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Top 10 fastest growing occupations in Utah

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If you’re recently out of school, panicking, and looking to stem the financial hemorrhaging as fast as possible, you’re not alone. Maybe you’re tempted to find (or stay in) a stopgap job that doesn’t have a lot of promise. And that’s certainly okay if you’ve made peace with disappointing your parents. (Just kidding! Hi, Mom!)

But if you’re looking for a career, experts say it’s better to keep hammering away at finding what you want, and to aim your skills toward a growth industry — somewhere flexibility and upward mobility are more likely than in other fields.

So what do you do? Well, don’t fret. You’re in Utah, and that’s a good start. The Utah Department of Workforce Services has estimated job growth for 2014–2024 at 27.4%.

Here are the top 10 occupations in Utah, from highest to lowest projected growth (growth, not salary):

1. Software Developers, Applications

While the annual median salary for Applications Software Developers is the highest on our list ($91,440), it does require a very specific kind of mind to flourish in this occupation. The best have an understanding of the intended functionality of the application or systems code they’re working on and a really tenacious, sequence-based problem-solving impulse. In other words, it’s a lot of money, but if you’re a flaky sillyheart it might not be for you. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering is usually required to get your foot in the door.

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2. Post-Secondary Health Specialties TeachersYou might think this occupational segment isn’t something you’ve heard of. But a post-secondary health specialties teacher is basically someone who leads very specific courses around public health, therapy, veterinary medicine, and dentistry, among other areas. As the “post-secondary” in the title suggests, you’ll need at least a master’s or Ph.D. The good news is that the annual median salary comes in at $90,840.

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3. Web DevelopersUnless you’re still on dialup, you probably at least have a general understanding of what a web developer does. “Make websites?” Well, sort of and not really. This career is more about the code that makes websites go. A typical web developer helps create and maintain applications that run over http, that help servers talk to browsers. The annual median salary is $55,910. Entry-level positions usually require at least a bachelor’s in computer science or some sort of technical portfolio of the work you’ve done.

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4. Personal Financial AdvisorsAside from the healthcare-related occupations below, a personal financial advisor, sometimes just called an FA, is one of the more traditional fields on this list. The reason for the Utah-specific growth/demand in recent years is due in part to the number of financial firms that have been moving more of their business here in the last few years (Morgan Stanley, Discover, etc.), but also to a growing population of older, wealthy investors. Annual median salary is $74,340. You’ll need a Bachelor’s in Finance or related field and will need to pass specific certifications in order to trade securities.

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5. Market Research Analysts and Marketing SpecialistsIf you’re at a party, saying you’re a market research analyst or marketing specialist is a pretty solid way to pass under the radar. Why not make it your career? Seriously, these jobs are actually a little cooler than they sound. Market research takes a fair amount of research, obviously, and writing skills. To do well you need to have a natural curiosity about companies, products and how they work in the market. Expect an annual salary to come in around $53k. A bachelor’s degree in marketing is sometimes required, but other writing and business backgrounds can translate to success here, too.

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6. Computer Systems AnalystsIf you excel at analytical thinking, paying close attention to minute details, and offering suggestions for improvement of complex computer arrays, a career as a Systems Analyst might be right for you. Salaries in Utah are around $70,000 according to the Department of Workforce Services. However, this is one of those careers where experience can almost double your salary. Entry-level positions are on the lower side, but 100k plus is by no means unheard of for a proven analyst. A bachelor’s in computer science or related major is going to be a necessary asset for breaking in here.

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7. Nurse PractitionersSome swear by the fact that nurse practitioners usually have a better bedside manner than doctors. If it’s true, it’s probably due to the fact that an NP usually has a pretty comprehensive overall medical knowledge. Why? They usually see a lot of patients. A lot. What’s the difference between a nurse and a nurse practitioner? Salary for one. But also that an NP helps manage and diagnose acute and chronic conditions. An NP is required to go through more licensure as well. Median salary comes in at $94,360 and you’ll need a master’s in nursing or related field.

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8. Computer and Information Systems ManagersIncome for I.T. systems management positions is the highest of all the fastest growing occupations in Utah. A whopping $117,120 is the median salary. And for good reason. Due to the increasing reliance on IT infrastructure as the beating digital heart of many businesses, these jobs come with a huge amount of responsibility. In other words, if things go down, you’re the guy or gal who’s on the line. Typical responsibilities include managing security and help desk systems, setting up backup plans, as well as writing policies and procedures. Bachelor’s in computer science, information technology or related are required. And you’ll need some experience first.

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9. Personal Care AidesBecause of the growing average age of the population, personal care aides are in high demand. At $20,750, the annual median salary is the lowest on our list, but the barrier to entry is low as well. You really don’t even need to have finished high school, but you do need to be caring, patient, conscientious and reliable. Not everyone is wired for this career path. It takes a special kind of person to take care of people professionally.

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10. Home Health AidesMuch like a personal care aide, home health aide work can overlap with that of an LPN (licensed practical nurse), but home health aide and LPN are not the same profession at all. Home health aides assist chronically disabled patients and the elderly with a variety of daily medical and maintenance needs. Annual median salary is $22,660 and the required education is usually high school or less. There’s also a lot of job flexibility if that’s a priority.

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And, this list is just a start. There are other areas of major economic growth in Utah, such as green jobs and digital marketing, that have blossomed since the Utah Department of Workforce Services made these projections, but they won’t be included until the next set of statistics are made public. KSL Jobs is where to go to land the kind of career you can brag to your mom about.