What are the Fastest-Growing Jobs for College Graduates?

Posted By Terri Williams on August 2, 2016 at 8:26 am
What are the Fastest-Growing Jobs for College Graduates?

“Job growth rate” is an important term for college students to learn, understand, and reference when selecting and evaluating majors. The job growth rate is projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on a rolling 10-year basis and is used to predict how much an occupation will increase or decrease in demand.

For example, the BLS projects a -9% growth rate for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts. Within the next 10 years, it predicts that close to 5,000 of these professionals will be laid off. That may not sound like a lot of lost jobs, but there are only 54,400 people working in this field. In fact, this projection has led CareerCast to rank newspaper reporter as one of the worst jobs in the country.

As a point of comparison, the BLS projects a 7% national average growth rate for occupations in the U.S. However, a recent report by Forbes lists the 20 fastest-growing jobs in the country and the median annual pay for each position.  GoodCall condensed the list to focus on the fastest-growing jobs for college graduates.


Job Growth Rate Median Pay
Nurse Practitioner 35% $95,350
Physical Therapist 34% $82,390
Statistician 34% $79,990
Physician Assistant 30% $95,820
Operations Research Analyst 30% $76,660
Personal Financial Advisor 30% $81,060
Cartographer and Photogrammetrist 29% $60,930
Genetic Counselor 29% $67,500
Interpreter and Translator 29% $43,590
Audiologist 29% $73,060
Optometrist 27% $101,410

What’s fueling these growth rates?

GoodCall asked a handful of experts to help readers understand why some of these particular jobs were experiencing astronomical growth rates.


Over half of the jobs on the list are in healthcare. Traci Fiatte, group president of Randstad US, explains there is more than one reason the healthcare sector has some of the fastest-growing jobs for college graduates. “Healthcare organizations are in an age of transition, facing a changing external environment, as well as factors such as increasing regulations, empowered customers, more competitors, and new service delivery models that are all putting pressure on these companies and their leaders.”

In addition, Fiatte says the country’s population is aging, seniors are living much longer, and the Affordable Care Act has resulted in millions of new people gaining access to health services. She explains, “All of these changes require more skilled, engaged and satisfied workers – but at the same time, a large number of experienced healthcare workers are set to retire.” For example, Fiatte says more than 1 million registered nurses will reach retirement age within the next 10 to 15 years, and experts predict a nursing shortage.

According to Mel Jones, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and motivational speaker, “It makes sense that the fastest growing jobs are in the healthcare industry because 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any give time.” And Jones adds that obesity rates have increased every year for several decades, which has resulted in more health problems and injuries, leading to an increased need for healthcare professionals.


However, healthcare isn’t the only area experiencing significant growth: statistician is the fastest-growing nonmedical job. According to Fiatte, “The availability of data, the amount of data, and the speed with which data is received is greater than ever and will continue to grow, and companies need statisticians to process this information accurately and quickly.”

The need for individuals who can process data to help companies make decisions also fuels the growth for operations research analysts. Bruce Harpham, founder of ProjectManagementHacks.com tells GoodCall, “Outsourcing, technological change, and relentless pressure from Wall Street have prompted companies to improve their operations.” Harpham notes that such companies as IBM and Bank of America experienced declining revenue and profits earlier this year. “When those declines occur, it prompts companies to focus more heavily on cost reduction and operational efficiency,” Harpham says.

While declining profits may spur the increase in demand for some jobs, the retirement income crisis has fueled the need for personal financial advisers. Robert R. Johnson, PhD, CFA, president and CEO of The American College of Financial Services, says the shift from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution pension plans, along with the low financial literacy levels among Americans of all ages, and the fact that seniors are now living longer are all factors in this crisis.

According to Johnson, “People near retirement are not prepared to do so, and the vast majority of working Americans simply aren’t saving enough for retirement.” And he says the problem is compounded by the shortage of qualified, reputable, and certified financial advisers.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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