Fastest-Growing Jobs By State For People With A Bachelor’s Degree

After the 2020 Pandemic hit, I was lucky enough to avoid a layoff. I got hired for a new job RIGHT before a year-long hiring freeze, and I managed to keep my job while moving to another state.
How did I dodge unemployment? I thank my bachelor’s degree for that.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor’s degree pays off in terms of stability and salary. Bachelor’s degree earners are much less likely to experience unemployment compared to those with no postsecondary education. Plus, people with a bachelor’s degree earn about 67% more.
So what are the best jobs to pursue if you have a bachelor’s degree?

Fastest-growing careers with bachelor’s degree or higher

The average growth rate for all occupations is about 3 to 4% between 2019 and 2029. A “fast-growing career” means a career that will probably gain new jobs faster than average in the next few years. Pursuing a fast-growing career usually means more job opportunities and less competition from other applicants.

Top 5 fastest-growing jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or higher

The top five fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. for people with a bachelor’s OR master’s degree earn a median annual wage of $91,160 to $112,260. Three of the top five below are in health care.
  1. Nurse practitioners (for master’s degree earners)
  2. Statisticians (for Mmaster’s degree earners)
  3. Medical and health services managers
  4. Physician assistants (for master’s degree earners)
  5. Information security analysts
If you want to go beyond a master’s, another fast-growing career to consider is physical therapy. Physical therapists usually need a doctoral degree and earn a median annual wage of $91,010. The growth rate is expected to be 18%.

Other things to consider

Besides job growth and education level, you should consider median pay in that state vs. the cost of real estate. Could you afford to buy a house in that state? Will you be able to afford your student loan payments?
Also, the workforce expert I spoke with cautioned that the total projected number of job openings is equally important. Let’s say a job is expected to grow 25% — that’s a significant growth rate. But if there are only 200 openings nationwide, is it still worth pursuing? Maybe, if you’re exceptional.

Fastest-growing occupations in each state for bachelor’s degree earners

What if you don’t want to pursue a master’s degree, but you DO want a bachelor’s degree? These are the fastest-growing jobs in each state for bachelor’s degree earners.

Alabama - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Alabama: $81,750
In Alabama, information security analyst jobs are predicted to grow 36% by 2028. Most people in this field have a bachelor’s degree (42%), but some have master’s degrees (23%), and others have some college but no degree (17%). Annual job openings in the U.S. are projected to be 13,900.

Alaska - aerospace engineers

Median annual wage in Alaska: $102,140
Jobs for aerospace engineers in Alaska are predicted to grow 25% by 2028. In the U.S. as a whole, job openings are predicted to be 3,900 annually.

Arizona - substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors

Median annual wage in Arizona: $46,500
This group of counseling jobs is expected to grow 41% by 2028. But even though a bachelor’s degree may land you a position, most of the workers in this field (53%) have a master’s degree.

Arkansas - fundraisers

Median annual wage in Arkansas: $43,970
Fundraisers are expected to grow 41% by 2028 with a total of 120 annual job openings in Arkansas (11,100 in the U.S.).

California - information security analysts

Median annual wage in California: $121,510
The next fastest-growing career for people with bachelor’s degrees, software developers, is growing slightly slower than information security analysts (29% vs. 33%). However, the median annual wage is higher in California ($135,930) and the projected number of job openings in the U.S. is over 131,000 vs. just 13,900.

Colorado - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Colorado: $104,450
The next fastest-growing career for bachelor’s degrees is actuaries. The median annual wage for actuaries is $116,210 in Colorado. But the number of projected job openings in Colorado is just 30 for 2028.

Connecticut - software developers

Median annual wage in Connecticut: $102,430
There is no projected data for the number of annual job openings in Connecticut for software developers. However, yearly job openings nationwide are projected to be 131,400.

Delaware - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Delaware: $109,930
Other fast-growing careers to consider in Delaware are substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors and operations research analysts. Both have a relatively high growth rate (24% and 21%, respectively). But operations research analysts earn a much higher median annual wage in Delaware ($89,510 vs. $45,990).

District of Columbia - information security analysts

Median annual wage in D.C.: $119,330
Information security analysts are the number one fastest-growing career in Washington D.C. with a 53% growth rate. Atmospheric and space scientists, as well as software developers, are also growing fast. Each has a 33% growth rate and high median annual wages ($143,610 and $119,960, respectively).

Florida - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Florida: $93,350
The next fastest-growing career is software developerment. People in this field earn a median annual wage of $96,210 in Florida.

Georgia - film and video editors

Median annual wage in Georgia: $61,800
Annual job openings are projected to be 210 in Georgia (4,300 in the U.S.). Bachelor’s degrees that can prepare you for this career include audiovisual communications, cinematography, video production, or photojournalism.

Hawaii - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Hawaii: $83,320
For people who are more inclined toward active learning, becoming an athletic trainer could also be a good option for a fast-growing career. Athletic trainers earn a median annual wage of $61,900 in Hawaii.

Idaho - environmental engineers

Median annual wage in Idaho: $106,650
Environmental engineers make good money in Idaho, and the growth rate is 36%. But the annual projected job openings are...20. So be sure you stand out from the crowd in Idaho.

Illinois - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Illinois: $108,850
Interestingly, the overall top five fastest-growing careers in Illinois typically require a master’s degree. The fastest-growing career is mathematicians (40% growth rate), followed by nurse practitioners (31% growth rate).

Indiana - software developers

Median annual wage in Indiana: $89,900
The next fastest-growing careers in Indiana for bachelor’s degrees belong to substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, therapists, information security analysts, and operations research analysts.

Iowa - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Iowa: $81,180
Following information security analysts in Iowa are actuaries and operations research analysts with a 32% and 29% growth rate, respectively.

Kansas - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Kansas: $85,410
Software developers are another fast-growing career with significantly more projected job openings in Kansas in 2028 (7,110 vs. 970).

Kentucky - statistical assistants

Median annual wage in Kentucky: $50,360
Nationwide, annual projected job openings are 1,300. If you’re interested in this field, you might also consider a higher-paying career as a statistician—if you get a master’s degree.

Louisiana - music directors and composers

Median annual wage in Louisiana: $52,250
This is a growing field in Louisiana, but the national growth rate is below average. The annual projected job openings in the U.S. are 6,300. In Louisiana, it’s 10.

Maine - airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

Median annual wage in Maine: $160,970
The growth rate in Maine is projected to be 50%. Annual projected job openings in the U.S. are 8,300.

Maryland - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Maryland: $106,290
Therapists and substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are also growing fast but those careers don’t pay nearly as much.

Massachusetts - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Massachusetts: $99,630
The top three fastest-growing careers in Massachusetts are informatoin security analysts (29% growth rate), operations research analysts (24% growth rate), and software developers (23% growth rate). They rank third, fourth, and fifth fastest-growing careers overall for the state.

Michigan - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Michigan: $94,520
Information security analysts make pretty good money in Michigan. You can usually qualify for other fast-growing jobs like dental laboratory technicians and personal care aides with a high school diploma, but the median pay is much lower—just $44,830 or $24,640 per year, respectively.

Minnesota - actuaries

Median annual wage in Minnesota: $103,200
The growth rate for actuaries in Minnesota is 31%. Annual projected job openings in the U.S. are 2,000 (just 60 in Minnesota).

Mississippi - preschool and daycare administrators

Median annual wage in Mississippi: $40,140
This career is projected to grow 13% in Mississippi, but only 1% nationwide (below average). Annual projected job openings in the U.S. are 4,600.

Missouri - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Missouri: $90,020
Jobs for information security analysts are projected to grow by 38%. This is the fastest-growing career overall for Missouri, regardless of your degree.

Montana - software developers

Median annual wage in Montana: $85,940
Armed with only a bachelor’s degree, software developers can often earn almost as much as anthropology and archaeology teachers with doctoral degrees in Montana. Jobs for anthropology teachers are projected to have a 33% growth, and software developers a 32% growth rate.

Nebraska - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Nebraska: $89,130
If you’re looking for a professional job that requires less education, consider becoming an occupational therapy assistant or a physical therapist assistant. Both are projected to grow quickly (47% and 32% growth rate, respectively) AND they pay a median annual salary above $50K.

Nevada - biomedical engineers

Median annual wage in Nevada: $99,130
The growth rate is expected to be 50% in Nevada, and annual projected job openings in the U.S. for this career are 1,400.

New Hampshire - information security analysts

Median annual wage in New Hampshire: $102,200
The only jobs in New Hampshire that are projected to grow at a faster rate are home health aides. Those jobs require a high school diploma and pay a median annual wage of $28,160.

New Jersey - information security analysts

Median annual wage in New Jersey: $122,740
Fast-growing careers in New Jersey are somewhat polarized — there are many opportunities that require less education and some that require a master’s degree. Information security analyst jobs are the number one fastest-growing jobs for bachelor’s degrees but number 19 overall.

New Mexico - information security analysts

Median annual wage in New Mexico: $112,490
Jobs for wind turbine service technicians are growing even faster in New Mexico for people with a postsecondary certificate instead of a full bachelor’s degree. However, the median annual wage for wind turbine technicians is $59,720 vs. over $100K for information security analysts.

New York - information security analysts

Median annual wage in New York: $120,660
In New York, most of the fastest-growing jobs require either a high school diploma, an associate’s, or a master’s degree. But even the physician assistant jobs that require a master’s degree only pay a slightly higher wage compared with information security analysts — $124,690 vs. $120,660.

North Carolina - information security analysts

Median annual wage in North Carolina: $100,780
These are the number one fastest-growing jobs for North Carolina overall, regardless of degree. The next fastest-growing jobs are statisticians, who typically have master’s degrees.

North Dakota - compensation and benefits managers

Median annual wage in North Dakota: $125,130
The growth rate for this career is 100% in North Dakota but just 3% nationwide. Annual projected job openings in the U.S. are 1,300.

Ohio - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Ohio: $92,660
Occupational therapy assistant jobs are virtually tied with information security analysts. Both have a 29% projected growth rate, pay high wages, and expect over 4,000 annual job openings. Information security analysts typically have bachelor’s degrees and occupational therapy assistants have associate’s degrees.

Oklahoma - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Oklahoma: $82,130
Occupational therapy assistant jobs are projected to grow slightly faster (27% vs. 26%) and only require an associate’s degree. However, information security analysts typically earn a higher salary.

Oregon - animal scientists

Median annual wage in Oregon: $63,490
The growth rate for this career is 100% in Oregon and 6% nationwide. Annual projected job openings in the U.S. are 300.

Pennsylvania - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Pennsylvania: $99,270
are more than double information security analyst jobs (8,720 vs. 3,820). But the pay is actually about the same—$106,810 annually.

Rhode Island - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Rhode Island: $94,160
The next fastest-growing jobs in Rhode Island for bachelor’s degrees are actuaries. Actuaries earn more on average ($112,44 annually), but there are only 10 projected job openings every year in Rhode Island.

South Carolina - software developers

Median annual wage in South Carolina: $84,520
The next fastest-growing jobs in Rhode Island for bachelor’s degrees are actuaries. Actuaries earn more on average ($112,44 annually), but there are only 10 projected job openings every year in Rhode Island.

South Dakota - information security analysts

Median annual wage in South Dakota: $94,080
Information security analyst jobs are the fastest-growing jobs for bachelor’s degrees and overall in South Dakota. The next fastest-growing jobs are auto damage insurance appraisers, which typically require a postsecondary certificate.

Tennessee - forensic science technicians

Median annual wage in Tennessee: $49,610
Jobs for forensic science technicians are expected to grow by a whopping 67% in Tennessee (14% nationwide). Annual projected job openings in Tennessee are 110 (2,300 nationwide).

Texas - actuaries

Median annual wage in Texas: $106,410
Actuary jobs are expected to grow 38% in Texas (18% nationwide). Annual projected job openings in Texas are 110 (2,000 nationwide).

Utah - software developers

Median annual wage in Utah: $100,330
In Utah, software developer jobs aren’t growing as fast as computer research scientist jobs, typically requiring a master’s degree. But over 14,000 software developers are projected to be employed by 2028, vs. just 480 computer research scientists. Plus, software developers earn a higher wage on average.

Vermont - software developers

Median annual wage in Vermont: $97,440
The next fastest-growing jobs for bachelor’s degrees are, predictably, information security analysts. But software developers usually earn a higher wage.

Virginia - information security analysts

Median annual wage in Virginia: $116,370
Overall, the next fastest-growing jobs in Virginia are personal care aides. Personal care aides usually have a high school diploma and earn a median annual wage of $22,240 in Virginia.

Washington - religious activities and education directors

Median annual wage in Washington: $75,890
In a tech-heavy state like Washington, it’s interesting that jobs for religious directors are projected to grow 113% (vs. just 3% nationwide). Annual projected job openings in Washington are 1,030 (17,700 nationwide).

West Virginia - information security analysts

Median annual wage in West Virginia: $97,300
Another fast-growing career in West Virginia—chemical engineering—actually pays more than information security analysts. Even though information security analyst jobs are growing at a faster rate, the projected number of employed people is the same for both jobs: 370 by 2028.

Wisconsin - operations research analysts

Median annual wage in Wisconsin: $71,560
Jobs for operations research analysts are projected to grow 26% in Wisconsin (25% nationwide). Annual projected job openings in Wisconsin are 140 (9,600 nationwide).

Wyoming - exercise physiologists

Median annual wage in Wyoming: $50,280
The growth rate for exercise physiologist jobs is 33% in Wyoming and 11% nationwide. Annual projected job openings in the U.S. are 1,400. Keep in mind that while a bachelor’s degree may land you a job, the majority of workers in this field (56%) have a master’s degree.

Fast-growing jobs that DON’T require a bachelor’s degree

Sometimes a bachelor’s degree isn’t in the cards. Maybe it costs too much, or you don’t have time. Some other careers to consider include home health aides or personal care aides, if that's the case. Both have a 34% growth rate, and typically workers have a high school diploma. However, the annual median pay is below $30K.

The bottom line

While a fast-growing occupation might not suit everyone, it’s certainly a good indication of a promising career. If the field is growing faster than average, you might have a better shot at landing a job and being paid well for it.
Looking at all states combined, getting a bachelor’s degree to become an information security analyst could pay off. It’s the fastest-growing career in 27 states, and it typically pays above $100K.
Just keep in mind that annual job openings for information security analysts are projected to be 13,900 nationwide. Meanwhile, jobs for registered nurses are projected to grow 7% nationwide, and yearly projected job openings are 175,900.

Where does the data come from?

Each state’s Labor Market Information Office and Projections Central report state-level employment data to the U.S. Department of Labor. Data about national employment, earnings, and typical education come from the BLS.

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