In a rapidly transforming job market, the best way to guarantee your own job security is to pick a field that’s on the upswing. But hot careers can vary widely by location — from software developer to animal trainer to credit counselor. (Hello, Michigan.)
To find the hottest up-and-coming jobs across the country, Money zeroed in on the fastest-growing occupation in every state, using short-term projections from Projections Managing Partnership, an organization associated with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Using each occupation’s percentage of projected change between 2017 and 2019, we identified every state’s fastest-growing job, along with that occupation’s median salary.
(Money did not consider occupations with less than 100 workers. Occupation names have been simplified in the map above.)
The standout fields range widely, from software developer to (who knew?) rail car repairer. But one job topped the list in eight states, making it the most frequently appearing career on the list: solar panel installer.
That job, which pays a median $39,490 per year and often requires only a high school diploma, tops the list in some states you might already associate with green technology, like California — but also in places like Minnesota, Missouri and North Carolina.
“In those states, solar is taking off like gangbusters,” says Dan Whitten, vice president of communications at the Solar Energies Industries Association, a trade group. “What once was an industry that was largely focused on California is now expanding into new markets.”
Whitten says solar jobs have recently taken a hit, due to President Donald Trump’s tariff on imported solar panels. But he predicts that the tax, which will lessen every year for four years, will not have a long-term impact on solar-related jobs.
“Anything happening now, when we look back at it, it will be like a tick in the market,” Whitten says.
If solar installation isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Another job associated with green technology, wind turbine service technician, came out on top in four other states, and brings in a higher median salary — just shy of $57,000 a year. And home health aide, statistician, and rotary drill operator also appear on the map multiple times.
So what are the greatest opportunities near you? Take a look at the map above. We broke down the occupations into categories — services, manual, high tech and green tech — to make scoping out your dream job even easier.