7 Bright Occupational Sectors in Florida Worth Joining
Florida is more than just a popular tourist destination. It is also a land of genuine opportunity for its over 19.5 million students and residents. In fact, the state's diverse workforce of more than 9.5 million employed people is the fourth-largest in America. And its businesses generate more than $800 billion in GDP, which is greater than that of some entire countries.*
What's more, new jobs are being created while the population continues to grow. By 2015, Florida is projected to have the nation's third-largest population, overtaking New York.* It all means that this state is a smart region to consider while planning your education and career. Just look at a few more facts:
- The state's population is expected to rise by almost 26 percent in only two decades (from 2010 to 2030).**
- Florida has four big metropolitan areas with populations of more than one million people. They incorporate important cities such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.*
- Projections indicate that about 2.8 million job openings could be created in the state between 2008 and 2018.***
- It's predicted that, by 2018, almost 60 percent of all jobs in Florida will require some form of post-secondary education or training.***
Of course, it helps to know where a lot of the best opportunities are likely to be in the years ahead. So as you consider your options for moving forward, be sure to explore these six career areas:
1. Business, Financial, and Office Administration
Florida's large variety of industries has generated a vibrant market for professionals with up-to-date skills related to business and finance. It's easy to get a sense of their impact. For example, just consider the contributions of companies within the state that trade their products internationally. Collectively, they traded more than $158 billion worth of goods in 2013.*
Already, close to 58,000 Floridians perform some type of accounting or bookkeeping work.* And by 2018, more than 1.68 million of the state's residents are expected to have careers in office and administrative support, with another 221,000 employed in some kind of financial specialty.***
It's no secret that Florida is where many retirees choose to move and call home in their later years. But a large number of the state's existing residents are also approaching retirement. It's all adding up to a major demographic shift that is creating a greater need for skilled medical practitioners and health support professionals. The facts are compelling:
- Between 2010 and 2030, the population of Floridians aged 65 and over is expected to grow by almost 74 percent (compared to growth of 26 percent for the general population). As a result, people in that age group will account for about one-quarter of the state's residents in 2030 (up significantly from about 17 percent in 2010).**
- By 2018, more than 820,000 direct healthcare jobs are expected to exist within the state.*** That's an increase of over 22 percent from 2012.*
- Florida is home to a large healthcare infrastructure, which means that qualified workers have many potential employers to choose from. For example, the state has more than 720 hospitals, over 19,900 doctors' offices, over 7,500 dental offices, and more than 1,600 medical and diagnostic laboratories.*
3. Tourism and Recreation
People from all over the world choose Florida as a place to getaway to—for good reason. With almost 1,200 miles of coastline, long stretches of white sandy beaches, about 7,700 lakes, and the famous Florida Keys, the Sunshine State is a true natural wonder.****
But Florida is also a recreational and entertainment powerhouse. For instance, more than 1,100 golf courses dot the region.* This creates plenty of opportunity for those who choose to get training in golf operations and management.
And major attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and the Kennedy Space Center help draw millions of visitors to the state each year.
In fact, about 93.7 million people traveled to Florida in 2013, which was a record-breaking year—the third one in a row. And that enabled the state's tourism industry to employ well over one million people.†
And, of course, you can't forget about the dining element. Culinary professionals are always in real demand across the state, especially in popular visitor destinations.
A lot of Florida's tourists (and residents) also seek to be pampered with massages, spa treatments, or even just new hair styles. That's why projections show that, by 2018, about 295,000 Floridians will work in a personal care field like cosmetology or esthetics.***
5. Technology and Design
For a state with so many other things going for it, you might be surprised to learn that this region also plays host to a lot of creative innovation. Roughly 270,900 Floridians work in the broad sector of information technology.* They include digital media specialists, programmers, network systems professionals, and web developers.
6. Law, Criminal Justice, and Security
Because Florida has such a large and growing population, the need for professionals with a legal or criminal justice background is significant. Consider, for example, that about 55 state prisons, 150 probation offices, and other facilities already employee more than 22,000 people.‡ And think about these numbers:
- In 2013, just over 23,000 Floridians worked in the specialized field of defense electronics and equipment.*
- By 2018, the state is expected to have about 267,000 jobs for people in the field of protective services and 89,000 jobs for legal specialists such as paralegals and legal assistants.***
Some of Florida's most compelling industries involve things that fly, go into outer space, or cruise above or below the water. As a result, they employ a lot of tradespeople with distinctive skills. For example, in 2013 alone, the state's aviation and aerospace sector employed almost 77,000 people, including aircraft mechanics.* And with active industries like ocean shipping and shipbuilding, many other opportunities exist for tradesmen and women skilled in unique and exciting areas like commercial diving and underwater welding.
* Enterprise Florida, website last visited on March 18, 2016.
** Office of Economic and Demographic Research, The Florida Legislature, website last visited on March 18, 2016.
*** Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University, website last visited on March 18, 2016.
**** Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, website last visited on March 18, 2016.
† Visit Florida, website last visited on March 18, 2016.
‡ Florida Department of Corrections, website last visited on March 18, 2016.