Top 15 Most Promising Jobs for Employment and Wage Growth


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    Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the US labor market and its effects are likely to be felt for some time to come.

    Following the fall of 2020 publication of the 2019-2029 job projections, which failed to capture the impact of the pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released alternative scenarios that model how jobs could be affected if COVID-19 continues to have moderate effects on the economy compared to a strong one.

    Across all occupations, employment growth is expected to be almost one percentage point lower in the moderate impact scenario (2.9% versus 3.7%) and almost two percentage points lower in the high impact scenario (1.9% versus 3, 7%).

    While long-term job growth is subdued in these scenarios and many jobs could be negatively impacted in the future, there are others that offer stable opportunities. In this study, we rank the most promising jobs in terms of employment and pay using the following methodology.

    Data and methodology

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    We have filtered a total of 808 occupations listed by the BLS according to occupations with a forecast employment growth of more than 10% (according to the scenario with moderate pandemic effects) in the next 10 years. We also filtered for occupations with a median income of more than $ 64,240 in 2019 (that’s the 75th percentile of the nation’s annual income). The remaining 40 jobs are the most promising for employment and pay.

    To further classify these jobs, we considered four metrics: 10-year expected percentage employment growth, 10-year expected employment growth, average earnings in 2019, and four-year earnings growth from 2015 to 2019. Both the 10-year expected percentage employment growth and the expected 10-year growth in the number of employees comes from the BLS moderate impact scenario.

    We have classified each profession in these four metrics and given each one an equal weighting. We then determined the average ranking of each occupation and used the average to determine a final score.

    The occupation with the highest average ranking received a score of 100. The occupation with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.

    Below are the most promising jobs for employment and pay.

    1. Nurses

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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 52.3%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 110,500

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 111,840

    4-year change in results: 10.45%

    2. Medical and health service managers

    Finance Director
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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 31.5%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 133,000

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 115,160

    4-year change in results: 8.57%

    3. Information security analysts

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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 42.1%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 55.200

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 104,210

    4-year change in results: 11.75%

    4. Medical assistants

    A black female doctor prescribes pills to an elderly black male patient
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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 31.2%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 39.200

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 112,410

    4-year change in results: 13.24%

    5. Finance manager

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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 15.3%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 106,800

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 147,530

    4-year change in results: 9.83%

    6. Statisticians

    Woman statistician
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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 35.4%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 15,100

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 95,680

    4-year change in results: 13.31%

    7. Post-secondary health professions teachers


    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 20.0%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 50,900

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 121,620

    4-year change in results: 6.21%

    8. Computer scientists and information researchers

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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 19.1%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 6,200

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 127,460

    4-year change in results: 10.28%

    9. Computer and information systems manager

    Man working on computer cybersecurity and password manager
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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 11.0%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 50,700

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 156,390

    4-year change in results: 10.91%

    10. Computer network architects

    Computer scientist
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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 14.5%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 23,200

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 115,110

    4-year change in results: 11.65%

    11. Nurse anesthetists

    Anesthesiologist gives patient anesthesia

    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 13.6%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 6,100

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 181,040

    4-year change in results: 12.97%

    12. Psychiatrist

    Psychologist or therapist
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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 11.9%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 3,300

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 220,430

    4-year change in results: 13.81%

    13. Actuaries

    Accountant or actuary
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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 17.4%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 4,800

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 120,970

    4-year change in results: 9.42%

    14. Doctors, other than epidemiologists

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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 28.9%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 39,900

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 98,770

    4-year change in results: 5.38%

    15. Operations Research Analysts

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    Projected percentage growth, 2019-2029: 25.0%

    Projected employment growth 2019-2029: 26,200

    Average earnings in 2019: $ 90,600

    4-year change in results: 7.63%

    Naturopaths and technical professions

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    Of the 40 professions with the most prospects of employment and pay, 13 fall into the category of alternative practitioners and technical professions. Two closely related professions – nurses and medical assistants – are at the top, in places 1 and 4, respectively.

    Although the median salary for medical assistants is slightly higher than the median salary for nurses ($ 112,410 versus $ 111,840), the number of nurses is expected to grow faster over the next 10 years. The BLS predicts that there will be 110,500 more nurses in 2029 than in 2019, a growth rate of 52.3%.

    In comparison, the expected percentage growth and growth in the number of employees for medical assistants over 10 years is 31.2% and 39,200, respectively.

    The two highest-paid professions of the 40 most promising jobs and pay fall into the naturopathic and technical professions category. They are psychiatrists and anesthetists. According to BLS data, the median salary for psychiatrists in 2019 was $ 220,430, while the median salary for anesthetist nurses was $ 181,040.

    Computer and math professions

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    Four computing and math jobs rank in our top 10 most promising jobs in terms of employment and pay, while another three rank in our top 40. Top computing and math jobs include information security analyst at # 3 and statistician at # 6.

    From 2015 to 2019, the average earnings of information security analysts and statisticians increased by 11.75% and 13.31%, respectively. In addition, looking ahead, the BLS expects the employment of information security analysts and statisticians to increase by 42.1% and 35.4% respectively over the next 10 years.

    The five other computing and math jobs that are most promising for employment and pay include:

    • Scientists in computer science and information research
    • Computer network architects
    • Actuaries
    • Operations Research Analysts
    • Administrators of network and computer systems

    Although the income for these five occupations ranges from about $ 88,400 to about $ 127,500, all five occupations have seen income increases in recent years.

    According to BLS data, four-year earnings growth for all five occupations is more than 7%. While the BLS doesn’t forecast any forward-looking salary estimates, it estimates that employment in all five occupations will increase by at least 14% from 2019 to 2029.

    Life, physical and social science professions

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    Six of the 40 most promising jobs for employment and pay are in the life, physical and social sciences. They include:

    • Medical professionals (except epidemiologists)
    • Biochemist and biophysicist
    • Economists
    • Epidemiologists
    • City and regional planners
    • Microbiologists

    In these six professions, economists have the highest median earnings ($ 116,630), while biochemists and biophysicists saw the largest salary changes in four years, with median earnings increasing nearly 16%.

    Employment growth of over 11% is expected in each of the six occupations over the next 10 years.

    In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BLS predicts the number of epidemiologists in the US will increase 31.0% from 2019 to 2029, the sixth highest rate for this metric across all 40 occupations. The medical profession (excluding epidemiologists) follows closely behind with an expected 10-year growth rate of 28.9%.

    Note that this is SmartAsset’s second study of the most promising jobs in terms of employment and pay. Check out the previous issue here.

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