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5 Fast-Growing Jobs You've Never Heard Of


Little-known but fast-growing jobs appeal to those who like to zig when everybody else zags. We tracked down five occupations that have attractive growth prospects, obscure-sounding titles and above-average pay.

We found them with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupation Finder, which lists more than 500 job descriptions and lets users sort them down by projected growth rate, annual salary and education level. All of the careers we found are expected to grow more than 20 percent from 2010 to 2020; average job growth for all careers nationwide is about 14 percent, the BLS says.

Biomedical Engineers

2010-2020 growth: 
 62 percent
New jobs by 2020: 9,700
Education/training: Bachelor's degree
2010 median pay: $81,540 per year

Biomedical engineers work on some of the highest of the high-tech medical advances, developing medical devices like prostheses and pacemakers and helping drug and device manufacturers design production lines.

Search for Biomedical Engineering Jobs.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
2010-2020 growth
: 44 percent
New jobs by 2020: 23,400
Education/training: Associate's degree
2010 median pay: $64,380 per year

Sonographers do procedures such as sonograms, ultrasounds and echocardiograms. Michael Wolf, an economist at the BLS, notes that as hospitals strive to contain costs, they turn to these devices to peer inside the body without performing invasive surgeries. This is one of many fast-growing careers that require only an associate's degree to enter the field.

Search for Sonographer Jobs

Glaziers
2010-2020 growth:
42 percent
New jobs by 2020: 17,700
Education/training: High school diploma, apprenticeship
2010 median pay: $36,640 per year

Glaziers install glass exteriors on office buildings, shopping centers and other commercial projects. It's a tough, potentially scary job that's not for those who have issues with heights. Wolf says many new office building are turning to glass exteriors because new varieties of glass offer substantial improvements in energy efficiency.

Search for Glazier Jobs.

Geoscientists
2010-2020 growth:
21 percent
New jobs by 2020: 7,100
Education/training: Bachelor's degree
2010 median pay: $82,500 per year

Geoscientists study the composition of the earth's crust and help develop strategies for environmental protection and restoration. Why are they looking under so many rocks? Mostly in the hope of finding new sources of oil and gas, Wolf says. To do this job, you'll need to enjoy working outdoors at remote locales with extreme climates.

Search for Geoscientist Jobs.

Logisticians
2010-2020 growth:
26 percent
New jobs by 2020: 27,800
Education/training: Bachelor's degree
2010 median pay: $70,800

Logisticians specialize in logistics -- getting goods from manufacturers to wholesalers to retailers and finally into your shopping cart. "Our increasingly globalized marketplace is becoming an increasingly complicated environment," Wolf says, so more logisticians will be needed to manage all the links in the global supply chain.

Search for Logistician Jobs.

The Big Picture on Job Growth

Job hunters need to understand what the BLS is doing with these projections, and what it's not doing. By examining long-term trends in industry and society and comparing them to our current workforce, the BLS figures its projections should come close to being true over the decade-long scope of the projections.
 
"Our projections go over the long term and are intended to capture structural changes in the economy, not business cycle fluctuations," Wolf says. "We're not projecting recessions or booms."

So, the BLS is not picking winners; it's just telling where you might find them.



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