Don't believe the hype that robots will replace most jobs by the end of the next decade. And don't think that futuristic-sounding occupations like body-part makers and climate-change reversal specialists will be big by then, either.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projections for jobs that will see a lot of growth by 2024. We took those growth estimates and extended them through 2030 for jobs that currently pay at least $50,000. Here are the top 10 jobs in 2030 ranked by the estimated total U.S. employment for each position.
10. Physical therapy assistant
Physical therapy assistants assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. By 2030, there could be nearly 136,000 physical therapy assistant positions in the U.S., up from less than 86,000 last year. The median wage for this job in 2016 was $56,610. Unlike most of the other jobs in the top 10, physical therapy assistants don't have to earn a bachelor's degree or higher. The position instead requires an associate's degree.
9. Operations research analyst
Operations research analysts use mathematical models and other optimization methods to help management with making key business decisions. By 2030, an estimated 139,000 operations research analyst positions could exist, significantly higher than the 109,000 positions in the U.S. last year. The median wage for operations research analysts in 2016 was $79.200. This job requires a bachelor's degree.
8. Physician assistant
Just a couple of years ago, Glassdoor ranked physician assistants as the top job in America. Physician assistants provide many of the types of healthcare services performed by physicians while under the supervision of a physician. There were around 104,000 physician assistant positions in the U.S. last year. By 2030, that number could rise to more than 144,000. The median wage for physician assistants in 2016 was $101,480. A master's degree is required.
7. Nurse practitioner
Nurse practitioners diagnose and treat illnesses. Like physicians, they typically can order and interpret diagnostic tests and prescribe medications. Employment for nurse practitioners is expected to grow from 150,000 last year to 205,000 by 2030. The median wage for nurse practitioners in 2016 was $100,910. Registered nurses must obtain a master's degree to become a nurse practitioner.
6. Physical therapist
Physical therapists help patients improve mobility, build strength, and improve physical conditions resulting from disease or injury. The number of physical therapists could increase to 337,000 by 2030, up from nearly 217,000 last year. The median wage for physical therapists in 2016 was $85,400. This position requires a doctoral degree.
5. Personal financial advisor
Personal financial advisors advise clients on their financial plans, including tax and investment strategies, insurance, and retirement. There were nearly 202,000 personal financial advisor positions in the U.S. last year. By 2030, that number could grow to close to 378,000 if expected trends continue. The median wage for personal financial advisors in 2016 was $90,530. The position requires a bachelor's degree.
4. Applications software developer
Applications software developers create programs that allow people to perform specific tasks on a computer or computer-like device. There could be around 947,000 applications software developer positions in the U.S. by 2030, up from 718,000 in 2014. The median wage for applications software developers last year was $102,280. This position typically requires a bachelor's degree.
Accountants prepare and review financial records for individuals, businesses, and other organizations. There were over 1.3 million positions for accountants in the U.S. as of 2014. That number could grow to more than 1.5 million by 2030. The median wage for accountants last year was $68,150. The position requires at least a bachelor's degree.
2. General and operations manager
General and operations managers direct the operations of public or private sector organizations. Employment for this position is expected to grow from nearly 2.2 million last year to close to 2.4 million by 2030. The median wage for general and operations managers in 2016 was $99,310. The position usually requires a bachelor's degree.
1. Registered nurse
Registered nurses (RNs) assess patients' health problems and needs, develop care plans, and maintain patient medical records. In 2016 there were around 2.9 million registered nurse positions in the U.S. By 2030, there could be 3.5 million RN positions. The median wage for registered nurses last year was $68,450. This position requires an associate's degree at minimum, although many registered nurses hold bachelor's degrees.