If you’re a millennial, you’re part of one of the largest cohorts in the modern workforce. Indeed, according to a new analysis of census data, Pew Research Center concludes that millennials represent over one-third of the U.S. labor force.
Currently, millennials occupy the largest workforce sector, even more than those in Generation X. And this figure continues to rise — millennials entering the labor force are even surpassing baby boomers as they retire.
Because you reached adulthood in the early 21st century, you may benefit from knowing the best careers for millennials based on growth potential, pay scale, and other factors. While it’s no easy task to navigate the job market, some career paths will provide you with more opportunities than others.
We’ve rounded up research from some of the leading surveys and databases to help you choose a rewarding career, whether you’re looking for the occupations with the highest-forecasted new jobs, top jobs for those with an associate degree, or the highest-paying careers for the Generation Y demographic.
We’ve also highlighted the best opportunities in the health care field for those in the 18-to-34 age group, the top science, technology, engineering, and math careers for millennials, and more. For your convenience, we’ve categorized the best careers for millennials according to these groups:
- Fastest-Growing Careers for Millennials
- Highest-Paying Occupations for Millennials
- Highest-Forecasted Number of New Jobs
- Top Health Care Jobs for 18- to 34-Year-Olds
- Best STEM Careers for Millennials
- Top Jobs for Millennials With an Associate Degree
- Top Occupations for Millennials With a Bachelor’s Degree
- Top IT Careers for Millennials
Let’s take a look. You may feel inspired to consider majoring in a career you hadn’t considered before.
Fastest-Growing Careers for Millennials
As a millennial at the beginning of your career search or in the decision-making process of choosing an area of study, you undoubtedly want to know which careers have the most growth potential.
According to national research, health care industries and occupations should experience the quickest employment growth and contribute to the most careers between 2016 and 2026. This growth rate is almost twice the projected rate for the rest of the economy, meaning it’s a highly viable field if you want a career that will grow with you.
You’ll find the growth in health care career opportunities is no surprise for several reasons, including the subsidizing of the industry by the U.S. government and the increase in eligible health care recipients. However, the primary factor in the rise in health care occupations is the aging population and longer lives — living longer comes with more health concerns and an increased need for medical support staff.
America’s aging population is increasing the demand and forecast for health care-related jobs as more people seek treatment. Once you get your healthcare Diploma, Certificate, or AAS Degree, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in one of the fastest-growing careers for your demographic.
According to U.S. News and World Report, some of the fastest-growing career choices for millennials include:
- Wind turbine technicians
- Home health aides
- Occupational therapy assistants
- Information security analysts
- Physician assistants
- Nurse practitioners
- Speech-language pathologists
- Genetic counselors
- Software developers
- Operations research analysts
- Physical therapist assistants
Besides the above occupations, solar photovoltaic installers occupy the spot at the top of the list of the fastest-growing jobs for millennials, reporting a growth rate of 51 percent.
Highest-Paying Occupations for Millennials
Health care careers dominate the top of this category. Nationally, pharmacists, anesthesiologists, and surgeons make the top of the highest-paying occupations list. Rounding out the list are financial advisers, data scientists, actuaries, and nuclear engineers. Other high-paying health care occupations for millennials include:
- Obstetricians and gynecologists
- Oral surgeons
- Airline pilots
- Public relations
The next group in the highest-paying careers category falls within STEM classification. These include:
- Computer and information system managers
- Architectural and engineering managers
- Software developers
- Environmental engineers
Highest-Forecasted Number of New Jobs
Personal care aide ranks as the top career choice with the highest number of potential opportunities. Currently, the job growth estimate for personal care aides is 33.7 percent. Also on the most-new-jobs list are:
- Registered nurses
- Retail salespeople
- Customer service reps
- Medical assistants
- Software developers
- Computer systems analysts
- Food preparation and service workers
Top Health Care Jobs for 18- to 34-Year-Olds
Since health care occupations are on the rise, millennials interested in medicine and science have a distinct advantage when they hit the job market. While some health care fields require extensive education — for example, doctors need to complete up to 10 years of coursework and practice — there’s an enormous range of jobs and educational opportunities for health care-related occupations.
Millennials interested in positions like physician’s assistant may be excited to learn that U.S. News reports this career choice as the No. 1 job for your generational cohort. U.S. News also lists nurse practitioners and physicians at spots 2 and 3, respectively, while a career as a pharmacist ranks 29th. Other top health care careers for millennials are speech-language pathologists and dentists, which sit in the fourth and fifth spots on the list.
The employment outlook future for nutritionists, dietitians, and psychiatrists is also bright, with job growth potential ranging from 8 percent for nutritionists and dietitians to 11.9 percent for psychiatrists.
If you’re a millennial, this may be excellent news if you’re considering getting a career in the health care industry, particularly since most of these fast-growing health care careers are entry-level. In addition to this, the promise of higher pay for this field’s job opportunities validates all the health care careers being at the top of the highest-paying job list. Whether you look at the highest-paying jobs, fastest-growing jobs, or the newest jobs, health care is dominating.
Other top healthcare jobs for millennials include the following.
- Physician assistants: U.S. News and World Report listed physician assistant as its No. 1 fastest-growing health care job, which is outstanding news for the field as a whole. The expected growth rate of this position is a whopping 38 percent by 2022. Already, millennials are filling positions in this field at a rate of 35 percent. Also referred to as PAs, physician assistants practice medicine under a supervised team of surgeons and physicians. Physician assistants are skilled in examining patients, diagnosing illnesses and injuries, and providing treatment.
- Biomedical engineers: With a projected job growth rate of 27 percent by 2022, biomedical engineering is the perfect job for millennials interested in STEM and health care. Currently, 43 percent of biomedical engineers are millennials, and that number will likely continue to grow. These engineers design and analyze solutions to problems in medicine and biology to enhance the effectiveness and quality of patient care. If you enjoy tinkering with hardware and love helping people, biomedical engineering is an ideal field for you.
- Dental hygienists: Another career choice in health care, dental hygienists have outstanding job prospects. The growth rate for dental hygienist jobs is 33 percent by 2022. You can become one with an associate degree in about three years, which is much quicker than many other healthcare-related jobs. Dental hygienists work alongside dentists to clean and help people maintain their teeth.
Best STEM Careers for Millennials
STEM careers make up many of the top jobs for millennials. Millennials who grew up using computers are particularly suited to these burgeoning technology-based fields. There are 31 jobs listed on U.S. News and World Report’s Best STEM Jobs list, including:
- Software developers
- Medical and health services manager
- IT manager
- Information security analyst
- Web developer
Five of the very best STEM careers for millennials are as follows.
- Software developer: At No. 2 on the U.S. News report for best STEM jobs, software developers are in high demand. The projected job growth for this position sits at 21.5 percent between 2019 and 2029. For those with an interest in computing and programming and an eye for the creative, a position as a software developer would be a rewarding career choice.
- Petroleum engineer: The estimated job growth is 26 percent by 2022, and millennials account for 35 percent of petroleum engineers. These individuals develop and design techniques to extract gas and oil from deposits located below the Earth’s surface. They also identify steps to extract gas and oil from older wells.
- Actuaries: Actuaries analyze the financial expenses of uncertainty and risk. They use statistics, math, and financial theory to assess the risk of an event occurring and help clients and businesses develop policies that will reduce the expense of that risk. The insurance industry relies on actuaries’ work. This job has a projected growth rate of 26 percent by 2022, and millennials currently account for 57 percent of actuaries in the field.
- Computer and information research scientists: With a projected growth rate of 15 percent by 2022, computer and information research scientist is an outstanding career for millennials. Designing and inventing new computing technology, while finding creative uses for technology that already exists, are the primary functions of this field. They’re in charge of studying and solving complicated problems in computing for medicine, business, science, and other industries. Millennials make up 45 percent of computer information research scientists.
- Nuclear engineers: Millennials account for a whopping 60 percent of employees in this field, and it has a job growth rate of 9 percent by 2022. As a nuclear engineer, you’re in charge of researching and developing the tools, processes, and systems used for deriving benefits from radiation and nuclear energy. There are many medical and industrial uses for radioactive materials, such as medical diagnostic and treatment equipment.
Top Jobs for Those With an Associate’s Degree
Associate degrees are excellent options for those wishing to pursue an education outside their high school diploma, but who can’t or don’t want to commit to the time and investment of a bachelor’s degree. Experts project occupations requiring an associate degree will grow significantly faster than the 3.7 percent national average. Many career opportunities available for millennials only require some postsecondary education without a bachelor’s degree.
It may be worth noting that the health care and STEM fields offer the most jobs that require either an associate or bachelor’s degree. Some of the top careers for millennials with associate degrees are:
- Computer user support specialists
- Dental hygienists
- Teaching assistants
- Automotive service technicians
- Vocational nurses
In addition to impressive job growth potential, these occupations also have higher-than-average median salaries.
Top Occupations for Those With a Bachelor’s Degree
Like associate degrees, occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree will also grow at a rate higher than the national average. There are a couple of different avenues to attaining a bachelor’s degree — some people enter college immediately after high school, while others may get their associate degree first before moving on to complete their bachelor’s. Some of the top occupations with a bachelor’s degree include:
- Registered nurses
- Software developers
- Civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers
Top IT Careers for Millennials
Information technology managers are in charge of planning, coordinating, and directing computer-related tasks in a company. They help steer the company’s IT goals and implement computer systems to meet these objectives. The top IT careers for millennials include:
- Computer systems design and related services
- Scientific research and development services
- Software publishers
The top IT careers for adults in the 18- to 34-year-old group include:
- Computer and information research scientists
- Software developers and programmers
- Web developers
What’s Next for You?
Now that you know more about the best careers for millennials, you can choose to align your higher education choice with this knowledge. Here at Vista College, we’ve been helping students choose their path to success for over 25 years, and we can help you, too, as a 21st-century millennial.
We offer accredited programs with various options to ensure students receive the quality education they need to secure a successful career. We have programs in:
For instance, healthcare occupations dominate many of the best careers for millennials. Vista College offers a Medical Assisting Diploma, Medical Assisting Associate of Applied Science, and a Vocational/Practical Nurse Diploma, just to name a few of our healthcare program offerings.
For example, our Medical Assistant Diploma course provides you with the latest skills in pharmacology, laboratory skills, human anatomy and physiology, clinical procedures, and more to get you on course for a great job.
Furthermore, the computer and information research scientist career also ranks highly for millennials, and our Information Technology Associate of Applied Science program would be perfect for providing you with the skills needed to do that job.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Here are some relevant questions to ask yourself before deciding whether a career in any field is right for you:
- Is your chosen career a match for your personality? As a child, what did you tell people when they asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Be sure to choose a career path that matches your strengths and personality traits.
- Does your chosen career meet your financial goals? Consider what expenses you have, and how those might grow over time. For example, if you plan to start a family, ensuring your chosen career can support your children is a crucial consideration.
- Does your chosen career have enough available jobs? Be wary of fields that are notorious for having a volatile job market. Often, starting a career in a field with enough available jobs can pave the way to eventually getting hired in a more challenging field.
- How rapidly is your chosen career growing? Consider the data about future trends in your chosen industry. Health care and renewable energy are fast-growing fields with enormous growth potential.
The first question is a personal one, and the second depends on your financial health. However, data provides the answers to the third and fourth questions. For example, most estimates project the health care field will grow astronomically in the coming years due to increased demand for medical services like personal care and physician’s assistants.
Even if you pick a high-growth industry, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you fast promotions. That’s up to you and your hard work, your collaboration, and your continued education. These three things play a significant role in your career success. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have informed knowledge of the best jobs for millennials before choosing your major area of study.
View Our Degree Programs
Now that you have this information in your toolkit, you’re ready to begin looking for your future career. The first step in this process is to choose the right education and program. To learn more, be sure to check out Vista College’s related programs and continue reading our blog.