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5 high-paying VA jobs that are hiring

You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to earn a good living. In fact, dozens of in-demand occupations for associate degree graduates pay well above $60,000. They might not be what you expect.

Virginia’s economy is creating a critical demand for a skilled workforce to support industries ranging from transportation to health care.

We’ve run the numbers from the state’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projections and analyzed the data trends outlined in Inside Business: the Hampton Roads Business Journal to determine which jobs project to be the most lucrative and coveted over the next few years in Virginia.

Here are five of the most high demand job fields in the state:

Cyber Security & IT Specialists

Hampton Roads is the only metropolitan area between Miami and New York where groups of transatlantic broadband cables are landing. These cables provide ultra-fast fiber service to existing and growing businesses and will eventually form a regional “fiber highway” network from the Southside to the Peninsula. To leverage this and support the growing IT industry, regional leadership is aggressively pursuing advancements to the digital infrastructure and workforce to prepare the region for success.

Physical Therapist & Occupational Therapy Assistants

The job outlook for physical therapist assistants and occupational therapy assistants is growing at a rate of 26% through 2028. As baby boomers age and older generations continue to live longer and more active lives, there will be an even more urgent need for these highly paid medical professionals who work to help patients recover from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain.

Electrical Technicians

Dominion Energy is preparing to install massive offshore wind turbines in a $300 million pilot to turn wind energy into electricity off the coast of Virginia. This project will generate more than 1,500 jobs, according to a 2018 report prepared by BVG Associates. Skilled technicians who understand the electrical demands of this equipment will be in high demand to help complete the project. 

HVAC/R Technicians

Business in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) tends to pick up as seasons change, but longer summers and increasingly chilly winters have homeowners looking for HVAC/R technicians almost year-round in Virginia. Average salaries are already surging to reflect the demand for services in this field. Some HVAC/R technicians are making over $62,400, according to the National Center for Construction Education & Research’s 2018 construction craft salary survey.

Maritime Trades Workers

Demand for the skilled trades is on the upswing as the Port of Virginia nears the completion of a $700 million expansion project at its two major cargo facilities. Expansion at Norfolk International Terminal is also on track. This includes two new Suez-class ship-to-shore cranes. Still needed? Skilled employees to support these burgeoning industries as the existing workforce approaches retirement.

Preparing residents for these job opportunities is a priority.

While Tidewater Community College offers training in all five of these in-demand job fields, the college is working with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, individual businesses and industry leaders to expand program offerings to meet the labor shortage.

Virginia residents can train for entry-level positions in some of the fastest-growing jobs in the state with just two years of education (an associate degree) or less. Another perk: Annual salaries in these jobs average above $50,000!