10 Careers With the Most Annual Job Openings: 2016-2026

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Here are 10 careers with the most job openings annually, between 2016 and 2026, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections (U.S. Department of Labor. Careers With Most Job Openings 2016-2026. Career One Stop.). Most of these occupations require no more than a high school or equivalency diploma, and employers usually provide on-the-job training.

  1. Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers

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    Combined food preparation and serving workers include cooks, who prepare meals in restaurants under chefs' and head cooks' direction, and fast food workers, who take and fill customers' orders in fast food establishments. Although one may complete cooking classes in high schools and vocational schools, most cooks receive on-the-job training from their employers. Fast food establishments provide short-term on-the-job training to their workers (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Food Preparation Workers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.).

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $20,180
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Almost 3.5 million
    • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 17% (much faster than the average for all occupations)
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 736,000
  2. Retail Salespersons

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    Retail salespeople sell products directly to consumers. They work for department stores, clothing and accessories stores, car dealers, and electronics stores. Although there aren't any formal educational requirements, many employers prefer to hire job candidates who have a high school or equivalency diploma. Retailer establishments usually provide on-the-job training (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retail Sales Workers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.).

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $23,210
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Over 4.6 million
    • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 2% (slower than average growth)
    • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 670,300
  3. Cashiers

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    Cashiers receive payments from customers in retail establishments such as supermarkets, department stores, movie theaters, and gas stations. When filling full-time positions, many employers prefer high school graduates, but they usually hire high school students for part-time jobs (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cashiers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.). 

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $21,030
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Almost 3.6 million
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): -1% (decline)
    • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 653,700

    (Occupational Profile: Cashiers. CareerOneStop.org.).

  4. Waiters and Waitresses

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    Waiters and waitresses serve customers food and beverages in restaurants. They also greet them when they arrive, explain menu items to them, and sometimes recommend dishes (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Waiters and Waitresses. Occupational Outlook Handbook.).

    Employers provide on-the-job training. Although many prefer to hire high school graduates, others hire workers who are still in school.

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $20,820
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Slightly over 2.6 million
    • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 7% (as fast as the average for all occupations)
    • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 522,700
  5. Personal Care Aides

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    Personal care aides provide non-medical assistance to clients who have disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments, or have age-related difficulties performing daily living tasks. Some positions may require a high school or equivalency diploma (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides. Occupational Outlook Handbook.).

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $23,100
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Slightly over 2 million
    • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 39% (much faster than the average for all occupations)
    • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 414,300

    (Occupational Profile: Personal Care Aides. CareerOneStop.org.).

  6. Hand Laborers and Material Movers

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    Laborers and hand material movers use dollies, forklifts, hand trucks, and other manually-operated equipment to move freight, stock, and other materials. Employers often prefer to hire workers who have a high school or equivalency diploma. They provide on-the-job training (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hand Laborers and Material Movers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.).

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $27,040
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Over 2.6 million
    • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 8% (as fast as the average for all occupations)
    • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 388,400
  7. Customer Service Representatives

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    Customer service representatives answer consumer's questions and resolve their problems. While many employers will hire workers who have a high school diploma, others prefer those who have an associate or bachelor's degree. Customer service representatives are trained on-the-job (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Customer Service Representatives. Occupational Outlook Handbook.).

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $32,890
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Slightly under 2.8 million
    • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 5% (as fast as the average for all occupations)
    • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 373,500
  8. General Office Clerks

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    Although duties vary by employer and one's level of experience, office clerks generally file, answer telephones, schedule appointments, do data entry, type correspondence, and handle mail. Employers prefer job candidates who have a high school or equivalency diploma. Preparation can include taking high school or community college classes in word processing and other software applications, as well as office procedures, in addition to receiving on-the-job training from their employers (Bureau of Labor Statistics. General Office Clerks. Occupational Outlook Handbook.).

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $31,500
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Over 3.1 million
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): -1% (decline)
    • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 356,200
  9. Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

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    Janitors maintain buildings including residences, office buildings, schools, stores, and healthcare facilities. They clean and make minor repairs. Janitors and cleaners learn how to do their jobs by working alongside more experienced employees (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Janitors and Building Cleaners. Occupational Outlook Handbook.).

    • Median Annual Salary (2017): $24,990
    • Number of People Employed (2016): Slightly under 2.4 million
    • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 10% (faster than the average for all occupations)
    • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 344,100
  10. Stock Clerks and Order Fillers

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Stock clerks and stockroom associates get items from warehouses and stockrooms and prepare them for sale. This includes putting them on shelves and displays, and marking prices on them. Order fillers pull items from stockrooms and warehouses to fill customers' orders (O*Net Online. Summary Report for Stock Clerks and Order Fillers.).

  • Median Annual Salary (2017): $24,470
  • Number of People Employed (2016): Over 2 million
  • Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 5% (as fast as the average for all occupations)
  • Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 269,200