For most people, career choice is all about what they're most passionate about. But for others, the main reasons they get into their professions are related to wage and demand. If you're curious about how different careers are faring in different geographical locations, you might consider resources such as CareerBuilder's latest information, which compiled data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)'s wage data. This study features the top careers in each state based on earnings and expected growth. We'll go into detail about four of the top occupations mentioned in this study, including software developers, physical therapists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
In the CareerBuilder study, the profession as a software developer was the highest-ranking position in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, both Carolinas, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The projected change in these careers ranges from an increase of 12% (in Rhode Island) to 29% (in Louisiana), according to the study.
The BLS estimated a national increase in software developers between 2018 and 2028 of 21%, at a much higher rate than the total increase in all occupations during this time, at 5%. In addition, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $105,590 for software developers in May 2018, much higher than the average for all professions in the U.S.
The CareerBuilder study found that physical therapists ranked the highest in Arkansas, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Jersey and New York in terms of wages and job outlook. Job outlooks range from a 12% increase in Hawaii to a 28% increase in New Jersey, according to research from CareerBuilder and the BLS.
At a national level, the career of a physical therapist is expected to grow 22% through 2028, according to the BLS. In addition, the national median earnings for this profession was reported at $87,930 in May 2018.
If you'd like to become a physical therapist, you will need to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). There are currently over 200 physical therapy programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
One of the most in-demand careers in the nation is the profession of a physician assistant. According to the BLS, the job outlook for PAs is expected to grow 31% between 2018 and 2028, at a much faster rate than the average for all careers. The median annual salary for individuals in this profession is $108,610 in the country. However, exact earnings potentials for PAs varies based on work settings. The BLS found that physician assistants working in outpatient care centers earn the highest of the major environments, at an average of $115,560. Approximate earnings for those working in hospitals, employment services, physicians' offices and educational services are $111,540, $109,890, $107,230 and $102,870, respectively.
The CareerBuilder study included physician assistants in its ranking as one of the most in-demand careers in multiple states. It has the largest career projection between 2018 and 2023 in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Becoming a physician assistant typically requires a master's degree from a program that has been accredited by ARC-PA, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. With over 200 accredited programs, there are plenty of choices on where students can go for their advanced degree in this field.
A final career that the CareerBuilder study cites as one of the most in-demand professions in upcoming years is that of a nurse practitioner. Research reveals that this career is the most in-demand in the states of Arizona, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, with an expected rise of 16% (in Connecticut) to 25% (in Arizona and Texas).
Research from the BLS reveals an even more optimistic job outlook for nurse practitioners, as well as nurse anesthetists and midwives, with an anticipated growth of 26% from 2018 to 2028. The national and statewide increase represented in both CareerBuilder's and the BLS's data is due to the rising need for quality healthcare services for the aging population.
If the career of a nurse practitioner sounds rewarding to you, you might consider the steps involved in pursuing this profession. To get a job as a nurse practitioner, you'll need to earn a minimum of a master's degree. Many nurse practitioner programs require applicants to be registered nurses; even if you don't need to get this certification before graduate school, you'll need to secure this license before you begin practicing as a nurse practitioner. Although you won't need to earn a doctorate before beginning your career as a nurse practitioner, getting a Ph.D. or Doctor of Nursing Practice can improve your level of expertise in the field, so it may be something to consider at some point in your career.
If you're thinking of advancing your career in one of these in-demand careers, you might be considering an advanced degree in Computer Science or Medicine. Earning a master's or doctorate in your field of choice can provide you with increased career opportunities in each of these rewarding professions. Don't hesitate to browse Graduate Guide, a go-to reference tool aimed at helping you find the right advanced degree for your professional goals and comparing programs across the country to secure the best fit.