By | Deanna deBara | www.themuse.com
You want to pursue a career in a field you’re excited about. But if you’re like most people, you also want to go down a path that’s going to provide lucrative opportunities—not just right now but for years (or decades!) to come—and that means choosing a high-paying job that’s in demand today and will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future.
But how do you know what types of jobs are going to provide those opportunities—both today and five or 10 years down the line? Fortunately, you don’t have to guess. Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases employment projections for growth both overall and for each individual occupation over a period of 10 years. Nothing is ever certain—and the most recent projections, which use models based on historical data through 2019, don’t take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—but the BLS growth predictions can give you a good sense of the long-term trajectory of a huge range of roles.
Let’s take a look at 15 high-paying jobs that are poised for serious growth over the next decade. For the purposes of this list, we’ve defined “high-paying” as jobs whose median pay in 2020, according to BLS, was above the median household income in the U.S., which was $68,703 in 2019. And “poised for serious growth” means BLS has projected this occupation will grow “faster than average” or “much faster than average” over the next 10 years. (For reference, the average growth rate for all occupations is 4%.)
Median salary in 2020: $111,030
Projected growth rate between 2019 and 2029: 18% (much faster than average)
Actuaries typically work for insurance companies and are responsible for evaluating risk. Actuaries use math, data, and statistics to determine whether their employer should issue a policy to a potential customer—whether that’s an individual or a business—and, if they determine a policy should be issued, what the premium should be. Actuaries make evaluations regarding health, life, automobile, homeowners, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation insurance, as well as retirement benefits and other investments.
A degree in actuarial science (which focuses on using math and statistical modeling to assess risk) or a related field (such as math or statistics) is a must. Plus, actuaries need to pass a series of rigorous exams over the course of several years in order to be certified to do the job by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries (SOA).
Median salary in 2020: $88,950
Projected growth rate between 2019 and 2029: 10% (much faster than average)
Industrial engineers are in the business of optimization and efficiency. They use math, statistics, science, and engineering principles to evaluate people, systems, and processes within a business—including supply chains, operations, finance, and machinery or equipment. Their goal is to figure out the most effective way to integrate the systems and processes needed to create a product or service. They ensure businesses keep costs low and productivity high and hit organizational goals (for example, shipping a new product by a certain deadline or optimizing shipping and delivery operations).
In order to succeed as an industrial engineer, a bachelor’s in industrial engineering or a related field is a must—and many industrial engineers go on to pursue advanced degrees.