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5 In-Demand Careers That Fit Older Workers

Sales representatives, drivers and health care workers are some of the top jobs



En español | Arkansas needs drivers, New Mexico needs health care specialists, and the District of Columbia needs computer programmers. And, in many cases, workers age 50 and older are great fits for jobs in these in-demand fields and others, according to a new online tool that shows, state by state, the jobs that will be the hardest for employers to fill between now and 2020.

By comparing data from thousands of online job postings gathered by Burning Glass Technologies with information from the U.S. Census Bureau, AARP determined which career fields will need the most new workers over the next two years. Jobs in health care — such as pharmacists and surgeons — are at the top of the list. But employers will also be hiring for some jobs that don’t require as many years of training, including bus drivers and sales managers. And, in many cases, older workers already have years of experience in jobs that build skills that match what these available jobs require.

You can learn more about how workers 50 and older fit the following career fields — including the required credentials for specific jobs — by using AARP’s tool:

1. Health diagnosing and treating practitioners

How it fits the 50+: 4.3 percent of people age 50 and older already work in these fields, and 10.1 percent work in jobs that require similar skills such as nurses, home health aides and physical therapists.

Where the demand is high: Alaska, Connecticut, New Mexico and Wyoming

These fields, which include chiropractors, dentists, dietitians and nutritionists, were at the top of the list in 29 states and are projected to account for 13.8 percent of job postings nationwide through 2020.

2. Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing

How it fits the 50+: Only 1.3 percent of workers over age 50 currently work in these fields, but 9.9 percent have experience in other jobs that require comparable skills, including retail sales positions.

Where the demand is high: Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Vermont

Many older workers already have the skills to do well in jobs such as sales agents, executives and direct sales, but additional training related to the specific products or businesses may be required.

3. Computer occupations

How it fits the 50+: 2.2 percent of those 50-plus currently work in these fields, and an additional 2.2 percent work in similar professions that require similar skills.

Where demand is high: District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia

These fields are projected to account for 12.5 percent of the job growth between 2014 and 2024, adding more than 488,000 new jobs. Job opportunities in these fields include computer systems analysts, programmers, web developers, software developers and user support specialists.

4. Advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations and sales managers

How it fits the 50+: Only 0.6 percent of those age 50 and older work in these fields, while another 0.6 percent work in similar occupations.

Where demand is high: California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington

These fields are projected to account for 2 percent of job postings nationwide by 2020. Specific jobs in this area of business include managers for marketing, sales and fundraising, along with positions in public relations.

5. Motor vehicle operators

How it fits the 50+: 4.1 percent of those 50 and older work in these occupations, and an additional 6.6 percent have worked in similar jobs, such as in rail, air or water transportation.

Where demand is high: Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois and Oklahoma

This field, which includes chauffeurs, taxi drivers and ambulance drivers, will account for 11 percent of job postings over the next two years.

For full access to more data on labor shortages, including state-by-state numbers, visit