Careers by Industry

North Dakota’s business climate has gained a reputation for supporting emerging businesses, entrepreneurs and expansions. The state’s growing manufacturing, technology-based businesses, agricultural and energy industries, enhanced with numerous incentives, are drawing some of the world’s most recognized companies into the state. Combined with a legendary work ethic and a highly educated workforce, North Dakota has become a dynamic place to live, work and be in business. The North Dakota University System offers programs in these fields to help with the demand of workers.

Choose an industry category below to find out more:


oil rigEnergy offers some of the greatest growth opportunities for North Dakota. Energy is one of the state’s largest industries. With the discovery of the Bakken formation to the expansion of wind turbines, North Dakota is seeing a growth in energy to compliment the coal industry. Western North Dakota contains one of the single largest deposits of lignite known in the world. To learn more about careers in the energy industry visit To learn more about careers in wind energy visit Learn more about the energy resources available in North Dakota, visit the EmPower Commission.

HDHW: High Demand, High Wage

Examples of ND HDHW Jobs in Energy Average 2013 Wage
Wind Turbine Service Technician $54,940
Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas $56,430
Gas Plant Operator $77, 170


Advanced Manufacturing

Manufacturing accounts for 10 percent of North Dakota’s Gross Domestic Product. While the rest of the country has experienced a manufacturing retraction since 2000, North Dakota has enjoyed an expansion. Strong market growth, both domestically and internationally, have contributed to a healthy manufacturing economy.

Advanced ManufacturingSpecific tactics used for advanced manufacturing includes the Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership which also assists manufacturers to help them become more competitive.

The Centers of Excellence program has also been used to strengthen North Dakota’s manufacturers and technology-based businesses. Approved Centers relating to these target industries include:

  • Strom Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Dickinson State)
  • Dakota Center for Technology Optimized Agriculture (Lake Region)
  • Center for Advanced Electronics Design and Manufacturing (NDSU)
  • Center for Surface Protection (NDSU)
  • COE in Life Sciences and Advanced Technologies (UND)
  • Institute for Customized Business Solutions (Valley City)
  • Center for Integrated Electronic Systems (NDSU)
  • Center for Biopharmaceutical Research and Production (NDSU)
  • Center for Passive Therapeutics. (UND)

To learn more about what it takes to work in the advanced manufacturing industry  visit: To learn more about North Dakota’s exporting programs, visit the North Dakota Trade Office .

Examples of ND HDHW Jobs in Advanced Manufacturing Average 2013 Wage
Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products $56,840
Machinist $42,270
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Production and Operating Workers $57,130


Value Added Agriculture

Agriculture is another dominant industry for North Dakota. The combination of farmers and ranchers across the state has propelled North Dakota into the lead for such products as wheat, durum, flax, canola, and more. Ranch operations are growing and expanding to different areas not explored in the past.

Definition of Value Added Agriculture

The Department of Commerce defines value added agriculture as changes made to primary agriculture products (crops and livestock) that increase the product’s value, thereby creating new economic activity and jobs in one of three ways:

  1. Process activities that create value for the product and/or introduce the product to new markets;
  2. Diversification and/or modification of primary agriculture products; or
  3. Pre-production modifications that increase yields, quality and uses
Examples of ND HWHD Jobs in Value Added Agriculture               Average 2013 Wage
Purchasing Agents, Farm Products $63,330
Environmental Engineer $71,090
Soil and Plant Scientist $56,120


Tourism in North Dakota targets group travel, international travel, outdoor recreation, cultural and heritage travel as well as media and public relations. North Dakota’s vast wildlife population and outdoor recreation areas play a large part in drawing visitors and potential residents to North Dakota.

Working in the tourism industry opens several areas of opportunity for employment. The management, marketing, and operations of restaurants, hotels, and recreational areas are just part of the tourism industry. Guides for both fishing and hunting are key roles in this area.

Examples of ND HWHD Jobs in Tourism                  Average 2013 Wage
Travel Agent $28,630
Hotel Managers $52,350
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners $41,690


Technology-Based Business

As one of our five targeted industries for growth, North Dakota’s technology-based business sector is growing and diversifying. Technology is an important part of the lives of those who live, work and play in North Dakota. Keeping pace with rapid changes in the technology arena and integrating advances benefit all North Dakotans. Technology is essential to the continuing growth and success of our state, creating bright futures, attracting youth and promising higher paying jobs.Technology-Based Business

Technology not only benefits business in the state, but education as well. The link between education and business is critical. Learning and research are necessary for economic development in our state and to prepare our young people for the careers of the future. The use of online and IVN systems allow more residents in rural areas to complete degrees at one of the colleges and universities in North Dakota.

In addition to business and education, entrepreneurship is a thriving part of technology in North Dakota. Through our Centers of Excellence program, we’re helping other companies develop and grow, too. We are committed to technology advancements and building a strong business climate which creates higher paying jobs, workforce development, and fosters entrepreneurship and innovation.

Examples of ND HWHD Jobs in IT                                   Average 2013 Wage
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians $41,530
Computer Software Programmer $53,850
Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers $53,110


Click below to find more resources for jobs that may be for you.

North Dakota Career Clusters – The Career Clusters organize virtually all occupations around 16 broad categories. Occupations within each cluster require similar skills and knowledge. The chart lists the 16 clusters as well as some occupations within each cluster.

North Dakota Junior Pilots and education portal is managed by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. Here you can learn about careers in aviation.

North Dakota Job Service can provide job descriptions and salary information within the state.

RN to BSN Online Programs helps educate the different nursing schools and career information.

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