The economy in Arizona show signs of heating up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), unemployment rates in Arizona dipped from 7.8 percent in November 2013 to 6.9 percent in April 2014. Technical, trade and vocational schools in Arizona strive to help students learn the skills employers need in Arizona's largest industries from tourism to mining to high tech manufacturing.
Where Arizona's jobs are
When you are deciding on a career path, it is important to know where the jobs are.
Technology thrives in Arizona's warm, dry, sunny climate. It is an ideal place to house data management centers and harness the power of solar energy. It's also a leader in high tech manufacturing. As the Arizona Commerce Authority reports, most of the state's key technology employers are located in the Greater Phoenix and Tuscon areas which are known for:
- Optics and photonics (fiber optics)
- Renewable energy and green technology
- Data management
Tourism is also big business in Arizona. According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, in 2012, over 38 million visitors came to Arizona and pumped over $19 billion into the state's economy. The destination of choice for many visitors is Maricopa County, home to Phoenix. Over half of Arizona's 160,000 tourism jobs (86,000) are found here.
Mining is the third major industry in Arizona, according to a report prepared by Arizona State University for the Arizona Mining Association. In 2012, over 65 percent of the U.S. copper came from mines in Arizona. Mining accounts for over 50,000 jobs in Arizona and is a $4.8 billion industry. Though mining happens throughout the state, the greatest number of jobs can be found in Maricopa and Pima Counties.
Arizona's top employers
There are over 1,200 aerospace and defense employers in Arizona, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority. Some of the top employers are:
- Northrop Grumman
Top Arizona technology employers include:
- Microchip Technologies
Arizona's two biggest renewable energy employers are First Solar in Tempe and UNS Energy Corp in Tucson.
Major bioscience and healthcare employers in Arizona include:
- Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Translational Genomics Research Institute
The state's largest mining employer is Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold, Inc.
When researching career and vocational schools in Arizona, it is important to know what you might expect to make after you earn your degree, certificate or diploma. Here is a sampling of May 2013 median hourly wages for Arizona workers as reported by the BLS:
- Food service/restaurant managers: $24.84
- Accountants and auditors: $27.50
- Computer systems analysts: $38.87
- Computer programmers: $33.80
- Web developers: $27.84
- Aerospace engineers: $40.60
- Mining engineers: $37.91
- Dental hygienists: $40.55
- Medical technicians: $17.62
- Medical assistants: $14.74
- Chefs: $22.85
Vocational Schools in Arizona
Arizona employers are looking for workers with knowledge and skills. Those who wish to learn more about vocational and tech careers should contact Arizona vocational schools to find out more about the programs they offer.
Aerospace & Defense, Arizona Commerce Authority, http://www.azcommerce.com/industries/aerospace-defense
Arizona Facts, Arizona Guide, http://www.arizonaguide.com/arizona-travel-info/learn-about-arizona/arizona-facts
Arizona's 100 Largest Employers, The Arizona Republic, AZCentral, 2014, http://archive.azcentral.com/business/rep100/
Arizona 2012 Tourism Facts, Arizona Office of Tourism, 2013, http://azot.gov/system/files/1146/original/2012%20AOT%20Tourism%20Facts%2003.05.pdf?1395843739
Bioscience & Health Care, Arizona Commerce Authority, http://www.azcommerce.com/industries/bioscience-health-care
Economy at at Glance, Arizona, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2014, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.az.htm
Renewable Energy, Arizona Commerce Authority, http://www.azcommerce.com/industries/renewable-energy
State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arizona, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_az.htm
Technology & Innovation, Arizona Commerce Authority, http://www.azcommerce.com/industries/technology-innovation
The Economic Impact of the Mining Industry on the State of Arizona, Arizona Mining Association, L. William Seidman Research Institute, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, 2012, http://www.azmining.com/uploads/2012%20AZ%20Mining%20Economic%20Impact%20Study_1.pdf