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Exciting Jobs in the Fastest-Growing Industries

Jada A. Graves

This decade's biggest business will take place on the Internet, in the yoga studio, or around the supermarket aisle. So says IBISWorld, the market research firm that releases an annual report of the fastest-growing industries, based on absolute revenue growth, established growth for the last 10 years, and expected performance for the next five years. The list of 10 industries serves as a good measure of our fiscal and social priorities. For example, several industries promote technological innovation, while others reflect our desire to take better care of ourselves as well as the environment. Here's a breakdown of the hottest industries to watch, plus a few suggestions in each field of related occupations with good job prospects.

10. Online Eyeglasses & Contact Lens Sales

You can now buy everything from gadgets to groceries online; all you need is a reliable Internet connection and an at-the-ready credit card. IBISWorld predicts online sales for eyewear and contact lenses will flourish, especially with new technologies that allow customers to upload their image and virtually test how they'll look in the eyewear they're browsing. Revenue for the online eyewear and contact lens sales industry has grown by 28.2 percent, on average, annually for the last 10 years. Up to 2017, revenue is expected to grow 8.8 percent annually.

Related Jobs: The online marketplace has become more sophisticated, and requires techy know-how about site navigation and design to keep us enticed and clicking. If you're a Web developer, you might want to search for openings at top industry players like 1-800-Contacts.com or Walgreen Company.

9. Green & Sustainable Building Construction

"Going green" is both fashionable and necessary. According to IBISWorld, the demand for energy-efficient buildings has skyrocketed, and government programs like Energy Star provide further incentive for corporations to design, build, and operate their buildings in a more responsible manner. Green and sustainable building construction grew 28.9 percent annually from 2002 to present. From 2012 to 2017, this industry should grow at an average annual rate of 22.8 percent.

Related Jobs: Shedding 28,000 positions this May, the entire construction industry has been in a fragile state. Still, there's promise in the green and sustainable pocket of the sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts we'll see a hiring renaissance for occupations like carpenters, plumbers, and cost estimators.

8. Hot Sauce Production

We're in to eating. Terms like "food porn" and "nom nom nom" have entered the vernacular, and a simple diet of meat and potatoes just doesn't cut it if pho and sushi are options. A growing immigrant population with different consumption habits has contributed to our now-assorted taste buds, as its also changed the landscape of restaurants available and the items sold in our supermarkets. We've changed our ordering habits, broadened our cooking repertoire, and created a demand for the ingredients most needed to create these dishes. Production for one such ingredient--hot sauce--has seen average revenue growth of 9.3 percent per year from 2002 to present, and production is projected to continue swelling at an annual rate of 4.1 percent for the next five years.

Related Jobs: Looking to capitalize on this foodie trend? The BLS reports the potential for more than 117,000 jobs for restaurant cooks from now to 2020. Hiring prospects are best for cooks with formal and specialized training.

7. Social Network Game Development

Social networking games are genius. They give the gaming industry a stake in the hysteria over websites like Facebook, offering members free-to-play online games at a time when purchasing gaming consoles is a luxury for some. These social network games then profit with onscreen advertising and by selling virtual goods that could be used during the course of play. IBISWorld found that this industry's revenue increased an average annual 128 percent from 2002 to 2012, and expects it to grow at an annual rate of 22 percent for the next five years.

Related Jobs: Software developers and computer programmers are needed to develop games similar to Mob Wars and Farmville. Are you interested in this line of work? Check job boards for openings at major companies like Booyah, Electronic Arts, and Zynga, Inc.

6. 3D Printer Manufacturing

3D printing is the vanguard process of converting a digital file into a three-dimensional object, and it introduces the possibility for streamlining the manufacturing for many products across industries. For example, 3D printers could be used to generate models from blueprints for architects, or jewelry for fashion designers. In the last 10 years, this industry experienced an average 8.8 percent revenue growth each year, and its average annual revenue is expected to grow by 14 percent for the next five years.

Related Jobs: Healthcare is another sector that could be revolutionized by the use of 3D printing. For example, occupational therapists can now use the technology to design prosthetic parts for their patients. Sound interesting? Keep in mind this is a profession that should grow 33.5 percent this decade.

5. Self-Tanning Product Manufacturing

Will our grandchildren smirk at our tanning practices, just like we gape at the incessant smoking on Mad Men? Study after scary study released by the National Cancer Institute cry of the health risks involved in using lamps and beds to attain that perfect summertime complexion, and our spending practices show that we're finally getting the picture. Self-tanning lotions and gels have had a good 10 years, with annual revenue growth for the manufacturing of these products reported at 22.7 percent. For the next five years, revenue growth for manufacturing self-tanning products should be 10.7 percent, on average.

Related Jobs: Increased production of these beauty products will also require more sales representatives to promote them. According to the BLS, there should be 223,400 new sales rep jobs this decade.

4. Pilates & Yoga Studios

Yoga and Pilates studios didn't fare poorly in the recession. These days, many offices offer incentives for their employees to join health clubs. And the trend for taking these classes has also blossomed among baby boomers seeking a low-impact exercise regimen. Revenue in this industry grew at an average rate of 12.1 percent over the last 10 years. Up to 2017, industry revenue is poised to grow at an average annual rate of 4.8 percent.

Related Jobs: There's good news for you if you'd consider working as a Pilates or yoga instructor. These types of professions receive some of the highest marks for job satisfaction of any of our Best Jobs of 2012. And the BLS forecasts 60,400 new openings for instructors up to the year 2020.

3. For-Profit Universities

For-profit universities are somewhat controversial. Critics say graduates tend to make lower salaries than their counterparts who graduated from nonprofit institutions, and that they're also more likely to default on their loans. Those who support these educational programs say they run more efficiently than nonprofit universities, and that they're accessibility increases the number of workers and high school students who may receive a higher education. Taking classes with a for-profit university became a popular alternative for those who were less-than-eager to join a stymied job market during the recession. For-profit universities have experienced average revenue growth of 13.6 percent from 2002 to 2012, and they should see 5 percent revenue growth annually in the coming years, according to IBISWorld.

Related Jobs: Counselors are needed at all types of schools, including those that run for profit. In addition to earning comfortable salaries, school counselors also have high job satisfaction. Employment growth in this position is expected to jump 19 percent by 2020, the BLS reports.

2. Solar Panel Manufacturing

Our most dominant energy sources come from non-renewables like coal and petroleum, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to power equipment with regenerative sources. Case in point: Revenue for solar panel manufacturing has grown at an annual rate of 32.3 percent for the last 10 years, and it's expected to continue growing by about 8.2 percent each year until 2017.

Recent Jobs: According to a BLS report, "jobs are expected to grow in all the major sectors of the solar power industry: manufacturing, project development, construction, operation and maintenance, and installation." Within manufacturing, glaziers are responsible for selecting, cutting, installing, and replacing glass or glass-like materials. And this profession is expected to grow by an impressive 42 percent from 2010 to 2020.

1. Generic Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

The U.S. population is aging quickly--the median age has jumped from 35.3 years in 2000 to 37.2 years in 2010, according to the Census Bureau--and as it does, the need for prescription drugs also increases. Generic pharmaceutical manufacturing has sustained growth since 2002 because it reduces the out-of-pocket healthcare costs for the consumer. On average, this industry experienced annual revenue growth of 9.6 percent, and it's expected to see an average of 6.3 percent growth from now to 2017.

Related Jobs: Top companies like Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Mylan Inc. are looking for project managers to facilitate the development of new products.

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