Fast growing ‘middle-skill’ jobs in Gulf Coast region

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LoneStar_middle_skillThe Gulf Coast region of Texas, including the greater Houston area, is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, and with a rising population comes rising job demand, far beyond the energy industry.

This rising tide of opportunity carries in it, many good-paying careers in healthcare, business, manufacturing, and more.

Most of the jobs that will be in demand through 2022, called “middle-skills jobs,” require education and training taking two years or less – Lone Star College offers training for most of the occupations that are expected to grow quickly in the next 10 years.


The Baby Boom generation is starting to retire, setting off another “boom” in the healthcare industry, just as the aging Boomer population is increasingly in need of care.

In the next 10 years, 2,230 nurses will be needed each year in area hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. Nurses administer care, advise patients and families, and manage cases. The LSC nursing program is demanding, but in two years’ time and after passing the state licensure exam, RNs are highly employable almost anywhere.

Other hot jobs in the health field include dental hygienists and dental assistants, pharmacy technicians, and medical administrative support personnel – training for all of these careers is offered at LSC.


Industrial/manufacturing jobs hold several spots in the list of fast-growing middle-skill jobs for the Gulf Coast region. Forbes magazine recently ranked Houston as the number 1 “Best City for Manufacturing Jobs” in the country, with San Antonio not far behind at number 4.

Students can attend LSC to get training in a number of good-paying, high-demand jobs.

Welding jobs of all types are expected to lead the list of growth jobs in this category – 8,700 additional jobs are predicted for the 2012-2022 period. In addition, machining jobs also represent a high-growth area – more than 2,100 jobs for Computer Numeric Control (CNC) operators and programmers will be added each year in the Gulf Coast region. The median annual salary for welders is $35,960 while CNC jobs pay up to $38,670.

Other high-growth areas in the manufacturing category include petroleum and engineering technicians, along with electricians and electrician technicians.


For those who are not interested in the industrial and manufacturing careers, opportunities are available in accounting and other business-related professions.

Two large growth areas include the accounting field, where 1,660 jobs are added each year in the greater Houston area alone, along with administrative services and support, which will see 20,650 jobs added in the Gulf Coast (2012-2022). Accounting and administrative support jobs pay from $30,360 to $65,100 annually.

Other business-related jobs that are seeing significant growth include business operations (17,000 jobs added, 2012-2022) and business administration with a marketing specialization, which is expected to grow by 43.5 percent, adding 3,700 jobs in the greater Houston area.

Computer technology

Texas ranks second among U.S. states for Information Technology services employment, with nearly half a million IT workers, according TechAmerica Foundation, a national industry association. The need for computer technology specialists in the Gulf Coast region spills over to nearly every industry, from banking to healthcare and education.

Lone Star College offers training for a long list of computer/IT specialties – network technicians, computer engineering, programmers and more. With annual salaries for computer/IT specialists ranging from $45,000 to $80,000 and higher, these workers are well compensated for their skills.

Lone Star College helps you get trained and get hired with workforce education for careers, not just jobs. For a more complete list of programs offered at Lone Star College, see

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