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Virginia Careers: Top Growing Career Opportunities in Virginia (VA)

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Virginia is expected to have an influx of opportunities in the medical and health care fields during the 2010-2020 decade. The top three fastest-growing occupations are biomedical engineers, home health/personal care aides, and helpers of bricklayers, stone masons, and similarly skilled workers. Read on to learn more about these career fields.

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Biomedical Engineers

Careerinfonet.org notes that biomedical engineering jobs in Virginia are projected to have a 96% growth rate between 2010 and 2020. Professionals in this field demonstrate medical expertise, computer skills and scientific methodologies to develop new medical equipment, tests and processes. They also look for new ways to power these new medical inventions. Before presenting new tools and methods to the medical community, biomedical engineers perform stringent testing on them to guarantee security and effectiveness. Afterward, they teach doctors and other medical professionals about the invention and how it works.

Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2012 that biomedical engineers made an annual mean salary of $91,200 (www.bls.gov). Industries that paid biomedical engineers the most as of the May 2012 report included scientific research and development services and physicians' offices.

Home Health and Personal Care Aides

Home health aides looking for work in Virginia will see an 76% projected job growth rate from 2010 through 2020, according to Careerinfonet.org. Personal care aides are expected to see a 78% growth rate in the same period. These professions are similar in that they provide assistance for elderly, disabled, sick or injured people. Specific duties vary by job, but typically involve helping patients with household chores, shopping, bathing, dressing, feeding and grooming. Home health aides provide more health-related duties such as checking a patient's vital signs, documenting changes in conditions or behavior and ensuring that medications are taken properly.

All aides can work for medical facilities, personal care provider services or government agencies; they may be hired directly by the patient or patient's family. Those working for a company may work under supervision. Private home health and personal care aides report directly to the patient or patient's family.

Salary

The BLS states that home health aides made an annual mean income of $21,830 as of May 2012, while personal and home care aides made $20,830. Pay increases come with added responsibilities and experience.

Helpers of Brickmasons, Stonemasons, Blockmasons, and Tile and Marble Setters

Virginians looking to work in various assistant or apprentice capacities within masonry can expect to see job growth of 60% within the Commonwealth from 2010-2020. Note that this statistic applies to non-skilled workers who help the highly skilled masons. Skilled masons are also expected to experience fast job growth, at a rate of 43% in Virginia during the same time frame.

Examples of the less-skilled tasks helpers perform include supplying the masons with tools and materials and cleaning and organizing the work area.

Salary

According to May 2012 BLS data, the mean annual salary for these helpers was $31,100 nationwide. Most of these workers were employed by contractors specializing in foundations, structures, and building exteriors. In this sector, brickmason helpers earned slightly more than the overall average, with a mean annual salary $31,560. The highest-paid workers were employed by local governments, with an average of $60,770 in 2012; however, only 70 such workers were employed as of the May 2012 BLS report.

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