree.
- High school diploma is required for production or manufacturing roles, security guards or surveillance, and home healthcare aides.
- The one occupation that does not require any education and where everything is learnt on the job is for food and beverage related workers.
Some Points to Note
1) Though there are many sources and web sites that offer their own projections about future job demand, in this article, we are specifically focusing on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for its reliability and accuracy.
2) The numbers provided in this article and cited links are national averages and there will certainly be differences in these salaries across US states. For example, metropolitan cities in a state such as California will offer much higher salaries than what is indicated here. Similarly, a town or even a city in Ohio with its much lesser cost-of-living will have salaries that are far below these ranges.
3) Though it’s always nice to choose an occupation with higher salaries and job demand, please be sure to choose an occupation and an industry that you are passionate about and where your strengths are.
Highest Paid Jobs for College Graduates
Physicians and Surgeons are the highest paid of all occupations at around $208,000 annually. In healthcare, the other higher paid jobs are for dentists ($156,000), pharmacists ($126,000), nurse practitioners, anesthetists and midwives ($113,000), physician assistants ($108,000) and veterinarians ($93,000). Nurse practitioners perform tasks similar to physicians and typically under a physician’s guidance.
Among the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), petroleum engineers are the highest-paid at $137,000, followed by computer engineers, developers and architects ($105,000-$118,000). Chemical engineers and aerospace engineers also earn in the $114,000 to $115,000 range. Note that junior-level developers or computer programmers whose education is less than a bachelors degree earn in the $70,000 to $85,000 range.
Of all the groups, management occupations have the highest median salary at about $105,000. This includes administrative managers, marketing managers, engineering managers, construction managers, IT managers, financial managers, farming managers, HR managers, food service managers, training managers, top executives and so on.
Lowest Paid Jobs for College Graduates
School teachers are required to have a bachelors degree and typically earn around $60,000. Teaching assistants, librarians and preschool teachers earn the lowest in the education field but they usually do not have a bachelors degree and either have an associate degree or a high school diploma with extra credentials.
College graduates in business and finance also require a bachelors degree and earn between $60,000 to $85,000. These include accountants, real estate appraisers, financial analysts, HR professionals, loan officers and so on.
Most Job Openings for College Graduates
Though the number of labor-intensive jobs are much more than the number of white-collar jobs, being a college graduate provides a much better salary to afford a good lifestyle throughout one’s life. Among all the jobs that require a bachelors degree, the largest number of jobs can be found in business and financial occupations comprising of accountants, loan officers, financial advisors, tax collectors, event managers and so on. This is closely followed by management occupations comprising of HR managers, school principals, marketing manager, construction managers and so on.
Most Job Openings Of All
The largest number of jobs can be found in the food and beverage workers industry and this does not require any educational credential. Not even a high school diploma is required for workers in these occupations. It is also the least-paying of all the occupations that do not require a college degree at $10.45/hr. The number of new job openings in this sector from 2018 to 2028 is projected to be around 5.4 million. However, this has likely taken a big hit currently due to the pandemic but is likely recover in a year or so.
The next highest number of new job openings are for home care and health care aides or care-givers. Here the number of projected new jobs for 2018 to 2028 are 3.25 million.
Highest Paid Jobs for High School Graduates
Agricultural managers who operate and manage a farm with crop or livestock are the highest earners ($71,000/yr) among all jobs for a high school graduate. However this job requires a lot of physical stamina and knowledge of farming.
Other occupations with higher paid jobs for high school graduates include real estate agents, lodging managers and food service managers.
It is always best to have a college degree to build a good career with a higher salary. By choosing one of the flexible colleges listed in Colleges with Top 10 Online College Degrees, you can save a lot of time and money and still complete a US bachelors degree. The first step is to choose a good college major that takes into account your strengths and interests.
In case you need to immediately generate an income and you don’t have a college degree, one option is to get a job using your current qualification and then start studying part time towards a college degree. Once you complete an associate degree, just get a higher paying job using your associate degree. Then keep working part time towards your bachelors degree and then upon degree completion, get another higher paying job using your bachelors degree.
In case you need to switch your career to a different industry, be sure that your education matches the new industry you want to switch to. Also ensure that you can easily translate your existing credentials and experience easily to fit into the new occupation.
There are always skills and capabilities that are common across occupations and industries. So if you are truly motivated, you can easily convince a new employer that your earlier skills can be quickly applied to your new job. This might also require you to update or redo your resume and cover letter.