5 Major Career Sectors in Kansas That Are Growing Quickly
Kansas might be famous for its rural towns and sweeping prairies, but you don't have to look far to see a whole other side of this state that's thriving. Significant progress is taking place across an impressive range of industries, especially in the state's growing cities. As a result, many Kansans are experiencing a fulfilling quality of life built on a balance of good employment opportunities, appealing cultural options, and excellent affordability. These facts help illustrate what's happening:
- By 2020, more than 177,740 new jobs are expected to be generated statewide—an increase of over 12 percent from 2010.*
- From 2015 to 2040, the state's overall population could grow by over 11 percent. However, many areas are likely to experience much faster growth. For example, the population of Johnson County, which includes the Kansas City, MO suburb of Overland Park, is projected to rise by 44 percent over that period. And the number of residents in Douglas County, which includes the city of Lawrence, is expected to increase by over 30 percent.**
- Kansas ranks among the most affordable places to live in America thanks to a cost of living that is more than 8.7 percent below the nationwide average. Owning a home in this state is particularly affordable since the median home value is over 216 percent below the countrywide average.***
So the facts indicate that this region offers a lot of potential for career-seeking students. And as you explore the programs that you find at colleges and trade schools in Kansas, keep in mind that many of them provide relatively fast training for growing occupational sectors such as:
1. Healthcare and Bioscience
Healthcare and social assistance is the fastest-expanding employment sector in Kansas.* And the state has also dedicated a lot of resources toward helping the emerging bioscience industry thrive, especially in the area of animal health and veterinary science. Together, these industries already provide jobs to a lot of Kansans, and the opportunities are likely to be even more abundant going forward. Just look at the following stats:
- In Wyandotte County, which includes the city of Kansas City, KS, the three largest employers are all within the healthcare and health technology sectors. Collectively, they employ about 16,500 people in the region.****
- In Overland Park alone, nearly 12.8 percent of all workers are employed in healthcare.†
- Statewide, close to 50,150 new healthcare and social assistance jobs could be created between 2010 and 2020—an increase of almost 28 percent. But the rate of job growth could be much higher in the popular Kansas City metropolitan region of the state, where employment in this sector is projected to rise by almost 43 percent.*
2. Professional and Technology-Related Services
With a diversity of technology-focused industries like aviation, sustainable energy, bioscience, and advanced manufacturing, companies in Kansas will probably continue to need a wide variety of workers with professional and technical qualifications. For example, they often look for people with skills in areas like computer programming and software development, network administration, electronics, and information security. But many employers in the state also need professionals such as paralegals, graphic designers, interactive media developers, and architectural drafters. Check out these facts:
- Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, has been ranked as one of the top 25 metropolitan areas in America for the number of jobs related to science, technology, engineering, and math.‡
- Statewide, the number of Kansans employed in the occupational category of professional, scientific, and technical services is projected to grow by 26.5 percent from 2010 to 2020. But in the Kansas City region, workers in this broad category could enjoy employment growth of over 37 percent.*
3. Skilled Trades
A growing population often brings more need for new construction. And the same can be said about a growing economy. That's one reason why the job outlook is good for skilled tradespeople in Kansas. But aside from construction, at least two other major industries within the state employ a lot of people in the trades.
For instance, advanced manufacturing, especially within the aviation and automotive sectors, generates a lot of jobs in Kansas. In fact, Wichita has the largest concentration of aerospace manufacturing professionals in the U.S. And in 2013 alone, more than 40 percent of all general aviation airplanes built in America were produced and delivered by companies in Wichita.‡
In addition, Kansas has a thriving energy resources industry. Not only is the state home to one of the world's biggest natural gas fields, but it is also one of the best places in the U.S. for generating sustainable wind energy. That's why over 50 wind farm projects have been proposed and are being planned throughout the region.‡
So job opportunities in the trades are expected to keep growing in number. For example, more than 11,000 new jobs could be generated in the state's construction sector by 2020—an expansion of over 20 percent from 2010. And employment related to fabricated metal product manufacturing could increase by almost 16 percent.* As a result, many trade schools in Kansas offer fast training programs to help people qualify for jobs in areas like welding, HVAC/R technology, and the electrical trade. Some schools even offer programs in automotive technology and wind energy technology.
4. Business and Financial Services
Kansas is considered a very business-friendly state. And with its high quality of life and growing cities, it's expected that the region will continue to be an attractive place to do business. The city of Wichita alone is already home to the headquarters of two of America's biggest privately held companies.‡ And from 2010 to 2020, employment within the state's administrative services and finance sectors is projected to rise by 23.2 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively.* So new opportunities will likely be created in fields like accounting, human resources, management, marketing, finance, and many other business-related areas.
5. Educational Services
As the state's population grows and more organizations start up or expand their operations in Kansas, the need for education professionals remains strong. After all, more people usually means more students to educate, including at the level of early childhood education. And as organizations succeed and grow, they need more qualified workers. The result is that more than 29,000 new jobs related to educational services are projected to be created statewide by 2020—a rise of almost 21 percent from 2010. But in the Kansas City region of the state, that increase could be as much as 33.5 percent.*
Jumpstart Your Journey
The easiest way to begin moving forward is to find the Kansas colleges and technical schools that have the ability to help you as soon as you're ready. And all that takes is a quick search using your current zip code to generate a list of program options in your area. Try it right now!
* Kansas Department of Labor, Kansas Labor Information Center, website last visited on October 6, 2015.
** Wichita State University, Center for Economic Development and Business Research, website last visited on October 6, 2015.
*** Kansas Department of Commerce, website last visited on October 5, 2015.
**** Wyandotte Economic Development Council, website last visited on October 5, 2015.
† Overland Park Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council, website last visited on October 5, 2015.
‡ Greater Wichita Partnership, website last visited on August 8, 2017.