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These 5 in-demand Central Coast jobs could put you on the path to doubling your salary

Jobs in health care, trucking and education are expected to be in high demand in San Luis Obispo County in coming years.
Jobs in health care, trucking and education are expected to be in high demand in San Luis Obispo County in coming years.

In honor of Labor Day, the California Employment Development Department released data on the state’s most in-demand middle-skill-level jobs — jobs that can put workers on the path to higher pay in the future.

These jobs are ones that have a large number of openings, and set up a specific career path toward higher-skill level jobs. In some cases, that career path can as much as double a worker’s annual wages.

Here are the five most in-demand in the coast region, which includes San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz counties:

1.Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

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What they are: According to the EDD, people in this field, “drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 GVW, to transport and deliver goods, livestock or materials in liquid, loose, or packaged form. May be required to unload truck. May require use of automated routing equipment. Requires commercial drivers’ license.”

There will be approximately 1,610 job openings in this field between 2014 and 2024.

How much they make: The median annual wage for a worker in this field in 2017 is $44,107.

The next step: Become a purchasing agent — according to the EDD, these agents earn roughly $69,185.

2. Medical assistants

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What they are: According to the EDD, people in this field, “perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.”

There will be approximately 1,490 job openings in this field between 2014 and 2024.

How much they make: The median annual wage for a worker in this field in 2017 is $36,778.

The next step: Become a physical therapist — according to the EDD, physical therapists earn roughly $100,190, more than double the average wage for medical assistants.

3. Nursing assistants

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What they are: According to the EDD, people in this field, “provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom or move patients or change linens. May transfer or transport patients.”

There will be approximately 1,390 job openings in this field between 2014 and 2024.

How much they make: The median annual wage for a worker in this field in 2017 is $30, 887.

Where it can lead: Become a registered nurse — according to the EDD, registered nurses, earn roughly $108,840, more than three times the average wage for a nursing assistant.

4. Teaching assistants

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What they are: According to the EDD, teaching assistants, “perform duties that are instructional in nature or deliver direct services to students or parents. Serve in a position for which a teacher or another professional has ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.”

There will be approximately 1,290 job openings in this field between 2014 and 2024.

How much they make: The median annual wage for a worker in this field in 2017 is $31,573.

Where it can lead: Become an elementary school teacher — according to the EDD, elementary teachers earn roughly $73,527, double the salary of a teaching assistant.

5. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

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What they are: According to the EDD, licensed nurses, “care for ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse.”

There will be approximately 1,060 job openings in this field between 2014 and 2024.

How much they make: The median annual wage for a worker in this field in 2017 is $54,758.

Where it can lead: Become a nurse practitioner — according to the EDD, nurse practitioners earn roughly $113,196, more than double the salary of their mid-level counterparts.

For a look at other regions in the state, visit http://edd.ca.gov/Jobs_and_Training/Top_Middle-Skill_Occupations.htm.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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