There are lots of career opportunities in Iowa in fields such as information technology, advanced manufacturing and the building trades. But lack of information about these careers has led to shortages in a skilled workforce.

To that end, the Iowa Department of Education is conducting exploratory research and developing career pathway materials for the many career sectors and opportunities available in Iowa. This was done in collaboration with a wide range of business, industry or trade associations, individual employers and service providers, as well as other public and private strategic partners.

Career pathways are designed to educate and inform our students and workforce about the occupations available, and how to effectively enter and successfully navigate them here in Iowa.

The information in the career pathways doesn’t cover every occupation. Rather, it is intended to provide the student, job-seeker, parent, educator and others with a high-level view of some in-demand or growing positions. The pathways guide the reader in evaluating which of these jobs are of interest and worthy of further research through the online Future Ready Iowa Career Coach tool, allowing users to customize labor, salary, education and other information based on their specific location within the state.

Note: The career links within the documents on this page no longer work. While we work to update the links, visit O*NET OnLine to learn more about each of the careers.

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Advanced Manufacturing

Careers in advanced manufacturing are expected to continue to grow in Iowa, largely due to amazing and innovative advances in technologies with robotics, augmented and virtual reality, and 3D printers. This growth will further increase the need for quality advanced manufacturing education and training programs across the state.

Opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing: Iowa

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Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

From the land to your hand, Iowa’s agriculture, food and natural resources professionals provide the very foundation for which other industries and communities may thrive. Whether turning a faucet for a cup of water, flipping a switch to light a room or picking up a piece of food to eat, people around the world rely on our small, but mighty state to produce safe, affordable and reliable food, water, electricity, fuels, medications and other products. This demand is expected to continue to grow and with it the need to repair and improve critical infrastructure or related equipment, such as harvesters, pipelines, wind turbines, telecommunications networks and smart power grids. Types of occupations are grouped in this resource across areas of service and skilled trades, planning and design, research and development, production and operations, storage and distribution, and sales and business operations.

Opportunities in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

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Building Trades (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering - ACE)

Careers in the building trades are expected to continue to grow in Iowa, largely due to increased retirements and steady demand for residential, commercial, and infrastructure projects. Advances in technology will also continue to change how we practice these careers that span the more typical skilled trades, but also including design, engineering, architecture, logistics, management, and sales career paths.

Opportunities in Building Trades: Iowa

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Business and Financial Services

Business and financial services professionals are the backbone of Iowa’s economy. These innovative and hard-working individuals provide the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to keep businesses from all industries running smoothly, handle the finances of our community members securely, and maintain the necessary edge to be successful in an increasingly competitive and broadening global market. Types of occupations are grouped in this resource across areas of management and operations, information and risk, people and culture, banking and finance, logistics and supply chain, and marketing and sales.

Opportunities in Business and Financial Services: Iowa

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There are wide range of exciting and well-paying career opportunities for every type of person in Energy and related fields in Iowa. Types of occupations are spread between the six general areas of craft and skilled trades, planning and design, production and operations, transmission and distribution, security and information solutions, and sales and business operations.

Opportunities in Energy: Iowa Career Pathways (2021)

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Health Sciences

Careers in the health sciences are expected to continue to grow in Iowa, largely due to an aging population and related health care needs. Much of this growth will include more common occupations, such as doctors and nurses, but also incorporates advances in technology for fast-growing, high-paying areas of diagnostic testing, biotechnology research, and health informatics.

Opportunities in Health Sciences: Iowa

Snapshot of Health Science Careers in Iowa (2022)

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Hospitality and Tourism

Iowa’s hospitality and tourism professionals feed and nurture our minds, bodies and spirits, bringing people together each and every day through their products and services. Whether eating a delicious pork tenderloin, visiting an award-winning winery or brewery with friends, relaxing at a day spa or waterpark or simply taking a well-deserved night away from the kids, residents and visitors of our great state expect and rely on the best quality products, services and hospitality professionals to get them through the day. This demand is expected to continue to grow along with changing consumer preferences for contactless ordering, delivery and consumption of food, entertainment, lodging and other products and services. Types of occupations are grouped in this resource across the areas of restaurant and food service, sports, recreation and entertainment, lodging and facility management, travel and tourism, sales and supply chain, and marketing and technology.

Opportunities in Hospitality and Tourism: Iowa Career Pathways

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Information Technology

Information technology professionals connect and empower our communities every day in Iowa through safe, reliable, and innovative technologies and services. Steady demand for these products and services to fuel a growing economy, the continued blending of our physical and digital identities, and a growing number of tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple relocating to or expanding operations within the state requires skilled Iowans able to design, operate, and maintain these complex technologies, networks, websites, and associated vehicles, machinery, and equipment. Types of occupations include those in application and product design, programming and development, data management and analytics, infrastructure and networking, security and quality assurance, and sales and client relations.

Opportunities in IT: Iowa (2017) - A brief overview of some of the careers available in information technology fields in Iowa.

Opportunities in IT: Iowa (2020) - A more in-depth view of a wider range of IT careers in Iowa, including pictures, testimonials, and additional information to consider.

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Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL)

These materials introduce readers to the fast-paced and growing TDL industry and the diverse and interesting careers that play a role in the movement and storage of materials, goods, and people by land, air, rail, and water throughout the state of Iowa.

Opportunities in Transportation, Distribution and Logistics

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