The 5 Fastest-growing Careers

By Sharon Naylor

June 3, 2013 6 min read

If you're looking to switch careers, or if you're just starting out in the job market, you likely want to know where the jobs will be plentiful to boost your odds of landing a position. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released their projections of the 30 fastest-growing careers, and among the top five listed here might just be the career for you.

These fastest-growing careers can give you more opportunities, since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that by 2018, the total number of people employed in the United States will have increased 10.1 percent -- by 15.3 million. That's a lot of fellow careerists, many of whom are looking for a job with impressive growth on the horizon. Here are the top 5 careers listed in this projection, with additional statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

5) Financial analyst

Projected increase in 2018: 41.2 percent

Number employed in 2008: 27,000

Median pay in 2008: $73,150

Education/training: Financial analysts are required to have a bachelor's or master's degree, so advanced education will be a must.

Job outlook: The financial industry handles the complexities of the stock market, investments and other money-centric issues, and financial analysts will be in-demand to decipher the new trends and outlooks in investments, especially in mutual funds. The stock market will likely take many people on a wild ride, and financial experts will be there to clarify important issues.

4) Personal and home care aides

Projected increase in 2018: 46 percent

Number employed in 2008: 817,000

Median pay in 2008: $19,690

Education/training: Different states have different requirements to land this job. Some states only require on-the-job training, while other states may require formal training via vocational schools, home health care agencies, community colleges and elder care programs.

Job outlook: With the population aging as baby boomers enter their twilight years, home health care aides will be in demand to meet their needs. Adult children of the elderly may agree with their parents that home is the place to be but not without a trained home health care aide taking care of their parents' needs, such as housekeeping and errands, meal preparation and the demands of everyday life moreso than health issue help.

3) Home health aides

Projected increase in 2018: 50 percent

Number employed in 2008: 922,000

Median pay in 2008: $21,440

Education/training: In some states, home health aides don't have to have a high school or college diploma. Rather, they get training on the job, in addition to classroom training, workshops and lectures, depending on the employer.

Job outlook: Home health aides provide healthcare-oriented services to elderly and disabled people who need help with their mobility, oxygen machines, medications and other health-centric needs. Again, since more elderly people wish to live in their homes for as long as possible, rather than move into nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and since hospitals often release patients who still need great health assistance, home health aides will be there to handle the care tasks. This job is often mostly on-call work, and many companies don't provide benefits, so that's something to consider, even if you feel you'd be the perfect home health aide candidate.

2) Network systems and data communications analyst

Projected increase in 2018: 53.4 percent

Number employed in 2008: 292,000

Median pay in 2008: $66,310

Education/training: Most network and data communications analyst jobs require a bachelor's degree, although some only require a two-year degree.

Job outlook: As businesses implement newer technology and more technology solutions within their operations, more knowledgeable network and data communications professionals will be needed to set up networks, troubleshoot and keep the companies' essential technology and communications in perfect working order for the company's performance.

1) Biomedical engineers

Projected increase in 2018: 72 percent

Number employed in 2008: 16,000

Median pay in 2008: $77,400

Education/training: A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level engineering jobs in this sector.

Job outlook: As the population ages, and as health issues affect all demographics from children to the elderly, there will be a strong demand for improved medical devices and equipment to create better quality of life for anyone with a physical injury, surgery recovery or systemic illness. Biomedical engineers are the ones who create that miracle device that saves a life or restores self-sufficiency.

Check the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website (http://www.bls.gov) to see which other jobs made the list for fastest-growing and most potential in the near future, and which have the salary you desire, as well.

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