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South Dakota e-Labor Bulletin
Exploring Hot Careers
The Week of Work, held April 19-23, gave middle and high school students a chance to learn about many unique career opportunities available to them right here in South Dakota. Students participated virtually and in-person in a variety of panel discussions with more than 100 South Dakota business and industry professionals. The panels featured career opportunities in agriculture, business, public service, private sector service, science, healthcare, manufacturing, and construction. Additionally, students could watch videos submitted by businesses for the event, allowing them to explore even more career opportunities.
Throughout the week’s activities, occupations represented were identified as “Hot Careers” if they met the Department of Labor and Regulation’s criteria involving pay and projected demand for workers. More specifically, Hot Careers are those occupations which:
- Have positive projected percent change in employment 2018-2028
- Have projected annual openings (a measure of demand for workers) greater than the average across all occupations (85) for 2018-2028
- Had an average/mean wage greater than the median wage across all occupations in 2019 ($34,754) when the Hot Careers were designated
Projected annual demand is a more complete indicator of the future outlook for occupations than projected employment growth. It also includes demand created by the need to replace workers who will switch to other occupations or leave the labor force entirely.
Another important factor in considering occupational outlook is pay. Will an occupation’s wage support the type of lifestyle the career decision-maker wants? Does the earning potential for graduates of an educational program designed to prepare workers for an occupation justify the program's cost?
There are 69 South Dakota occupations making the cut as Hot Careers. To see the complete Hot Careers list and the supporting projected demand and wage data, which helped each occupation make the list, visit our Hot Careers Data page.
We created resources for learning more about each of the 69 Hot Careers:
- Links to the virtual labor market data system, which contains a wealth of information on each occupation
- Links to current job openings in SDWORKS, the state’s jobs database
- Occupational Profiles (Adobe PDF format), including an occupational description and such information as related work interests areas, skills and abilities needed, education and training recommended, South Dakota industries employing the occupation, and employment and wage data.
For those interested in focusing on “the best of the best” career options in South Dakota, we identified the Top 30 careers. These are the highest paying occupations with the greatest projected demand.
|South Dakota Top 30 Hot Careers|
|Occupation||2018 Employment||2028 Employment||Numeric Change
|Percent Change 2018-2028||Projected
|Average Annual Wage 2020|
|Total, All Occupations||491,588||526,251||34,663||7.1%||62,664||$44,961|
|Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers||8,645||9,399||754||8.7%||1,100||$46,232|
|Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products||5,449||6,003||554||10.2%||655||$65,925|
|Accountants and Auditors||4,998||5,491||493||9.9%||538||$69,174|
|First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers||4,059||4,190||131||3.2%||466||$49,305|
|Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers||3,387||3,777||390||11.5%||447||$36,996|
|Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers||3,321||3,758||437||13.2%||432||$40,874|
|General and Operations Managers||4,038||4,412||374||9.3%||404||$131,895|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||4,264||4,516||252||5.9%||349||$44,793|
|Maintenance and Repair Workers, General||3,007||3,294||287||9.5%||334||$40,319|
|Insurance Sales Agents||2,562||2,882||320||12.5%||296||$72,640|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||3,502||3,718||216||6.2%||275||$45,810|
|Loan Interviewers and Clerks||2,001||2,282||281||14.0%||245||$39,104|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||2,321||2,441||120||5.2%||244||$42,841|
|Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers||2,010||2,195||185||9.2%||239||$37,562|
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters||1,684||1,896||212||12.6%||219||$45,333|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||1,702||1,805||103||6.1%||213||$46,576|
|Highway Maintenance Workers||1,796||1,870||74||4.1%||211||$37,319|
|First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers||1,824||1,875||51||2.8%||198||$51,636|
|Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators||1,533||1,693||160||10.4%||197||$37,187|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||1,846||1,947||101||5.5%||195||$41,940|
|Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products||1,600||1,753||153||9.6%||191||$104,815|
|Coaches and Scouts||1,081||1,201||120||11.1%||178||$39,623|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||1,352||1,603||251||18.6%||176||$44,195|
As you can see from the table, great South Dakota opportunities abound in these occupations whether career decision-makers are interested in pursuing post-secondary education or entering the labor market right after high school. To help youth of all ages learn about these great opportunities, LMIC's various career exploration resources for students incorporate each of the Top 30 Careers.
- A two-sided poster/flyer (in Adobe PDF format)
- Career Peeks for students in grades K-2
- Career Aware for students in grades 3-5
We identify Hot and Top 30 careers as one indicator for consideration in such important decisions regarding the funding of workforce training programs, post-secondary educational planning, scholarship opportunities related to educational programs and more. The information also provides career decision-makers with another helpful measure of the potential for future success.
It is important to note the intent of the lists is NOT to discourage anyone from pursuing a particular career field. We firmly believe career choices are highly personalized. Each person needs to choose a career path that is right for him and one that matches his interests, values, aptitudes, skills and education.
Our role in this important process is to provide data, career information and resources to help career decision-makers reach informed, “eyes wide open” decisions. The intent of such resources and activities like the Week of Work is to help youth and others achieve their career dreams and, in turn, help South Dakota employers prosper. Learn more about a full range of career exploration and planning tools available from LMIC.