The 10 Fastest-Growing Occupations in the U.S. for 2013 - 2017

Job growth in the United States is projected to grow 4.4% from 2013 through to 2017, a slightly faster rate than the 2009-2013 period, but for certain occupations and metropolitan areas, the outlook is even brighter. The Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and CareerBuilder released a report featuring the professions that are expected to see at least 8% growth and 30,000 new positions created between 2013 and 2017. The projections provide a snapshot picture of the short-term future of the labour market and can be used to identify emerging trends that are important to the labour force, businesses, and economic planners.

In brief, the main findings of the report are:

  • The strongest projected growth is in the health care, Information Technology and energy industries.
  • At 5%, high-wage occupations ($21.14 and above) are expected to grow faster than low-wage ($13.83 and below) and medium-wage ($13.84 - $21.13) occupations are expected to grow by 4.7% and 3.3% respectively.
  • 75% of the 165 occupations projected to lose jobs are in the medium-wage category.
  • 61% of occupations expected to grow by 8% or more require a college degree.
  • 23 of the 52 largest metropolitan areas outpace the projected rate of job growth.
  • Washington D.C. is poised to have the largest share of new jobs coming from the high-wage sector, but San Antonio is expected to have the fastest rate of high-wage growth.    

Below I outline the top 10 fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. from 2013 through to 2017 and their projected growth potential:

1. Personal Care and Home Health Aides

Personal care aides and home health aides are top of the list. Workers in this low-paying field are responsible for providing day-to-day care of people who are disabled, chronically ill, or the elderly who may need assistance. It is estimated that these occupations will add roughly 473,965 new jobs by 2017 and the average hourly earnings will be $9.77.

2. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

Market research analysts and marketing specialists follow health care professions in the list and it is expected that 60,889 new jobs will be created in the field of market research. The average hourly earnings is estimated to reach $29.10.

3. Medical Secretaries

People working as medical secretaries perform administrative and clerical duties to aid doctors, hospital consultants and other senior health care staffers. The projected number of new jobs in this job area is 76,386 while the median average hourly earnings is $15.17.

4. Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics

The growth of emergency medical technicians and paramedics is expected to climb to 13% by 2017. The report shows that 30,234 new jobs are expected to open in the paramedical field and the average hourly salary for this job will be $15.28.

5. Software Developers   

As new software as a service (SaaS) firms increasingly emerge and organisations continue to rely on computer and digital infrastructure, software developers are becoming even more in demand to research, design, implement and test software. This job sector is expected to open 110,049 new jobs by 2017 with an average hourly salary of $47.64.

6. Medical Assistants

What’s more, medical assistants are listed as the 6th fastest-growing occupation in the U.S. The projections for this profession reveal that 60,109 new jobs will open by 2017, marking a growth of 10% and the median hourly earnings for medical assistants will amount to $14.35.

7. Registered Nurses

This occupation refers to nurses who graduated from a nursing program at a college or university and passed a national licensing exam. This profession is expected to add a remarkable 256,703 new jobs in the U.S. labour market and provide an average hourly wage of $32.04.

8. Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Professions such as network and computer administrators are integral to businesses’ core strategic processes and represent the 8 fastest-growing profession. The predicted growth in these professions adds up to 9% and involves the launch of 34,825 new jobs with an average hourly salary of $35.14.

9Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians have a percentage growth of 9%. The report says that 31,975 new vacancies will open by 2017 and the average hourly earnings for this job will be $14.29.

10. Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers

Last but not least, landscaping and groundkeeping are two low-waged jobs with a huge potential in terms of new jobs. The estimated number of new jobs for this profession amounts to 111,444 with the median hourly earnings equal to $11.07.

Overall, job growth in the U.S. is estimated to develop at a slightly faster level than the preceding post-recession years, but it is clear that specific occupations mainly in the paramedical, health care, and IT sector will see the largest growth in the next four years. What is important for future job seekers to know is that occupations requiring college degrees are rising significantly.