Hunting for a new career can be very frustrating, especially if you need one that’s fulfilling, covers your bills and meets your other short-term financial goals, such as building an emergency fund, saving for a vacation or affording a few small luxuries.
Moreover, as you advance in your career, you probably need an income that will help you meet your long-term financial goals like paying down debt, buying a home and saving for retirement.
10 Best High-Demand Jobs of the Future
Based on data and projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), here are the best high-paying jobs of the future.
1. Physicians and Surgeons
Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat illness while addressing the overall health maintenance of patients. Physicians assess patients, take medical tests, prescribe medications and give advice on diet and preventive healthcare. Surgeons perform surgical operations to treat injuries, diseases and deformities.
- Work environment: Physicians and surgeons may work in a clinical setting like hospitals and doctors’ offices or non-clinical settings, such as insurance companies, government offices and nonprofit organizations.
- Education: To become a physician or surgeon, you typically need a bachelor’s degree along with a medical degree.
- Earnings: The median annual wage for physicians and surgeons in the U.S. was equal to or greater than $208,000 in 2021 — among the highest of all occupations.
- Job outlook: Overall employment for physicians and surgeons is expected to grow 3% by 2031, with approximately 23,800 openings projected every year.
Other occupations in the healthcare sector that pay a median annual wage of at least $208,000 include orthodontists, anesthesiologists, prosthodontists, general internal medicine physicians, obstetricians and gynecologists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.
Dentists diagnose and treat patients with dental problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, sensitive teeth and general oral health. They also teach patients about proper diet, flossing, ways to prevent gum diseases and other aspects of dental care.
- Work environment: Dentists can work in hospitals, clinics or alone in their own business. Others also work as associate dentists in well-known dental practices.
- Education: You must have a bachelor’s degree as well as a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) from a certified dental program to become a dentist. You also need to pass written and clinical exams.
- Earnings: In May 2021, dentists earned a median annual salary of $163,220.
- Job outlook: According to the BLS, overall employment for dentists is expected to grow 6% by 2031, with approximately 5,100 projected job opportunities per year.
3. Computer and Information Systems Managers
Also known as information technology, or IT, managers, computer and information systems managers are responsible for analyzing computing needs to meet company goals. They design and administer the installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software while ensuring a company’s network security.
- Work environment: Computer and information systems managers can work in private enterprises, government offices, nonprofit organizations and schools. They typically work full-time, often putting in overtime hours to come up with solutions when problems arise.
- Education: Computer and information systems managers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science-related field like management information systems, or MIS. This job requires extensive experience, and organizations usually prefer IT managers with a Master of Business Administration.
- Earnings: The median annual salary for computer and information systems managers stood at $159,010 in May 2021.
- Job outlook: Demand for computer and information systems managers is projected to grow tremendously over the next several years. The BLS predicts that employment will grow 16% from 2021 to 2031, with approximately 48,500 job openings per year.
4. Nurse Practitioners
Nurse practitioners are a type of nurses with more advanced training in primary care services than registered nurses. NPs can perform many doctor’s roles, like diagnosing and treating health problems, doing diagnostic tests and analyzing results.
- Work environment: NPs can work in any healthcare facility, from hospitals, clinics and nursing homes to emergency rooms. They typically work full-time.
- Education: NPs must have at least a master’s degree from a certified institution. You must be a licensed RN before pursuing education in an advanced practice role.
- Earnings: The median annual wage for NPs was $127,680 in May 2021 according to BLS statistics.
- Job outlook: The BLS forecasts that the overall employment for advanced practice registered nurses will increase 40% from 2021 to 2031.
5. Marketing Managers
Marketing managers come up with strategies to help firms maximize profits while ensuring customer satisfaction. They help identify potential markets for the company’s products and services while estimating the demand for them.
- Work environment: Marketing managers typically work with top executives because their role directly affects the company’s revenue.
- Education: Typically, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to land a position as a marketing manager. Some hiring managers, however, prefer a bachelor’s degree in journalism or advertising. Any relevant coursework in marketing, management, finance and economics is a plus.
- Earnings: The median annual income for marketing managers in 2021 was $127,150, according to the BLS.
- Job outlook: Total employment of marketing managers between 2021 and 2031 is expected to rise 10%.
6. Clinical and Counseling Psychologists
Clinical and counseling psychologists observe, interpret and record the cognitive, emotional and social processes of individuals and how they relate to one another and their surroundings. They then use those findings to assist subjects with their thoughts and behaviors.
- Work environment: Clinical and counseling psychologists most often work in private practice, elementary or secondary schools or healthcare settings.
- Education: Typically, a master’s degree is the minimum requirement for a counseling psychologist working in a school or industrial organization position. Clinical psychologists will need a doctoral degree and a license. Both clinical and counseling psychologists will likely have to complete an internship before practicing.
- Earnings: The median annual income for clinical and counseling psychologists in 2021 was $81,040, according to the BLS.
- Job outlook: Job openings for clinical and counseling psychologists between 2021 and 2031 are expected to rise 6%, which is approximately 14,100 opportunities per year.
7. Industrial Engineers
Industrial engineers are tasked with designing efficient systems to help create a product or provide a service.
- Work environment: Industrial engineers work in office or manufacturing settings where they can analyze data or observe processes.
- Education: Typically, a bachelor’s degree is required to become an industrial engineer. Additionally, some employers might prefer to hire candidates who also have experience in the field. Any relevant coursework in mathematics, computer science, chemistry and physics management can be helpful.
- Earnings: The median annual income for industrial engineers in 2021 was $95,300, according to the BLS.
- Job outlook: Total employment of industrial engineers between 2021 and 2031 is expected to rise 10%, with approximately 22,400 available jobs per year.
8. Construction Managers
Construction managers, who are also known as general contractors, are responsible for handling all of the planning, coordinating, budgeting and supervising duties related to construction projects they are tasked with.
- Work environment: Construction managers might have an office, but will likely spend most of their time onsite when construction projects are in progress. Travel is to be expected with this position.
- Education: To become a construction manager, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field. Some firms might also prefer that you have a solid background in construction experience. People who have quite a few years of construction experience but only a high school diploma might find success as a self-employed general contractor but won’t likely be hired as a construction manager by a firm.
- Earnings: The median annual income for construction managers in 2021 was $98,890, according to the BLS.
- Job outlook: Jobs for construction managers between 2021 and 2031 should see an increase of 8% or 41,500 openings per year, according to the BLS.
9. Physical Therapists
Physical therapists work as part of a health care team that rehabilitates and treats patients who are suffering from injuries, illnesses or ongoing, debilitating conditions.
- Work environment: Physical therapists work for hospitals, home health care agencies and nursing care centers — or they might have their own private practice. Physical therapists spend a lot of their time on the feet helping and coaching patients.
- Education: Physical therapists typically need a bachelor’s degree in recreation and fitness or a healthcare field, plus a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. All states require PTs to be licensed. Supervised clinical work is also often required to help PTs gain practical experience.
- Earnings: The median annual income for physical therapists in 2021 was $95,620, according to the BLS.
- Job outlook: Overall employment for physical therapists between 2021 and 2031 is expected to see a 17% increase.
Optometrists are tasked with diagnosing and treating disorders, injuries and diseases related to the human eye. They also prescribe prescription lenses, contacts and additional visual aids as needed for their patients.
- Work environment: Optometrists typically work in an office setting, but sometimes work in a health or personal care store.
- Education: Education is more extensive in this profession. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in a field like biology or science, optometrists also need a Doctor of Optometry degree and a license. A one-year residency program might also be required of optometrists who choose to specialize in an area, such as in geriatrics, pediatrics or diseases of the eye.
- Earnings: The median annual income for optometrists in 2021 was $124,300, according to the BLS.
- Job outlook: Overall employment opportunities for optometrists between 2021 and 2031 is expected to increase by 10%.
How to Find The Best Jobs for The Future
Several notable careers can provide you with the financial stability you’re looking for, but choosing the right one can be complicated. The factors considered in this list — i.e., rapid job growth, projections for new opportunities, educational requirements and earnings potential — are a good place to start.
Careers in healthcare and technology are some of the fields with the highest job growth between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some fields in healthcare are projected to grow as high as 45%, while those in tech will grow by as much as 26%.
Many careers with a potential for both growth and earnings require a college degree. Some even require education beyond the undergraduate level. However, some jobs offer high pay even with just an associate’s degree.
The best career is one that offers a livable wage that can pay your bills, add to your savings and allow you to occasionally pamper yourself. The U.S. Census Bureau found that the 2021 median household income was $70,784. Yet you don’t necessarily need to earn this much to live a middle-class lifestyle.
Before jumping into your dream career, it’s crucial to investigate its earning potential and growth prospects in the years to come. The majority of these jobs are in the healthcare and technology sectors. Some other lucrative jobs of the future are in categories like education, finance, construction and others.
Good To Know
Before choosing a career, consider using tools like the BLS and Payscale to determine which job will offer many opportunities and high pay.
These careers represent some of the best high-paying jobs of the future. If your dream job is not on the list, that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t pay well. There are many other careers to pursue — the path you take depends on your passion and financial goals in the years to come.
Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.
Information is accurate as of Oct. 20, 2022.