The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Florida's population in 2013 at 19.5 million, up 4 percent since the last census was taken in 2010. That ranks it as the fourth largest state in the nation, behind only California, Texas and New York. In a state that is typically associated with retired adults, about 38 percent of the population -- nearly 7.5 million people -- were employed as of May 2013.
With healthy median annual incomes, a growing population and low unemployment, four Florida metro areas -- Orlando-Kissemmee-Sanford; Cape Coral-Ft. Myers; Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville; and North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota all made Forbes magazine's 2014 list of America's 20 Fastest-Growing Cities.
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's employment projections, plenty of occupations in the state are expected to grow much faster over the coming decade than the nationwide average employment growth for all occupations.
Florida's job market is hot, and it has nothing to do with the climate. Take a look at the fastest-growing Florida jobs as compiled by Florida's Bureau of Labor Market Statistics: You don't have to be a Cape Canaveral rocket scientist to enter one of these occupations. In fact, you may be able to prepare at a vocational school for a career in many of these potentially rewarding occupations.
Florida wage and job growth
Trade schools in Florida may offer programs of study for students who want to enter any of the following careers and more (with 2013 mean wage info from the BLS):
Diagnostic medical sonographer
Number employed: 4,856
Job growth 2013-2021: 32.6 percent
Mean annual wage: $59,960
Heating, a/c, & refrigeration (HVAC) mechanics & installers
Number employed: 24,665
Job growth 2013-2021: 31.5 percent
Average annual wage: $40,720
Physical therapy assistants
Number employed: 4,708
Job growth 2013-2021: 29.2 percent
Mean annual wage: $58,560
Number employed: 18,205
Job growth 2013-2021: 28.3 percent
Mean annual wage: $30,190
Number employed: 10,669
Job growth 2013-2021: 27.1 percent
Mean annual wage: $61,110
Emergency medical technicians & paramedics
Number employed: 9,449
Job growth 2013-2021: 24.0 percent
Mean annual wage: $32,100
Number employed: 24,343
Job growth 2013-2021: 24 percent
Mean annual wage: $47,820
The average annual wage for all occupations in Florida was $41,140 in May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov).
Vocational schools in Florida strive to offer the education and training required to work in these jobs and other trade and vocational fields. Those interested in these careers may wish to explore their options at a vocational school in Florida.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Florida. http://www.bls.gov/oes/2013/may/oes_fl.htm
Florida's Bureau of Labor Market Statistics, What People Are Asking. http://www.whatpeopleareasking.com/hot_jobs.asp?port=E
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Employment Projections: http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/employment-projections
Forbes, America's 20 Fastest-Growing Cities, 2/14/2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2014/02/14/americas-20-fastest-growing-cities/