Employment Trends Job Search Tips

Top 5 Jobs in the Southwest

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 southwestern part of the united states, a region that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Home to a number of vibrant and diverse cultures from Santa Fe to Houston to New Orleans, the Southwestern part of the country is also a hotbed of growth and renewal in a number of industries. if you have a taste for the spicy (steaming tex-mex plates or New Mexico’s famous hatch chili peppers, anyone?) and are looking for a career jumpstart, definitely consider this region.

1. Java Developer

Austin, TX, is one of the growing tech start-up hubs putting the southwest on the map. it also has some old-school tech flavor as well: IBM, Dell, Google, and Facebook all have outposts in the region. one of the fastest-growing positions in the region is for java developers, who develop and refine code specifically for the java programming language across different platforms.

Developers have a median salary of $97,990, and the field is likely to expand by at least 17% per the BLS.

2. Health Services Manager

Like everywhere else in the nation, the Southwest is seeing a booming healthcare industry as the population ages and insurance coverage gets more complex. and while you might think of medical professionals like nurses and physician assistants as the primary career path in the industry, there’s also the administrative arm, as well. Health services managers are not directly involved in patient medical care, but they work with the patients and families to plan, direct, and coordinate health services. They can advise on insurance coverage issues, and ensure that patients and medical facilities are up to date on changes in healthcare regulations and technology.

The median salary for this role is $92,810 per year, with 17% growth expected in the near future.

3. Oil/Gas Truck Driver

The Southwestern part of the U.S. is home to much of the country’s energy industry, which includes some of the largest oil reserves and refineries. this calls for specialized truck drivers to transport oil and related materials. Truck driving in general requires on-the-job experience rather than specific degrees, but oil and gas driving jobs may require additional hazardous material licensing.

The median salary for truck drivers is $38,200, and the field is expected to grow by at least 11% in the coming years. These specialized drivers will continue to be in high demand as the nation’s energy needs continue to grow and change.

4. Medical Assistant

In a hectic medical office or hospital, the medical assistants are often the busiest people around. medical assistants may be called on to help with administrative tasks (processing patient records, receiving patients) or clinical ones (taking vital signs, preparing equipment, handling samples for testing). In addition to a high school diploma, this role often calls for additional certification, depending on the state.

The median salary is $29,960, and the field is expected to grow by at least 23% in the near future.

5. Personal Financial Advisor

With the realities of housing, student loans, and healthcare coverage growing more complex all the time, the need for personal financial advisors is definitely expanding. Financial advisors work with clients to create personal financial plans for investments, insurance, mortgages, education, taxes, and retirement planning.

One of the quickest-growing industries in the southwest, overall demand for these advisors is expected to grow by an astounding 30% by 2022. This position typically requires a bachelor’s degree, and the median salary is $81,060.

So what do you think? Is a career change with a Southwestern flair on deck for you?

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.