As ever-expanding technology creates new jobs and outdated technology dwindles, doors to irrelevant businesses shutter for good. Modern technology goes far beyond our smartphones and business machines. New medical technology, for example, is creating drugs and treatments that are helping people live longer than ever before, giving medical professionals even more job security.
With technology changing so rapidly, choosing a career path can seem like a daunting task. No one wants to spend years on a degree that is no longer relevant, so GOBankingRates analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and determined the fastest-growing jobs — and the most rapidly declining jobs.
Jobs With the Most Security
There's no such thing as a sure thing. But if you're looking for a career that's more reliable than most, look no further. Here are the 10 jobs with the most security.
Wind Turbine Service Technician
- Median Pay: $52,260
Wind turbine service technician topped the list of jobs that will have the largest growth rate by 2024 at 108 percent. As the U.S. turns more towards renewable green energy, expect to see an increase in the number of wind farms with turbines that convert moving air into electricity. Wind turbine service techs install, repair and maintain the mammoth machines. A two-year associate degree for wind turbine service technicians can equip you for one of 4,800 job vacancies projected to be available by 2024. The career is so in-demand that some wind-tech interns get hired before they even graduate, and start at about 60 percent of a fully-trained tech's wages.
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Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners
- Median Pay: $107,460
With a growth rate of 31 percent, more than 53,400 jobs for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners are expected to open up between now and 2024. Known collectively as advanced practice registered nurses — or APRNs-- these nurses can provide primary and specialty healthcare such as ordering medical tests, diagnosing health conditions and prescribing medications. Educational requirements include a registered nursing license and a master's degree from an accredited APRN program.
- Median Pay: $101,480
Just like the name implies, physician assistants practice medicine in orchestration with doctors, surgeons and other healthcare workers. Job duties range from closing an incision when working with a surgeon to giving vaccines or diagnosing patients in an office setting. The rapidly growing field is booming at a growth rate of 30 percent with an expected additional 28,700 jobs by 2024. Two-year training and licensing programs are open to candidates with a bachelor's degree and work-related experience such as being a nurse or EMT.
- Median Pay: $106,140
Optometrists provide primary vision care such as testing your eyes and diagnosing and correcting vision changes. The field is growing at a rate of 27 percent, with 11,000 new jobs in the industry expected by 2024. To enter optometry school, candidates must have at least three years of post-secondary education. Four years of optometry school are then required to become a licensed optometrist.
Personal Financial Advisors
- Median Pay: $90,530
Job listings for financial advisors are expected to jump to 73,900 by 2024, a growth rate of 30 percent. Personal financial advisors help individuals manage their finances by providing advice on topics like investments, college savings, retirement and estate planning. Personal financial advisors typically have a bachelor's degree in a related course of study such as finance, business or economics — although no specific course of study is required. Job training can last for more than a year, and some positions dealing directly with client investments need additional licensing and certification.
Personal Care Aides
- Median Pay: $21,920 per year
Personal care aides assist the elderly or those with disabilities to accomplish daily self-care tasks such as bathing, dressing and making meals. They might also help clients accomplish daily activities and teach them independence skills like doing laundry. The rapidly expanding field has a growth rate of 26 percent and 458,100 jobs are expected by 2024. Personal care aides are not medical personnel and can't give medicine or provide any medical services.
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- Median Pay: $85,400
Physical therapists help injured patients regain mobility and decrease pain through stretches and other forms of physical movement or exercise. Helping people recover from injuries and chronic conditions like bulging discs is just a part of what physical therapists do. Some physical therapists specialize in bringing athletes with sports injuries back to their prime, and others might work with people recovering from strokes or that suffer from neurological disorders. The demand for physical therapists is growing at a rate of 34 percent, with 71,800 new job openings projected by 2024.
Home Health Aides
- Median Pay: $22,600
Like personal care aides, home health aides help those with disabilities or other impairments that limit their daily activity. They're different in that they work directly under the supervision of medical nurses, therapists and other medical personnel. Where personal care aides might work directly for an individual, home health aides tend to be employed through hospice agencies or certified home healthcare agencies that must comply with government regulations. The field is growing at a rate of 38 percent, with 348,400 jobs hiring expected by 2024.
- Median Pay: $80,500
Statisticians collect and analyze data from surveys, questionnaires, opinion polls or other raw data numbers such as highway accidents or city tourism. They can work in any field, including sports, psychology and marketing. This diverse set of opportunities is one major reason for the industry's impressive growth rate of 34 percent and estimated 10,100 jobs by 2024. Requirements for statisticians can be as simple as a bachelor's degree, but you'll have a leg up if your background includes computer programming, computer science, mathematics, engineering or physics.
Operations Research Analysts
- Median Pay: $79,200
Businesses need operations research analysts to solve business problems. The analysts create simulations and statistical analysis to help the business identify potential liabilities or other complex issues. As businesses grow in the tech age, operations research analysts can help business managers decide the best way to distribute and ship products, bring customers into brick-and-mortar shops or even develop business production schedules. About 27,600 new job openings in this field are expected by 2024, following a growth pattern of 30 percent. If you want to snag one of these trending jobs, computer science and extensive mathematics will give you a leg up.
Jobs With the Least Security
Just like the eight-track and cassette tape industry shuttered its doors with the advent of digital media, some jobs won't be around for much longer. Here's a list of careers lacking job security.
Electronic Equipment Installers and Repairers for Motor Vehicles
- Median Pay: $32,220
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers work with a variety of electrical equipment in industries like telecommunications, transportation and utilities. You might not have guessed that this field would be one with the least security, but the field is actually shrinking. Jobs are expected to decrease to about 50 percent by 2024, making it one of the least secure jobs in the next 10 years.
- Median Pay: $58,230
One of the most rapidly declining jobs in the railroad industry, the locomotive firer's job is now mostly automated with support from the train's conductor or engineer. The firer monitors a train's instruments and checks for obstacles on the tracks or other safety issues. A locomotive firer might also be called an assistant engineer, engineer assistant or a fireman. By 2024, there will be a 70 percent decrease in locomotive firer jobs, bringing the nationwide total to just 500.
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Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders
- Median Pay: $26,150
If you fell in love with Adam Sandler's job in the 2015 movie "The Cobbler," you might want to choose a different career path. Just like Sandler's character in the movie, shoe machine operators and tenders use various machines to repair, reinforce or decorate shoes and their parts. Although a high school diploma is the job's only requirement, you'll have a hard time finding an open position. The shrinking industry is concentrated mostly around Chicago and El Paso with limited opportunities in Massachusetts, Missouri and Arkansas. An estimated total of just 2,500 jobs will be available in 2024, a 30.5 percent decline.
- Median Pay: $37,000
A decade ago, you couldn't make a phone call without the assistance of a friendly telephone operator. Operators still help people with special billing requests, but for the most part, they've become obsolete. Telephone operators receive on-the-job training, requiring only a high school diploma to qualify. By 2024, the ranks of telephone operator are expected to shrink by another 42.4 percent, leaving a mere 3,200 jobs nationwide.
Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators
- Median Pay: $26,470
As smartphone camera quality improves, fewer people use photo labs to process film or digital images. As a result, jobs for photographic process workers and photo processing machine operators are on the decline. The job market for the workers is expected to shrink by another third by the year 2024, leaving a mere 5,600 jobs. The photographic workers' jobs require a high-school diploma, and they receive on-the-job training to learn precision tasks like editing prints and negatives.
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Manufactured Building and Mobile Home Installers
- Median Pay: $29,810
When you need a prefabricated building installed or a mobile home moved, a manufactured building and mobile home installer is the person to call. In 2011, the mobile home industry hit an all-time low with a 70 percent decline in revenue from the preceding 10 years. Low mortgage rates and a decline in traditional housing prices have left less demand for prefabricated homes and the manufactured building industry continues to struggle. By 2024, BLS estimates another 30 percent decrease in jobs for industry installers, leaving about 1,000 jobs nationwide.
Textile Cutting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
- Median Pay: $26,090
Automated and computerized cutting machines are taking the place of humans using manually-operated cutting machines. As a result, fewer people will be needed in textile jobs to oversee and operate the automated machines, reducing the number of jobs by 25.7 percent by 2024. Although a high school diploma or GED is the sole requirement for the job, good eye-hand coordination, a steady hand and mathematical knowledge are crucial. The estimated 2,300 jobs available in 2024, however, will more likely require computer knowledge of Microsoft Office products and Haisen Industrial Software.
Textile Bleaching and Dyeing Machine Operators and Tenders
- Median Pay: $27,270
Automation in the fabric industry is also demanding fewer people to operate or tend machines that dye or bleach textiles. By 2024, increased automation will reduce the textile bleaching and dyeing machine operator and tender jobs by an additional 24 percent, leaving roughly 1,200 jobs. Candidates for the remaining jobs will need the equivalent of a high school diploma and be knowledgeable in chemistry procedures, mathematics and computer sciences.
Sewing Machine Operators
- Median Pay: $23,670
Since the industrial revolution, sewing machine operators have been the heartbeat of clothing and textile mills. Sewing machine operators tend sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garment or non-garment products. From 1865 to 1915, even children worked in factories operating the latest equipment. With today's technological revolution stitching up the fabric industry, machines are offering a lower-cost alternative to adult workers. By 2024, only about 9,400 sewing machine operator jobs will remain, a reduction of 27 percent.
Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
- Median Pay: $27,470
Beautiful fabrics and woven garments are created on textile knitting and weaving machines. Increasing automation means fewer people are needed to set up, run and tend to the machines that weave, loop and knit yarn into textiles. By 2024, just 4,600 jobs working with the machines — a reduction of 26 percent — will be the norm. Workers with a high school education will receive on-the-job training, but sharp skills using Microsoft software and computer-aided manufacturing software will be needed on the job. Workers also need manual dexterity and a good eye for detail to feed yarn into the machine and detect any problems with the working parts.
Methodology: Data originates from the Occupational Employment Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data was sourced from the Employment Projections program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. GBR determined the 10 highest projected 2024 job openings and median salary and the 10 jobs with the least security that have lowest projected 2024 job openings and median salary.