The growing healthcare and technology fields are universal winners in Louisiana’s diverse statewide job market.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) finds that the healthcare and tech industries offer opportunities across the state despite significant geographical differences from one area to another. Such trends of favorable climates in healthcare and technology reflect the national landscape, as demonstrated in the Jobs Rated Top 200 Jobs of 2012 report.
Healthcare opportunities are expected to swell dramatically next year and beyond in the Pelican State. In fact, there are career fields that pay a higher salary in Louisiana than the national average. Physical therapist is a career the LWC projects to grow rapidly in the next decade, which also pays an average statewide salary $3,000 higher than the national median.
These factors and physical therapist’s high ranking in the overall Jobs Rated 2012 list makes it No. 1 for best jobs in Louisiana. Jobs Rated weighs work environment, stress level and physical demands in gauging careers. Read the complete methodology here.
Market research analyst ranked No. 2 and is among the most underrated jobs in the nation. Exponential projected growth and favorable work conditions make this one of the most promising career options in Louisiana.
Tech jobs, including computer system analyst and computer programmer, are projected to grow throughout Louisiana and provide employees competitive wages. CenturyLink, a Fortune 500 company and the nation’s third largest telecommunications provider, is headquartered in Monroe and continues to add jobs at a strong pace per its 2011 incentive agreement with the state.
By 2016, CenturyLink estimates it will add nearly 2,000 jobs – 800 directly and 1,170 indirectly – as a result of its new headquarters, which breaks ground in early 2013. “This expansion project will be a catalyst for advancing our strategic growth initiatives and will promote the research of new technologies,” says CenturyLink CEO and President Glen F. Post, III. “We are pleased to bring high-quality jobs to Monroe and believe our new facility will be a focal point for our technology-driven company.”
A critical part of the company’s expanse of tech jobs is its work with Louisiana Tech University via the Clarke M. Williams Professorship in Telecommunications. The program prepares students for careers in the state’s growing tech sector.
“[T]he university will collaborate with CenturyLink to deliver courses that serve the advanced education needs of the company’s workforce,” reports the Louisiana Economic Development office. “A certificate program will build upon the prior education and training of the employees and provide them with skills needed for success in further professional and technical development.”
Other companies in the state are expanding opportunities through other programs like Louisiana FastStart, a “workforce solutions provider that works with businesses to anticipate and address the company's workforce needs early in the startup or expansion process.” This translates to training for and creation of many vital office positions.
In Houma, New Orleans, Lafayette and Lake Charles – all of which border the Gulf Coast -- the energy industry is expected to continue to create many job opportunities. And in Monroe, the former headquarters of Delta Airlines and a city where the airport is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, transportation-related careers are expected to expand.
Actors in New Orleans also have opportunities far surpassing state and national levels, thanks to tax credits and a burgeoning production presence in the Crescent City. The city was the No. 3 domestic filming location nationally last year behind Los Angeles and New York.
Here is our ranking of the 10 best jobs in Louisiana for 2012:
1. Physical Therapist
Average Salary in Louisiana (LWC): $79,801
Growing demand for physical therapy nationwide is reflected in Louisiana. Wages during 2011 for Louisiana physical therapists surpassed the national median by over $3,000.