Health care accounts for nine of the top 20 careers on CareerCast's second-annual Jobs Rated report, which ranks 200 U.S. jobs based on working conditions, pay, and career prospects.
Methodology and rankings
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other agencies, the career website selected the 200 careers on the list based on data reliability and relevance to the current job market.
They then rated those careers by using an algorithm that combined the position's physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. For example, economists (the 48th-ranked job) had a relatively high average income of $89,223, but a very low hiring outlook score of 7.33. Meanwhile, medical records technicians (#50) had a below-average income of $32,152 but a fairly high hiring outlook score of 20.52.
For the second straight year, CareerCast named software engineer as its top job, followed by actuaries and HR managers. Meanwhile, lumberjacks, dairy farmers, and enlisted military soldiers rounded out the bottom of the list.
The health care positions listed among CareerCast's top 20 jobs were:
- Dental hygienist (#4);
- Audiologist (#6);
- Occupational therapist (#7);
- Speech pathologist (#11);
- Optometrist (#12);
- Physical therapist (#13)
- Pharmacist (#14);
- Dietitian (#17); and
- Chiropractor (#19).
Other notable health care positions on the list include:
- Physician assistant (#26);
- Dentist (#33);
- RNs (#38);
- Medical secretary (#36);
- Physicians—general practice (#40);
- Surgeon (#45);
- Medical lab tech (#71); and
- Licensed practical nurse (#89).
No health care positions were named to the list's worst 20 careers (CareerCast methodology, April 2012; Weber, Wall Street Journal, 4/10).