8 Rapidly Growing Career Sectors in Colorado Worth Training For
Few other regions in America can match what Colorado offers to people who want to create prosperous and enriching lives. After all, this state doesn't just have awe-inspiring scenery and one of the nation's fastest-growing economies. It also consistently ranks among the best places in the country for career opportunities, happiness, and overall quality of life.*
Plus, Colorado's population is among the most highly educated in America. In fact, more than 35 percent of the state's residents are college graduates (compared to the national average of just over 27 percent).* So getting post-secondary training can greatly improve your chances of attaining success in this region. It's why a lot of Colorado trade schools and vocational colleges provide the opportunity to earn a career-focused degree or diploma through a fast and streamlined program.
And growth is occurring all over Colorado. Between 2010 and 2040, the number of people who call this state home could grow by almost 60 percent to eight million.** Most of that growth is expected to happen along the Front Range in places like El Paso, Denver, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams, Larimer, Boulder, and Douglas counties. But other parts of the state—such as the Eastern Plains, Central Mountains, and Western Slope—may also continue to experience increases.
The result is that, from 2014 to 2024, close to 640,000 new jobs are expected to be created statewide.*** And those jobs could be available in a sizeable number of different occupational sectors. Here are eight of the most appealing examples:
1. Creative Services
Colorado is an amazing place to live and work if creativity is what drives you. When you consider that the state's creative arts sector has been growing more quickly than what you'll find in most other regions of the U.S., it's easy to understand why. The state continues to rank at or near the top in the nation for the percentage of people who participate in the arts or are part of the creative class as designers, writers, filmmakers, digital media artists, or other skilled and talented professionals.*
Plus, about one-third of Colorado's artists are employed in the occupational category made up of professional, technical, and scientific services. Between 2014 and 2024, the employment of Coloradans in that category is projected to rise by close to 40.5 percent, which translates to almost 79,500 new jobs.***
2. Healthcare and Wellness Services
It's no big secret that Colorado is already considered one of the healthiest and fittest states in America. Active living is a major focus for a lot of the region's residents. And they tend to invest a lot of their time and money on staying well, whether that involves regularly seeing medical or dental care providers, massage therapists, or even personal fitness trainers.
But between 2010 and 2030, the number of Coloradans over the age of 65 could grow by 125 percent, which will put increased demand on the state's healthcare sector.** In addition, major new projects in the health and bioscience industries have already helped grow the demand for qualified professionals in this area. For instance, Aurora (a large suburb of Denver) is now home to the Anschutz Medical Campus and the Fitzsimons Life Science District, which is the biggest redevelopment of its kind in the U.S.*
In total, more than 16,000 companies operate in the state's health and wellness sector.* And from 2014 to 2024, more than 109,400 new healthcare and social assistance jobs are predicted to be generated in Colorado—an increase of over 38 percent over that period.***
3. Construction and Specialty Trades
With population and economic growth comes the need for new buildings and infrastructure, along with renovations or repairs to existing roads and structures. That's why it's easy to find construction happening in almost every major region of Colorado. Residential, commercial, industrial, and civil construction projects are all taking place at a rapid pace.
In fact, no other industry within Colorado is expected to experience a higher rate of employment growth from 2014 to 2024 than construction. Over that decade, employment in this industry could grow by almost 48 percent. That could mean nearly 68,000 additional construction jobs, including over 47,000 jobs for specialty trade contractors like HVAC techs and nearly 8,600 jobs for people in the heavy and civil engineering trades.***
As a result, there might be no better time to explore the training options offered by trade schools in Colorado. The potential opportunities are simply too extensive to ignore.
4. Business and Financial Services
Colorado has established a great reputation as a place to do business. That's especially true for the regional corridor of the state that stretches from Fort Collins to Denver to Colorado Springs along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. And it includes other fast-growing Front Range cities such as Aurora, Littleton, Wheat Ridge, Castle Rock, and Fountain.
In fact, Colorado has been ranked as one of the top-five places in the country for business startup activity. And the number of Coloradans employed in the financial services sector grew by almost 43 percent between 2004 and 2013 alone.* Plus, the number of jobs related to business management is projected to rise by over 36 percent from 2014 to 2024.***
This state continues to attract both established and emerging technology companies. They're involved in everything from advanced electronics to web development and computer information systems. In fact, with over 10,000 technology companies, Colorado has ranked within the top three states for the number of high-tech professionals who are concentrated in the region.*
In addition, the advanced manufacturing sector, which relies heavily on new technologies, is also showing a lot of potential. Over 120,000 Coloradans already work for almost 6,000 manufacturing companies, but the possibility exists that many more jobs could continue to be added, including for those who specialize in developing the technology that makes it all possible.*
6. Aerospace, Aviation, and Transportation
A lot of people don't know this, but Colorado has a huge aerospace industry. Major companies that design and build rockets, advanced aircraft, satellites, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operate within the state. And the region is also home to large military bases and command centers such as NORAD and Air Force Space Command. The result is that the region supports a large concentration of various professionals with aviation and space-related expertise.
Plus, the state has become a major transportation hub thanks to interstate highways like I-70, I-25, and I-76 as well as the Denver International Airport (DIA). Not only has DIA been ranked the fifth-busiest airport in America, but it also helps anchor thousands of aviation jobs. And a lot of those jobs can be found at the state's 60 general aviation airports, 14 commercial airports, or over 16,500 logistics and transportation-related companies.*
All totaled, these sectors support the annual employment of more than 260,000 Coloradans.*
7. Sustainable Energy
Colorado's goal is to power the state with at least 30 percent renewable energy by the year 2020. In fact, this state was the first one in America where voters approved a clean-energy standard.* As a result, many companies within this sector have taken notice and moved or expanded their operations to the state. For example, wind-energy manufacturers have taken root in places like Broomfield. And many other jobs in solar and wind technology are being generated by the state's power utilities as well as many other companies.
8. Tourism-Related Services
People travel to Colorado from all around the world to enjoy world-class skiing, hiking, biking, river rafting, camping, and many other outdoor activities. But they also visit the state for its rich heritage and exciting cultural institutions and activities. The state is simply filled with more fantastic tourist attractions than it is possible to list. But just a few examples include Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Great Sand Dunes of the San Luis Valley, and the mountain towns of Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge.
Of course, the state also offers terrific culinary possibilities, which is why nearly 57,000 new jobs in the food and drink sector are projected to be created between 2014 and 2024.***
Where to Start
Begin by exploring the many Colorado trade schools and career-oriented colleges that might be near you. Simply put your zip code into the following search tool to see a selection of training programs that might interest you!
* Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, website last visited on September 21, 2015.
** State of Colorado, website last visited on September 21, 2015.
*** Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, website last visited on September 21, 2015.