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Iowa Career Pathways


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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.

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.


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)

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

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)

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

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

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 & Financial Services: Iowa

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

Hospitality and Tourism

The Iowa Department of Education, in support of the Future Ready Iowa Initiative, is partnering with the Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation, Iowa Hotel and Lodging Association, Iowa Gaming Association, Iowa Travel Industry Partners, Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association, Iowa Tourism Office and Iowa Association of Career and Technical Education to develop promotional materials to highlight a wide range of exciting and fulfilling careers in hospitality and tourism fields in Iowa. 

Registration is now open for a series of virtual roundtables throughout April to help gather direct feedback and guidance from the field. Hospitality, tourism, lodging, recreation, food/beverage and other related service providers and employers are invited to join for one of these interactive virtual sessions. A small number of seats are also open for educators and other support partners. Choose from the below dates and times that fit best for you. A few sessions will focus on a specific area of the industry, while others are left for more general discussions.

Contact Joe Collins for additional information about this project and to offer feedback if unable to attend a virtual session. A closing survey will launch in May 2022 and a finished product is planned to roll out by July 2022. 

Event Date Time Registration Link
Virtual Roundtable #1 Monday, 4/11 1-3 p.m.  
Virtual Roundtable #2 Wednesday, 4/13 3-5 p.m.   *Special focus on hotel and lodging-related careers!
Virtual Roundtable #3 Friday, 4/15 9-11 a.m.    
Virtual Roundtable #4 Tuesday, 4/19 2-4 p.m.   *Special focus on food and beverage-related careers!
Virtual Roundtable #5 Thursday, 4/21 10 a.m.-12 p.m.  


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 20, 2022 at 2:24pm.