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Jobs Rated 2013 Methodology


To quantify the many facets of the 200 jobs included in our report, we determined and reviewed a wide range of critical aspects and categorized them into four "Core Criteria" -- that is, the general categories that are inherent to every job. These are environment, income, outlook and stress.

Each of those core categories includes a range of sub-categories that are related to the core. For instance, this year for the first time physical demand was integrated into the environment scores rather than measured as a separate core (see below for more details).

Much of the data used to evaluate each job comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as well as from a range of other governmental agencies, trade associations and private survey firms.


Jobs Rated calculates the Environment score for each job by measuring two basic factors common to every work environment: the physical and the emotional components.

Points are assigned for every adverse working condition typically encountered, so the greater number of points that a job scores, the worse the rank. Conversely, the fewer points a job gets, the better it ranks. The following categories and points are used to rate the work environment:

Degree of competitiveness0-15
Degree of hazards personally faced0-10
Degree of peril faced by others working alongside0-8
Degree of the public contact0-8



Necessary energy component0-5
Physical demands (crawling, stooping bending, etc.)0-12
Work conditions (toxic fumes, noise, etc.)0-13
Stamina required0-5
Degree of confinement0-5


In order to compute the physical demands of a job, we awarded higher scores to jobs with greater physical demands and lower scores to jobs with lesser demands. We arrived at these scores by compiling data used by the Department of Labor (DOL).

One point was awarded for each physical component of a job. These components include lifting, pulling, pushing, standing, walking, stooping, kneeling, crawling, climbing, crouching or reaching. We also awarded points for hazards faced, exposure to the elements, stamina required and the workplace atmosphere.

One-to-five points were also added for each degree of lifting required based on the five categories previously mentioned, ranging from 10 pound lifting at sedentary jobs to 100 pound lifting for very heavy work. One point was also added for each hour, or fraction thereof, that the average worker puts in on the job.

These determinations were based on U.S. Census data and estimates provided by groups related to the industries being scored. The total points accumulated represent the score used to determine the rankings.




The scores shown in the ranking tables might look like average incomes to those familiar with pay levels in the jobs to which they relate. However, the scores are actually a derivative of mid-level incomes, and not the average income at all. Since all incomes shown in this table are estimates rounded to the nearest $1,000, there would be many ties if the mid-level income was the sole basis of the score. Instead, the income score was computed by adding the estimated mid-level income and the income growth potential.

Below is an explanation of growth potential, and how it is computed in the scoring system:

Growth Potential

An actuary at a starting salary of $54,000 (“beginning income”) could eventually earn $168,000 (the “advanced level”), hence increasing annual income by $114,000, a 211% increase from the beginning income. Income Growth Potential, therefore, is 211%. Adding this (211) to the “mid-level income” of $91,000 nets a score of 91,211.

As you can see, the way this score is expressed very closely resembles an average dollar-denominated income found in an income survey. Therefore, the dollar-sign precedes the score as an accommodation to someone who wishes to get at-a-glance estimates of average incomes.




The ranking system used to evaluate Outlook awards higher scores to jobs with promising futures. Lower scores indicate a poorer outlook. Our ranking system considers three factors for each occupation. These factors and the weights assigned to them in the ranking system are:

1. Employment Growth:

The "mega factor" for outlook as defined here is expected employment growth through the year 2020, as forecasted by the Department of Labor. It is expressed as a percentage increase in jobs in a particular career field during the period, 2010-2020, which is the Department’s latest available estimate. The Jobs Rated ranking system simply uses this figure as a whole number rather than a percent, and adds and subtracts several numbers to it that are derived from other pieces of data; one is a score for the degree of unemployment and the other is the multiple tied to one's ability to increase one’s salary. Below is more information on these additional factors.

2. Income Growth Potential:


This refers to how much a worker can increase his or her income. See the preceding section about income scores and refer to the subsection “Growth Potential” for an explanation as to what this is. This score for Growth potential is then added to the employment growth score.

3. Unemployment:

Unemployment data reflects estimates, mainly from the Department of Labor, for the the latest available measurement period. Below are five ranges of unemployment that were used in the scoring. Because unemployment is obviously a negative attribute, a derivative of the unemployment rate of a particular job is subtracted from the sum of Employment Growth and Income Growth Potential. Below are the unemployment rankings. Listed after each range in parenthesis is the range of numbers that is subtracted from the sum of the Employment Growth and Income Growth Potential, depending on the degree of unemployment within each designation, which is shown at the far left of the table.



The 11 Stress Factors

The amount of stress a worker experiences can be predicted, in part, by looking at the typical demands and crises inherent in his or her job. Our ranking system for stress considers 11 different job demands which can reasonably be expected to evoke stress (see list below). Each demand is assigned a range of points. A high score is awarded if a particular demand is a major part of the job, fewer points are awarded if the demand is a small part of the job, and no points are awarded if that demand is not normally required. For example, "deadlines" was one demand measured. Newspaper reporters, who typically face daily deadlines, received the maximum of 9 points in this category. In contrast, biologists, who seldom face deadlines, received no points. The demands measured and the point ranges assigned to each area are as follows:


Travel, amount of0-10
Growth Potential(income divided by 100)
Working in the public-eye0-5
Physical demands (stoop, climb, etc.)0-14
Environmental conditions0-13
Own life at risk0-8
Hazards encountered0-5
Meeting the public0-8
Life of another at risk0-10


To compute a score for each occupation, points are added together for all 11 categories.

However, note that these scores reflect only a typical stress profile for any given occupation. For any individual worker, stress can vary greatly depending on the particular working conditions, his or her boss and co-workers, mental outlook and a multitude of other factors which play a part in stress.




Overall Rankings refer to the sum of the rankings in each of the above five Core Criteria. However, they are not equally weighted. In the Overall Ranking system, one third of the score is based on Income rank, one third on Outlook rank and one third on “Preferential Factors,” which are the rankings in Environment/Physical Demands and Stress, each one of these being weighted equally, though their sum is weighted as one-third of the Overall score. You can also think of them as “comfort levels” pertaining to the workplace environment, the physical demands and the stress factors that we’ll accept if the money and long-term security is good.

The logic, simply put, is that most of us work mainly to earn a living and the most important criteria are therefore Income and Outlook, the latter being of course related to employment and income security over the long haul. If we can work at a job that has a high income and a good lookout, we will accept lots of things that go with these jobs, e.g. Stress, Physical Demands and the Environment, be it good or bad, in our opinion.

After the weights of these five Core Criteria are adjusted, they are added to derive the Overall Score. Because a high rank in an individual category means it is more desirable than a low rank, this ranking system translates to the lowest score being the most desirable; therefore, the lower the score, the higher the Overall Ranking.

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mcm in one

It doesn't mean the networks aren't facing difficult times. Broadcast networks lose more viewers to cable networks every season. Growing competition from the Internet continues to sting.

Biomedical Engineering

Currently studying to be one. Not many jobs in Canada but lots in the States. California is home to some of the biggest biomedical companies in the world. 

Chiropractic at #11?????? No Way

Chiropractic is not 11.  I am a chiropractor, the market is saturated.  Average earnings are 66k/yr for an education that costs 150k+ and takes 8 years!!!  No way!!!  Biggest mistake of my life. 

Actuary as top Job

I suspect "Actuary" here refers to both those that have and have not qualified. Surely the survey should distiguish between them as they do in other professions.  The student life is hell, with the nightmare exams and work at the same time, and although students get desent pay, its way less than what qualifieds earn.  The experienced qualifieds have a an interesting challening job with out the exam stress and they tend to earn considerably more than the number shown here. 

point system

Meeting the Public is eligible for as many points as Life at Risk? Really? 


if the lower overall scores indicate a better job/higher ranking, why is the Outlook section scored in the opposite direction? - "The ranking system used to evaluate Outlook awards higher scores to jobs with promising futures. Lower scores indicate a poorer outlook."

As an Actuary

Ridiculous choice of Number One!  This survey looks extremely negatively on any physical aspect of work - personally I'd much prefer not to be sitting on my ass all day.  Sure the pay isn't bad (though it's not as good as you're led to believe unless you want to spend every minute of your life thinking about actuarial issues) but important factors aren't considered at all such as stress of deadlines, the responsibility you have, NO FREE TIME due to a ridiculously long exam process...I mean years of extremely difficult exams! Not to mention the fact that the work can be either dull, or incredibly confusing or difficult!(the odd day it's sorta interesting)  Fair enough there are plenty of jobs out there and if you want to devote all your time to it you can climb the ladder and earn the big bucks pretty quickly. Just don't expect to have a half decent social life too.  In case you're wondering why I'm so bitter...i've spent the entire day studying....I used to be a really fun, happy go lucky person!  Positive "Actuary as top job" guy above....i struggle to see how you've done all the things you say on business?!

Actuarial Exams are worth it

I expect most of the negative comments about actuaries are from people who don't even know an actuary.  Yours are different because you are early in your career and trying to get your designation.  As a 30+ year veteran of the profession I will tell you that it is definitely worth it so keep going.  I have had a fabulous career and it is more than just financially satisfying.  Management of risk is important for society. And the days of the "back room" actuary are gone.  I work with CEOs, I travel regularly and interact with really smart and interesting people. Keep going.  The exams end eventually.

The job market for entry

The job market for entry level actuaries is horrible. It is impossible to find a job even if you have a 4.0 gpa, done all preliminary exams and have amazing communication skills. Lots of actuarial students are switching away from this career.



Actuarial Exams are worth it

I expect most of the negative comments about actuaries are from people who don't even know an actuary.  Yours are different because you are early in your career and trying to get your designation.  As a 30+ year veteran of the profession I will tell you that it is definitely worth it so keep going.  I have had a fabulous career and it is more than just financially satisfying.  Management of risk is important for society. Ame the days of the "back room" actuary are gone.  I work with CEOs, I travel regularly and interact with really smart and interesting people. Keep going.  The exams end eventually.


Painter is as stressfull as a correctional officer, something wrong with methodology.

What a joke

I've been forwarded this a few times by his morning by people who think the list is funny. As an optometrist, I can tell you that the profession should be nowhere near the top 10. 

Part-Time Faculty Have the Worst Job in America

Next year's listing should include part-time faculty.  Around 70% of all faculty in the United States are contingent, meaning that they are hired term-to-term--often on a part-time basis.  These positions generally pay a poverty wage (around $20,000 per year for a FT equivalent position), and they lack health benefits.  There is generally no job security, access to profesisonal development or advancement, or other benefits generally found in a professional work environment. 


Well that makes no sense. If its a part-time job, why would you expect benefits? No other part-time job has benefits, so I don't see how a part-time teaching job automatically gets a ding because of no benefits.

Part-time job benefits

Actually, UPS and Starbucks both offer great benefits to their part-time employees. Granted, at UPS you have to work for a year before those benefits kick in, but once you have them, they're golden. And yes, some part-time jobs in professional environments (such as universities and teaching institutions) will offer benefits as well. Although rare in part-time work, benefits are not unheard of.

Emotional Rewards

I would imagine if excitement or pride were factored into compensation, many of these jobs would shift.  Who wants to be an actuary when they grow up?

Actuary as top Job

Yes, let's talk about excitement.  I have been an actuary for for 36 years.  In that time I have been to Europe, Mexico, Canada, Australia and lord knows where multiple times.  I have toured the sets of Time Warner, wandered through Jerusalem, snorkeled in Bermuda, had lunch in London and dinner in Paris, climbed the Swiss Alp, bought a Maton guitar in New Zealand and done a host of things that I never would have dreamed, all on business.  I have worked with many of the largest companies in the world and met numerous people from all over the world.  Yep, boring.

Holy crap!   I was a navy

Holy crap!   I was a navy fighter pilot and never got to do anything like that! 

Actuary as top job

There is a big difference between what one does on the job vs. what one does after hours.

I question the validity of

I question the validity of your methodology, which is arbitrary and far too subjective. 

Maybe an actuary could devise

Maybe an actuary could devise a better scoring system :-)

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