It can be tough to determine which field offers the greatest security and potential, but certain areas are currently experiencing strong, sustainable growth in wages. These are all lucrative industries to get into, especially if you’re looking for a long-term career with opportunities for advancement.

This article will cover some of the most promising fields in our current economy along with common salaries, common qualifications, and other relevant information. Remember that salary isn’t always the most important thing to consider when looking for a job—other factors like hours, commuting, time-off, travel frequency, and more can be even more important.

Nursing

Nurses, and especially registered nurses or RNs, are currently in high demand. The field is experiencing a widespread shortage that has led hospitals and clinics to offer more and more money to qualified nurses. The need for healthcare professionals will only increase as the boomer population gets older. The current outlook for registered nurses is significantly better than most jobs.

Registered nurses made an average of around $70,000, and other nurses can also command high salaries. These numbers are showing consistent year to year growth, making nursing one of the most attractive fields. Healthcare is also a constant need, so nursing is more recession-proof than many other professions.

Although you don’t need to go to medical school to become a nurse, you will need to be licensed in order to practice as an RN in the United States. Many colleges offer undergraduate nursing programs that prepare students for the NCLEX-RN. Nursing also offers the benefit of a high starting salary without requiring more than an undergraduate degree.

Nurses who speak multiple languages, especially Spanish and English, may have even better career prospects than other nurses. In California, for example, three-tenths of the population speaks Spanish at home, but only two out of ten nurses speak Spanish. If you’re a qualified nurse who can speak both languages, you could demand a high salary in many areas of the United States.

Software Engineering

The demand for software engineers has never been higher, and a wide range of tech-related jobs have seen substantial salary increases over the last few years. Software engineering is consistently one of the top-paying college majors.

Computers, tablets, and mobile devices are a central part of our lives, and tech companies have an endless need for software engineers, web developers, and other highly skilled employees. Salaries for software engineers have been steadily increasing since about 2010.

The median salary for software engineers is roughly $84,000, and new hires can earn close to or even more than that within their first few years on the job. As with nursing, you can become a software engineer with only an undergraduate degree, giving it a lower barrier to entry than many other professions that offer similar compensation.

While it may not be as much of a necessity as healthcare, it’s safe to say that tech positions aren’t going away anytime soon. As long as our phones and computers play such a prominent role in day-to-day life, there will be plenty of space for coders, software engineers, and other tech workers. If you’re interested in technology, software engineering is the perfect career path to target.

Wind Turbine Servicing

There’s no question that renewable energy is becoming a more and more pressing concern, and this has led to an increased demand for qualified wind turbine technicians. The profession is expected to grow by nearly 100 percent between 2016 and 2026, one of the highest numbers among all jobs.

Wind turbine servicing is a relatively small niche, so the raw growth numbers may not match those of more common professions. That said, it’s still one of the most rapidly growing areas in our economy, with more than 5,000 projected new jobs over that time.

Unlike some of the other jobs on this list, wind turbine servicing doesn’t even require a bachelor’s degree. Most professionals obtain certification through a trade school, although an associate’s degree could improve your career prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average salary of $54,370 per year for wind turbine technicians.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants, or PAs, are in high demand for many of the same reasons as nurses. The United States population is getting older, and there aren’t enough medical professionals to take care of such a large elderly population. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 37 percent growth for physician assistants between 2016 and 2026.

As in nursing, physician assistants who can speak Spanish could get even higher salaries in areas with a high concentration of native Spanish speakers. Physician assistants earn a median salary of $108,610 per year, higher than any other profession on this list.

While you don’t need to go to medical school to become a PA, you will probably need a master’s degree. These programs typically take two to three years. After graduating, you’ll need to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam to begin practicing as a PA.

Information Security Analytics

Data privacy is a greater concern than ever before, and businesses of all kinds are investing heavily in information security. Every company that does business online needs to take measures to protect its users’ privacy and prevent cyberattacks from compromising their information.

In 2018, the median salary for information security analysts was $98,350. With projected growth of 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, chances are that number will only continue to increase. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you can improve your CV by pursuing a master’s degree in information systems or a related field.

There’s no way to predict which professions will command the highest salaries in ten or twenty years, but the jobs on this list play critical roles in our current economy. If you’re considering further education to increase your earning potential, you can’t go wrong targeting any of these fields.

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