8 Key Industries to Consider While Exploring Maryland Trade Schools & Colleges
Maryland's employment sector is as diverse as its geography, which extends from beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches all the way to the tops of the majestic Appalachian Mountains. Whether you reside in a larger city like Baltimore, Columbia, or Glen Burnie or one of the smaller towns like Beltsville, Hanover, or Woodlawn, there are many career possibilities to consider.
And it is no wonder that so many people are proud to call Maryland home. The state is a wonderful place to live and learn. Most Marylanders know that even though the state is small, its accomplishments are big. Just consider some of the achievements that make Maryland so great:
- In 2014, Columbia and Ellicott City ranked sixth among the best places to live in America.2
- As of 2014, approximately 30 percent of the adult population was enrolled in a Maryland trade school, college, or graduate school. And almost 40 percent of the population already held a bachelor's degree.1
- As of 2015, Maryland has the highest median household income in the U.S. In fact, it is 38 percent higher than the national median.1
- In 2015, the state had the second-lowest poverty rate in the nation.1
- Maryland has the highest concentration of employed doctoral engineers and scientists in the country as well as the most professional and technical workers of all U.S. states.2
- In December 2015, the state saw the addition of 10,000 jobs in one month alone.2
- From 2012 to 2022, it is estimated that there will be more than 832,700 jobs to fill across all occupational fields.3
Maryland offers something for everyone. The state has a deep history that is reflected in the arts, culture, and music scenes. Foodies are impressed with the culinary experiences—from the ocean to the mountains—that include several microbreweries and wineries. There are outdoor adventures almost everywhere you turn whether you love kayaking, hiking, skiing, or anything in between. And sports enthusiasts are rarely bored with events that include professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, and even sailing regattas.
You can benefit from the state's diverse economic landscape that can provide opportunities in everything from health care and social assistance to scientific and technical services to leisure and hospitality to professional and business services. You have many options to consider.
So we know why you love it here. And we know why you are looking at Maryland colleges and trade schools. But you may be trying to decide on a focus for your studies. How can you possibly choose which occupational field to join? Well, we are here to help you with that decision. Below you can discover eight key industries that you may want to consider preparing for while attending a Maryland trade school or college.
1. Health Care & Social Assistance
The government has created an initiative to grow Maryland's health care workforce in order to address anticipated growth in demand due to many factors, including an aging population and an increase in the number of insured residents due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As of 2015, Maryland spends more than $42 million a year in health care, and health care expenditures have been increasing by 6.6 percent a year.4
To gain a better understanding of the importance of Maryland's health care and social assistance sector, consider these facts:4
- Almost 30 percent of the population is over the age of 55.
- Sixty-five percent of the adult population is obese or overweight.
- Twenty-one percent of adults do not participate in any physical activity. And 60 percent of high school students are not meeting the recommended physical activity level for their age group.
- Fourteen percent of adults report having fair or poor health status.
- Ten percent of adults are living with a disability.
- Seven percent of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- Five percent of adults have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
Health care made up approximately 12 percent of the state's employment in 2015. And from 2010 to 2020, health care and social assistance jobs are expected to grow in number by 23 percent, which amounts to over 110,000 job openings. Of those openings, it is estimated that 33 percent of the positions will require some college training or an associate degree, and 24 percent of the positions will require a bachelor's degree.5
So if you are thinking of joining Maryland's health care workforce, it could easily be argued that now is the time to do it. Just take a look at some of these projected job-opening totals for the period from 2012 to 2022:3
- Registered nurses—15,600
- Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides and assistants—14,000
- Counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists—8,900
- Licensed practical nurses—4,600
- Medical and clinical lab technologists and technicians—2,700
- Medical and health services managers—2,600
- Medical assistants—2,500
- Pharmacy technicians—1,500
2. Business and Professional Services
With its proximity to the Eastern seaboard, access to major ports, rail lines, and highways, and ideal location next door to hubs like Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, it's clear that Maryland is open for business. In fact, in 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce ranked Maryland as first in the country for entrepreneurship and innovation for the third year in a row.2 And all of the major industries throughout the state—some of which are mentioned here—require business professionals.
It is projected that, from 2012 to 2022, a huge number of business professionals will be needed in all sectors. Just take a look at the occupations below and their estimated number of job openings:3
- Business operations specialists—19,300
- Customer service representatives—11,500
- Financial clerks—10,900
- General and operations managers—9,400
- Accountants and auditors—8,000
- Office and administrative support supervisors—7,500
- Retail supervisors—7,100
- Administrative assistants (excludes executive, legal, and medical)—6,600
- Operations specialties managers—6,370
- Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives—5,000
- Management analysts—3,700
- Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks—2,500
- Advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers—2,400
- Financial managers—2,000
- Human resources specialists—2,000
3. Information Technology
Maryland came in second place in the 2014 State Technology and Science Index produced by the Milken Institute. The index examines every U.S. state's technology and science capabilities and their effect on economic development. Considerations include research and development, entrepreneurial infrastructure, and the technology and science workforce. One key highlight from the index is that Maryland excels in the commercialization of research projects, and it ranked second in the country for academic and federal research and development.6
Along with the promising results that came from the State Technology and Science Index, Maryland is also proud to have more than 30 new-business incubators that focus on technology companies. And in 2015, the state ranked first in academic research and development intensity, high-tech share of all businesses, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) job concentration. Additionally, Baltimore ranked second for hot tech startup cities in the U.S.2
It is easy to see that Maryland is a great place to begin a technology career. There are almost 11,500 IT businesses employing 138,000 workers in areas like electronics, engineering, information security analysis, and software development. And the annual average salary in the IT industry is $104,040.2 Many of the best positions can be found in areas related to computer systems design and related services, research and development, and telecommunications.
A number of investment and venture funds, as well as multiple tax credits, support the growth in Maryland's tech industry. And this growth is not expected to slow down any time soon as Maryland continues working to position itself as a global tech leader. Check out some of the leading IT positions and the amount of jobs that are estimated to be opening between 2012 and 2022:3
- Software developers—9,000
- Computer user support specialists—4,600
- Computer systems analysts—4,500
- Network and computer systems administrators—3,000
- Computer network architects—1,570
- Computer and information systems managers—1,480
- Database administrators—1,200
In Maryland, you can find 17 military installations and 11 major commands that cover everything from training to research and development and from cybersecurity to soldier rehabilitation. Maryland has the country's largest military medical center and is home to Air Force One. More than 8,500 aerospace and defense businesses and 72 federal laboratories support over 400,000 jobs in the military sector at the local, state, and federal levels.2
You could find that there are many diverse positions available that intersect with other industries ranging from business and health care to criminal justice and IT. Just take a look at some of the military-support positions below and the number of jobs that are expected to be filled from 2012 to 2022:3
- Material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers—19,000
- Nursing assistants—8,760
- Security guards—6,345
- Police and sheriff's patrol officers—5,400
- General maintenance and repair workers—4,270
- Installation, maintenance, and repair supervisors—2,530
- HVAC mechanics and installers—2,200
- Purchasing agents and managers—1,700
- Human resources assistants—960
- Marine engineers and naval architects—130
Maryland is considered an ideal state for manufacturing due to several factors, including its location in one of the busiest corridors in the nation. Manufacturers have access to a deep-water port, four foreign trade zones, four international airports, five major highways, and two rail lines. And 60 percent of Maryland's manufacturers are considered advanced, meaning that they produce high-tech products like electronics, aeronautics, software, and aircraft engines.2
There are more than 3,600 manufacturing businesses supporting 103,200 jobs in which the annual salary is $68,848, on average.2 A large number of positions can be found in the areas of computer and electronic, food, chemical, plastic and rubber, and fabricated-metal product manufacturing. And many occupations are expecting a large number of openings during the 2012-to-2022 period. Check out a few of these examples:3
- Food processing workers—3,200
- Metal and plastic workers—2,350
- Assemblers and fabricators—2,300
- Mechanical engineers—2,100
- Electronics engineers—1,300
- Industrial machinery mechanics—1,280
- Electrical engineers—1,100
- Industrial engineers—825
- Sheet metal workers—630
- CNC machine operators and programmers—600
- Structural metal fabricators and fitters—320
6. Industrial & Green Energy
Coal, hydro, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass companies make up most of the energy sector in Maryland. In 2013, 44.4 percent of the state's electricity was generated from coal, 35.1 percent was nuclear, and 16.4 percent was from natural gas.7 However, the state's dependency on fossil fuel energy sources has been declining over time while electricity generation from renewable sources has been increasing.
Looking at solar energy alone, there are more than 170 solar companies employing over 3,000 people across the state. And Maryland companies and residents spent $221 million on solar installations in 2014, which was a 95-percent increase from 2013 spending.8 Even corporations are getting on board, and several large international retailers located throughout the state have converted to solar energy.
The emerging renewable energy sector is partially a result of the government's requirement that at least 20 percent of the state's energy must come from renewable sources by 2022. That being said, traditional energy sources still have an important role. There are more than 1,200 energy businesses employing almost 37,000 people across the state. And the industry pays an annual average salary of $78,540.2
Some of the top positions in the Maryland energy sector can be found in the areas of waste management and mediation, electric and gas power generation, transmission, and distribution, environmental quality program administration, and utilities regulation and administration. Take a look at some of the key occupations within energy companies and the number of positions that are expected to be open between 2012 and 2022:3
- Plant and systems operators—1,440
- Environmental scientists and specialists—1,000
- Electrical power line installers and repairers—570
- Environmental engineers—350
- Commercial and industrial electrical and electronics equipment repairers—260
- Environmental engineering technicians—130
- Nuclear engineers—130
7. Aerospace & Defense
The aerospace and defense industry in Maryland is a major economic engine for the state, and it relies on a highly skilled workforce. Maryland is home to 16 of the top 25 aerospace companies in the country as well as 70 of the top 100 defense contractors.2 And the aerospace and defense workforce is largely comprised of engineers, scientists, and technicians, but many other positions exist as well.
There are over 8,500 aerospace and defense companies across the state that are employing more than 142,000 people in sub-sectors like cybersecurity, robotics, and space exploration. Some of the top positions can be found in areas related to computer systems design and related services, national security, and research and development. And the average annual salary within the industry is $106,890.2
Occupational growth is anticipated across the industry. Below are a few examples of jobs related to aerospace and defense and the estimated number of openings that may need to be filled by 2022:3
- Electrical and electronic equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers—2,280
- Computer programmers—2,100
- Electrical and electronic engineering technicians—900
- Aerospace engineers—800
- Aircraft mechanics and service technicians—660
- Aircraft assemblers—180
- Aerospace engineering and operating technicians—60
8. Biotechnology & Life Sciences
Maryland has one of the largest life sciences clusters in the nation. The state is home to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as many academic, medical, and research institutions that have made huge contributions to the biotechnology and life sciences field. Maryland was the first state to map the human genome, it has a databank that collects all known DNA sequences, and it maintains the Human Gene Map.2
Maryland was also the first state to develop an approved rapid test for Ebola and is the world's largest producer of adult stem cells.2 So you can see that Maryland's contributions to the biotechnology field have been many. And this has been due to the state's higher education resources, state-of-the-art specialized facilities, funding programs, and tax incentives that have been designed to foster innovation and growth throughout the biotech and life sciences sector.
There are thousands of biotech and life sciences companies in Maryland that employ more than 40,000 people.2 Many of these companies are concentrated in Montgomery County due to its proximity to major federal and technology sectors in the area. It is anticipated that the biotech sector will be experiencing substantial growth in the coming years. Check out a few of the more common occupations and the number of jobs that are expected to open up from 2012 to 2022:3
- Biological technicians—1,480
- Operations research analysts—1,360
- Chemical equipment operators and tenders—235
- Biomedical engineers—230
- Chemical technicians—205
- Materials engineers—180
A Better Career Outlook Starts Here
Trade schools and colleges in Maryland can help you capitalize on many of the wonderful opportunities that this state has to offer. Take a moment right now to turn your ambition into action by finding a school that can begin leading you toward achieving your dreams. Enter your zip code into the simple search tool below to view a list of programs that are available in your area!
1 United States Census Bureau, website last visited on February 15, 2016.
2 Maryland.gov, website last visited on February 15, 2016.
3 Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, website last visited on February 15, 2016.
4 The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, website last visited on June 5, 2017.
5 Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce, Healthcare State Report, website last visited on February 15, 2016.
6 Milken Institute, 2014 State Tech and Science Index, website last visited on February 15, 2016.
7 Maryland Clean Energy Center, website last visited on February 15, 2016.
8 Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), "Maryland Solar," website last visited on September 11, 2017.