A new list from U.S. News & World Report offers a comprehensive look at the best jobs of the year.
The top 15 occupations are heavily devoted to tech and health care, which shouldn’t be too surprising. As the Boomer generation ages, we continue to see an ever-growing need for health professionals. Meanwhile, the tech boom requires a steady supply of skilled employees who can code websites, analyse data, and keep information secure from hackers and malware.
In 2014, the top-ranked job is software developer, which jumped seven spots from last year’s list. It also marks the first time that the best job on U.S. News’ annual list is not in the health-care sector. Software developer tops the list thanks to great job prospects, faster than average growth, low unemployment, and high earnings.
To come up with its ranking, U.S. News & World Report crunched data on projected job growth, median salary, future job prospects, and overall job satisfaction. The final list is a great place to start for anyone looking for a position or contemplating a career change.
Median salary in 2012: $60,300
Education requirements: A Bachelor's degree; a maths background can be advantageous
Why it made the list: Market research analysts are in high demand because they can determine which products people want to buy, which is valuable across a wide range of industries. The BLS expects a 31.6% increase in employment for the occupation by 2022, with 131,500 new openings.
Median salary in 2012: $75,400
Education requirements: A Master's degree or higher in occupational therapy, preferably from an accredited program, and certification through a nation exam
Why it made the list: Occupational therapists work in rehabilitation centres, hospitals, schools, medical offices, and patients' homes. The number of jobs in the field is expected to grow alongside America's swelling elderly population, with 32,800 new positions created by 2022.
Median salary in 2012: $90,930
Education requirements: A two-year Master's degree from an accredited program, hundreds of hours of training, and a licence to practice
Why it made the list: Physician's assistants work under doctors to interpret test results, conduct physical exams, and treat a variety of illnesses. Their ranks are expected to grow 38.4% with 33,300 new jobs added by 2022.
Median salary in 2012: $86,170
Education requirements: A Bachelor's degree in computer science, programming, or engineering, or a Master's in business administration
Why it made the list: An increasing number of data breaches means a need for more information security. These analysts are charged with protecting their employer's computer systems and solving problems as they occur. The BLS projects a growth rate of 36.5% between 2012 and 2022, for 27,400 jobs added.
Median salary in 2012: $70,210
Education requirements: An Associate's degree in dental hygiene, followed by on-the-job training and a licence to practice
Why it made the list: As part of preventative dental care, hygienists are in constant demand. Their employment is expected to jump by 33.3% between 2012 and 2022, far above the growth rate for the average job.
Median salary in 2012: $62,500
Education requirements: A Bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, such as computer science, or another degree supplemented by practical experience
Why it made the list: Web developers design, code, and streamline the web pages you see online every day -- so it's no wonder that they're a much needed position. The BLS predicts 28,500 jobs will be added between 2012 and 2022.
Median salary in 2012: $79,860
Education requirements: A Master's degree or doctor of physical therapy degree, and a state licence to practice
Why it made the list: The ageing Baby Boomer population has generated more demand for physical therapists, who often help with rehabilitative programs or clinics. The BLS excepts 73,500 jobs to be added by 2022, or an increase of 36%.
Median salary in 2012: $116,670
Education requirements: A four-year professional degree (Pharm.D.) and licence
Why it made the list: Medical knowledge is always valuable, and pharmacists work in a high-demand and well-paid occupation. The field is projected to add 41,400 new jobs by 2022.
Median salary in 2012: $89,960
Education requirements: A graduate degree in nursing and clinical experience, in addition to general certification as a registered nurse
Why it made the list: Nurse practitioners require a higher degree of qualification than registered nurses. They are allowed to take patient histories, write prescriptions, and order and analyse labs, among other things. More than 37,000 new positions are expected to crop up by 2022.
Median salary in 2012: $104,240
Education requirements: A degree from a dental school, completion of a residency program, and a state-specific licence to practice
Why it made the list: Dentistry offers plenty of specialties and above-average flexibility, along with a comfortable salary. The BLS predicts more than 23,000 new dentist jobs will be created by 2022.
Median salary in 2012: $79,680
Education requirements: Bachelor's degree in a relevant field (i.e. computer science), and a Master's for more advanced positions
Why it made the list: This job offers above-average flexibility and is expected to see 24.5% growth between 2012 and 2022, adding an estimated 127,700 new jobs.
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