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There's no denying 2020 has been a challenging year, both in terms of health and an economic recession. But 2021 is just around the corner, and with a new year comes new opportunities.
We've checked the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to learn which jobs are expected to grow at a faster (or much faster) rate than average and their 2019 median pay. If you're looking to reinvigorate your career in 2021, take a look at these careers.
1. Software developers
Any position associated with software development will be in high demand for the foreseeable future. Our computers have become an extension of us. We depend on them to do everything from writing business reports to emailing Aunt Margaret to ask for a family recipe. And we're not the only ones. It's tough to think of anyone who doesn't use their computer in some capacity. That's where software developers come in. They're the ones who design the computer software that makes it all possible. Software developers earn a median annual salary of $107,510. The typical educational requirement is a bachelor's degree.
2. Computer user support specialists
While we're on the subject of computers, support specialists are the backbone. They are the people we call on when we're stuck or don't know what we're doing. As computer use continues to grow, so does the need for people who help us operate our systems. No college is required, and the median annual salary for a computer user support specialist is $52,270.
3. Registered nurses
We've spent most of 2020 marveling at the talent, dedication, and stamina of registered nurses during COVID-19. Registered nurses are in hot demand, and that's only likely to increase as baby boomers age. If you enjoy science, are willing to earn a bachelor's degree, and want a demanding job that challenges you, nursing may be right up your alley. The median annual salary for a registered nurse is $73,300.
4. Construction managers
The recent building boom puts qualified construction managers in the spotlight. A construction manager must make sure everything meets design specifications while ensuring a project is completed on time and on budget. Construction managers earn a median annual salary of $95,260 and may be required to hold a bachelor's degree.
5. Financial managers
Businesses want to spend less and put more money in the bank. The demand for talented financial managers is high and expected to grow. Financial managers keep a business on track day-to-day while planning for a more profitable future. To become a financial manager, you'll need a minimum of a bachelor's degree and can expect to earn a median annual salary of $129,890.
6. Industrial machinery mechanics
This one surprised us a bit, primarily because the manufacturing industry in the U.S. shrunk by 33% between 2000 and 2009. Tougher, leaner companies survived, and new companies appeared on the horizon. As manufacturing continues its reexpansion, companies will need people to repair and maintain their machines. This job typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent and pays a median annual salary of $52,860.
Since the dawn of the electric light, electricians have been in high demand, and the need for talented electricians is rising. Electricians can work for someone else or start their own business. These professionals usually have a high school diploma or equivalent and earn a median annual salary of $56,180.
8. Nurse practitioners
If you've spent any time in your doctor's office, it will come as no surprise to you that nurse practitioners are crucial. Depending on the state, a nurse practitioner may be the one to write your prescriptions and refer you to specialists. In rural areas, nurse practitioners run entire medical offices with little to no input from an MD. You'll need a master's degree to become a nurse practitioner but will enjoy a job with a wide variety of duties that pays a median annual salary of $115,800.
9. Elementary school teachers
Teaching is hard work that makes a difference. It's also a career in high demand. A bachelor's degree is required, and you'll earn a median annual salary of $59,420.
10. Speech-language pathologists
Many children have benefited from the help of a speech pathologist, and it's predicted that as baby boomers age, they will also need these highly trained professionals. Speech pathologists work with people who have experienced, or are experiencing, health issues that involve language impairment, like stroke or dementia. If you hope to become a speech pathologist, the job typically requires a master's degree. The median annual pay for the job is $79,120.
Jobs in healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and education appear to be all the rage in 2021. If your plans for the year include preparing for a new career, these fields may be a good starting point.