20 Best Jobs For Fast Growth

best jobs fast growthIf you're stalled or burned out, these fast-growing fields (with relatively low barriers to entry) can help you earn more, get ahead and put life back into your career.



1. Software Developer

Median pay: $82,400

Top pay: $118,000

10-year job growth: 32 percent

Total jobs: 380,000

The job: As technology evolves rapidly, companies continue to need developers to design, test, and debug software programs for mobile devices and apps. Since the landscape changes so often, even longtime developers frequently need to retrain and learn new programs, lowering the barriers to entry for job switchers.

How to switch: If you have a technical background, all you need are self-study courses for vendor-specific program certifications. Tech newbies should start with a programming course at a local college.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

C

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A


-- Find software developer jobs




2. Physical Therapist

Median pay: $75,900

Top pay: $97,800

10-year job growth: 30 percent

Total jobs: 190,000

The job: Health care is a booming field, and the demand for physical therapists is increasing apace. You'll need to go back to school to learn the techniques for increasing patient mobility and decreasing pain, but the two- to three-year graduate program is still far shorter than the time it takes to become a doctor. You can do a nursing degree in that time, but pay and satisfaction are better for PTs.

How to switch: You'll need a master's or the increasingly common three-year doctorate. Learn more at apta.org.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

A

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B


-- Find physical therapist jobs




3. Financial Adviser

Median pay: $93,900

Top pay: $234,000

10-year job growth: 30 percent

Total jobs: 70,000

The job: Boomers wrapping up their careers need guidance managing their retirement, creating demand for advisers. A financial background helps, but equally important are strong interpersonal skills.

How to switch: To become a certified financial planner, you'll probably need course work in financial topics like investing, retirement and taxes, and you must pass a 10-hour exam (go to cfp.net for more information). To be fully credentialed, you'll also need three years of relevant work experience.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

B

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A


-- Find financial adviser jobs




4. Civil Engineer

Median pay: $74,700

Top pay: $110,000

10-year job growth: 24 percent

Total jobs: 170,000

The job: The country's aging infrastructure won't be able to keep up with its growing population without the help of civil engineers. In this field you supervise and design bridges, highways, tunnels, and water and sewage systems. Though the industry has slowed along with the economy, the long-term growth potential is strong, says Kathy Caldwell, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

How to switch: This switch will be smoother if you've studied math or physical science. If not, coursework can take around 18 months. A two-year master's degree is recommended, but some jobs don't require it. For a license, you'll have to pass an exam and amass about four years of relevant work experience.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

B

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B


-- Find civil engineer jobs




5. Marketing Specialist

Median pay: $52,200

Top pay: $79,400

10-year job growth: 28 percent

Total jobs: 90,000

The job: According to a recent survey, chief marketing officers expect marketing budgets to increase 6 percent from last year. That means more work for marketing specialists, a job in which you can focus on areas as narrow as social media or search engine optimization, or be responsible for all aspects of promoting a product, including pricing and advertising.

How to switch: Little formal training is required. You'll have an easier time getting your foot in the door if you have experience with audience engagement or creative thinking. Plus, better to stay in an industry you know. The Business Marketing Association also offers professional development courses.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

C

C

B


-- Find marketing specialist jobs




6. Management Consultant

Median pay: $110,000

Top pay: $200,000

10-year job growth: 24 percent

Total jobs: 120,000

The job: What every business needs, particularly in the wake of the recession, is someone who can come up with ways to improve work flow and profits. That's where management consultants come in. But those interested in trying out this field need to be disciplined enough to work independently and under the pressure of strict deadlines. A willingness to travel is also important since many consultants work on site. Long hours and a little jet lag just go with the territory.

How to switch: It's strongly advised to get a few years of experience under your belt before giving management consulting a try, but there is no specific licensing required. Those with some experience in the field can get certified, which may give job seekers a competitive edge. The Institute of Management Consultants USA offers both professional development courses and a management consultant certification (go to imcusa.org for more information).

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

C

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B


-- Find management consultant jobs




7. Information Technology Consultant

Median pay: $96,500

Top pay: $154,000

10-year job growth: 20 percent

Total jobs: 70,000

The job: After hoarding cash during the recession, many firms are beginning to invest in technology again, much of it focused on mobile devices and applications. To master these complex areas, many firms are enlisting the help of IT consultants, who can recommend and implement improvements to IT systems, resolve system problems and manage the installation of new software and system upgrades.

How to switch: Most IT consultants have bachelor's degrees in computer science, engineering or other related fields, but many consulting firms require an MBA.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

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A


-- Find I.T. consultant jobs




8. Database Administrator

Median pay: $86,600

Top pay: $121,000

10-year job growth: 20 percent

Total jobs: 120,000

The job: Demand for database administrators has been fueled recently by the growth in cloud computing. Many businesses are storing their data and applications on networks via the Internet instead of investing in servers and other infrastructure, and they are turning to database administrators to help manage their assets and keep them secure. As a database administrator, you identify the most effective ways to store a company's data, keep it safe, and troubleshoot when problems crop up.

How to switch: Most database administrators have a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field. If you don't have extensive undergraduate training in technology and computers, a professional credential -- such as getting Microsoft certification or an MBA with a concentration in information systems -- is a good avenue into this career.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

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B


-- Find database administrator jobs




9. Financial Analyst

Median pay: $62,600

Top pay: $91,700

10-year job growth: 20 percent

Total jobs: 250,000

The job: As a financial analyst, you study financial information to produce forecasts of business, industry and economic conditions, and recommend investments and investment timing to companies, investment firms or the investing public. Given fast-changing economic conditions and the use of complex securities, such as derivatives, demand is high for talented financial analysts. Banks, mutual funds and hedge funds are major employers.

How to switch: Most financial analysts have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as finance, economics, statistics, accounting or business. A valued credential is the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation. If you're entering the sector from another industry, an MBA or a master's degree in finance or economics can pave the way.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

C

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B


-- Find financial analyst jobs




10. Environmental Engineer

Median pay: $81,200

Top pay: $113,000

10-year job growth: 31 percent

Total jobs: 50,000

The job: Want to save the earth and earn good money? As an environmental engineer, you get to apply your knowledge of biology, chemistry and other natural sciences to tackle problems such as pollution, waste management and recycling. These skills are quickly becoming sought after as businesses adjust to new water and air regulations, especially in the industrial and manufacturing sectors. Green initiatives are also beginning to catch on in several industries, including automotive (hybrid vehicles) and energy (like Shell Oil's move into wind energy).

How to switch: If you have experience in a related engineering field -- such as mechanical, civil or industrial -- a master's degree in a natural science like geology may be a good stepping stone. Almost all environmental engineers have bachelor's degrees in an engineering discipline.

Quality of life ratings:

Personal satisfaction

Benefit to society

Low stress

Flexibility

B

B

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A


-- Find environmental engineer jobs


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