10 careers for the next 10 years Booming middle skill jobs

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What are “middle skill” jobs? These are occupations that need workers who have more than a high-school diploma, but less than a four-year degree. While the educational training time involved is less than for many skilled fields, middle skill careers can net far more than “middle wages,” and all of these fields are expected to grow faster than average.

The Brookings Institution classifies as middle skill occupations those in clerical, sales, construction, repair, production, and transportation fields, along with many careers in healthcare, engineering, law, manufacturing and protective services.

Here are 10 middle skill occupations with high projected job growth over the next decade.

1. Registered nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) provide patient care and support to family members in a variety of healthcare settings. With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, nursing and other healthcare provider job openings will rise dramatically in the next
few years.

Median pay:
$65,470 annually

$31.48 per hour

Entry-level education: Associate degree

Job outlook:
+19% through 2022

526,800 new jobs
through 2022

 2. Nursing assistants

Nursing assistants and orderlies provide basic patient care, most often in hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Because of the growth in the elderly population, demand for nursing assistants is expected to grow faster than the average for other occupations.

Median pay:
$24,400 annually
$11.73 per hour

Entry-level education: Nursing assistants and orderlies must complete a state-approved education program and typically earn a certificate for healthcare training.

Job outlook:
+21% through 2022
321,200 new jobs
through 2022

3.  Administrative assistants

Administrative assistants maintain the order of offices across nearly every industry by performing clerical tasks, organizing files, scheduling appointments, and supporting other staff.

Median pay:
$35,330 annually
$16.99 per hour

Entry-level education: While high school graduates may qualify for entry-level positions, training in computer programs and business skills is increasingly preferred by employers.

Job outlook:
+12% through 2022
479,500
new jobs
through 2022

 4. Customer service representatives

As more transactions take place online, customer service representatives (CSRs) play a greater role in the shopping experience and business environment. CSRs interact with customers, process orders, resolve service problems, and communicate with clients and the public.

Median pay:
$30,580 annually
$14.70 per hour

Entry-level education: CSRs typically need a high school diploma for an entry-level position.

Job outlook:
+13% through 2022
298,700 new jobs
through 2022

5. Construction workers

Construction laborers prepare sites, move materials, build scaffolding and foundations, and operate construction equipment.

Median pay:
$29,160 annually
$14.02 per hour

Entry-level education: Although entry-level labor positions require no special certifications, higher paying positions typically need certifications or associate degrees.

Job outlook:
+25% through 2022
325,200 new jobs
through 2022

6. Carpenters

Carpenters build and repair structures made from wood and other materials. These skilled construction workers must follow blueprints, and have a keen eye for measurements, craftsmanship, and detail.

Median pay:
$39,940 annually
$19.20 per hour

Entry-level education: Most carpenters learn their trade through apprenticeships or a career and technical education training program.

Job outlook:
+24% through 2022
218,200 new jobs
through 2022

7. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

“Paperwork” is no longer what it once was, as many businesses are transitioning to computerized financial recordkeeping. The tasks of bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks include maintaining accurate records and online databases, and balancing the books of public agencies and companies across all industries.

Median pay:
$35,170 annually
$16.91 per hour

Entry-level education: Associate degree is preferred. Extensive on-the-job training and certifications are often required.

Job outlook:
+11% through 2022
204,600 new jobs
through 2022

8. Truck drivers

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers often haul loads long distances, planning their routes with satellite technology. Some truck drivers buy or lease their own trucks and operate independent businesses.

Median pay:
$38,200  annually
$18.37 per hour

Entry-level education: Commercial driver’s license (CDL) required.

Job outlook:
+11% through 2022
192,600 new jobs
through 2022

9. Medical assistants

In addition to clerical, phone, and organizational duties, medical assistants must be familiar with medical terminology associated with hospitals or other clinical settings. Administrative professionals are often the first face in a patient’s relationship with a healthcare provider, so good communication and people skills are a must.

Median pay:
$31,890 annually
$15.33 per hour

Entry-level education: Associate degree or
post-secondary certificate is preferred.

Job outlook:
+22% through 2022
252,500 new jobs
through 2022

10. Licensed practical nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work under the direction of doctors and RNs to care for patients in many medical settings. With the growth in the elderly population, retirement communities and nursing homes will need more LPNs
to administer basic care.

Median pay:
$41,540 annually
$19.97 per hour

Entry-level education: Post-secondary certificate or associate degree.

Job outlook:
+25% through 2022
182,900 new jobs
through 2022

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 Occupational Outlook Handbook

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