Hands-On Jobs that Are In-Demand

This article explores hands-on career options in fields such as construction, production and healthcare that are expected to see high job growth rates over the next ten years.

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Career Options for Hands-On Jobs that are In-Demand

People who like to be actively involved in their duties tend to be drawn to hands-on careers that involve performing tasks themselves rather than delegating to others or supervising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the average rate of job growth for all occupations from 2016 to 2026 will be 7%. Explore the following hands-on, in-demand occupations that have an expected job growth rate higher than 7%.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Solar Photovoltaic Installers $39,240 105%
Wind Turbine Technicians $52,260 96%
Wellhead Pumpers $49,610 22%
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants $23,850 (Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians) 22% (Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians)
Dental Laboratory Technicians $37,680 15%
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers $50,580 (Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic) 16% (Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic)
Bicycle Repairers $27,630 29%
Physical Therapists $85,400 25%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Hands-On Jobs that are In-Demand

Solar Photovoltaic Installers

The BLS has indicated that solar photovoltaic installers are expected to see a 105% job growth rate during the ten-year period from 2016 to 2026, which makes this the fastest-growing hands-on career option in this article. Solar photovoltaic installers only need a high school diploma and can learn once hired. They prepare materials that they install to provide people with solar power. Their duties involve using their hands to construct, install, repair and replace equipment.

Wind Turbine Technicians

Wind turbine technicians put together wind turbines and then perform routine maintenance to ensure that the turbines operate properly. The BLS expects that they will see an incredibly high job growth rate of 96% from 2016 to 2026, which means that there will be many opportunities for individuals who complete postsecondary certificates to prepare for this type of career. Whether they're climbing towers, checking systems, replacing parts or putting together a new turbine, wind turbine technicians are directly involved in performing hands-on tasks in their work.

Wellhead Pumpers

Wellhead pumpers operate the equipment that's used to extract oil and gas from the earth. They are directly responsible for operating this equipment and maintaining it, so they perform hands-on tasks regularly. The BLS expects wellhead pumpers to see a 22% increase in jobs. Only a high school diploma or GED is required to become a wellhead pumper.

Ambulance Drivers and Attendants

Ambulance drivers and attendants operate ambulances to transport patients and move patients in and out of vehicles. They are also responsible for keeping their ambulances stocked and clean. It's possible to enter this hands-on transportation career with a high school diploma or GED. The BLS forecasts a strong job growth rate of 22% for ambulance drivers and attendants.

Dental Laboratory Technicians

Dental laboratory technicians are only required to have a high school diploma or GED and are trained once employed. They make dental products that are prescribed for patients and inserted into their mouths as part of their dental treatment plans, including dentures. Since they physically construct these appliances, they primarily work with their hands and are expected to enjoy a 15% job growth rate from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS.

Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers

Computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers typically need a postsecondary certificate or an associate's degree to qualify for their career. They program machines to perform production tasks and are actively involved in writing program code and selecting the equipment needed for specific tasks. They are directly involved in performing their duties to ensure that the machines work properly and perform as expected. The BLS expects a 16% rate of job growth for these professionals from 2016 to 2026.

Bicycle Repairers

Bicycle repairers can learn the skills they need with on-the-job training and a high school diploma or GED. They ensure that bicycles are maintained properly and repair them when they break down by replacing parts. Other tasks they perform include putting new bicycles together and most their duties involve hands-on tasks. The BLS forecasts a high job growth rate of 29% for these repairers during the ten-year period from 2016 to 2026.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists are medical professionals who are required to have a doctoral degree and license in their field. They are qualified to diagnose patients suffering from pain or mobility issues due to illness or injury. They take an active role in evaluating patients, diagnosing them, determining the right form of treatment and also provide direct treatment to their patients, which makes this a hands-on career option. The 25% job growth rate the BLS expects for physical therapists is also much higher than the national average job growth rate.

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