Employment Trends Job Search Tips

The Top Jobs in the U.S. Mountain Plains Region

Written by Kate Lopaze

if you’re looking for a career change (or a change of scenery!), here are some of the fastest-growing jobs for 2016 in the mountain-plains part of the unites states. per the u.s. bureau of labor statistics, this region includes colorado, kansas, missouri, montana, utah, and wyoming.

when you hear the lines, “o beautiful for spacious skies,/for amber waves of grain,/for purple mountain majesties/above the fruited plain!” in “america the beautiful,” chance are you’re thinking of u.s. heartland states like the mountain-plains region. once known for its prairie spirit, the region’s population is growing as the former frontier cities turn into (or grow their existing status as) major hubs.

tech job outlook: technical support specialists

utah and colorado might be better known for mountain vistas and film festivals, but cities like provo and fort collins are fast becoming booming tech communities, with companies like hewlett packard, intel, and numerous startups staking a claim. as technology companies expand operations in the region, tech support specialists are in high demand. these specialists help customers and companies troubleshoot computer software and equipment, and are often the front lines of defense when tech goes wrong.

a bachelor’s degree is frequently required, but some openings require an associate’s degree or specialized classes. the median salary for these support specialists is $50,380 a year, with a faster-than-average 12% growth expected.

administrative job outlook: actuary

actuaries are an essential part of many industries, but especially the insurance field. they use statistics, math, and financial theory to forecast financial risk, make predictions for their company, and then plan how to minimize that risk.

the actuarial field usually requires a bachelor’s degree and offers on-the-job training for new hires. the median salary is $96,700 per year, with robust expected growth of 18%.

other jobs like data entry specialist are easy to find, but not as much potential in term of promotion and learning.

logistics job outlook: truck driver

per an npr poll in 2014, the most common jobs in missouri in 1978, 1996, and 2014 were truck, delivery, and tractor drivers. that consistency doesn’t seem likely to shift soon—this region is a hotbed of distribution activity, and this trend will keep on truckin’ in 2016 and beyond.

the median salary for truck drivers is $38,200, and the field is expected to grow by at least 11% by 2022.

healthcare job outlook: emts and paramedics

there are often shortages of qualified medical personnel, and no career path sees that as much as front-line emergency medical technicians (emts) and paramedics. these vital professionals offer emergency care for illness and injury, and are often the first responders in a variety of emergency situations.

demand for these emergency workers is expected to increase by at least 24% in the coming years, and the median salary is $31,700. if you thrive on high-pressure situations and aren’t squeamish at the sight of blood, this can be a very strong career choice.

service job outlook: nanny/childcare worker

as the number of households with both parents working continues to increase, so do the needs for quality childcare. this field is especially trending in urban areas, as families look for alternatives to traditional daycare options. nannies and childcare workers are responsible for the daily care of children, and in cases of individual family employment, may also help run the household on a daily basis. the median salary is $28,000, with 5-10% growth anticipated in the coming years.

so remember: while you’re seeking out those fruited plains and purple mountain majesties, there are many promising career options available to you.

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About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.

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