3 Promising Career Sectors in Columbus
There's a lot going on in Columbus. The Ohio capital is one of the economic stars of the Midwest, outpacing many other metro areas in the region in terms of job growth.1 About 63,500 jobs in a wide variety of industries are projected to open up in the Columbus metro area between 2014 and 2024.2
Many of those jobs come with higher wages than in the past. In fact, of all metro areas with populations of a million or more, Columbus ranked first in wage growth between June 2014 and June 2015. Average hourly earnings jumped 6.2 percent in the Columbus area during that time.3
Clearly, Columbus can be a great place to train for a new career. Here are three occupational areas with strong future outlooks in the region:
1. Health Care
Tending to people's well-being is a big industry in Columbus. The region is home to more than 15 major hospitals and medical centers, many of which are nationally recognized for excellence.4 And this sector is primed to expand: Health care support occupations alone are projected to grow almost 28 percent in Columbus between 2014 and 2024. In fact, of the top 10 overall fastest-growing occupations in the Columbus metro area, eight are in health care.2
The following are a few examples of health careers that are expected to experience strong growth in Columbus over the coming years. (The percentages below represent the projected growth in employment between 2014 and 2024; salary figures are median annual wages as of June 2016.)2
- Physical therapist assistants—43.3 percent / $55,536
- Home health aides—41.3 percent / $22,277
- Licensed practical nurses—28.5 percent / $42,141
- Massage therapists—27.4 percent / $33,155
- Medical assistants—22.3 percent / $30,950
Columbus is known as a technology hub. The city is home to the Columbus Collaboratory, which focuses on developing innovative solutions in analytics and cybersecurity. There are more than 50 data centers in the Columbus area, with more on the way. And companies like IBM, AT&T, and Verizon Communications employ tens of thousands of people throughout the region.4 So it's little wonder that the city has been ranked the number one place in the country for technology workers.5
Here are some tech-related occupations that are expected to expand over the next few years, along with their median salaries:2
- Web developers—22.3 percent / $74,818
- Computer systems analysts—19.4 percent / $84,302
- Computer and information systems managers—18.9 percent / $128,006
- Applications software developers—14.9 percent / $90,792
- Computer user support specialists—10 percent / $44,408
The building industry is booming in Columbus. The construction sector already employs more than 32,000 people in the area, and the field is expected to grow more than 12 percent between 2014 and 2024. That means 4,000 new construction jobs will likely become available during that time period.2
And employers around Columbus can't find enough qualified people to do this kind of work. In a 2017 survey of construction firms in Ohio, almost three-quarters of respondents said they were having a hard time filling craft positions.6 That spells opportunity for those with the right skills and qualifications.
Check out the projected job growth and median annual wages for these construction-related occupations in Columbus:2
- Insulation workers—26.4 percent / $41,558
- HVAC/R mechanics and installers—14.4 percent / $45,989
- Electricians—13.8 percent / $44,429
- Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters—11.3 percent / $50,419
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1 The United States Conference of Mayors, U.S. Metro Economies: Past and Future Employment Levels, website last visited on February 19, 2018.
2 Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio Labor Market Information, website last visited on February 19, 2018.
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Percent changes in average hourly earnings for largest metro areas, June 2014 to June 2015," website last visited on February 19, 2018.
4 Columbus 2020, website last visited on February 19, 2018.
5 SmartAsset, "The Best American Cities to Work in Tech 2017," website last visited on February 19, 2018.
6 Associated General Contractors of America, "2017 Workforce Survey Results: Ohio Results," website last visited on February 19, 2018.