Information about booming industry sectors and job prospects, as well as the state of our state’s job market.
Opportunities are out there
When it comes to rebuilding North Carolina’s economy, there are still a lot of unknowns. But rest assured, the news isn’t all bad. In addition to many jobs coming back across the state, several industries have either been largely unaffected by the pandemic while others have continued to grow. Here’s what you should know about hot industries, employment forecasts and emerging job opportunities around the state.
Education & Teaching
Not only is teaching a noble profession, it’s also one that’s typically in demand even when the economy isn’t doing well. Being an educator takes strong communication and listening skills as well as a good amount of patience, empathy and adaptability.
Public schools are a top 25 employer in all 100 counties of North Carolina and there are currently more than 24,000 open teaching positions across the state. Counties that need the most teachers include Wake, Durham, Cumberland, Guilford and Mecklenburg.
The average North Carolina teacher’s salary is around $48,000. Of course, teaching positions aren’t the only ones available in the education world. You might also consider becoming a teacher assistant, a substitute teacher or even a pre-school teacher, all of which are also in demand.
Calling all future teachers
In an effort to offset North Carolina’s teacher shortage and help grow diverse talent from within the community, the North Carolina Community College System has created two new degrees:
- Associate in Arts in Teacher Preparation
- Associate in Science in Teacher Preparation
Both degrees will seamlessly transfer to universities across the state.
Health care in general—and nursing more specifically—tend to be pretty steady when it comes to jobs and careers. In fact, it’s an industry that’s expected to see nearly 9% growth in North Carolina by 2028. So, if you’ve got solid communication skills, a knack for staying calm under pressure, are empathetic and detail-oriented, nursing might be a good fit for you.
Registered nurses in the state make an average salary between $40,000 and $75,000 and can easily move up from there with more experience and additional training. That’s pretty good news considering North Carolina needs about 3,800 more nurses to fill available positions—many of which are located in Wake, Guilford and Mecklenburg counties.
Considering the fact that people will always need health care, nursing is a practically recession-proof career. Plus, there are many different educational paths that can lead to a career in nursing. Some other related occupations in health care include lab technicians, respiratory therapists, pharmacy technicians and EMTs.
You typically don’t think about the power that makes almost everything in our lives work. At least, not until it goes out. But maybe you should because jobs in the energy sector are in high demand everywhere, not just North Carolina.
Electrical line workers in North Carolina take home an average salary of $57,000. So, you might want to train up for one of the nearly 14,000 open positions here, especially in Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg counties. And with more than half of today’s line workers retiring by 2026, that demand is only going to increase. Add to that the fact that you can complete training in as little as nine weeks—and that most students graduate with a job offer in hand—and it’s easy to see what makes this career so appealing.
You might also want to consider working in renewable energy. As the demand for renewable energy increases, so will the many types of careers that help capture, store and deliver it—that includes solar technicians, wind energy engineers, biofuels production managers and solar photovoltaic installers, just to name a few.
There are lots of career paths to choose from in the IT industry, which is no surprise since pretty much every facet of modern life is dependent on technology. And with the speed of that technology developing faster than ever, projections of nearly 16% industry growth are expected by 2028.
The average wage across the industry is close to $90,000 per year and multiple careers within IT can get you there. In addition to software developers, computer systems analysts, software test engineers, cyber security analysts and specialized IT accountants also make very good salaries.
Job openings in IT tend to be most concentrated in Mecklenburg, Wake, Cumberland, Guilford and Durham counties. However, these days most companies (no matter where they’re located) need at least a few IT professionals on their payroll, meaning these jobs can be applied to most other industries, which can make finding a job that much easier.
Transportation in this state is a solid choice with an industry that shows no sign of shrinking any time soon. After all, with people ordering things online more than ever before, those goods have to make their way to their destination somehow.
And with multiple seaports either in or near North Carolina, along with an extensive highway system and largest consolidated rail system in the U.S., there’s no shortage of items coming into North Carolina. Many of which depend on trucks and transportation logistics for the last leg of their journey. That explains why there are 2,610 trucking jobs in the state just waiting to be filled.
Truck drivers here average annual salary of approximately $51,000, with the highest salaries coming out of Northeastern North Carolina, followed by the Piedmont/Triad region. That being said, the cities with the highest demand for truck drivers include Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and Wilmington.
Real Estate/Property Leasing
It might be surprising, but in the midst of a pandemic real estate continues to move. Part of the industry’s ability to power through comes from its application of technology. These days, many listings offer virtual tours and agents can use video chatting apps to walk potential buyers through houses in real time. This can make the homebuying process faster and safer for both.
Of course, the real estate industry is made up of more than just agents. Other jobs in or related to real estate and property leasing include real estate brokers, maintenance and repair workers, as well as property and community association managers.
There are 2,724 openings for jobs in real estate across North Carolina. And over the next decade, those numbers are expected to grow by nearly 6.5%. So, if you’re a self-motivated problem solver with an engaging personality and plenty of hustle, becoming a real estate agent might just be for you. If so, the average salary you could expect to earn as an agent in North Carolina is almost $56,000.
*While based on data points from multiple sources, the resulting information is intended for illustrative purposes only. Salary information from September 2020.
GOOD STUFF TO CLICK ON
While the pandemic impacted almost every aspect of life in the past year, there are still lots of positive things happening around the state to continue momentum into 2021:
- North Carolina’s economy is headed for brighter days, according to these economic experts across the state. That means that while the pandemic continues and uncertainty remains, many businesses will still be looking to hire for the future. Some of those top industries include financial services, IT, professional services, and logistics.
- And while COVID-19 has had many negative impacts, we are beginning to see more biotech developments and job openings across North Carolina to support the ongoing pandemic. California biotechnology company Gilead Sciences, which is responsible for creating a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as various HIV/AIDS, liver disease and virus treatments, will add nearly 300 jobs in Wake County over the next two years, working in finance, human resources, information technology and cybersecurity.
- Speaking of vaccines, Surry County Community College nursing students are getting hands-on experience by administering COVID-19 vaccines to people across Surry County, Yadkin County and Forsyth County. Last month, the students administered a clinic vaccinating almost 225 members of the community.
- In other news, the real estate market continues to grow across the state, like this report that last month New Hanover County saw the highest number of home sales in any January ever or in Pitt County where homes are only on the market for about a day before being sold. Where the market goes, jobs will follow.
- If you thought the information technology industry was growing before, just wait until you see this. The One North Carolina Small Business Program awarded a total of $1.5 million to 29 technology-oriented businesses, fostering job creation and business expansion in the year ahead.
- The future is also bright for STEM in Western North Carolina, where NASA has extended its partnership with Southwestern Community College and continues as the nation’s only community college to have a scientific activation partnership with the renowned space agency. Visit their website to see how you can get involved with NASA while studying at a community college.
- The role of community colleges has never been stronger as our state looks to recover from a pandemic. Take a look at this consortium of community colleges lead by Forsyth Tech that is using a $5 million fund from the Department of Labor to develop additional advanced manufacturing partnerships and opportunities in the area.
- Whether it’s forming a coalition of community colleges, or establishing easier transfer pathways for transfer students, colleges across the state are always finding new ways to support their student base.
In a year unlike any other the value of community college is clear as we enter an economy that will need a growing workforce in a variety of different industries. And before you go, be sure to take a look at these 5 students and learn why they chose community college to prepare them for what’s next.
Upsize Your Salary
From growing industries like tech, aviation and energy, to local favorites like craft brewing and boat making, North Carolina community colleges can help you turn your interests into an in-demand career that pays. See what getting a hire education could mean for you.
Electrical Line Worker
Civil Engineer Technician
AgriBusiness Operations Specialist
Electrical and Electronics Repairer
Clinical Lab Technologist
Real Estate Broker