Top jobs: Is physician a better job than nurse?

Six of CareerCast's top ten jobs are in the health industry

Health care accounts for 11 of the top 20 careers on CareerCast's annual Jobs Rated report, which ranks 200 U.S. jobs based on working conditions, pay, and career prospects.

Many other health care positions, like physician, physician's assistant, and registered nurse, also were named among the top 60 jobs, although their relative rankings in 2013 shifted compared to previous years.


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, human resources manager (ranked #31 on the list) had a relatively high average income of $99,182, but a low hiring outlook score of 11.82. Meanwhile, civil engineers (#32) had an income of $78,140 but a hiring outlook score of 17.4.

How health care fared in the 2013 rankings

For the first time, CareerCast identified actuaries as the U.S. top job, followed by biomedical engineer and software engineer. Meanwhile, journalists, lumberjacks, and enlisted military soldiers rounded out the bottom of the list.

The health care positions listed among CareerCast's top 20 jobs were:

  • Biomedical engineer (#2);
  • Audiologist (#4);
  • Dental hygienist (#6);
  • Occupational therapist (#7);
  • Optometrist (#8);
  • Physical therapist (#9);
  • Chiropractor (#11);
  • Speech pathologist (#12);
  • Physiologist (#13);
  • Dietitian (#16); and
  • Pharmacist (#17).

Other notable health care positions on the list included:

  • Podiatrist (#23);
  • Orthodontist (#33);
  • Medical records technician (#35);
  • Dentist (#42);
  • General practice physician (#45);
  • Physician assistant (#50);
  • Surgeon (#51); and
  • Registered nurse (#55).

The list includes some notable changes from last year. In a minor reversal, general practice physician was ranked #39 in 2012—whereas registered nurse was ranked one spot ahead, at #38.

No health care positions were included in the list's 20 worst careers (CareerCast [1], April 2013; CareerCast [2], April 2013).

* An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed the #16 job as "dietician."  "Dietitian" was the career ranked #16 on the CareerCast list.



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