Top Trending Careers Month – February 2022

In February, the Imagine America Foundation is looking forward to the year ahead—and we’re exploring some of the top trending careers of 2022. We can’t wait to share valuable information about current career trends, the value of hands-on career training, and how students can prepare for one of these essential roles.

In another year full of ups and downs and plenty of unknowns, many people have taken some time to reconsider their career paths—and think about whether this period of change is also the right moment to change their careers.

If you’re among the millions of workers each month joining the Great Resignation or if you’re simply imagining what it might be like to do something new, the possibilities can seem endless. We can’t exactly explore every option out there, but we can take a look at the top trending careers this year to help you decide whether they might be the right fit for you!

That’s why Imagine America Radio is excited to share our newest monthly podcast series. We’re talking to some of our favorite industry and school partners about top trending careers, including truck driving, respiratory therapy, wind turbine technology, and pilot careers.

Each episode is also chockfull of valuable information about how to start a new career, hands-on career and technical education, and what students (and prospective students) need to know about choosing the right school and program for them. These dynamic conversations will be shared with our community of high school counselors, workforce development boards, VA offices, parents, and—most importantly—students.

Check out our Top Trending Careers of 2022 podcast schedule below, and don’t forget to come back each week to hear new episodes!

Truck Driving Careers

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Ground transportation is a crucial component for keeping our economy running. From construction and manufacturing to retail, grocery, automotive, and health care, truck drivers keep materials moving, ensure products are delivered, and help companies stay profitable (and their customers stay happy).

But truck driving isn’t the same as just getting behind the wheel of your coupe or your sedan—or even your pickup truck. Truck drivers must be able to plan routes, drive long distances, maintain their trucks, document their hauls, and ensure their cargo arrives safely.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s a big need for skilled drivers. Jobs for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are expected to grow by 6% over the next decade—about as fast as the average for all occupations.

And those jobs can vary pretty widely: You might assume that becoming a truck driver means living on the road for the rest of your career. The truth is that many drivers are home every single night, while others are after the kind of adventure that only traveling the country by road can offer. Being a truck driver is like being an entrepreneur, your own business owner, and you can create the career that works best for you.

In the first episode of Top Trending Careers of 2022 Awareness Month, we talk to our friends at the Next Generation in Trucking Association about trucking careers, hands-on training programs, and the future of the field.

Respiratory Therapy Careers

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It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the health care industry, and many organizations are seeking new skilled workers to meet their growing needs. If you’re looking for a career in health care, consider respiratory therapy.

Respiratory therapists work with patients who have breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders, performing tests, monitoring progress, and helping them with medications, equipment, and other treatments. Like so many health care roles, respiratory therapists are expected to continue to be in high demand, both as the coronavirus continues to spread and as people continue dealing with the after-effects of having had the virus.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earned median annual pay of nearly $63,000 in 2020—and jobs for respiratory therapists are expected to grow by about 23%, which is much faster than the average for all occupations, between 2020 and 2030. That means about 10,000 openings per year, on average, each year over the next ten years.

To learn more about respiratory therapy, health care training programs, and how interested students can get started in the field, we couldn’t think of anyone better to talk to than YTI Career Institute. You won’t want to miss this episode!

Wind Turbine Technician Careers

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One of the other biggest opportunities jobseekers and career-changers can find is in the energy industry. As the world struggles with the effects of climate change, wind, solar, and other technologies are becoming increasingly important. To keep those sources running, we need wind turbine technicians.

These techs install, maintain, and repair the wind turbines that generate electricity. That means working with their hands, having a solid understanding of the mechanics and technology needed to operate them, and being okay with spending most of their time outside—including up high or in small and confined spaces.

Among some of the fastest-growing careers, as projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for wind turbine techs is expected to grow 68% over the next ten years. With about 1,400 openings projected, on average, each year between now and 2030, it could be a great opportunity for a hands-on job.

But how do you prepare for such a path? Most wind turbine techs get started with career and technical education that helps them get their hands on industry-standard tools and equipment—and teaches them how to be successful in the field.

In this episode of our Top Trending Careers of 2022 series, Imagine America Radio is talking to MIAT College of Technology about wind turbine technician careers and what prospective students need to know.

Pilot Careers

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Travel may have slowed for a bit during the first phases of the pandemic, but that hasn’t slowed the need for trained pilots. From commercial airplanes and jets to helicopters, small private and luxury planes, and other aircraft, they all need someone (or a couple someones) to ensure they take off, travel, and land safely.

To become a working pilot, you’ll need plenty of experience piloting aircraft. Many will get formal education to help them, and all will need the appropriate certifications and licensing to fly professionally. Those certifications are required by the FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for airline and commercial pilots are expected to grow about 13% between 2020 and 2030. And those pilots earned median annual pay of more than $130,000 in 2020. That’s certainly something worth considering!

We wanted to learn more about pilot careers, and we couldn’t think of anyone better to talk to than our partners at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology.