Find Jobs

Jobs Rated 2011: Ranking 200 Jobs From Best to Worst

jobs rated 2011 - ranking 200 jobs from best to worst By Andrew Strieber

This is our 2011 Job Rankings report.
See our 200 Jobs Rated Report for 2012


When searching for a new job, how do you decide which opportunities are worth the time it takes to complete an application? Do you only apply to jobs within a certain salary range, with a certain number of hours per week or with responsibilities you know you can handle easily? Or do you apply for every opening that seems to match your skill set? Perhaps you search for positions that "sound cool" or "feel right" or are in industries that get a lot of positive coverage in the media?

Using any of these criteria to search for a job can lead to disaster in today's employment market. Jobs that promise a 40-hour week often require 60 or more, and positions that advertise a six-figure salary may achieve that level only if unreachable conditions are met. Company recruiters say it’s a buyer’s market, and they treat desperate job seekers accordingly. After all, even if your supposed dream job turns out to be more of a nightmare, there's no shortage of job seekers who would be happy to take your place.

While the "buyer beware" atmosphere of the current job market can be challenging, you do have ways to protect yourself. Want to know if a job's work environment, hours per week and salary are really as advertised? Or whether that supposedly "hot" field actually has any available job openings? The 2011 Jobs Rated report examines 200 jobs to help you look beyond hype and uncover the facts about different professions – everything from typical salaries to average worker stress.

Each year Jobs Rated researchers survey 200 jobs – from Accountant to Zoologist – scoring them according to five key criteria: Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Outlook and Stress. Some factors remain relatively constant from year to year, but others fluctuate greatly due to changes in the job market, technological innovations or current events. Using data from government sources, trade groups and private organizations, every job receives a score and rank in each category, and these ratings are then combined to form a complete ranking of 200 jobs for 2011, from best to worst.

For more information on how we rank all 200 jobs, see our 2011 Jobs Rated Methodology

In 2011, thanks to the popularity of smartphone applications and "cloud" based software, technical positions involving computers have risen to the top of the rankings. Indeed, Software Engineer, Computer Systems Analyst, Technical Writer and Computer Programmer all rank within the top 30 this year, although the Outlook for Computer Programmer is considerably worse due to outsourcing. That said, you don’t need to go back to school for a computer science degree just yet – jobs that rank in the top 50 for 2011 cover a wide variety of disciplines, from medicine and engineering to law and the arts.

Not sure whether that opening you find online would be a great opportunity or a career killer? Check out the Top 200 Jobs of 2011 and their scores in each major category to see which professions truly live up to the hype – and which you’d be better off avoiding:

Researches, designs, develops and maintains software systems along with hardware development for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes.

  • Overall Score: 60.00
  • Income: $87,140.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Applies mathematical theories and formulas to teach or solve problems in a business, educational, or industrial climate.

  • Overall Score: 73.00
  • Income: $94,178.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Interprets statistics to determine probabilities of accidents, sickness, and death, and loss of property from theft and natural disasters.

  • Overall Score: 123.00
  • Income: $87,204.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Tabulates, analyzes, and interprets the numeric results of experiments and surveys.

  • Overall Score: 129.00
  • Income: $73,208.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Plans and develops computer systems for businesses and scientific institutions.

  • Overall Score: 147.00
  • Income: $77,153.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Studies the physical characteristics, motions and processes of the earth's atmosphere.

  • Overall Score: 175.00
  • Income: $85,210.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Studies the relationship of plants and animals to their environment.

  • Overall Score: 182.00
  • Income: $74,278.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Analyzes and records historical information from a specific era or according to a particular area of expertise.

  • Overall Score: 192.00
  • Income: $63,208.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Diagnoses and treats hearing problems by attempting to discover the range, nature, and degree of hearing function.

  • Overall Score: 195.00
  • Income: $63,144.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Assists dentists in diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of a group or private dental practice.

  • Overall Score: 197.00
  • Income: $67,107.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Studies human behavior by examining the interaction of social groups and institutions.

  • Overall Score: 200.00
  • Income: $70,122.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Prepares and analyzes financial reports to assist managers in business, industry and government.

  • Overall Score: 216.00
  • Income: $60,174.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Assists attorneys in preparation of legal documents; collection of depositions and affidavits; and investigation, research and analysis of legal issues.

  • Overall Score: 217.00
  • Income: $47,153.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Researches and develops theories concerning the physical forces of nature.

  • Overall Score: 217.00
  • Income: $106,196.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Related to careers in portfolio management, the financial planner offers a broad range of services aimed at assisting individuals in managing and planning their financial future.

  • Overall Score: 223.00
  • Income: $101,164.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Studies questions concerning the nature of intellectual concepts, and attempts to construct rational theories concerning our understanding of the world around us.

  • Overall Score: 225.00
  • Income: $61,221.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Develops individualized programs of activity for mentally, physically, developmentally and emotionally impaired persons, to aid them in achieving self-reliance.

  • Overall Score: 230.00
  • Income: $70,193.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Monitors, counsels, and reports on the progress of individuals who have been released from correctional institutions to serve parole.

  • Overall Score: 236.00
  • Income: $47,155.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Designs, develops, and tests new technologies concerned with the manufacture of commercial and military aircraft and spacecraft.

  • Overall Score: 240.00
  • Income: $95,130.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Studies and analyzes the effects of resources such as land, labor, and raw materials, on costs and their relation to industry and government.

  • Overall Score: 247.00
  • Income: $87,240.00

  • Work Environment:
  • Stress:
  • Hiring Outlook:

Of course, just because these jobs all score highly in the five Jobs Rated measurement criteria doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone. Some workers might find that their "dream job" actually ranks much further down the list – the old saying "one man’s trash is another man’s treasure" is especially true when it comes to employment. If you want a well-paid job with a great outlook and don’t mind intense stress and physical demands, for example, a career as a Surgeon might be perfect for you. But because of its stress and work environment negatives, the job ranks 100th for 2011, behind careers that pay less and are arguably less prestigious. On the other hand, a person who can’t handle a high-stress environment might be better off with a job like Jeweler, which boasts a serene working environment, but suffers from a poor hiring outlook.

Continue to the next page to see Jobs 21 - 40

What course of action one

What course of action one should take to be a Sociologist ? degrees ect...ect..

Groery warehouseman

Granted I get to go home at night sometimes mornings, but I think working in a grocery warehouse has got tobe high on the undesirable list for a job. I feel that the crab fisherman of Alaska have it bad if not worse but then it is fora short season.
Try going to work 5 days a week and having to work till the work is done for that day 10 12 14 hours or more depending on the cases ordered. We have our tuggers and go to a window where a clerk hands you a trip to run through the warehouse selecting cases for a grocery store all timed for the certain run one makes. Stacking cases on 2 pallets behind you as high as you can reach. Some runs are heavy cases like water, and bleach, and others are 200 cases of foods all timed as not to waste ones day in the warehouse. Hate going to the window and getting big trips over and over, 40,000 pounds twice or more a night.Hot, dusty, just a number to the company and never knowing when you are going home. Go to supervalue warehousesor safeway groceries. I wasa at an independent for 25 years and in that time we had 500 employees and only 3 to 5 out of 100 would make the cut or have the desire to work in those conditions. And being a union shop didn't make it no cake walk either not like those car workers.

Real Estate Agent

I'm a freshman in high school and I really need to start prepping myself for the college world and soon after that the business world. I need to know whether or not a job in real estate would be possible. I need to know some statistics about it. Please help!!!


I hate math, i would not be the greatest,but i would still make 87k.


math is my all time fave and stongest subject. Im planing on owning my own engineering company. im a girl and look forward to changeing the world.

Future historian girl

OMG! I still get surprised how people simply don't understand the importance of professionals of "human" sciences... I'm Brazilian and I'm applying to Universities here this year; it's very sad to see it's a global issue...

Biologist is much more

The description of the biologist work is totally incomplete! Biologists study the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, behavior, etc. of microorganisms, fungus, plants, animals and men, including the relationships between themselves and between them and the environment. Biologists study microbiology, for example, including virology, all human diseases related and how prevent and/or cure or treat them. Biologists work with clinical analysis and develop researchs for new medicines. Biologists created and work with biotechnology and genetic engineering. Biologists study the environments, prevent pollution and disasters, and develop solutions. Biologists work with extinct life, including fossiles, as paleontologists. Biologists work with a lot of areas and things beyond the poor description we read in this Job Ranking...

not the best jobs by far

How about professional sports? Puhols is making 1/4 billion in the next 10 years to play baseball. Thats a great job! Look at how many professional sports are out there. If you entertain, it pays. Bullriding is big money. Any sport that you can do that draws fans and sponsors. You can even make one up like Tony Hawk and skateboarding and get rich, etc.


doing sports is not a job =)


yeah and there's only one pujols. The chances are slim that any kid will make it big in professional sports.

Can someone put all the ratings on one page?


THESE are THE BEST Jobs in Reality People!

Nowhere in any of these articles do I see THE Real BEST Jobs = which are of course THE GOVERNMENT JOBS!

All these cushy little Government parasites which are just multiplying and multiplying...= Those are THE BEST and The Least stressful Jobs!
Have you Ever encountered a Government = ANY GOVERNMENT parasite working hard? And just think about their other perks, pensions and benefits!

Cushy Government Jobs

Why don,t you try working in a Federal Prison, or another branch of Law Enforcement. Think we sit in a cushy office, how about Riots, Disturbances, Food Strikes, Responding to beatdowns from inmate to inmate, how about responding to fellow staff being assualted by inmates, or having feces and urine thrown on you, working 12 hour shifts during Hurricanes or other inclimate weather. We do this as a mission for our country, and men,women,and children who live here. Grow up find out what the real world is all about.


I'm pretty sure my job of fitness instructor could rank in the top 5.. if only we would get paid normally ^_^

Local TV Meteorologist

Local TV Meteorologist paid so much for being so wrong.

I watch the satellite photos on TV and get it right most of the time while the local TV Meteorologist talk about "Models" that is a Software program that is doing their job and with all that knowledge, they still get it wrong.

Can I get a mathematician job?

For the mathematician chalkboard pic, the equation on the left looks okay but on the right, isn't (2x-2)(x+1) = 2x^2 +4x + 2 and not 2x^2 +5x +2 ? Maybe nobody cares, but I'll take that job for that kind of money.

The answer.

Actually (2x-2)(x+1) = 2(x^2) - 2. But a Mathematician position does seem appealing.

Dental Hygienist of 20 Years

The 33% hiring may have been accurate 6 or 7 years ago, however the market has changed all over the country for RDHs.

1. First of all I have never made that salary and live in one of the highest paying areas.
2. Most dental offices are small businesses and do not want to hire full-time or pay ANY benefits, vacation, sick days, pension, health insurance, holiday pay.
3. 99% of us are part-time with no benefits.
4. Dental offices can barely offer you a 30 hour work week, since most dentists only want to work 4 days.
5. If you can get 30 hours in you are lucky since they send employees home early or you are told to come in late if patients cancel.
6. If the doctor decides to take vacation or a day off, you do not work nor are you paid. This happens a lot.
7. Turning to temp agencies used to be the answer for Dr.'s vacation times, but there is no temp work out there either anymore due to the economy.
8. What used to be an "in demand" profession..... has gone out the window. Too many schools opened graduating more and more RDHs. The dentists want to hire young to get them cheaper. Even if it means saving $2.00 an hour, they will hire young hygienists.
9. They wont even respond to a resume if they see experience or give you the chance to say you'll work for less.
10. From what I hear, nurses are having the same problem.
11. Stress level is high since dentistry in itself is a stressful profession, and has one of the highest drug, alcohol and suicide rate of all professions.
12. Most of us with over 10 years experience have back, neck, and hand problems. Many have no choice but to retire young or go teach.
13. It's basically the PITS when it comes to calling dental hygiene, dental assisting (or any dental position) a REAL JOB.

Hygenist should be able to run their own offices

Yes, why can't a hygenist clean your teeth, check you for cavities and "recommend" that you see a dentist if they think you have a cavity issue? I would go for cleanings, especially if it saved money. Why pay overhead to the dentist? And charge a lot less and work their own hours? I say stick it to those greedy dentists. Change the laws so hygenists can work on their own.

"Your Own Office?"

It sounds as if you have had your fair share of bad bosses, or you are not being compensated because of your poor abilities as a Hygenist and co-worker.
You obviously have absolutely no clue as to the overhead that it takes to run a Dental office.
All of the Dentists that I know have full time hygienists. They ALL give generous benefits which include Medical ins., Holiday and vacation pay, retirement in 401K or IRA benefits, free continuing Ed benefits, uniform expenses,and almost free dental care in house. Dentists usually have a 4 day work week, but they work an average of 9-10hrs per day. The hygiene staff, works a minimum average of 32hrs/week in a 4 day week. This is by LAW considered full time. Every full time hygienist makes a minimum of $41/hour in our area. This is the average hourly rate in our state(MASS)
As many dental practices have more than one Dentist, the practices are usually open 5-6 days per week . That gives the Dental hygienist the oppurtunity to work 5 days a week and easily boost her/his income to $80K.
Don't be angry at those so called "greedy " dentists that you think are around, but take a good close look at yourself and make some changes so that you will be hired full time. Also, have the intestinal fortitude to sign your name.
Peter S. Kulka, D.D.S.
Mass Dentist for 30 years.

Well said, sir, well said!

Well said, sir, well said!

Philosophise this

If a philosopher falls behind on his bills, will it make a difference?

Just because you have a piece of paper decreeing to everyone you can think, doesn't mean that your thoughts are worth anything. Might as well be a garbage man if you default on your bills. Difference being: garbage men are necessary in today's society, and much more likely to pay the life tolls.....

Garbage collector

Shame on you for putting down garbagemen...they are some of the hardest working folks around and I've never met one that wasn't quite intellegent. My guess is this is a job that some men pick because they can stay in shape and work outside. Choosing to do that doesn't mean you are lacking in brain power. What makes you think that garbage men don't pay their bills...or in fact have another job as well...I personally know one who makes good money and is a fabulous artist on his down time. I would call that very smart...He will always have a "day job" and is not afraid to bust his butt to pursue his art.

These are ridiculous.

These ratings are hilarious. Sociologist? Philosopher? Um, do you know how few people can get jobs in these fields?




I once heard Kathie Lee Gifford say the advice her father gave her: "figure out what your PASSION is, then find a way to make a living at it." If you are doing what you LOVE, that "job" is ranked NUMBER ONE to you - no matter where it is ranked on this list. =)

I agree, but

I did my first career change because while I was good at what I did, it wasn't my passion. So I followed my passion, but now I'm to the point of what is something I can make a living at that can't be outsourced. At the end of the day, I need to make sure I'm working so I can support my daughter.


Now that is a job we can outsource, I mean how many full time Philosophers are there maybe six. Can't use one if your roof leaks, car needs repair, plumbing backs up...And we all have enough people telling us how to live already. If I ever finish college I think I will major in something more useful, like medieval folk dancing.



Philosophy is a personal activity

Philosophy is a personal activity that benefits from training and experience. Training in logic and critical thinking to avoid fallacies and to compose correct arguments is supplemented and enhanced with experience reading, discussing, and participating in decision-making about moral concerns and the ethical standards by which they are decided. As eating and sleeping, individuals must do their own thinking, preferably logically, and make their own moral decisions, preferably ethically. Studying philosophy assists doing these tasks competently, and evaluating others' results doing similar tasks. Disparaging others who choose education to enhance their philosophical abilities, and to be useful to others directly or indirectly as a result, is clearly counterproductive. One's efforts are better spent learning the details and depths of logic and ethics to not further embarrass oneself propagating personal ignorance.

Bill Clinton was a Philosophy

Bill Clinton was a Philosophy major.


I met a guy with a BA in Philosophy with an emphasis in logic - He writes software that NASA uses to study the moon.

used my Philosophy degree in sales

Funny that people missed the natural connection with philosophy and sales. I have slaughtered my fellow sales staff in the monthly budgets because I can rationally reason and debug buyers. Bank on it.

air traffic control

the best career ever, the best work ever, the best pay ever...check it out


So software engineer is a low stress job with almost no physical demands? I'll remember that next time I pull a buddy out from sleeping under his desk in the middle of a scrum.


I'm looking for a job...
I'm graduated in Computer Science and I'd like be a java programmer.



Java jobs

Have you checked out the Java programmer openings on our site?;cat...

Or browse all the IT positions:

Andrew S

Philosophy in this century?

Let me see if anybody important majored/studied philosophy extensively and did something useful. Here is a partial list of people:

William Bennett--former Secretary of Education and Head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, US
Patrick Buchanan--former Presidential Candidate and Political Columnist
Angela Davis--Social Activist and Political Philosopher
Jules Debray--Writer and Government Official, France
Rahm Emanuel--Clinton White House Political Advisor
Thomas Jefferson--U.S. President
Vaclav Havel--former President of Czeckoslovakia
Aung San Suu Kyi--Human Rights Activist, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Robert MacNamara--Secretary of Defense and Head of the World Bank
John Silber--former Candidate for Governor of Massachusetts and President Boston Univ. David Souter--US Supreme Court Justice
Stephen Bryer--US Supreme Court Justice


Mark Hulbert--financial columnist FORBES magazine
Carl Icahn--CEO, TWA Airlines
Gerald Levin--CEO, Time-Warner, Inc.
George Soros--Financier & Money Manager
Moses Znaimer--Owner of CITY-TV and MUCH-MUSIC, Toronto

CANADIAN and other additions to the list

Beverly McLachlin (Canadian Chief Justice)
Ed Broadbent (leader of Canada's federal NDP 1970's and 1980's, Ph.D in Philosophy
Pierre Trudeau (Former Canadian Prime Minister)
John Roberts (former Canadian liberal cabinet minister)
Adam Zimmerman (retired CEO of Noranda Inc; one of Canada's largest Mining companies)


This is a "Best Jobs" list not a "Best College Degree" list. Your reply is irrelevant, however interesting it may be. Also, you might have wanted to specify "the 20th century +" rather than this century.

Philosophers Can give something back

The age old question is "what is the purpose of philosophy in our current 21st century world?"

what is the purpose of philosophy

Q:The age old question is "what is the purpose of philosophy in our current 21st century world?"
A:To understand the mistake in logic, syntax, and meaning in "The age old question is "what is the purpose of philosophy in our current 21st century world?"", because the 21st century has only spanned 10 years, and so what do you mean then by "current" 21st century world, as opposed to what? The "old" 21st century world of 9 years ago? And so how long is this "age" you're referring to then, and what makes it old?
You're kidding, right?
Maybe the answer is not to ask questions like that, but in jest.

The 21 century enlightenment!

We need them to help understand the next enlightenment of our world culture. The industrial age is ending, technology is getting better at automating and I think the current money-market based economy is going become obsolete and we are going to move to a resourced based economy. We will have a 21 century enlightenment. The last one occurred only 200 years ago. It will occur again. Therefore we need philosophers

Go ahead and get that degree

You all can try to defend your philosphy and some of these other career choices and I will be glad to get my fries from you next time I go thought the drive thru. As a recruiter some of the things that really should have been on here are things like RN, Nurses Aid ect. Some of the salaries are way off on here too. I guess political correctness has even seeped into job boards

Learn about how statistics work...

Just a heads up, these first 10 are only the top 10 out of 200 for a reason, and if you know how to read statistics instead of just looking and making uneducated assumptions you'd realize that to get in the top 10 it has more to do with than whatever you thought would make an RN or Nurse Aide be in the top 10. The top ten here specifically has to do with five criteria: Pay, outlook, work environment, stress, and physical demands. That said, it makes PERFECT sense why an RN or CNA (nursing aide) is not listed in the not ten! I just became a CNA so that I can work for the next year before I apply to a masters in nursing entry level program, and through my training I learned one main thing: CNA's are not paid anything for the work they do, it's extremely stressful and physically demanding and by these statistical standards there is no way ever it would be a top ten job: the pay sucks, the outlook is just OK, the work environment is often difficult, very high stress, and physically demanding always. And lastly, as far as the salaries being "politically correct", these statistics are a median which means it is the middle salary if you were to line up ALL of the salaries for that job i the United States and pick out the middle quantity salary, it's not some political crap it's actually a mathematical thing statisticians do and when you consider all of the salaries across the United States you get a very different number since some states have nursing making more like 50,000 whereas others like here in Southern California make an average of more like 65,000 or higher...again these are Averages, which would be a true mean (add them all up and divide by how many there are). Many make less but because many make more, the averages are that much. Every state is different, especially when places like Southern California has some of the most expensive living in all of the U.S. the payscale is higher to compensate. Hope that helps a little!

Thank You!!!!


talk to a nurse

And you will see the reason that they're not high up on this list. I've been married to one for 10 years and whenever a young family member or friend asks him about becoming a nurse, he urges them to get a degree in something else. Nurses get paid well, but maybe not well enough relative to the level of stress, work environment, physical demands etc. Essentially a Nurse has all the stress and demands of a Doctor sans the medical degree, and make on average 1/5 what a doctor makes. No wonder it doesn't make the list based on THESE qualifications.

I have been a Nurse for 22

I have been a Nurse for 22 years and I agree 100% with the above statements. I even tell my kids to stay away from Nursing. High Stress, Little free time, and poor compensation = Midlife Career Change for Me! :)

Did you not see that the

Did you not see that the average salary for a philosopher is over 60 grand? Maybe you can think about that the next time you "go thought the drive thru."

so true!

so true!

Our Partner Sites:
Job Seekers: