College Advice Blog

Oct 19, 2012

5 Fast-Growing, High-Paying Careers College Students Should Consider

Students who attend college in hopes of receiving a well-paying job would do well to research the fastest growing industries in the nation. The leading industry, by far, is in the health sector, spanning a variety of careers, salaries and requirements. However, there are a couple of careers that made this list that might surprise you.

1. Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical engineers work to improve healthcare through innovative solutions and technological advancements. A biomedical engineer may work to develop prosthetics, pharmaceutical drugs and other technologies that diagnose, monitor and treat diseases. This career path offers a median salary of $81,540 per year. With a high rate of growth, this course of study is a good investment for students, as most positions require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions.

Expected Growth by 2020 61.7%

Anticipated Number of Jobs Created by 2020: 9,700

2. Physical Therapist Assistants & Occupational Therapy Assistants

Occupational Therapy Assistants -- Assistants and aides work under the direction of occupational therapists to help patients develop or recover the skills they need for daily living. Patients could be victims of injuries, illnesses or disabilities. The salary for an Occupational Therapy Assistant is $47,490 and generally requires an associate's degree and clinical fieldwork. Training programs can last several weeks to months, and usually result in licensure, depending on state requirements.

Expected Growth by 2020: 41%

Anticipated Number of Jobs Created by 2020: 14,800

Physical Therapist Assistants -- Physical Therapist Assistants work with patients who have lost mobility and functioning due to illnesses or injuries. Working under the direction of physical therapists, these aides help patients regain movement and manage pain. This job has an average salary of $37,710 per year and requires an associate's degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Like Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapist Assistants typically go through clinical field training before receiving a license.

Expected Growth by 2020: 45%

Anticipated Number of Jobs Created by 2020: 51,100

3. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Yet another job in the medical field, diagnostic medical sonographers use special imaging equipment that uses sound waves to assess and diagnose various medical conditions. This procedure is commonly referred to as an ultrasound, sonogram or echocardiogram. The salary for a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is listed at $64,380 per year, and the position requires both formal education and professional certification. An associate's degree or a postsecondary certificate from an accredited program is the base of education for this position.

Expected Growth by 2020: 44%

Anticipated Number of Jobs Created by 2020: 23,400

4. Interpreters and Translator

Interpreters and translators often work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms and conference centers. Government and corporate offices also require the skills of translators. An interpreter is expected to have a bachelor's degree, but the most important quality is a fluency in a foreign language, often both written and spoken. There is also a need for the unspoken language of sign language translation. The median wage for an interpreter/translator is $43,300 per year.

Expected Growth by 2020: 42%

Anticipated Number of Jobs Created by 2020: 24,600

5. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

This career path requires exactly what the title suggests: a lot of research. Market Research Analysts compile information that spans a wide berth of subjects. Depending on the research, an analyst could gather regional or statistical data to create marketing campaigns for a company or product. The job of a market analyst is to create a campaign that responds to a specific opportunity as highlighted through competition, prices, sales and methods of marketing and distribution. This position pays an average of $60,250 and typically requires a bachelor's degree in marketing or business.

Expected Growth by 2020: 41%

Anticipated Number of Jobs Created by 2020: 116,600

One More Note

If you found any of these careers appealing, it is also important to research the regions that are hiring for positions in these fields. In some instances, you may be required to relocate in order to pursue your career.

About the Author
Samantha Gray is a freelance writer for She volunteers as a tutor for a literacy organization, driving her passion for all things education and learning. Questions and comments may be sent to samanthagray024[at]gmail[dot]com.

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