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Top 10 best jobs of the future: 2014

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The U.S. economy gained 304,000 jobs in April, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy for many individuals to find employment in 2014 or over the next decade.

To boost your chances, of course, it’s probably worth targeting jobs that are experiencing rapid growth and have decent pay scales – such as work as a financial advisor.

Kiplinger does this work for jobseekers each year, looking at 10-year employment projections, education requirements and income figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The BLS puts out employment projections every two years, and we look at the change of numbers for each job and the rate of change for each job,” explained Stacy Rapacon, online editor for Kiplinger, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “We also take into account the median income for each job and the typical educational requirement.”

Across all occupations, the BLS estimates 10-year job growth to be 10.8 percent. It also puts the average annual salary within the U.S. economy at $22,670 to $56,860.

This year, Kiplinger also factored in a job’s stress level, as measured by the BLS and analyzed by career expert Laurence Shatkin. The average stress level across the BLS is 53.1.

Financial advisors made the Best 10 List for a second year in a row, according to Rapacon.

“Once the economy got rockier in 2008, more people needed help with their finances,” she explained. “Plus, aging baby boomers need advice heading into retirement, and that has driven need for advisors.”

Read on for details on the Best 10 Jobs of the Future, ranked in relative order of job growth and salary range.


10. Brickmason

10-year growth projection: 35.5%

Annual salary range: $35,860 to $62,810

Total number of U.S. workers: 58,730

Typical education: high school diploma

Stress score: 46.2

Construction of new homes – many of which require brickmasons – is expected to include at least 1.07 million new homes this year, Kiplinger estimates, which is a 15% jump from last year.

“With the expansion of the housing market, a growth number of brickmasons will find plenty of opportunities,” Rapacon said.

“We had the issue of bubble [and its aftermath] for a while, but inventory is filling up and more construction is expected for 2014 and into the future,” she shared. “Bricks are a great way to build houses.”


9. Market Research Analyst

10-year growth projection: 31.6%

Annual salary range: $44,110 to $85,310

Total number of U.S. workers: 430,350

Typical education: bachelor’s degree

Stress score: 45.8

Market research analysts are needed to help companies improve their relationships with clients, for instance, and perform other data-centric tasks.

“There’s a general business need,” said Rapacon. “But the big factor driving demand for this job is the surge in ‘big data.’ Analysts are needed to deal with this and to crunch numbers that benefit businesses, which are looking for employees with a mathematical mindset and analytical thinking.”


8. Dental Hygienist

10-year growth projection: 33.3%

Annual salary range: $59,600 to $85,310

Total number of U.S. workers: 192,330

Typical education: associate’s degree

Stress score: 55.7

Or course, everyone needs to go to the dentist, says Kiplinger’s online editor, “and probably more than we want to go.”

The work of a dental hygienist requires less training than that of a dentist and some other posts in health care, she adds.

“It’s a great job if you don’t mind cleaning teeth, but it is stressful,” Rapacon added.

The median salary for a dental hygienist is more than double that of an assistant, according to the BLS.


7. Physical Therapist

10-year growth projection: 36.0%

Annual salary range: $67,700 to $93,820

Total number of U.S. workers: 195,670

Typical education: professional or doctoral degree

Stress score: 54.0

Growth in this field is tied to the explosion of aging baby boomers.

This population segment is growing,” Rapacon said, “and getting older requires more physical therapy.”

Many more workers will be needed to care for boomers who experience heart attacks and strokes, for instance. Plus, ongoing advances in medicine mean that people will live longer and require more rehabilitation.

These dynamics also are likely to push demand for occupational therapists up 29% over the next decade.


6. Civil Engineer

10-year growth projection: 19.7%

Annual salary range: $63,850 to $101,660

Total number of U.S. workers: 262,170

Typical education: bachelor’s degree

Stress score: 51.0

Civil engineers design and supervise large construction projects, such as airports, bridges, roads and sewer systems.

“The need for these engineers is expanding because of the growing population [in some areas] and the need for improving existing infrastructure that may be weakening or crumbling,” Rapacon explained.


5. Management Consultant

10-year growth projection: 18.6%

Annual salary range: $59,360 to $106,950

Total number of U.S. workers: 567,840

Typical education: bachelor’s degree

Stress score: 47.9

These professionals, also referred to as management analysts, aim to help businesses boost efficiency, cut costs and raise profits.

“They work on bigger-picture issues rather than things like store locations and price points, the Kiplinger expert shared.

“These consultants focus on how a business can move up or expand its client base, for instance,” she added.

Workers in this field can start out with a bachelor’s degree. “But overtime, they would benefit from having the Certified Management Consultant designation and/or getting an MBA to be competitive,” Rapacon said.  


4. Information Security Analyst

10-year growth projection: 36.5%

Annual salary range: $67,120 to $113,100

Total number of U.S. workers: 78,020

Typical education: bachelor’s degree

Stress score: 50.1

With the increase in digital threats, organizations are looking for protection of their information, especially those working in health care and finance.

“Information security analysts are like cyber-security specialist, but they specifically work on networks and not just online,” Rapacon explained.


3. App Developer

10-year growth projection: 22.8%

Annual salary range: $72,290 to $116,630

Total number of U.S. workers: 643,830

Typical education: bachelor’s degree

Stress score: 46.4

Kiplinger says the proliferation of mobile devices has caused a boom in the need for new applications.

“We are talking about the fact that these jobs involve mainly working with mobile technology, which is tied to the increasing use of mobile devices,” the Kiplinger expert explained.  “We are all always using smartphones these days.”


2. Financial Advisor

10-year growth projection: 27.0%

Annual salary range: $49,410 to $124,680

Total number of U.S. workers: 183,420

Typical education: bachelor’s degree

Stress score: 51.7

“As Americans age and pensions become a thing of the past, the value of good investment advice will only grow,” reports Kiplinger.

In addition, market crashes like that of 2008 or weak periods bring great demand for investment help.  

“Overall, aging baby boomers is the big driver for this need,” said Rapacon. “Plus, the job scores pretty low on the stress scale, which is a nice benefit.”

She notes, of course, that the need for advisors to be “exact and accurate,” as well as the stress they feel in working to maintain or improve their clients’ financial health, should not be minimized.

The payoff? Advisors have the second-highest earnings potential on this Best 10 list.


1. Health Specialties Professor

10-year growth projection: 36.1%

Annual salary range: $55,340 to $138,070

Total number of U.S. workers: 163,850

Typical education: doctoral or professional degree

Stress score: 51.9

Demographics and technology are colliding, which has boosted the demand for a wide variety of health-care professionals.

This means training.

“Health specialties professors work at colleges, but they do not teach nursing or at nursing schools,” Rapacon noted. “And they don’t necessarily have to have an M.D. degree. It depends on the field, though it always helps to have professional experience.”

See also: 14 best paying jobs for college business majors: 2014


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