Growing Occupations Offer Opportunities to New Idaho Grads

Thousands of collegians have received their degrees and are starting – or hoping to start –  careers for which they have spent four or more years studying. In the past year 1,248 students graduated from Idaho State University, many entering an economy showing signs of growth.

The tight job market graduates experienced during the past several years has loosened up.

ISU Grads pie chart_Dan

The 318 graduates in health sciences should find an abundant job market in Idaho.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, Idaho State graduated 103 students with bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Registered nursing is the top job statewide in the Idaho Department of Labor 2010 – 2020 Long-Term Occupational Projections. Those projections show 675 annual openings for registered nurses around the state.

The school’s 32 graduates in dental hygiene should also have little difficulty finding work, according to the projections. Dental hygienists, which rank fourth on the department’s list of the best paying jobs with the highest demand and largest number of openings, will average 61 openings a year between 2010 and 2020.

Overall there is high demand for health care-related occupations in Idaho. It is likely Idaho State’s graduates in that field will be in demand. Overall Idaho jobs in health care should increase 33 percent between 2010 and 2020.

Degree holders in the sciences and engineering may also find a welcoming job market. The school’s 21 mechanical engineering graduates may find work in an annual estimate of 58 jobs in mechanical engineering as projected through 2020.

A specialty area for Idaho State University’s College of Science and Engineering is nuclear engineering. The school’s relationship with the Idaho National Laboratory and on-campus research facilities has created a program whose graduates are in high demand worldwide.

There were nine graduates in this demanding field, and the long-term projections put openings at an average of 17 a year.

Overall, there are estimated to be 362 openings a year for engineers in all the various disciplines through 2020. Total job growth is estimated at over 19 percent through the decade.

The anticipated occupational growth in the sciences is not as strong. Jobs in the life sciences should increase 7.5 percent by 2020 while growth in the physical sciences is projected at just under 12 percent.

Graduates of the College of Business at ISU are experiencing an improved job market as more and more companies expand during the economic recovery. Two areas expected to see strong growth through 2020 are accountants and auditors at 15.3 percent and human resource managers at 23.9 percent. Business-related job opportunities overall are expected to grow by more than 11 percent.

New teachers graduating from the College of Education should also find opportunities over the next several years. Openings for primary, secondary and special education teachers should increase over 14 percent by the end of the decade.

But there are some occupations requiring four-year degrees that are not expanding.

Graduates with degrees in English may find limited job opportunities in Idaho. For example the demand for proofreaders is expected to decline 6 percent by 2020, and openings for editors will increase just 3.5 percent.

There should be opportunities for writers and authors, where demand by decade’s end should be up 13 percent, and technical writers, whose job opportunities should increase 21 percent.

Jobs anchored in the fine arts will likely see only tepid growth. For fine artists themselves, annual openings are estimated at just three. Musicians and singers will be competing for only 21 openings a year. Often jobs like these are only part time and other employment is needed to supplement income.

Those trained in graphic design, on the other hand, can expect an average of 154 openings a year with overall growth estimated at more than 12 percent through 2020.

Still a college degree is an important asset for any job seeker. Even during the recession the unemployment rate for college graduates never rose much over 5 percent nationally. And income potential is greatly enhanced by a degree. In Idaho the median wage in 2013 for those with just a high school diploma or GED was $16.25 per hour. Those with a college degree were – on average – earning $26.43 per hour.

Dan.Cravens@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 236-6710, ext. 3713