What makes a job good? According to U.S. News and World Report, which just put out its list of The 100 Best Jobs for 2016, it’s a mixture of factors like salary, occupational outlook, and work-life balance. There’s also, as the editors point in out in the methodology, the all-important personal preference. That last factor is important, if impossible to weight: there’s no point in contemplating a career change to a job you’ll hate, no matter how many openings there are or what kind of salary you can expect to pull down once you make the transition. That said, one thing immediately becomes clear perusing U.S. News‘s list: if you want one of the top-ranked jobs, it will help if you’re interested in entering a healthcare profession.
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Nine out of 10 of the top jobs are in a health-related field. Why? Healthcare jobs are growing and many health occupations pay pretty well, especially outside of healthcare support roles – which also top the ranks of high-growth occupations in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, but are less likely to offer high salaries.
Many healthcare jobs even offer a certain amount of flexibility. For example, registered nurses (No. 16 on the list) often work 12-hour shifts, three days a week – a long workday or -night, but ideal for someone who’d rather pack all their work into a relatively short stretch of time.
Plus, for people who feel a calling to pursue them, healthcare jobs are high-meaning professions. No need to ask yourself if what you do matters, when you spend all day helping people in large and small ways.
Then, of course, there’s the pay: all of the occupations in the top 10 – even the lone non-healthcare role – earn more than $60,000 a year, and many command salaries in the six digits, according to data from PayScale’s Career Research Center.
Job Description: Diagnose and treat dental and facial abnormalities, primarily through the use of braces and other appliances.
Median Annual Salary: $153,740
Job Description: Examine teeth and gums, preventing and treating disease and injuries. Instruct patients on preventative dental care.
Median Annual Salary: $123,942
Job Description: Translate the requirements of a business unit or company into technical specifications and processes. Monitor systems for performance and security.
Median Annual Salary: $66,858
Job Description: Administer anesthetics in a medical setting and monitor patients during use.
Median Annual Salary: $133,805
Job Description: Conduct physicals, order tests, and administer treatment under the approval of a physician.
Median Annual Salary: $87,342
Job Description: Often working with physicians, conduct medical examinations and prescribe medication and treatment.
Median Annual Salary: $87,507
Job Description: Diagnose, treat, and manage psychiatric disorders, often with the use of medications.
Median Annual Salary: $183,611
Job Description: Diagnose and treat medical conditions in infants and children, as well as provide routine checkups and medical care.
Median Annual Salary: $140,465
Job Description: Administer local and general anesthetics and monitor patients during procedures.
Median Annual Salary: $275,742
Job Description: Provide routine and critical medical care to women, including during pregnancy and birth.
Median Annual Salary: $202,687
If you can’t see yourself in one of these occupations, or don’t feel like going to school for the next four to eight years to make a change, don’t despair. Your dream job might still pop up somewhere on the full list.
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