For those going to school or thinking about their future careers, it can be hard to choose a field to enter. There are so many options that it can be overwhelming. Another factor is determining whether to pursue a passion or find a more “practical” job. As technology keeps rapidly advancing, the workforce is changing all the time. Additionally, the United States population is getting older, leading jobs in the medical and healthcare professions to be in-demand. Luckily, the healthcare industry is pretty much recession-proof, so a career in the medical field provides job security.
From healthcare to plumbing to computer programming, there is a wide variety of great careers to choose from. It’s difficult to tell what kind of jobs you should be looking out for in the future. Many positions require a certain level of education for their employees. Knowing this kind of information would give you a headstart on what subjects you should be taking in school to set yourself up for a prosperous future. But you don’t have to struggle with that anymore! Here are some of the top careers that will be in demand in 2024.
1. Home Healthcare Aide
It sounds simple enough, but what does the job actually entail? Being a home healthcare aide involves assisting those who can’t take care of themselves, either because of age, illness or some kind of disability. You may perform any number of tasks, involving helping the person to move around, bathing them, helping with their medications, or doing chores in and out of the home. Most home healthcare aides work primarily in the client’s house, but can also be needed for transportation and help outside the home.
There is no formal education required to be a home healthcare aide. Typically, a high school diploma is required, and on-the-job training is provided. The completion of a training program and passing a standardized test will prepare you for being a home healthcare aide. This job would prefer you to be very personable, as you’re going to be interacting with people all day. The average median salary for this position is $24,280.
2. Occupational Therapy Aide
Occupational therapy aides are assistants who help patients develop and improve their skills to function in their daily lives after an incident has occurred. They help to set up the equipment involved in patients’ therapy, make appointments, and deal with the medical forms required. People of all ages can benefit from occupational therapy to improve their health and well-being.
Becoming an occupational therapy aide requires a high school diploma. More experience occupational therapy aides or assistants provide quality training on the job. It helps to have CPR and Basic Life Support certification. An aide is usually paid by the hour since their involvement in the therapy process isn’t very extensive. On average, occupational therapy aides earn $33,780.
3. Operations Research Analyst
If you’re looking for a more rewarding career, you may want to consider an operations research analyst. They are high-level problem solvers that use all the tools at their disposal to create solutions for businesses. The aim is to help them operate more effectively through the use of data analysis and statistics to see what the best prospects are.
It does require you to have a Bachelor’s Degree in the proper field before you can start employment, but the majority of those who have entered the area have been delighted with their job. Be aware that many employers look for operations research analysts with a Master’s Degree. A degree in business, analytics, management, or operations research can be advantageous during the hiring process. This position will earn you $78,630 per year.
4. Physical Therapy Aide
This is not the same as being a physical therapy assistant. A physical therapy aide is more involved in the clerical side of things. That includes arranging appointments, making sure schedules are kept updated, keeping certain areas clean, and moving patients to or from treatment areas.
It can be an enriching experience to help people get better again after an injury. To become a physical therapy aide, you will need at least a high school diploma and receive some on-job training before you start working. Because most of this job is clerical, strong computer skills are encouraged. If you want to become a physical therapy assistant, eventually, you can get started in the field by becoming an aide. Physical therapy aides earn a yearly average salary of $25,730.
5. Physical Therapist
Being a physical therapist involves hands-on care that helps patients to improve their quality of life after an injury, invasive surgery, or physical disability. They teach patients how to reduce the pain they’re suffering from, restore the function in certain parts of the body, and increase mobility and improve their overall lifestyle.
Being a physical therapist requires some detailed knowledge about anatomy and how the body works. That’s why you need a doctoral or professional degree before you can become involved in the practice. Doctor of Physical Therapy programs are roughly three years long, and most programs require a bachelor’s degree before being admitted. All states require a physical therapist to be licensed. The median annual salary for physical therapists is $84,020.
Being a statistician requires a lot of math and a mind for numbers. You may think that they sit around all day working numbers, but their work is actually more involved than that. They design surveys and experiments in order to ensure that the data is sound and reliable. Additionally, they analyze and interpret data, reporting the conclusions from their analysis.
Because it’s such a math-heavy occupation, it requires that you have a Master’s Degree before you consider applying to any jobs. Becoming an intern during college can help you get a job once you obtain your degree. Several free online courses can help you boost your skills. If you love math and analytics, consider becoming a statistician! Statisticians make an average of $80,110 per year.
7. Wind Turbine Service Technician
Wind turbines are slowly becoming the means to which we get power in our homes. It’s a great source of alternative energy, especially during a time when we’re running out of fossil fuels. Working as a turbine service technician does require some college experience, but you don’t need a Bachelor’s Degree. A two-year technical program should be enough to get a job as a wind turbine service technician.
The great thing is that you will receive some long-term on-job training in the meantime, learning how to inspect turbines inside and out, how to perform routine maintenance, and replacing parts that are no longer working. This job is extremely hands-on and requires you to work outside. You may be asked to be on call during weekends and evenings for emergencies. Wind turbine service technicians can make about $51,050 per year.
8. Physician Assistant
Are you interested in working in the medical field but don’t want to be a doctor? Being a physician assistant may be just what you’re looking for. You can perform physical examinations on patients, make diagnoses, and counsel patients on preventative health, to name a few of the tasks you’ll accomplish in this line of work.
You do need to get a Master’s Degree before considering this line of profession, as you will be involved in some medical aspects in the office. To get accepted into a physician assistant master’s program, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in science. It’s also recommended that you have some experience in a health-related job. All 50 states require a physician assistant to be licensed. The median annual salary for a physician assistant is $98,180.
9. Physical Therapy Assistant
A physical therapy assistant works under a physical therapist, learning the basics of the trade. They’ll perform specific tasks, such as give proper massages, instruct patients how to use treatment equipment and adaptive devices as well as how to do balance training. Physical therapy assistants take notes on the progress of each patient, make observations on improvement, and show patients and their families how to do the exercises at home.
Because the job is more involved than an aide, there is a requirement that you have an Associate’s Degree before applying. You must also be licensed in your state to work. A physical therapy assistant should be good at listening, communicating, and critical thinking. On average, physical therapy assistants earn $42,980 a year.
10. Personal Financial Advisor
Financial advisors assess the financial needs of their clients and provide assistance and information on how to meet or surpass those needs. They educate their clients on the different kinds of investment options, what kind of financial options are open to them, and monitor their accounts to determine what choices can be made in the future to improve their clients’ economic prospects better.
Becoming a financial advisor does quire a Bachelor’s Degree, but getting hired puts you through some long-term training on the job to ensure you’re heading in the right direction. It also helps to obtain a financial planning certification like the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. Having a master’s degree in finance or business administration may boost your likelihood of advancement as a personal financial advisor can net $89,160 per year.
11. Occupational Therapy Assistant
Being an occupational therapy assistant is more involved than being an aide. They work together with therapists to develop treatment plans for each patient and can be involved in different kinds of therapy. For example, one assistant could demonstrate to a patient how to get from a bed to a wheelchair without injury, while another could specialize in learning disabilities and teaching patients how to become more independent.
Occupational therapy assisting is a highly satisfying career that requires an Associate’s Degree, so don’t think that you’re going to be able to scrape by learning on the job. You will also be required to be licensed by your state. An occupational therapy assistant may be asked to become certified in CPR. The average median salary for this position is $54,520.
12. Nurse Practitioner
We’ve all met a nurse practitioner when we’ve had a doctor’s visit. Keep in mind that these aren’t the same as registered nurses, but may be capable in some states of performing the same functions. They can perform specific diagnostic tests, diagnose various health problems, and provide medications and treatment options to patients.
Nurse practitioners should be good at problem-solving, communicating, and being compassionate. Nurse practitioners can earn a decent livable wage; the occupation does require that you have at least a Master’s Degree. A Doctorate in Nursing Practice or Ph.D. is also an option. Additionally, you will be required to be licensed in the state you work in. Nurse practitioners can make about $104,740 per year.
13. Solar Panel Installer
Solar panels are also another renewable resource that more and more people are getting into. With more people purchasing them annually, there is a need for there to be more installers to reduce the backlog. You’ll be in charge of installing solar panels and their systems to provide power to homes and other buildings. You’ll also be involved with connecting panels to the electrical systems, perform maintenance in the future, and help clients troubleshoot any problems they may have.
You’ll need at least a high school diploma before being hired, as you’ll receive on-job training in the meantime. Be advised that most of this job is spent on a roof, so if you’re afraid of heights, it’s probably not an ideal career for you. You should also be prepared to work with a team, especially on big jobs. The median salary for this position is $53,751.
14. Software Developer
Since smartphones have become more and more popular, there has been a rising demand for software developers for apps and other programs. And this demand isn’t showing any signs of fizzling out any time soon. New apps get released on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store every day. This market is hot!
Professionals are always looking for apps that increase their productivity, while others are looking for sources of entertainment. Either way, companies are always looking for eager minds who are interested in creating new programs to steal people’s eye. Such a field requires that you have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a related subject, such as software engineering or computer science. Expect to earn an average of $100,690 as a software developer.
Math is one of those fundamental courses that everyone has to learn throughout school. But working as a professional mathematician involves more than just algebra and trigonometry. Advanced skills in math can lead to very lucrative and high-paying jobs, such as data analysis and solving problems for the government.
If you love working with numbers, consider a career in the mathematics field. In order to get a job in this field, you’ll need at least a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. Having strong communication skills is also a plus, as you’ll need to convey the information in a way for laypeople to understand. Mathematicians can make about $111,110 a year.
16. Bicycle Repairer
More and more people are riding their bikes wherever they go. This is likely due to high gas prices, wanting to be more healthy, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. No matter the reason, bicycles are being used more frequently and that means that they’re going to need knowledgeable people to repair them when they break.
If you love working with your hands and fixing things, being a bicycle repair person is an excellent job! You’ll need at least a high school diploma, and you’ll get training while you’re on the job. You’ll learn how to repair and install tires and wheels, repair brakes, and perform overall maintenance on different parts of a bike. You can earn a median salary of $24,412 as a bike repairer.
17. Information Security Analyst
With everyone saving their information to the Cloud, information systems are becoming more and more complex as the years pass. That means that there needs to be new ways to protect all of this information. There are always going to be those who exploit loopholes to get the information that they want, no matter how badly their actions ruin people’s lives.
Working in information security analysis requires a Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant major like computer science, programming, or information assurance. Strong knowledge in data security, hardware, software, and information systems is also helpful. Having a Master’s Degree, however, would provide more job opportunities and assurance of job stability in the future. This job is lucrative, earning an average of $90,120 a year.
18. Genetic Counselor
It may sound like a complicated job, but the prospect of it is actually straightforward. A genetic counselor is someone who examines a person’s genes to discover inherited conditions so that patients can make decisions about their health. This is also important for those who are considering having children and don’t want them to be born with any congenital disabilities or genetic conditions.
This area of expertise is steadily growing, and more people are becoming interested in the backstory of their genetics. You’ll need a Master’s Degree before you can start, as well as a certification from the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Experience in the healthcare field can also help you get a good position. Being a genetic counselor can net you an average $72,090 per year.
19. Forest Fire Inspector
Forest fires are becoming more and more devastating each year, especially on the West Coast. The dry conditions make it difficult for anything to grow, and the severe heat increases the chances of a fire occurring. Accidental fires have also been started due to fireworks and cigarettes.
Inspectors and prevention specialists work to understand how they start, what can be done to prevent them, and how to stop one quickly. There’s also the need to be aware of public safety issues and regulations, and being able to remain calm under severe pressure. You won’t need more than a high school diploma, but having a Bachelor’s Degree in fire science is often preferred. Inspectors of forest fires bring in $42,000 per year.
20. Teacher in Health Specialties
Many people want to enter health specialty fields, such as medicine, physical therapy, and pharmaceutical sciences. But without teachers to lead the way, there’s no one to provide them with the information that they need. Becoming a teacher alone is a rewarding experience, but with the demand for more people entering these fields, there’s a need for more teachers.
Becoming a teacher in any of these fields likely means that you’ll be working at the college level in junior colleges and trade schools. You must have a lot of knowledge in this field, and so requires at least a doctorate or some other kind of professional degree. Teachers in the medical profession may also be necessary to have up-to-date first aid and CPR certifications. Health teachers earn roughly $56,690.
21. Derrick Operator
As long as oil and gas are being used as significant energy sources, then there is going to be the driving need for derrick operators. This kind of job includes the drilling of oil and its collection, as well as gas. And since this takes place in various areas of the world, it might require a bit of travel to find a job. Government agencies also hire derrick operators for building dams, power plants, and bridges.
You do receive training on the job, and there’s no formal requirement for a degree of any kind. Expect to work in very remote areas where you’ll likely live onsite until the job is over. If you don’t mind a job that is extremely physical and dirty, you may like to work as a derrick operator. On average, derrick operators make $46,120.
Just like derrick operators, roustabouts are also involved in the drilling and collection of gas and oil. They work alongside derrick operators to ensure that everything in the process goes smoothly. They work on the maintenance of the equipment, such as cleaning the machines and pipes, as well as finding leaks and making sure they’re taken care of.
They receive on-job training and work periods last for long periods in very remote areas. However, the upside to working these long shifts is that there are extended breaks involved. You need to be very familiar with the machines and tools you work with. As a roustabout, it’s essential to know how to listen well and be able to troubleshoot on the job. For roustabouts, the average salary is $36,000.
It’s a weird word for someone who draws blood for testing, but their job is a pretty important one. Anything involving a blood test of any kind has had a phlebotomist required to collect the blood. They’re also involved in blood transfusions and blood donation, so that can be somewhat of a rewarding experience as well.
Although you’ll need to have some foundational experience in medicine and medical terms, you don’t need the advanced knowledge of a doctor or nurse. You will need to have some post-secondary award, such as a certificate or diploma. Phlebotomists will have a better chance of finding employment if you’ve received some professional certification. The median salary for this position is $31,630.
24. Rotary Drill Operator
Oil companies seem to be expanding more and more each year, and they’ll need an influx of employees to operate their machinery. Working a rotary drill produces the material that is refined and turned into fossil fuel that people use in their daily lives. That means you’ll be involved in the erection and operation of drilling machinery, maintenance, training crews, and making repairs when machinery breaks.
A formal degree is not required for this kind of job, but it helps to have some knowledge of machinery as a whole, as well as good critical thinking skills when it comes to solving problems. It helps if you are comfortable working outdoors in a variety of weather conditions and have a steady hand. Additionally, you will need to learn how to use job-related software programs. The median salary for a rotary drill operator is $53,800.
25. Registered Nurse
A registered nurse is tasked with treating patients and giving advice to them and their families. They are also skilled at providing emotional support for those in their care that are struggling. Registered nurses may become certified in a wide variety of nursing specialties, including oncology, pediatrics, and neonatology.
The median salary for a registered nurse is $71,730. Registered nurses are required to have a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing or an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. A Bachelor’s program for nursing takes roughly two to three years to complete. Ideally, nurses are compassionate, emotionally stable, and have an excellent bedside manner.
26. Medical Services Manager
You may not have heard the term medical services manager before, but you’ve probably encountered one. A medical services manager, also known as a healthcare administrator, is known for leading medical facilities. They also oversee specific clinical areas as well as manage medical practices for groups of physicians.
A medical services manager must be up to date with new regulations to deliver quality healthcare services. Most medical services managers have a Bachelor’s degree, but a Master’s is helpful. Having a degree in fields like health services, public health, and business administration are ideal. The median annual salary for a medical services manager is $88,850.
27. Medical Technologist
A medical technologist, also known as a laboratory technologist, performs tests for healthcare professionals that are designed to detect, diagnose, and treat medical issues. Lab techs work in a lab and work on complex testing for various diseases. Medical technologists can specialize in a certain field like immunology, microbiology, and histotechnology.
Most medical technologists work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and diagnostic laboratories. The median annual pay for this field is $51,770. The required education for this job is a Bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science. You must also be licensed to practice in your state. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and reading comprehension are valuable skills for this profession.
Dentists examine teeth to diagnose any mouth issues. Dentistry is a great field to enter! There are numerous specialties to choose from, including orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, and oral and maxillofacial surgery.
To work as a dentist, you need to graduate from a dental school that is accredited with the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. If you choose a specialty, you’ll need to spend another year or two in a residency. There are just 50 dental schools in the United States, most of which require a Bachelor’s degree or two years of pre-dental education. A dentist’s median salary is about $145,240.
One industry that will always be thriving is the plumbing field. Plumbers install and repair pipes that lead to and from homes and businesses. They help with installing bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and other fixtures. Plumbers are excellent at troubleshooting issues and solving problems.
Plumbing is a physical job, so be prepared to get your hands dirty. All plumbers are required to do an apprenticeship with an experienced plumber. These apprenticeships last from four to five years and require 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. To be accepted into an apprenticeship, you need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma. The average median salary for a plumber is $53,910.
30. Construction Laborer
Construction laborers are responsible for handling various physical tasks on building sites. These laborers work under the supervision of construction supervisors and carefully follow building plans provided to them by architects. Laborers can choose to work in a specific area of construction like bricklaying, carpentry, pipefitting, and roofing.
The median salary for a construction laborer is $34,810. This labor-intensive job has no educational requirements. Workers can find jobs in construction with no formal training. If you’d like to raise your wages, you can participate in an apprenticeship and earn an Associate’s degree. Most construction laborers receive on-the-job training from more experienced construction workers.
31. Wholesale Sales Representative
Wholesale sales representatives work on behalf of manufacturers to sell products to governments, businesses, and organizations. Some work for a company that produces goods, and others may work for an independent sales agency that works with wholesalers. The primary industries that wholesale sales representatives sell from are technical and scientific.
Duties of a wholesale sales representative include selling to retail accounts, organizing and stocking shelves during a store visit, and participating in on-site training. The median salary for this position is $79,680. Formal education isn’t required, but it could help with advancement to have a Bachelor’s degree in marketing or another related field.
32. Construction Manager
Construction managers are in charge of overseeing building projects and managing job sites. These people work in scheduling, monitoring finances, and keeping the entire job site safe and free of hazards. Roughly three-quarters of construction managers in the United States are independent contractors.
From small home renovations to full-scale commercial building projects, construction managers are a valuable part of any building job. Most clients will require a construction manager to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a related field. The median salary for a construction manager in the US is $91,370. This job requires someone to be strong, able to lead a team, and be able to pay close attention to detail.
33. Secondary School Teacher
Secondary school teachers teach children in high school. They may have a specialty like math, science, or history that they primarily teach in. High school teachers must work hard to prepare their students for life after high school, whether that involves college or a job.
All high school teachers are required to have a Bachelor’s degree in education. They must also participate in a teacher preparation program with supervised teaching experience. Additionally, teachers need to pass a state exam to become licensed. Occasionally, a state may require a teacher to have a Master’s degree. The median salary for secondary school teachers in the United States is $57,200.
34. Truck Driver
With the vast amount of goods being shipped around the world, truck drivers are essential! Over 70 percent of freight in the United States is transported via truck. Truck drivers safely load cargo onto trucks, inspect vehicles for safety, and strictly follow federal and state regulations.
Depending on years of experience and time on the road, the salary for truck drivers varies. Annually, the median salary is $43,680. Truck drivers are required to have their Class A license and complete a training course before they get on the road. Drivers in the United States must be at least 21 years old and pass a physical exam every two years. This job is also very physical, so you should be in good shape to get in and out of the truck easily.
35. Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts are hired by companies to help get their computers working well and efficiently. They take the current systems a company has and incorporate up-to-date technology. These computer systems analysts also determine the best ways to run a company’s technology while being financially sound.
There are three areas of computer systems analysis to choose from. You can be a systems designer, quality assurance analyst, or programmer analyst. As a computer systems analyst, you’ll have to research new technology, consult with clients, and oversee installations. Most companies require a computer systems analyst to have a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. The median salary for this job is $88,740.
36. Line Manager
A line manager is essential to the daily operations of most businesses. They keep an eye on other employees and report their findings to a higher-ranking manager. Line managers work as a liaison between upper management and employees.
In addition to overseeing employees, line managers hire talent, train new hires, and ensure quality standards on the job. This job can be challenging and require long hours. A Bachelor’s degree is the typical requirement for a line manager. Choose a degree in management, marketing, or economics. The line manager median salary is $65,466.
37. Electrical Engineer
As construction continues to rise in this country, the need for electrical engineers grows with it. This job involves the design and development of electrical equipment. Electrical engineers design equipment used in cars, aircraft, communication systems, motors, and navigation systems.
The median salary for an electrical engineer is $96,640. This job is complicated and requires quite a bit of education. Electrical engineers must have a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and be licensed by the state they work in. They must also go through an internship and gain some work experience before being hired by a company. By being licensed, electrical engineers can provide public services and supervise other engineers.
38. Elementary School Teacher
Elementary school teachers are a valuable part of a child’s life. These teachers work with children ages five through thirteen. Because they work with children of varying ages, elementary school teachers must be prepared to tend to their needs.
Most elementary school teachers choose to teach in a particular grade level with one classroom full of students of the same age. Many states require a teacher to specialize in a specific grade. Like all teachers, elementary school teachers must have a Bachelor’s degree in education. They must also go through a student-teaching program to gain teaching experience. The median salary for an elementary school teacher is $57,160.
39. Computer and Information Systems Manager
Computer and information systems managers are responsible for coordinating computer-related activities for corporations and organizations. This position can specialize in a variety of areas, including information technology, technology strategy, and new technology. The computer and information systems manager needs to analyze computer requirements, assist with upgrades, and keep networks secure.
This job pays quite a lot, with the median salary being $142,530. Most computer and information systems manager positions ask that you have a Bachelor’s degree in computer or information science. Some prefer a manager with a Master’s degree. These managers need to have excellent leadership, communication, and analytical skills.
Lawyers are responsible for practicing law and representing clients in all legal matters. A lawyer can represent an individual client, businesses, a litigating party, or the government. The duties of a lawyer varied depending on the area of law they practice.
Lawyers need to research cases, meet with clients, take depositions, and draft legal documents. The average median salary for a lawyer in the United States is $119,250. It takes roughly seven years of education after high school to become a lawyer. You need a Bachelor’s degree as well as a three-year degree from a law school. To become a licensed lawyer, you must pass the bar exam in your state. Additionally, lawyers are required to complete continuing education each year to keep their licenses active.