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Hands-On Jobs of the Future

There are a number of hands-on careers that are projected to experience a large amount of job growth moving into the future. Individuals who enjoy working with their hands may be interested in exploring these careers.

Hands-On Jobs of the Future

As technology continues developing and more and more jobs are becoming automated, it may seem like jobs that involve a strong hands-on component are becoming harder to find. However, there are a number of jobs that are very hands-on and are projected to experience significantly higher job growth between 2016 and 2026 than the nationally projected average of 7%. We will take a look at some of these hands-on career options in greater detail below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Physical Therapist $85,400 25%
Registered Nurse $68,450 15%
Construction Laborer/Helper $32,230 13%
HVAC Mechanics and Installer $45,910 15%
Physician Assistant $101,480 37%
Massage Therapist $39,860 24%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Information About Hands-On Jobs of the Future

Physical Therapist

As a physical therapist, you will work with patients who need help in regaining mobility after an accident, injury, surgery, or due to a chronic illness. This job requires working closely with patients in order to perform various physical therapy movements on them and teach them how to do the movements at home. Physical therapists develop treatment plans for their patients and monitor their patient's progress over time. This field is expected to grow by 25% from 2016 to 2026, partially due to the aging baby boomer population and an increase in various chronic illnesses. To become a physical therapist, you will need to earn a bachelor's degree and complete a doctoral program in physical therapy.

Registered Nurse

Registered nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings, from physicians' offices to hospitals and clinics. They provide direct, and often hands-on, care to patients during the duration of their visit or stay in the healthcare facility by providing them with medication, taking a full medical history of the patient, working with a team of other medical professionals, and keeping records of the patient's treatment. Between 2016 and 2026, the field of nursing is expected to grow by 15%, over double the national average. Nurses must complete at least an associate's degree in nursing and pass a licensing test to work in the field.

Construction Laborer/Helper

If you are interested in a traditional hands-on manual labor career, working as a construction laborer or helper may be a good choice. These workers may be involved in a variety of construction projects, from building houses and office buildings to constructing new roads, meaning that their job responsibilities vary depending on the project they are working on. Through 2026, this field is expected to grow by 13%. Finding a job in this field does not require formal education, though on-the-job training is typical.

HVAC Mechanic/Installer

As a heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanic or installer, your job is extremely hands-on as you will be responsible for repairing and installing HVAC systems. You may be called to homes or offices to diagnose problems with malfunctioning equipment or work on new job sites to install entirely new equipment. This field is expected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026. To become an HVAC mechanic or installer, you will generally need to either have completed training through an apprenticeship program or attended a technical or trade school to learn the necessary skills.

Physician Assistant

A physician assistant, or PA, is a medical professional who often works alongside doctors, nurses, and surgeons and provides care to patients. PAs are able to perform a number of advanced tasks, like prescribing medication, examining patients, and providing patients with diagnoses and treatment. This job has a strong hands-on component as PAs must physically examine patients and provide hands-on care when necessary. Between 2016 and 2026, this field is expected to grow by 37% due to the aging population and because PAs are able to receive training more quickly than physicians while being able to perform many of the same roles. To become a PA, you will need to complete a bachelor's degree before attending a two-year PA program.

Massage Therapist

As a massage therapist, you will provide treatment through massage for patients who are seeking pain relief and relaxation. This very hands-on career involves communicating with patients before the massage to gain an understanding of their needs, as well as during the treatment to make sure they are enjoying themselves and that it is effective. This field is expected to grow by 24% between 2016 and 2026. To become a massage therapist, you will need to complete a formal training program after high school.


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