By Gloria Martinez
If you have an English degree, you might remember the warnings of, “You’ll never make a living with that!” (Nicer commenters might have suggested you look into teaching.) Who would have guessed that the demand for content writers with search engine optimization savviness in the digital era would put writers in such high demand—and enable them to command such high salaries?
However, that’s just one option for a fast-growing, high-paying job. You’re no longer necessarily locked into career paths based on your degree, and there’s a lot of overlap. For example, “martech,” the blending of marketing and technology, is a relatively new job title that requires skill sets in very different realms.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles data to showcase the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. For women looking for a job change, it’s a great resource—and perhaps inspiration for not just a change in company, but role.
● Wind-turbine service technician: By far the fastest growing job through 2024 at a rate of 108% faster than average, it’s clear that the demand for alternative, clean energy is intense. The average salary is $51,050, and usual entry requirements are on-the-job training (no degree required). Some technicians attend technical/vocational training schools.
● Occupational therapy assistants: Coming in at number two, these professionals earn an average of $57,870 per year, and the job growth is 43% faster than average. An associate’s degree is usually required as a starting point, followed by technical training programs averaging two years of additional study. In addition to knowledge in health and sciences, the best assistants also have compassion, are physically fit, and are communicative.
● Physical therapist assistants: Earning $55,170 per year, PT assistants often have a background in physical fitness and are perhaps personal trainers (though it’s certainly not a requirement). With a job growth 41% faster than average, and all states requiring at least an associate’s degree, it’s a popular yet fast-track career. You’ll also need an additional two years of training and physical strength to carry out job responsibilities.
● Home health aides: This career is growing 38% faster than average, and offers an average salary of $21,920. However, no formal education is necessary, and on the job training is very fast-paced. Some home health aides are drawn to the career out of empathy as well as the option to customize hours and work in a person’s home rather than a facility.
Other fast-growing job roles include commercial truck drivers, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, statisticians and ambulance drivers. Healthcare has always been an industry steeped in high demand and job security.
Prefer to focus on a job change for higher pay? U.S. News reported in early 2017 on the current highest-paying jobs that don’t require a degree. (The highest-paying jobs that do require a degree usually entail advanced degrees leading to a career as an anesthesiologist, surgeon, or other tract that requires extensive time and funding to achieve). For those looking for a fast change in 2017, here are the highlights from the report:
● Radiation therapist: With an average salary of nearly $85,000 and no college degree required, this is by far one of the most lucrative of careers that allows for a fast transition.
● Nuclear medicine technologist: Such a lofty title might sound like you need an M.D., and the average salary of $74,990 is nothing to scoff at, but no degree at all is needed. What does the job entail? Injecting minute amounts of radioactive chemicals into patients to help doctors diagnose conditions.
● Dental hygienist: You can earn an average of $72,720 per year while helping patients improve oral hygiene. A certification is often required.
Again, the majority of jobs are in the healthcare field. If you really want to go for the gold, 2017 could also be the year you apply to medical school—anesthesiologists are the highest-paid professionals according to Business Insider, with an average annual salary of $246,320.
Gloria runs WomenLed.org, which aims to celebrate women’s achievements in the workplace. She believes that while women have made many advancements toward “shattering the glass ceiling,” there is still much to be done. It is her aim to help increase the number of women-led businesses by educating others about the topic.