Career (100 Best Jobs)
All jobs aren’t created equal. In fact, some are simply better than the rest. U.S. News 100 Best Jobs of 2013 are the occupations that offer a mosaic of employment opportunity, good salary, manageable work-life balance, and job security. Some careers offer just the right mix of these components—for instance, our top tier is filled with tech and healthcare jobs—but the list also includes strong showings from occupations in the social services and business sectors. Even construction jobs enter the fray this year. Read more on how we rank the best jobs, and check out our full list.
Ever heard the phrase “Your face is your fortune”? For dentists, our smile is their fortune. They earn their living diagnosing and treating teeth and gums, performing oral surgery, and counseling and educating us on maintaining proper oral health. The profession should grow 21.1 percent by 2020.
The nursing profession will almost always have great hiring opportunity because of its expanse (from pediatric care to geriatric care, and everything in between). And as a substantial chunk of our population ages, the necessity for qualified RNs intensifies.
With excellent job prospects and a solid average salary, the pharmacist profession nabs the No. 3 spot on our list. Possessors of a Pharm.D can anticipate nearly 70,000 available jobs this decade—the brunt in physician offices, outpatient care centers, and nursing homes.
Think of a computer systems analyst as a tech project manager. He or she is often a liaison between the IT department and a client, and has influence over both the budgetary and technical considerations of a project.
At the top of the medical food chain, physicians diagnose and treat patients, plus they instruct on proper diet, hygiene, and disease prevention. And like other jobs in the healthcare industry, physicians will see abundant job growth to 2020.
The more digitized our society becomes, the more important the role of database administrator becomes. By 2020, we’ll need about 33,900 new ones to store, organize, manage, and troubleshoot all the content we store on computers.
These tech-smart professionals who design, construct, test, and maintain software should see abundant job growth up to the year 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 27.6 percent expansion, or 143,800 new positions.
Use your training period to start networking and begin your search for physical therapist jobs. Although there will be more than 77,000 jobs in this field this decade, the early birds will be more marketable.
“Web developer” might seem like a generic term, but a lot of schooling and skill goes into making a website look good and operate well. According to the Labor Department, about 65,700 new Web developers will enter the working world by 2020.
Did you know that dental hygienists make yearly salaries of about $68,250, but many only work part-time? Something else to consider: This profession should grow at a breakneck clip as practices hire more hygienists to boost their patient roster.
Yes, you must love dogs. But vets don’t just see domesticated pets—they’re also trained to treat animals from the blue whale to the bluebird. Doctors of veterinary medicine also protect food supply by inspecting livestock, promote public health by fighting animal-borne diseases, and help educate us two-legged animals on proper pet care.
School psychologists wear plenty of hats, including counselor, administrator, disciplinarian, and researcher. Occasionally, they even dabble in social outreach. The Labor Department projects a nearly 22 percent uptick in this occupation by 2020.
There’s a slightly lower education bar to enter this occupation than to become a physical therapist, but assistants do many of the same tasks, including monitoring therapeutic exercises, observing progress in a treatment plan, and offering proper education for patients post-treatment.
Whether it’s sign language, spoken language, or written language, interpreters and translators are utilizing an invaluable skill. If you are fluent in a second language, you could find yourself working in a lucrative, secure, and growing position. The Labor Department predicts more than 42 percent employment growth in this profession over the coming decade.
A creative mind and math smarts make for a solid foundation when entering this profession. But couple those attributes with real-world know-how, and you could end up working on projects as diverse as skyscrapers in China or oil platforms in the Gulf coast.
Behind any qualified veterinarian is his or her support team: the technologists and techs who handle lab work, assist in surgery, administer anesthesia, and collect patient histories. Sound good? Keep in mind that vet techs and technologists also have excellent job prospects and a low unemployment rate.
Epidemiologists study hard to prevent the next bubonic plague, SARS outbreak, and swine flu scare. The Labor Department anticipates growth for this field, as well as other medical scientists, of 35.8 percent up to 2020.
Having a hard time distinguishing between the tech jobs on this list? This tech wizard is the go-to person when your email won’t send or your Internet crashes. As the head of the IT department, this professional ensures the company’s network is operating smoothly and that dangerous threats like hackers and malware are kept at bay.
Think of this profession as people-watching for a paycheck. Market research analysts watch people, listen, and study them to determine their habits and preferences. They then advise clients on how to package, brand, and sell products appropriately.
To do this job well, you’ll have to master the technical, like using medical equipment and making sure the patient is properly placed to get a just-right image, as well as the social, like interacting with nervous patients awaiting information on a medical condition. Sonographers are expecting liberal openings for the next few years.
Without the expertise of network and computer systems administrators, your office network would be hampered by a string of technological glitches. Aside from maintaining a healthy computer network, they also lend their tech knowledge to managing telecommunication networks. This profession is expected to add 96,600 new positions by 2020.
It’s simplistic to say these specialized practitioners are concerned with “breathing.” An RT’s purview could also extend to managing life support, administering anaesthesia, and stabilizing patients. The BLS forecasts nearly 30 percent employment growth in this career by 2020.
Medical secretaries become well-versed in insurance rules, billing practices, and hospital procedures. The reward for their diligence is job security, as the Labor Department projects 40 percent employment growth for this profession.
The concrete streets you walk, the asphalt highways your wheels caress, and the buildings you sit in were all planned by civil engineers. If you want to be the designer who keeps our society humming, this job is for you.
This is a stressful job where you’ll get up close and personal with some of our society’s ugliest issues. But this is also a rewarding position with good job security and room to grow. The most job openings will be for counselors willing to work in residential mental-health and substance-abuse facilities.
Most speech-language pathologist jobs require a master’s degree. And while in school, you should try to do as many field placements as possible. Having a little extra experience will help you to get hired for one of the approximately 28,000 new positions available.
Having a hard time telling the difference between a landscaper and a groundskeeper? Landscapers plant trees, shrubs, and flowers, fertilize plants, and construct outdoor walkways, patios, and fences to surround their handy work. Groundskeepers might also garden and plant, paint fences, clean swimming pools, shovel snow, and handle refuse removal.
Technologists use X-ray, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment to assist physicians in diagnosing patients. As with other healthcare posts, this one will also expand—nearly 30 percent by 2020.
Before the first hammer is swung, a cost estimator must coordinate with engineers, architects, and construction managers to determine the technical, mechanical, and fiscal requirements of a project. These hyper-organized critical thinkers could see their workforce swell by 36 percent this decade.
We have a lot of therapists on our list: physical, occupational, marriage, and speech, to name a few. Think of a financial adviser as a money therapist. He or she provides guidance on how to spend and save your money. Expect 66,400 new openings for this position before 2020.
Marriage and family therapists face a tall order: They play middleman between two people with a marriage on the rocks and take on the role of peacemaker. The Labor Department projects a 41.2 percent spike in the profession in the coming decade.
If you’d like to join the more than 520,000 professionals who work as medical assistants, you can expect to earn approximately $28,860 per year and to find generous job opportunities. There will be more than 160,000 new positions in this field by 2020.
Consider this: Twenty-five of our U.S. presidents have been lawyers. So it goes without saying that working in law holds a particular draw for us Americans. There will be the need for about 73,600 more professionals with juris doctor degrees by the year 2020.
Are you a stickler for rules? Consider working as a compliance officer. These professionals are employed in many industries to ensure ethics are practiced, laws are followed, and regulations are met. The BLS predicts 15 percent growth in this field by 2020.
Like many professionals, high school teachers encounter several challenges in their line of work. But they also face numerous rewards when educating and advising teenagers. The Labor Department predicts that there will be 71,900 new high-school teaching positions to fill by 2020.
In healthcare facilities, clinical laboratory technicians work behind the scenes, preparing lab specimens and running tests. The best-paid in the profession earn around $56,000 a year.
According to Ted Tenenbaum, owner of a Mr. Handyman franchise in California, variety is one of the great perks to working as a skilled trades person. You may repair drywall one day and paint terraces the next.
Having a penchant for organization and numbers is essential for the budding bookkeeping, accounting, & auditing clerk, and employment opportunity is expected to be good as regulations in the financial sector constrict. Look forward to 259,000 new jobs in this industry by the decade’s end.
The daily work of a financial manager reaches beyond a calculator. He or she is sometimes out in full view at workplaces, overseeing the progress of large teams of employees, and translating complicated financial concepts into decipherable layman’s terms. This profession is expected to grow at a 9 percent clip in the next decade.
The duties for recreation and fitness workers vary; you could lead a spinning class or run a summer camp, for example. But almost all of these workers have flexible schedules and their job satisfaction is high.
Your car, home, and health all require insurance coverage, and the market for selling commercial insurance to businesses and other organizations is in full bloom. Insurance agents are often extroverts with a positive attitude and excellent communications skills.
Stamina and a sense of humor come in handy for budding elementary school teachers. In addition to providing scholastic instruction, you’ll have to formulate lesson plans, manage the expectations of both principals and parents, and find a way to make learning fun for your kids.
The responsibilities of dental assistants have increased as our population ages and more baby boomers seek all-around medical care. These professionals are often the ones who help us into the dentist chair, sterilize equipment, and assist during dental procedures. There should be 91,600 new dental assistants by 2020.
A business is only as effective as the people who keep it running. Management analysts understand this and pass their days collecting and deciphering data or recommending specific game plans to solve the problems plaguing their organizations. The position is expected to grow 21.9 percent by 2020.
Many of the patients you’ll see as a home health aide are bedridden, disabled, elderly, or terminally ill, so your duties could include bathing and giving medication, but also serving as a morale booster and listening ear. The Labor Department predicts this profession will expand by nearly 70 percent by the year 2020.
Pharmacy techs work side by side with pharmacists, counting tablets, packaging meds, and processing insurance claims. This fast-growing occupation should grow by about 108,000 new positions.
The construction manager has one of the hardest jobs on a construction site. He or she plans, helps budget, and oversees the project from start to finish. The nearly 90,000 new managers entering the field this decade should pursue a bachelor’s degree in construction management, architecture, or engineering.
There’s a lot of finesse involved in producing and distributing communication materials that uphold and promote a client’s image. The field’s elite also have a gift for gab and understand the art of the sell. Expect this occupation to grow by nearly 23 percent by 2020.
In addition to educating adolescents, middle school teachers must contend with their students’ Helter-Skelter hormones. Although job opportunities vary by region, increased enrollment in schools should translate to approximately 100,000 new teaching positions.
Massages aren’t just a luxury. There are studies that this form of therapy can alleviate pain, reduce anxiety and depression, plus lower blood pressure and the heart rate. Those trained as massage therapists can expect some growth in their profession for the next few years, as more of us rely on alternative and preventative methods for boosting our overall health.
If you have an interest in working as a paramedic, consider working as a volunteer first. Those in the know say this approach will give you a taste for the job and make you more marketable should you choose to pursue this career.
Compared to teachers in other grades, early childhood educators use more nurturing tactics and group-play to educate. New recruits should be energetic and creative, with abundant patience. A love for Play-Doh and LEGOs also helps.
Don’t we all secretly wish we could advise our peers on their personal appearance? Hairdressers get paid to do just that. Those who shampoo, cut, style, and color hair often get the chance to make their own hours and, possibly, be their own boss.
Sending the right message about a product can take it from shelf-warmer to must-have sensation in a matter of days. That’s what effective marketers do—highlight what’s fresh and relevant about a commodity to entice consumers.
Even if she’s writing incident reports or filing records, a patrol officer’s No. 1 goal is to keep her community safe. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 8.2 percent employment growth for this job in the coming years.
Counselors collaborate with teachers, social workers, and other school personnel to ensure the academic, developmental, and social needs of children and teenagers are being met. The Labor Department predicts this profession will swell by 19 percent this decade.
Today’s executive assistants might answer phones and schedule appointments, but more often they handle office-management tasks and prepare corporate reports. This occupation should swell by 12.6 percent in the next few years.
If you’re studying finance, economics, or something related, consider becoming a financial analyst. The BLS is bullish on this occupation’s growth—anticipating nearly 55,000 new jobs by 2020.
A clinical medical social worker is concerned with helping people receive proper medical care and support. But the key ingredient to helping patients will be the ability to empathize with them. With more baby boomers needing care in the years ahead, the Labor Department predicts a 34 percent growth rate in this profession.
Whether you think of your business operations manager as the GM, the big cheese, or the boss lady, he or she is charged with making tactical and strategic decisions necessary to run a department. The best at their job have top-notch communication skills, a knack for time management, and the ability to make critical decisions smartly and quickly.
Almost all of us need a loan officer from time to time. It’s a lucky person that doesn’t require one of these workers to process a student loan, an auto loan, or a mortgage application. Lending activity should rally as we continue to climb out of the recent recession, and the Labor Department predicts more than 40,000 openings for loan officers this decade.
Openings are ample in this profession—nearly 45,000 by the decade’s close—but there are also a lot of applicants. For an inside edge, earn a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. You should also receive the certified meeting planner credential if you’d really like to stand out.
One day, a stressed-out college student may be sitting in your office. The next, a depressed professional. Not only is the patient list broad, but so is the scope of the work, ranging from diagnosing disorders to coordinating care with other health professionals.
In hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes, it’s the nursing aides and assistants who help patients bathe, dress, and eat. There should be more than 300,000 new caregivers performing these essential tasks by 2020.
Interested in being a sales rep? You’ll need a go-getter personality, plus a way with words and people. You might also want to practice wielding a suitcase, too, since you could rack up frequent flyer miles meeting with wholesaler clients and attending trade shows and conferences.
The majestic Chrysler Building, sloping Sydney Opera House, and romantic Taj Mahal all started from the quick pen and busy brain of an architect. In addition to drawing and building models, architects must also have an eye for style, a sensibility about project planning and buildings, and an understanding for the construction process.
A great sales team can catapult a company from obscurity to center stage. For this to happen, its leaders have to be as comfortable meeting new people as they are hiring and supervising. It’s not uncommon for sales managers to be the central faces associated with their companies.
More jobs overall means we’ll need more human resources professionals, right? HR specialists keep a workplace running smoothly by training personnel, overseeing benefits, and managing evaluations. And there will be nearly 62,000 new positions created by the year 2020.
Where would we be without plumbers? (And goodness, what would we smell like?) These highly trained professionals install, inspect, and repair the pipes and fixtures that carry water, steam, air, and gas.
Many of us have fond memories of buying a home. The person who helped us find that perfect domicile might resonate with us as well. Real estate agents analyze properties, meet new clients, and research housing markets with ease.
Glazing is where construction meets art. Be it tinted, stained, tempered, glass brick, float, polished plate, or another type, the glass that goes into a home, office building, storefront, or house of worship has been selected, cut, and installed by a qualified glazier. The Labor Department predicts opportunities will be best for glaziers who are trained and possibly licensed in several trades.
An art director oversees all visual representations of a product or entity, ranging from ad campaigns to magazines, TV, film, websites, video games, and live performances. In the immediate future, this field will see the most occupational growth within advertising and public relations.
Customer service reps perform a necessary (and often thankless) role in the business world: They field our basic—sometimes basest—concerns and complaints. Those interested should have plenty of patience and a knack for problem-solving.
Logisticians solve theoretical problems for manufacturing or retail businesses, sometimes proving indispensable in large-scale disaster-relief efforts. Their input can be life-saving. Logistician employment is expected to expand 25.5 percent by 2020.
Gearheads, rejoice: Tinkering with cars is a respectable and profitable profession. The Labor Department predicts 17 percent job growth for auto mechanics from now to 2020, and that includes entry-level positions.
This job is perfect for those who like to drive and appreciate limited supervision. Bus drivers may transport commuters and city inhabitants, drive road-trippers on a charter bus, or take children to and from school and on field trips. The Labor Department predicts 83,000 new positions for this occupation this decade.
Chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Emeril Lagasse, and Jacques Pépin didn’t start out as reality-show competitors, but as cooks sweating, toiling, and chopping away in a restaurant kitchen. Even lowly kitchen assistants who don’t ascend to celebrity status can expect to reach the master-chef level if they stick with their training. The Labor Department predicts 117,800 new openings for restaurant cooks this decade.
Although the circumstances a social worker faces could be intense (issues like child abuse, drug use, homelessness, and delinquency), those working in our No. 82 profession seem pleased with their calling. Child and family social workers should see 19.7 percent employment growth up to 2020.
Today’s administrative assistants, or coordinators, are expected to offer support to all echelons of their organizations. Yes, they schedule meetings and maintain paper and electronic files, but they also conduct research and assist with managerial projects.
A company hoping to put its best foot forward would employ a smart receptionist adept at juggling both tasks and people. As the face of an organization, he or she often has an indirect impact on luring new business.
Paralegals are expected to grow at a faster clip than lawyers—something to think about if you’re interested in law but don’t wish to undergo all the schooling (and possible school loans) required to get a law degree.
Who knew that pouring cement could be such a high-stakes game? But the margin of error is less than zero for both cement masons and concrete finishers. The shade of difference between the two: Cement masons generally work with cement in its final form while concrete finishers are the ones who pour it.
Becoming a professional painter requires more than just an eye for color. Those in the trade have undergone a three- or four-year apprenticeship that includes about 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. By 2020, there will be more than 72,000 new electrician positions.
The profession that brought John Madden, Phil Jackson, and Pat Riley additional fame could be your calling. But keep in mind that most sports coaches aren’t overseeing professionals, but coaching impressionable, ambitious youth. You should probably like kids as much as you like sports.
Teacher assistants provide additional guidance and instruction in the classroom, which could be good career experience for someone hoping to lead their own class one day. According to the Labor Department, this profession will grow by 15 percent this decade, in tandem with increased enrollment in public schools.
Ably working with your hands isn’t the lone trait needed to succeed as a brickmason or blockmason. While brickmasons do mostly residential work and blockmasons primarily go the commercial route, both must have a talent for following instructions carefully, as both realms feature nuanced steps. As residential real estate and office markets begin to slowly bounce back, the Labor Department projects a growth rate of a little more than 40 percent.
From the smocked attendants who bag your groceries to the convenience-store clerks who scan your favorite magazines, cashiers are all around us. Quick on their feet, they often combine basic mathematical skills with a friendly disposition to keep lines moving and shopping aisles clear.
People who don’t mind a little hard work and heavy lifting will always be needed for janitorial jobs, and this is particularly true within healthcare facilities. So submit your application fast—the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts nearly 250,000 new janitor positions by 2020.
As legend teaches us, Benjamin Franklin became our first electrician when he flew his 18th-century kite in a lightning storm. Today’s professionals take a much safer approach to installing and maintaining electrical and lighting systems. The Labor Department predicts more than 130,000 new electricians will join the construction industry by 2020.
Driving a delivery truck is a little like being Santa Claus all year. And these workers have become more important as we continue to buy more goods on the Internet that need to be transported directly from the warehouse to our front door. Expect more than 125,000 new jobs for drivers in the coming years.
In this economy, you have a greater chance of finding employment as a maid if you’ve already got some housekeeping work beneath your apron. The Labor Department reports that companies that contract cleaning services to offices and other facilities will need to fill more positions this decade.
Carpentry is one of the most versatile occupations in construction, since workers must master a variety of skills. Carpenters are trained to handle both small tasks, like constructing kitchen cabinets, and large jobs, like repairing bridges. The Labor Department reports that by the year 2020, there should be 196,000 new workers in residential, commercial, and industrial carpentry.
Security guards prevent fire hazards, larceny, and vandalism. They assist during emergency procedures and safeguard against possibly dangerous situations. Intrigued? You’ll be pleased to know that they report high job satisfaction, and the profession is expected to grow by 18.8 percent in the next few years.
Variety is one of the pluses of working as a general construction worker. These laborers could help with digging tunnels underground, repairing highways on the ground, and constructing skyscrapers up above. By 2020, there will be an astronomical 212,400 new positions in this occupation.
Constructing commercial aircraft, household appliances, automobiles, and toys is a team sport, and the players are called fabricators. Consider this occupation if you’ve always been curious about how products are put together. Just keep in mind that some areas of this field will see greater hiring opportunity than others. Structural metal fabricators will experience 16 percent job growth from now to 2020.
Before you protest too much or screen your calls, hear us out: Telemarketing can make an excellent moonlighting gig for someone who needs extra funds but has limited time. They make a median salary of $22,520 and many only work part-time.