The state of Washington is both a national and international hub of economic activity. As a hub, the Washington State Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness has been pouring investments in numerous areas to expand economic growth in the state, especially in Seattle. Major industries in Seattle include higher education, aerospace, information and communication technology, business and financial services, transportation, and retail.
Each of these major industries offer a variety of potential career opportunities for vocational school graduates in Seattle. The sheer diversity of these business sectors allows students to select from a range of training and degree programs, from manufacturing to allied health, computer science to aviation maintenance.
Top industries and employers in Seattle
Washington's overall state economy has been recovering in recent years from the recession, evidenced by its 6 percent unemployment rate as of October 2014. Seattle's economic situation has been even more favorable as the region had a 5.1 percent unemployment rate in October 2014.
Seattle's business friendly climate has attracted major employers and Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom and Expeditors International of Washington. Outside of the presence of Fortune 500 companies, evidence of Seattle's ability to attract business investments can be found in the 2014 Inc. 5000 list, a list of the fastest-growing companies throughout the country.
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Below is a snapshot of some companies in Seattle that made Inc.'s list, with their most recent revenue figures:
#88 - TUNE, $18.9M
#391 - Level 11, $8M
#413 - Spoken Communications, $15.5M
#576 - Rooster Park, $8.2M
#669 - RealSelf, $7.4M
#679 - SeniorHomes.com, $2.4M
#754 - Syntegrity Networks, $7.6M
In addition to the companies named to Inc.'s list, Seattle Business also ranked the 100 best companies to work for in Washington and numerous Seattle businesses made the list, including:
- Milepost Consulting
- World Famous
- Beacon Development Group
- Conenza, Seattle
- Schlemlein Goetz Fick & Scruggs
Vocational education is vital to Seattle's economy. In addition to major education institutions like the University of Washington and Seattle University, Seattle also has numerous vocationally focused colleges and organizations, including Seattle Colleges and Washington Vocational Services. Seattle Colleges provides students with 135 technical and professional career programs, while Washington Vocational Services works to assist vocational graduates to develop career skills and get connected to local employers.
Additional vocational educational options in Seattle include Antioch University, Seattle Pacific University, City University of Seattle, North Seattle Community College and more. Graduates of these types of programs can select from multiple educational and career track options, from manufacturing to construction, technology to allied health.
Many of these vocational careers present vocational school graduates with the opportunity to earn solid annual salaries. Here is a list of high-paying vocational-related careers in the Seattle area from the Bureau of Labor Statistics with 2013 average salaries:
- Radiation Therapists: $106,600
- Dental hygienists: $96,690
- Diagnostic medical sonographers: $85,070
- Aerospace engineering technicians: $69,400
- Aircraft mechanics: $69,100
- Electrical installer, transportation: $64,440
- Mechanical engineering technicians: $63,090
- Physical therapist assistants: $58,140
- Massage therapists: $51,790
- Medical equipment repairers: $51,740
Prospective students considering enrolling in a vocational school in Seattle should investigate how a certificate, diploma or degree could prepare them for future career success in the region.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Washington, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wa.htm
BizJournals, Boeing tops the list of Washington State's largest employers, http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/subscriber-only/2013/07/26/boeing-tops-the-list-of-washington.html
Puget Sound Business Journal, "Study: Invest $7 billion in state transport needs, $42 billion in benefits will come to Washington State," http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2014/10/study-invest-7-billion-in-state-transport-needs-42.html?page=all
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington Economy at a Glance, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.wa.htm
Washington State Department of Commerce, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/default.aspx
Washington State Department of Commerce, Office of Aerospace, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Office-of-Aerospace.aspx
Washington State Department of Commerce, Clean Technology Sector, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Washington-State-Clean-Technology.aspx
Washington State Department of Commerce, Information, Communication & Technologies, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Information-and-Communication-Technologies-%28ITC%29.aspx
Washington State Department of Commerce, Life Sciences and Global Health, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Washington-State-Life-Sciences-and-Global-Health.aspx
Washington State Department of Commerce, Maritime Sector, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Washington-State-Maritime.aspx
Washington State Department of Commerce, Military and Defense Industry, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Washington-State-Military-and-Defense.aspx
Washington State Department of Commerce, Choose Washington, http://choosewashington.com/
Export Washington, http://www.exportwashington.com/Pages/default.aspx
Puget Sound Business Journal, PSBJ 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies 2014," http://www.exportwashington.com/Pages/default.aspx
Inc., 2014 Inc. 5000, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/metro/seattle
Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, Progress Report to Legislature, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Documents/Commerce-OEDC-Performance-Update-2013.pdf
Department of Commerce, Improving the Economic Development System in Washington State, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Documents/Commerce-WEDC-Proviso-Work-Group.pdf
Seattle Business Mag, http://seattlebusinessmag.com/article/100-best-companies-work-2014-full-list-0