2004-2014 report card: Projections for fastest-growing job markets

How does your current job measure up? Some sectors have flailed, but many are on the up and up. An online degree may give you the credentials to ride the upward wave. According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunity knocks for employees in the following sectors:


Healthcare is fast becoming the economy’s 800 lb. gorilla. Job opportunities are excellent with 13.5 million jobs in 2004, making Healthcare the largest industry of 2004. Other sector highlights:

  • Eight out of 20 occupations projected to grow the fastest are in health care, and 19 percent of jobs will health-related.
  • Spurred by retiring Baby Boomers and high turnover from toughened immigration laws, healthcare occupations are projected to grow the fastest of any sector.
  • Registered nurses constitute the largest health care occupation, with 2.4 million jobs. It’s not strictly medicine – communication, leadership, and critical thinking are becoming more important as nursing care becomes more complex.
  • Employment growth is smaller in hospitals and greater in smaller home health care services, with home health aides holding the fastest-growing occupation with 56 % growth.

Education and Childcare Services

Lifelong learning is critical in this age of technological and economic change. Hi-tech curriculum, charter schools, the No Child Left Behind Act and the American Competitiveness Initiative are changing the educational landscape, boosting demand for qualified employees:

  • With one in four Americans enrolled in school, educational services are the second-largest industry, with 13 million jobs in 2004-14.
  • Fast-growing professions include medical scientists (39.5 %), postsecondary teachers (32.7 %) and instructional coordinators (29.6 %). They reflct a trend in advanced education, technological advances and increased federal funding for research in bioterrorism and epidemiology.
  • More postsecondary institutions now use Web-based courses, sparking a trend in – and increased acceptance of – distance learning.
  • Baby Boomers face an impending exodus, but are currently a large part of Education: More than half of the nation’s education administrators, Special Education teachers and librarians are over age 45.

Computers and Information Technology

Technological innovation is the mission-critical ingredient to business and national competitiveness. Despite the tech sector’s downturn, jobs for computer and information systems managers will grow faster than the average occupation.

  • The hot new market for software publishers is growing by 68%, nearly doubled since 1990. Spurred by heavy IT investments, falling hardware prices and demand for specialized software, this field has been resilient during economic downturn.
  • The good: demand for educational and entertainment software, business-to-business application and computer security is creating new jobs. The bad: some of these jobs are outsourced offshore.
  • The 280,000 computer and information systems management jobs include those for project managers and LAN/WAN managers.
  • The fight against hackers, viruses and cyberterrorism is creating demand for cybersecurity experts and security managers.
  • Opportunities are especially ripe if you have, in addition to computer experience, a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with technology as a core component, or a Management Information Systems (MIS) degree.

Business and Financial Services

  • Given the oscillations across different job sectors, it may come as little surprise that Employment Service jobs will grow by a whopping 45.5%.
  • Jobs in employment placement agencies, temporary staffing agencies and employer organizations will add 1.6 million new jobs.
  • Incidentally, Registered Nurses comprise a fast-growing temporary occupational group.
  • Market research analyst employment is expected to grow faster than average. Market researchers, who held about 212,000 jobs in 2004, are indispensable for deciphering the whims of an increasingly competitive and global economy.
  • Real estate will be the fastest growing financial industry, with a growth 32.1%.
  • Accountants and auditors held 1.2 million jobs in 2004, to meet rising demands of more businesses, shifting financial laws and regulations, and corporate finance oversight. The exception is within the federal government, where employment of accountants and auditors declined 16.8 percent.


The Federal Government is easily the nation’s largest employer, with 2 million employees. Even if you don’t live within the Washington, D.C. metro area you can become one of the 5 out of 6 federal employees who work outside of D.C.

While job growth is a mere 2.5% (due to cost-cutting, devolution, private contractors and slow sector growth), federal employment promises the greatest stability in times of economic downturn. Also, your role on the federal level may intersect with other fast-growing private sectors of Technology, Health and Human Services and Education.

The outlook is unanimously positive across all sectors. You must act now to take advantage of this skyrocketing job growth. Earning an online degree can be an important first step towards a profitable and rewarding career in any of these industries.