The Fastest Growing Jobs in the U.S.

If you're looking for a career, and don't like competition, one of the jobs on this list may be for you. The more demand there is for your skills, the better opportunity you have to choose where to work and live, and have some leverage negotiating salary.

Twenty of these fast-growing jobs will account for more than 11.5 million new jobs in the U.S. through 2026. Over the next eight years, the U.S. will need 777,000 new home health aides, an increase of 47%, and more than a quarter million software developers, a 31% increase.

Some of these jobs require advanced degrees, and pay more than $100k a year, while others need only a high school diploma.

Also, check out the jobs people really love at The Best Jobs in America.

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are 25 jobs with the biggest demand through 2026.

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Respiratory Therapists
Respiratory Therapists

25. Respiratory Therapists

Growth rate through 2026: 23.4%

2016 median pay: $58,670

Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing, such as from asthma or emphysema. To become one, you'll need an associate's or bachelor's degree, and a license is required in most states.

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Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and Family Therapists

24. Marriage and Family Therapists

Growth rate through 2026: 23.4%

2016 median pay: $49,170

Marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome problems with family and other relationships. They usually need a master's degree.

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Occupational Therapists
Occupational Therapists

23. Occupational Therapists

Growth rate through 2026: 23.8%

2016 median pay: $81,910

Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They need a master's degree.

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Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary

22. Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary

Growth rate through 2026: 24%

2016 median pay: $69,130

College nursing professors need a doctoral or professional degree.

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Nonfarm Animal Caretakers
Nonfarm Animal Caretakers

21. Nonfarm Animal Caretakers

Growth rate through 2026: 24.2%

2016 median pay: $21,990

This category includes pet groomers, pet sitters, shelter workers, zookeepers and animal care technicians.

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Phlebotomists
Phlebotomists

20. Phlebotomists

Growth rate through 2026: 24.5%

2016 median pay: $32,710

Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research or blood donations.

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Oil and Gas Derrick Operators, Roustabouts, and Rotary Drill Operators
Oil and Gas Derrick Operators, Roustabouts, and Rotary Drill Operators

19. Oil and Gas Derrick Operators, Roustabouts, and Rotary Drill Operators

Growth rate through 2026: 24.2%-25.7%

2016 median pay:$37,340 (roustabouts) to $54,430 (drill operators)

No formal education is required for these jobs, workers usually learn on the job.

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Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

18. Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Growth rate through 2026: 25.9%

2016 median pay: $99,360

Teach college or trade school courses in fields such as dentistry, laboratory technology, medicine, pharmacy, public health, therapy, and veterinary medicine. Usually a master's, doctoral, or professional degree is needed.

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Massage Therapists
Massage Therapists

17. Massage Therapists

Growth rate through 2026: 26%

2016 median pay: $39,860

Massage therapists typically complete a college program of 500 or more hours of study and experience. Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapists to have a license or certification.

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Forest Fire Inspectors And Prevention Specialists
Forest Fire Inspectors And Prevention Specialists

16. Forest Fire Inspectors And Prevention Specialists

Growth rate through 2026: 27%

2016 median pay: $36,230

Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists assess outdoor fire hazards in public and residential areas. 

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Operations Research Analysts
Operations Research Analysts

15. Operations Research Analysts

Growth rate through 2026: 27%

2016 median pay: $79,200

Operations research analysts use statistical analysis and simulations to analyze and solve business problems. They usually have a bachelor's or master's degree.

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Physical Therapists
Physical Therapists

14. Physical Therapists

Growth rate through 2026: 28%

2016 median pay: $85,400

PTs help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. They need a doctoral degree, and are licensed.

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Information Security Analysts
Information Security Analysts

13. Information Security Analysts

Growth rate through 2026: 28%

2016 median pay: $92,600

The responsibilities of information security analysts are continually expanding as the threat of cyberattacks increases. They work in a variety of industries, and most have a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field.

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Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides
Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

12. Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

Growth rate through 2026: 24.7%-29% 

2016 median pay: $28,330 (aide) - $59,010 (asst.)

Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve,  and maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. They work under the direction of occupational therapists. The higher paid assistants need an associate's degree, while aides usually need a high school diploma and receive training on the job.

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Genetic Counselors
Genetic Counselors

11. Genetic Counselors

Growth rate through 2026: 29%

2016 median pay: $74,120

In this growing field, counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. They provide information and support to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions. They need a master's degree and board certification.

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Medical Assistants
Medical Assistants

10. Medical Assistants

Growth rate through 2026: 29%

2016 median pay: $31,540

Medical assistants handle administrative and clinical tasks at doctors' offices and hospitals. They usually have a college certificate or on-the-job training.

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Bicycle Repairers
Bicycle Repairers

9. Bicycle Repairers

Growth rate through 2026: 29%

2016 median pay: $27,630

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Software Developers, Applications
Software Developers, Applications

8. Software Developers, Applications

Growth rate through 2026: 31%

2016 median pay: $100,080

Someone has to be the creative mind behind all those computer programs and apps on your devices. Software developers usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills.

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Physical Therapist Assistants, Physical Therapist Aides
Physical Therapist Assistants, Physical Therapist Aides

7. Physical Therapist Assistants, Physical Therapist Aides

Growth rate through 2026: 31% (asst.) to 29% (aide)

2016 median pay: $56,610 (asst.) to $25,680 (aide)

Physical therapist assistants, sometimes called PTAs, and physical therapist aides work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain. The higher paid assistants need an associate's degree, while aides usually have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.

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Mathematicians and Statisticians
Mathematicians and Statisticians

6. Mathematicians and Statisticians

Growth rate through 2026: 30%-34%

2016 median pay: $80,500 (statisticians) to $105,810 (mathematicians)

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply mathematical and statistical techniques to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. They have advanced degrees.

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Nurse Practitioners
Nurse Practitioners

5. Nurse Practitioners

Growth rate through 2026: 36%

2016 median pay: $100,910

These advanced-practice registered nurses coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare, depending on which state they work in. NPs are licensed and need more education than the typical RN, such as a master's degree in one of the advanced-practice roles.

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Physician Assistants
Physician Assistants

4. Physician Assistants

Growth rate through 2026: 37%

2016 median pay: $101,480

PAs need a master's degree and are licensed. They work on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers examining, diagnosing, and treating patients.

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Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides
Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides

3. Home Health Aides, Personal Care Aides

Growth rate through 2026: 39%-47%

2016 median pay: about $22,000

Home health aides and personal care aides help people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or cognitive impairment by assisting in their daily living activities. In some states, home health aides may be able to give a client medication or check the client's vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.

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Wind Turbine Service Technicians
Wind Turbine Service Technicians

2. Wind Turbine Service Technicians

Growth rate through 2026: 96%

2016 median pay: $52,260 per year

If you like to work outdoors and aren't afraid of heights, this may be for you. There's big demand for windtechs, who install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. They usually attend a technical school.

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Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Solar Photovoltaic Installers

1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Growth rate through 2026: 105%

2016 median pay: $39,240

This is the fastest-growing job. Most installers have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training, and some take courses at a technical school or community college. 

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