New Year, New Career: The Fastest-Growing Careers of 2016

Whether you’re looking for a career change or haven’t yet started on your occupational journey, you’ll want to consider one thing for sure: Which area will be in the most demand for years to come? You want a career that will allow for upward mobility, a sense of accomplishment and financial growth. To help you find what you’re looking for, we’ve conducted research and compiled a list of the hottest, fastest growing careers in 2016 and beyond.

Gaming and Sports Book Writers and Runners

Watch out, Vegas! As more states legalize gambling to gain tax revenues and promote tourism, the number of casinos has skyrocketed and are popping up everywhere across the country. As such, gaming operations are looking for an increasing number of gaming and sports book writers and runners. Job duties include posting information on various races and sporting events, assisting in the operation of games such as keno and bingo, operating random number-generating equipment, and scanning and processing winning tickets.

  • Minimum Job Requirements: A high school diploma or equivalent is required, as well as excellent customer service skills.
  • Employment Outlook: Employment in gaming services occupations is projected to grow 10% from 2012 to 2022.*
  • Median Annual Wage in 2014: $22, 560*

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

No longer taboo or relegated to the dark corners of denial, mental health issues have become more mainstream and accepted, and mental health care is increasingly covered by most insurance policies. These factors have led to more individuals who are voluntarily seeking treatment for substance abuse and behavioral disorders—and a greater demand for counselors. While most work full-time, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors may work in all kinds of settings—mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, private practices—to provide treatment for alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders or other behavioral problems.

  • Minimum Job Requirements: Minimum requirements range from a high school diploma and certification to a master’s degree.
  • Employment Outlook: Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is projected to grow 22% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.*
  • Median Annual Wage in 2014: $39,270*

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

As environmental regulations tighten and the world takes a growing interest in pollution monitoring, management and compliance, these types of technicians are needed more than ever. Not only do they regulate waste, clean up contamination and collect samples to help monitor pollution levels, they also work to ensure that environmental violations are prevented.

  • Minimum Job Requirements: Some positions may require a bachelor’s degree, but most typically require an associate’s degree or 2 years of post-secondary education.
  • Employment Outlook: Employment of environmental science and protection technicians is projected to grow 9% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Median Annual Wage in 2014: $42,190*

Wind Turbine Service Technicians

Although it’s a career you may have never considered, wind turbine service technicians have incredible prospects in the future. Wind electricity generation is expected to grow over the coming decade, leading to a rapidly increasing demand for technicians to install and maintain new turbines.

  • Minimum Job Requirements: Most technicians learn their trade by attending a technical school, and many are also trained by their employer after hiring.
  • Employment Outlook: The projected growth in employment from 2014 to 2024 for wind turbine service technicians is an astounding 108%.
  • Median Annual Wage in 2014: $48,800*

Property Managers

If you don’t like the idea of sitting at a desk all day or are looking to shed the predictable 9 to 5 schedule, this may be the career for you. A continuously evolving industry, property management offers a growing number of opportunities across the U.S. and Canada, and features competitive salaries, bonuses and benefits, as well as ongoing opportunities for financial and personal growth. Unlike specialized careers that offer limited variety, property managers take on a range of responsibilities, from showing apartments and meeting with owners, to inspecting the properties and overseeing the day-to-day maintenance and operations. Learn more about why career changers should consider property management careers.

  • Minimum Job Requirements: Although many employers prefer to hire those with a college degree in business administration or real estate, a high school diploma is enough for some introductory management positions.
  • Employment Outlook: Employment of property, real estate and community association managers is projected to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024.
  • Median Annual Wage in 2014: $54,270*

Financial Analysts

If you’re not a numbers person, you may want to shy away from this career. But if money and math are your passion, the world’s increasingly complex financial environment offers a wealth of opportunity. As a financial analyst, you’ll most likely work in an office, providing guidance to businesses and individuals on investment decisions, and assessing the performance of stocks, bonds and other types of investments. Although most analysts work full time, many work more than 40 hours per week and require an astute knowledge of different financial markets and products.

  • Minimum Job Requirements: Most positions typically require a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is often required for advanced positions.
  • Employment Outlook: The financial analyst field is projected to grow 12% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.*
  • Median Annual Wage in 2014: $78,620*

Physician Assistants

As our country is faced with an aging population and a growing shortage of physicians, physician assistants are becoming more and more critical to patients and doctors alike. Under the supervision of doctors, they interpret X-rays and blood tests, record patient progress, conduct routine exams and treat a range of ailments in diverse areas—from family medicine and emergency rooms to specialized fields like psychiatry and sports medicine.

  • Minimum Job Requirements: To be a physician assistant, you must complete a 2-year physician assistant program and pass the national license exam.
  • Employment Outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 38.4% employment growth between 2012 and 2022.
  • Median Annual Wage in 2014: $95,820*

*Data supplied by Bureau of Labor Statistics.