The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts these 10 occupations, which require only a high school or equivalency diploma, will grow faster through 2020 than all other occupations with similar requirements. No formal education is needed and most employers will provide on-the-job training. Some employers prefer to hire job candidates with prior training or experience.
Beware of choosing an occupation merely because it is on a best careers list like this one. While it is important to pick a career with a strong future, you must also make sure it is one that is a good fit for you. Thoroughly explore your career options by reading job descriptions first and then conducting informational interviews with people who work in those occupations in which you are most interested. Do a self assessment to learn about your own interests, personality type, aptitude and values to make sure the occupation you choose matches well with them.
The median wages shown here are provided to give you an idea of what you might earn if you worked in these fields. Earnings vary by employer and depend on factors including level of experience and training, and location. Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to learn about salaries and wages where you live and work.
CareerOneStop, Fastest-Growing Occupations
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013
Reinforcing iron and rebar workers reinforce the concrete found in many building projects with wire mesh, steel bars (rebar) and cables. Employment of these skilled tradespeople is projected to grow by 49% through 2020. They earned a median annual salary of $37,990 and a median hourly wage of $18.27 in 2011.
Construction helpers, including pipelayer, plumber, pipefitter and steamfitter helpers, perform basic tasks on building sites. They assist craftworkers by keeping work areas neat and clean and by carrying tools and materials. We can expect to see a 45% increase in the employment of these helpers through 2020. They earned a median annual salary of $27,010 and median hourly wages of $12.99 in 2011.
Physical therapist aides, sometimes called physical therapy aides, help make therapy sessions productive by preparing treatment rooms and escorting patients to and from them. Employment is expected to increase by 43% through 2020. Physical therapist aides earned a median annual salary of $23,680 and median hourly wages of $11.39 in 2011.
Glaziers cut, fit and install products that are made of glass, including windows, mirrors, shower doors and display cases. There is expected to be a 42% increase in employment through 2020. Glaziers earned a median annual salary of $37,350 and median hourly wages of $17.96 in 2011.
Medical secretaries perform clerical duties in medical offices, including typing, filing, billing, taking phone calls and making appointments. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 41% through 2020. Medical secretaries earned a median annual salary of $30,190 and median hourly wages of $14.51 in 2011.
Brick and block masons use bricks and concrete blocks to build walls, walkways, fences and other structures. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 41% through 2020. Brick and block masons earned a median annual salary of $46,800 and median hourly wages of $22.50 in 2011.
Bicycle repairers fix and maintain bicycles. There is a 38% increase in employment predicted for this occupation through 2020. They earned a median annual salary of $23,210 and median hourly wages of $11.16 in 2011.
Stone masons build structures including walls, fences and walkways using stones. A 37% increase in employment is predicted through 2020. Stone masons earned a median annual salary of $36,640 and median hourly wages of $17.62 in 2011.
Piledriver operators control large machines that hammer heavy beams into the ground. These beams provide support for building foundations, bridges and retaining walls. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 36% through 2020. Piledriver operators' median annual earnings were $45,500 and their median hourly wages were $21.88 in 2011.
Segmental pavers install paving stones, as well as bedding and restraining material. A 33% increase in employment is expected through 2020. Segmental pavers earned a median annual salary of $32,340 and median hourly wages of $15.55 in 2011.