4 Leading Industries in Montana to Think About Training For
Agriculture might be a big part of Montana's identity, but plenty of career opportunities can be found outside of that industry. In fact, more than 6,300 new jobs are expected to be created each year between 2014 and 2024 across all vocations within the state. And sectors like health care, technology, and the skilled trades, in particular, are projected to experience strong employment growth over those 10 years.1
Beyond the potential for rapid job growth, why else is Montana an appealing state to stay and start a career in? With its range of landscapes, this state is home to a variety of world-class ski resorts along with endless hiking and biking trails. No wonder the travel and tourism industry is also booming. And here's good news for locals or anyone looking to relocate for an education: Montana's cost of living is about 6.3 percent lower than the U.S. average.3
With these facts in mind, exploring the possibilities offered by colleges in Montana is probably very tempting. So keep your options open and take a closer look at four of Montana's major vocational sectors that generate strong career opportunities:
One of the career areas that's experiencing rapid employment growth is professional and technical services. It is home to a variety of occupations like engineering, computer programming, and wind energy technology. In fact, with the generation of wind power having grown by over 30 percent in 2013 alone, Montana has some of the best commercial wind potential in the country.2
Plus, each year between 2014 and 2024, about 600 new jobs could become available in this diverse sector.1 With such growth and potential, it's no wonder that high-tech wages in Montana are double the median earnings of all occupations in the state.5
Trade schools in Montana can provide strong starting points for reliable career paths. A few occupations in need of workers that you could consider training for are construction professionals, diesel mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and welders. Help is needed in such a wide range of jobs because, for every four retiring trades workers, only one replacement is being recruited.7
In addition to the heavy demand for workers, jobs in the skilled trades often come with a higher-than-average wage and require minimal training.1 Just take a look at the numbers:8
- Carpenters—Average hourly wage: $20.42 / Average annual wage: $42,480
- Electricians—Average hourly wage: $29.18 / Average annual wage: $60,690
- Plumbers—Average hourly wage: $27.42 / Average annual wage: $57,030
- Welders—Average hourly wage: $19.13 / Average annual wage: $39,790
3. Health Care
In Montana, the health care sector is alive and well. In fact, it is expected to grow by about 13,000 jobs from 2014 to 2024—the largest projected growth of any industry in the state. Check out some of the occupations with the most openings annually:6
- Registered nurses—Annual openings: 376 / Average annual wage: $61,814
- Nursing assistants—Annual openings: 218 / Average annual wage: $24,890
- Licensed practical nurses—Annual openings: 119 / Average annual wage: $38,762
- Home health aides—Annual openings: 93 / Average annual wage: $22,368
- Medical records & health info techs—Annual openings: 57 / Average annual wage: $34,727
With such impressive numbers, health care is a smart area to be a part of in Montana. Trade schools and colleges can offer the necessary support and training for learning the skills to enter this sector.
With visitors from around the world spending billions of dollars every year, it's no wonder that tourism is a leading industry. In a state filled with natural wonders, amazing national parks, and popular ski hills, who could expect anything less? In fact, Montana's tourism industry is responsible for directly supporting 38,200 jobs.4
Needless to say, travel and tourism would be the third-largest export in Montana—next to bulk grain and mineral fuels—if it was measured as a service export.2
Make Your Move
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1 Montana Department of Labor & Industry, Montana Employment Projections: 2015 — 2024, website last visited on January 14, 2016.
2 Montana Governor's Office of Economic Development, website last visited on January 14, 2016.
3 My Move, "Moving to Montana," website last visited on January 14, 2016.
4 Voices of Montana Tourism, "Tourism Matters to Montana's Economy," website last visited on January 14, 2016.
5 Montana High Tech Business Alliance, "A Profile of Montana's High Tech Industries, February 2015," website last visited on January 23, 2017.
6 Montana Department of Labor & Industry, The Health Care Labor Market in Montana, website last visited on January 14, 2016.
7 Montana Public Radio, "Montana Facing a Shortage of Skilled Workers," website last visited on January 14, 2016.
8 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on April 29, 2016.