6 Hot Jobs Where Salaries Are Growing
In January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing private-industry hourly earnings had increased an average of 2.9 percent during 2017. But though wages might be on the uptick across the board right now, they won't always be. That's why it's safest for those workers just starting out or those looking to switch careers to choose an industry that's poised to boom. Here are six areas of the workforce where professionals will be in hot demand in the next decade—meaning you can also expect salaries will grow in order to attract and retain workers.
Artificial Intelligence Specialist
It might sound counterintuitive—aren't the robots supposed to take our jobs?—but technology think-tank Gartner predicts artificial intelligence will be a net job creator by the year 2020 (Gartner released research in October 2017 suggesting AI will produce 500,000 more jobs than it eliminates). If you've got the technical skills for a job in AI—whether as a business intelligence engineer or an R&D specialist—you can easily expect a six-figure annual salary.
Everyone loves to talk about blockchain, and if you not only know what it is but also how to program for it, kudos to you: You're highly employable. In short, blockchain is a decentralized digital database anyone with the Internet can access, providing unprecedented access to information, easier storage of records, and the opportunity to use digital currency (Bitcoin). Banks and major companies are rushing to implement blockchain technology before it puts them out of business. Again, expect a six-figure salary if you have blockchain skills, which command about $18,000 more than other software development skills.
Home Health Care Provider
Given the aging U.S. population, it's no surprise the home health care industry is growing rapidly. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted the number of home health care jobs would increase by 41 percent within 10 years. Home health aides assist the elderly or people with disabilities with basic life functions, such as getting dressed and eating. Although the pay for these positions is low (the average hourly pay is $10.33), they are plentiful, and the time span for training is short.
If you're comfortable being up close and personal with people, then perhaps a career as a dental hygienist is for you. The number of hygienist positions is expected to increase 20 percent by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary is more than $72,000, and this is one of those rare fields where part-time opportunities are common. In some cases, an associate's degree in the field is enough to get your foot in the door, along with state licensing.
The demand for statisticians is growing in every industry, from health care to manufacturing to government. Everyone wants help collecting data, analyzing statistics, and translating the numbers into business decisions. The field is expected to grow by one third by the year 2026, with the median salary currently at $80,500. Your prospects will be the greatest in this field if you have an advanced degree. Currently, most statistician jobs are in government, but look for private industry opportunities to grow as more companies rely on data-driven decision-making
Physical Therapist Assistant
When you combine an aging population with a high incidence of obesity—not to mention a large number of weekend fitness enthusiasts—you have the need for more physical therapist assistants. Professionals in this field help patients carry out a physical therapist's instructions, whether by helping the patient do exercises correctly or performing therapeutic massage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the number of physical therapist assistant positions will grow by 31 percent by the year 2026. The current median salary is more than $56,000, and a state license plus an associate's degree will allow you to get started.
These are just a few of the specific positions expected to grow. In general, if you're trained in technology or health care, you can expect to remain employable—and to watch your paycheck grow.