Physical therapist intern Lauren Murphy watches as Timothy Simpson uses a reacher device to place blocks atop cones at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation and Specialty Hospital in Warm Springs. The hospital, which started as a polio treatment center founded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, now rehabilitates patients with a range of mobility and function disorders as part of Augusta University Health. It has settled a dispute with the federal government over Medicare payments. (PHOTO by ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Lots of low-paying jobs: 4 of the fast-growing occupations pay less than $30K

These jobs have earnings dangerously close to the federal poverty level guideline for Georgia

It's always exciting when the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists out the top 20 fastest-growing occupations. This glimpse into a future with so many job openings can be reassuring, especially with the predicted 2016-2026 growth rates ranging from 105% for solar photovoltaic installers to 26% for massage therapists.

But you know what's more exciting than the prospect of jobs, jobs and more jobs? Fast-growing occupations that also pay ample wages. And there are four on that list of 20 that don't measure up. If the BLS predictions work out, there will be lots of these positions – but people who fill them might not be able to pay their bills. 

» RELATED: This is the salary you must earn to buy an ‘average’ Atlanta house right now

These jobs have earnings dangerously close to the federal poverty level guideline for Georgia, which was $25,750 for a family of four in 2019. Here are four on the list of the fastest-growing occupations that pull in less than $30,000 per year:

Home health aides

Median pay in 2018: $24,200

Predicted growth rate from 2016-2026: 47%

Typical education required: High school diploma or equivalent

Personal care aides

Median pay in 2018: $24,020

Predicted growth rate from 2016-2026: 39%

Education required: High school diploma or equivalent

Physical therapist aides

Median pay in 2018: $26,240

Predicted growth rate from 2016-2026: 29%

Education required: High school diploma or the equivalent, with clinical experience through on-the-job training that lasts between a week and a month.

Bicycle repairers

Median pay in 2018: $28,960 per year

Predicted growth rate from 2016-2026: 29%

Education required: High school diploma or the equivalent, on-the-job training according to College Grad.

As for fast-growing occupations that will pay at least $100,000 on average, there are a few of those in the BLS Top 20. Physician assistants, for example, had an average median pay of $108,610 in 2018 with an anticipated 10-year growth rate of 37%.

There are also a fair number of fast-growth fields that offer solid (if not inspiring) pay. One example: physical therapist assistants, whose 2018 median pay was $58,040 per year in a field predicted to grow by almost a third (31%) over 10 years. With those salaries and lots of available jobs, they'll probably be able to buy the bicycles that will guarantee positions for all those bike repairers.

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