What NC’s Projected Occupations Say About Future Educational Requirements

Monday, October 26, 2020
Jeff Rosenthal

The Labor & Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) of the North Carolina Department of Commerce has recently produced long term employment projections for the 2018-2028 period.  We plan to have several short blogs to provide highlights of the findings.  

This fourth summary will look at education requirements and projected employment. 

In 2018, occupations requiring no formal education or only a high school diploma* accounted for 63.7% of total employment; however, this is projected to decline to 62.6% by 2028. In contrast, the share of occupations requiring education beyond high school will expand moderately (Table 3). Through 2028, occupations that require a Master’s, Doctoral, or professional degree are projected to grow the fastest, with annual growth rate slightly higher than those requiring a Bachelor’s degree. Occupations with at least a Bachelor’s degree are projected to gain 114,000 jobs annually.  

Still, occupations that require a High School diploma or equivalent, or no formal education, will have more job openings than all other occupations combined – over 423,000 each year.  While these occupations will experience the most growth due to the employment size, their average annual openings are largely driven by high transfer and exit rates. 

Table 1. Projected Employment by BLS Minimum Education Required for Entry

Minimum Education Requirement Empl. Estimate 2018 Empl. 2018, % of Total Empl. Estimate 2028 Empl. 2028, % of Total Percent Change Net New Jobs Growth Average Annual Openings
High school diploma (or equivalent) or No formal educational credential 3,052,017 63.7% 3,187,773 62.6% 4.45% 135,756 423,404
Associate's degree, Postsecondary non-degree award or Some college 539,221 11.3% 582,696 11.4% 8.06% 43,475 60,678
Bachelor's degree 1,011,022 21.1% 1,112,549 21.8% 10.04% 101,527 98,640
Master’s, Doctoral or professional degree 189,560 4.0% 211,141 4.1% 11.38% 21,581 15,318
Source: NC Department of Commerce 2018-2028 Long Term Employment Projections

Additional resources for the 2018-2028 Employment Projections can be found from the links below:
•    Projection Summary: North Carolina Employment Projections 2018-2028
•    Impact of COVID-19 pandemic and response efforts on the NC Employment Projections 
•    Projections Data by Industry and Occupation

Figure 1.  Share of all Projected Jobs in North Carolina in 2028 by Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Minimum Education Required for Entry

*Based on the BLS entry-level education requirement scale: