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 20 million students and residents. In fact, the state's diverse workforce of more than 10 million employed people is the third-largest in America. And its businesses generate more than $800 billion in GDP, which is greater than that of some entire countries.1
It all means that the Sunshine 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 already the third-largest in the country, and it is expected to rise by almost 23 percent in only two decades (from 2020 to 2040).2, 3
- Florida has four big metropolitan areas with populations of more than one million people: Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.2
- Projections indicate that almost 960,000 new jobs could become available in the state between 2018 and 2026.4
- It's predicted that, by 2021, more than 60 percent of all jobs in Florida will require some form of post-secondary education or training.5
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 seven 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 $153 billion worth of goods in 2018.1
Already, upwards of 111,000 Floridians perform some type of accounting or bookkeeping work.4 And by 2026, more than 1.6 million of the state's residents are expected to have careers in office and administrative support, with another 575,000 employed in business or financial operations.4
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 2020 and 2040, the population of Floridians aged 65 and over is expected to grow by almost 53 percent. As a result, people in that age group will account for about one-quarter of the state's residents in 2040 (up from about 20 percent in 2020).3
- By 2026, more than 665,000 jobs for healthcare practitioners and health-related technical specialists are expected to exist within the state. That's an increase of over 16 percent from 2018.4
- 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, 260 biotech firms, and 220 pharmaceutical manufacturing companies.1
3. Tourism and Recreation
People from all over the world choose Florida as a place to getaway to—for good reason. With more than 1,200 miles of coastline, long stretches of white sandy beaches, thousands of 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, it has more golf courses than any other state.6 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 125 million people traveled to Florida in 2018. That enabled the state's tourism industry to employ well over one million people.7
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 hairstyles. That's why projections show that, by 2026, about 50,500 Floridians will work as hairstylists or cosmetologists.4
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 311,800 Floridians work in the broad sector of information technology.1 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 50 state prisons and other facilities already employ around 24,000 people.8 And think about these numbers:
- In 2016, almost 23,000 Floridians worked in the specialized field of defense electronics and equipment.1
- By 2026, the state is expected to have about 265,000 jobs for people in the field of protective services and 29,000 jobs for legal specialists such as paralegals and legal assistants.4
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 2016 alone, the state's aviation and aerospace sector employed almost 94,000 people, including aircraft mechanics.1 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.
1 Enterprise Florida, website last visited on August 12, 2019.
2 U.S. Census Bureau, website last visited on August 12, 2019.
3 Office of Economic and Demographic Research, The Florida Legislature, website last visited on August 12, 2019.
4 Florida Research and Economic Information Database Application, website last visited on August 12, 2019.
5 Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida Demographics, website last visited on August 12, 2019.
6 Top 100 Golf Courses, website last visited on August 12, 2019.
7 VISIT FLORIDA Research, website last visited on August 12, 2019.
8 Florida Department of Corrections, website last visited on August 12, 2019.