Did you know there's a number that can help you decide what career to choose?
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Every two years, the government updates its Occupational Outlook Handbook and shares what career fields are expected to grow (or shrink) over the next few years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles the data and breaks it down by highest-paying jobs, fastest-growing fields and what fields are expected to have the most job openings. It's important to remember that the fastest-growing fields will not necessarily have the most openings.
While the BLS specifies that it "does not provide specific career guidance or advice," the numbers can be helpful for anyone making decisions from picking a college major to taking the leap of a mid-career switch.
Fields where job growth will see a 9 percent increase or more over the next 10 years are considered to be growing faster than average — average being between 5 percent and 8 percent. Slow growth is generally between 2 percent and 4 percent.
Careers with job outlooks predicting a 2% or more drop are considered declining — and that could also be a nudge to leave that industry.
Workers looking to make a change often turn to higher education or apprenticeship programs for help. BLS also tracks apprenticeships and had some optimistic news for workers considering that path: apprenticeships are expected to grow as fast or faster than the average for all occupations between 2018 and 2028. Many apprenticeships also pay better than the median annual wage.