Employment Trends

Top 5 Jobs in the Midwest

Written by Kate Lopaze

if you’re looking for a career change (or a change of scenery!), here are some of the fastest-growing jobs for 2016 in the midwest. this includes illinois, indiana, iowa, michigan, minnesota, nebraska, north dakota, south dakota, and wisconsin.

the midwestern part of the u.s. is unique because it faces a changing landscape for the traditional agriculture and manufacturing industries, but is seeing growth in many areas like healthcare and the tech industry.

see also: the top 5 major industry jobs in the southeast

1. operations research analyst

 as is the case all over the country, a number of midwest cities are getting in on the tech game. for example, indianapolis, in, was recently named one of the nation’s fastest-growing tech cities by fast company. one of the top jobs there is operations research analyst, which involved reviewing it processes and workflow to make things more efficient.

this role typically calls for a bachelor’s degree, and has a median salary of $76,660 per year (per the u.s. bureau of labor statistics). as technology grows and companies seek to integrate better processes, this field is expected to grow more than 30%.

2. human resources specialist

no matter what industry your company is in or how big your company is, you need great human resources staffers to keep your personnel operations running smoothly. human resources specialists may be responsible for recruiting, hiring, training, communicating with employees about benefits and compensation and handling internal personnel issues.

the median salary for human resources specialists is $57,420, and the field is expected to grow as new companies spring up in midwestern locales—especially in large cities like indianapolis, chicago, and omaha.

3. rideshare driver

if you live near a densely populated area (and increasingly even if you don’t), you may have noticed that there are ridesharing services (like lyft and uber) popping up everywhere. after picking up steam in east- and west-coast cities, the rest of the country is getting in on the ridesharing trend as well, with many major cities joining the fray.

drivers are responsible for picking up passengers who reserve rides via an app, and for safely and efficiently getting them to their agreed-upon destination. payment is typically handled via the app, so rideshare drivers have a different process than standard taxi drivers. no advanced certification is necessary, though drivers do need to have a good driving history, and can expect to be vetted thoroughly by the company before hitting the road.

the national median hourly rate is $19.04 for drivers.

4. registered nurse

the world always needs more nurses, of every stripe—and as medical demands grow throughout the middle of the country, registered nurses will continue to be in high demand. registered nurses provide direct patient care and work with patients and families to educate them on treatment and medical support.

the median salary is $66,640, and the field is expected to grow by at least 16%.

5. sales representative, manufacturing, and wholesale

sales reps fill a crucial role: they work to get products and services into the hands of businesses, agencies, and other organizations, then manage those customer relationships. sales reps can work in a variety of industries (tech, agriculture, health technology), and often travel throughout the region to meet potential customers.

the median salary is $58,380, and the role usually requires on-the-job training rather than a formal degree or training program.

if you’re already in the heartland, or are seeking to move there to be near vistas that range from rolling fields to snow-capped mountains, there are many opportunities to be had as we head into 2016.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.