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Typical education needed for entry into the largest growing occupations 2014–24

February 26, 2016

From 2014 to 2024, the U.S. economy is projected to add 9.8 million jobs. Among the 15 occupations projected to grow the most by 2024, a bachelor’s degree is typically needed to work in the 4 occupations that paid the highest annual wages in 2014: general and operations managers ($97,270), software application developers ($95,510), registered nurses ($66,640), and accountants and auditors ($65,940). In general, higher paying occupations require higher levels of education.

Wages and typical education needed for entry into occupations with largest projected job growth 2014-24
Occupation 2024 Projected employment 2014 Median annual wage Typical education needed for entry

General and operations managers

2,275,200 $97,270 Bachelor's degree

Software developers, applications

853,700 95,510 Bachelor's degree

Registered nurses

3,190,300 66,640 Bachelor's degree

Accountants and auditors

1,475,100 65,940 Bachelor's degree

Medical assistants

730,200 29,960 Postsecondary nondegree award

Nursing assistants

1,754,100 25,100 Postsecondary nondegree award

Customer service representatives

2,834,800 31,200 High school diploma or equivalent

Construction laborers

1,306,500 31,090 No formal educational credential

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

2,566,400 24,430 No formal educational credential

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

2,496,900 22,840 No formal educational credential

Cooks, restaurant

1,268,700 22,490 No formal educational credential

Retail salespersons

4,939,100 21,390 No formal educational credential

Home health aides

1,261,900 21,380 No formal educational credential

Personal care aides

2,226,500 20,440 No formal educational credential

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

3,503,200 18,410 No formal educational credential

Employment of retail salespersons is projected to reach more than 4.9 million by 2024, the most of any occupation. Following retail salespersons, there are projected to be 3.5 million jobs in food preparation and serving occupations, by 2024. These occupations typically do not require formal education credentials.

These data are from the Employment Projections program. To learn more, see “Employment Projections 2014–24” (HTML) (PDF).


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Typical education needed for entry into the largest growing occupations 2014–24 at (visited May 23, 2024).

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