4 Great Industries in Orange County
Orange County's warm climate, oceanside location, and famous tourist attractions have given it a reputation around the world as a great place to vacation. But there's a lot more to "the OC" than theme parks and beaches. With over three million residents, the area is home to a rising number of successful businesses. And many of those businesses expect to hire more workers. In fact, 17,678 openings for middle-skills jobs are predicted to be created in Orange County every year between 2016 and 2026. Middle-skills jobs are positions that don't require a bachelor's degree, but that do require training beyond a high school diploma. Orange County schools offer many certificate and associate degree programs to help meet this need for more middle-skilled workers.
Such programs often lead to careers with good salaries. In fact, salaries in this region of California tend to be higher than in many other parts of the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage in Orange County was $27.22 in 2017, which was 12 percent higher than the national average of $24.34.
Where can students like you find some of those job opportunities? Take a look at the following important industries in Orange County.
Job growth projections are for the decade between 2016 and 2026. Median hourly wages are for the first quarter of 2018. All data is based on information from the State of California Employment Development Department.
Orange County offers a lot of opportunities for healthcare workers with the right credentials. One reason behind this growing demand is that the average age of Orange County residents is rising. In fact, according to the Orange County Workforce Indicators Report, the percentage of the population over 55 years of age is expected to climb from 22.5 percent in 2010 to 40.7 percent by 2060. That's a big increase for a demographic that typically needs more medical care.
Check out the numbers for these healthcare-related careers:
- Medical assistants—24.1-percent growth; $17.17 hourly
- Dental assistants—18.2-percent growth; $17.62 hourly
- Health information technicians—15.1-percent growth; $23.41 hourly
- Licensed vocational nurses—14.8-percent growth; $26.18 hourly
- Registered nurses—13.9-percent growth; $43.36 hourly
2. Information Technology
Information technology professionals are also in demand in Orange County. According to the Orange County Workforce Indicators Report, IT salaries in this region rose more than 20 percent over a five-year period as employers focused on retaining workers in a competitive market. Another thing to keep in mind is that Orange County tech professionals increasingly work for organizations that aren't technology companies: More IT professionals are finding positions in financial services and healthcare organizations than in technology-specific firms. That's because all kinds of employers in the region need technology professionals to do things like manage their data and keep their networks secure.
So, what kind of careers in IT are growing? Take a look at these examples:
- Applications software developers—31.5-percent growth; $57.17 hourly
- Web developers—15.7-percent growth; $32.48 hourly
- Database administrators—12.2-percent growth; $42.98 hourly
- User support technicians—12-percent growth; $27.25 hourly
- Network architects—8-percent growth; $52.88 hourly
3. Advanced Manufacturing
"Advanced manufacturing" refers to manufacturing that uses innovative technology, resulting in improved workflows and products. This is high-tech, precise manufacturing, and it's taking off in Orange County. In fact, over 72 percent of manufacturing jobs in Orange County are considered advanced manufacturing positions, according to the Orange County Workforce Indicators Report.
Across Orange County, advanced manufacturing is changing the way work is done in electronics, aerospace, and medical manufacturing. One area with particularly strong prospects in this region is medical device manufacturing: According to Biocom's 2019 California Economic Impact Report, Orange County has six times more workers in this sector than the national average.
Take a look at these advanced manufacturing careers:
- Computer-controlled machine tool programmers—22.2-percent growth; $27.38 hourly
- Industrial engineers—15.1-percent growth; $48.83 hourly
- Industrial machinery mechanics—10.2-percent growth; $25.44 hourly
- Technical and scientific sales representatives—6.1-percent growth; $35.97 hourly
Disneyland. World-class surfing. Big-league sports teams like the Anaheim Ducks. There's no question that Orange County is one of the major tourist centers in the U.S. Visit California says that in 2019 alone, travelers to this region spent about $14.5 billion. Those numbers add up to a lot of job opportunities in the tourism sector. In fact, the region's leisure and hospitality sector employs more than 219,000 workers, according to the Orange County Workforce Indicators Report. And with many area attractions planning to expand, the tourism industry shows no signs of slowing down its hiring.
What kind of tourism careers are in demand? Take a look at the following examples:
- Chefs—14.4-percent growth; $23.56 hourly
- Bartenders—14.1-percent growth; $12.36 hourly
- Ticket agents—12-percent growth; $17.54 hourly
- Amusement and recreation attendants—10.3-percent growth; $11.42 hourly
- Hotel managers—8.8-percent growth; $28.95 hourly