The 20 BEST JOBS Of The Future


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Looking for a job that pays well and will have plenty of openings in the next decade? Consider one of these occupations.

Business Insider compiled a ranking of the best jobs of the future based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: how well they pay, and how much they are projected to grow in the coming years.

#1 Registered Nurses

  • $65,470 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Assess patients’ needs and provide care to patients.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Associate’s Degree

  • The Health-Care sector is projected to quickly grow over the next many years, and there will be a huge need for registered nurses to take care of our aging population.

#2 General and Operations Managers

  • $95,440 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Direct and coordinate the operations and staff of organizations.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Operations managers are another set of workers needed in almost every industry. As the economy continues to grow, organizations will need these employees to keep things running smoothly.

#3 Software Applications Developers

  • $90,060 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Design and develop software for clients and users.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Application developers are similar to software systems developers, but they are more focused on the needs of users rather than on the back-end parts of computer systems. As with other computer-centered occupations, applications developers will benefit from the ongoing tech boom.

#4 Specialist Physicians and Surgeons

  • At least $187,200 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Provide specialized medical care for patients. Some examples of specialist physicians include allergists, dermatologists, and neurologists.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Doctoral or Professional Degree

  • The medical sector is poised to continue its rapid growth in the next few years.

#5 Accountants and Auditors

  • $63,550 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Analyze financial records and ensure compliance with financial requirements and standards.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the government responded with new financial regulations. An army of accountants will be needed to meet the new standards.

#6 Management Analysts

  • $78,600 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Study and evaluate organizations, and develop techniques and plans to improve efficiency.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Companies are always trying to maximize their productivity, and there will likely continue to be a high demand for specialists who can guide them.

#7 Computer Systems Analysts

  • $79,680 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Analyze and improve information systems.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Like construction and health care, computer technology is a field projected to continue growing at a good rate for the foreseeable future.

#8 Elementary School Teachers

  • $53,400 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Teach children foundational skills and concepts.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • As the U.S. population continues to grow, more teachers will be needed to educate children.

#9 Carpenters

  • $39,940 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Construct houses, other structures, and various frames and fixtures out of wood.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: High School Diploma or equivalent.

  • This is another entry on the list that is heavily tied to the construction industry, which is projected to expand rapidly over the next few years as it climbs out of the depths of the recession.

#10 Lawyers

  • $113,500 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Represent clients in various types of legal proceedings and write legal documents.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Professional Degree

  • There has been a shift in the legal field to using more paralegals and legal assistants to do basic work. Despite this, as the economy continues to improve and overall business picks up, there will also be increasing demand for highly paid, credentialed lawyers.

#11 First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers

  • $49,330 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative support workers.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: High School Diploma or equivalent.

  • As companies launch and grow, they will need clerical workers, as well as supervisors that manage them.

#12 Software Systems Developers

  • $99,000 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Develop high-level software systems in a variety of industries.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Technology will continue to be a lucrative and growing sector over the next few years, and there will be strong demand for people who can write basic software that technology depends on.

#13 Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

  • $60,300 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Research market conditions to help guide sales and marketing decisions.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Most organizations need to understand the market they work in. Like sales representatives and bookkeeping clerks, firms in any industry will need market researchers to help get those insights.

#14 First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers

  • $59,700 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of construction or extraction workers.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: High School Diploma or equivalent.

  • As the construction sector begins to fully recover from the recession, job openings in these occupations are expected to increase.

#15 Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses

  • $41,540 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Assist doctors and registered nurses and provide basic medical care to patients.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Post-Secondary Non-Degree

  • Because of changing demographics in America and changes to how health insurance works, health care is going to be a quickly growing sector over the next few decades. Unlike registered nurses, licensed practical nurses tend to only need about 12 to 14 months of post-high-school education.

#16 Heavy Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

  • $38,200 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Drive the vehicles that carry pretty much everything we consume.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Post-Secondary Non-Degree

  • As the economy continues to recover from the recession, there will simply be a lot more stuff to move around. That means there will also be an increased need for people to move that stuff.

#17 Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

  • $35,170 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Obtain and use numerical data to complete financial records and maintain accounting records.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: High School Diploma or equivalent.

  • As with sales representatives, most organizations need people keeping track of the money coming in and going out, resulting in a steady demand of good bookkeepers.

#18 Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing

  • $54,230 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses or groups of individuals.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Salespeople are needed in almost every industry. Any company that makes or sells something will need sales representatives, meaning this already large occupation will continue to grow.

#19 Medical and Health Service Managers

  • $88,580 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Plan, direct, or coordinate medical and health services in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies, or similar organizations.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • As with construction managers, managerial positions tend to do well financially. As Baby Boomers get older, and as Obamacare’s reforms dramatically change the health insurance market, employment in the health-care sector is primed to take off in the near future.

#20 Construction Managers

  • $82,790 average wage in 2012

  • What They Do: Organize, plan, and supervise construction projects.

  • Typical Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Managers of all kinds tend to have higher wages than those they supervise, and managers make the highest average salary of any of the large occupational groups. The construction sector was hit especially hard in the Great Recession. However, over the next decade, construction employment will finally begin to return to pre-recession levels, allowing for impressive growth in the coming years.

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