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Jobs Rated Report 2015: Ranking The Top 200 Jobs

By Tony Lee

It's been more than 20 years since I first started working on the Jobs Rated Almanac, and we've produced many Jobs Rated reports since then. Over that time, the question I'm asked most often by readers and the media is: What motivates us to tackle this immense project every year? It's obviously a lot of work to compile the massive amount of data needed for each new report, not to mention the interviews and anecdotes we collect and include. Yet the answer for me is easy, thanks to the wonderful feedback we receive each year: to help high school and middle school kids turn their career dreams into the most realistic path possible, and to help those in a mid-career transition make a smart choice about their future.

After each report is published, many of the comments we receive are from teachers, typically those who work with students ranging from 7th graders to high school seniors. Their feedback and questions cover a gamut of topics, but inevitably focus on how our reports help them assist their students by viewing career options in a new way.

Prior to 7th grade, when you ask a student what they want to do when they grow up, teachers say the answer typically falls into one of two buckets:

  1. they want to do what their Mom or Dad (or Uncle or Aunt or sibling) does; or
  2. they want a career they view as glamorous (and probably unattainable), such as becoming a professional actor, dancer, athlete or astronaut.

To be sure, there's nothing wrong with having big career goals, and the truly gifted may attain them. But for everyone else, teachers say it's very helpful to have a guide that gives their students the ability to evaluate which careers may suit their skills and interests best, both after graduation and for years to come. That's where our Jobs Rated Reports seem to strike a chord.

For the 9th grader who loves crunching numbers to win his fantasy baseball league, learning about the career path of an actuary or data scientist may spark a career interest that simply didn't exist before. For the 10th grader who excels at solving number puzzles and equations, she likely has the skill set needed to thrive as a computer programmer or analyst. And for those students who have great empathy and a willingness to help others before themselves, careers in teaching, counseling and medicine, among many others, suddenly seem appealing.

In each case, our reports reflect very bright futures for these professions. That's the information many teachers leverage in their classrooms to prompt students to think realistically about which careers they might be good at. It doesn't hurt that the careers at the top of our rankings also will reward them with years of hiring and salary growth, often in a less stressful, more rewarding work environment.

"It's great to show my students how the skills they enjoy using can relate to real-life careers, and what those careers might be like for them in 10 or 20 years," says Beth, a 9th-grade teacher in central New Jersey. "What's most interesting is that my kids often change their minds about the jobs they think they'll like after just a few minutes of investigation. And for others, the rankings confirm for them that they know exactly what they want to do now and forever."

Beth gives the example of one student who she says was determined to become a firefighter, even though no one in his family has ever worked in that profession.

"I gave him the Jobs Rated report showing that firefighter is one of lowest-ranked jobs due to high stress, low pay and long hours. He said that none of that matters, and that the report only motivates him more because he knows how important firefighters are to their communities, and that he better follow that path since others may not due to the report's negative findings. Now that's dedication!"

We've also hear each year from a range of other readers who have used our findings to help direct them into a new path at mid-career. I'll never forget the military soldier who studied to become a financial planner after leaving the service because, he said, it seemed like a great match for his skills after he saw the job ranked highly in our report.

Making a career change in mid-life is never an easy task, especially if the change is being forced by a layoff or another economic necessity. But by identifying your skills that are most transferable, you can target new industries that will value both your skills and your experience and will allow you to tap into them in new ways.

This Jobs Rated Almanac, and the many related reports we issue through the year on, are designed to help you find your best career path. I hope it helps you achieve your goals. And please don't forget to send me your feedback and success stories so that we can share it with other readers.

GET THAT JOB NOW! The new Jobs Rated Almanac, now in its 27th year, rates 200 jobs from best to worst. Now that you  know them, the Almanac will help you GET one. Click here for more.

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

  • Overall Score: 80.00
  • Income: $94,209.00

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

  • Overall Score: 88.00
  • Income: $71,133.00

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

  • Overall Score: 92.00
  • Income: $102,182.00

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

  • Overall Score: 96.00
  • Income: $79,191.00

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Analyzes and design solutions to problems in biology and medicine, with the goal of improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care.

  • Overall Score: 117.00
  • Income: $89,165.00

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Combines information technology, statistical analysis and other disciplines to interpret trends from data.

  • Overall Score: 121.00
  • Income: $124,149.00

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Cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. A dental hygienist also educates patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.

  • Overall Score: 125.00
  • Income: $71,102.00

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

  • Overall Score: 129.00
  • Income: $93,113.00

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

  • Overall Score: 134.00
  • Income: $77,114.00

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Develops computer systems for businesses and scientific institutions.

  • Overall Score: 135.00
  • Income: $81,150.00

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Assesses hearing, speech, and language disabilities and provides treatment. Assists individuals with communication disorders through diagnostic techniques.

  • Overall Score: 152.00
  • Income: $71,144.00

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Assesses patients' dietary needs, plans menus, and instructs patients and their families about proper nutritional care.

  • Overall Score: 157.00
  • Income: $56,132.00

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Responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks.

  • Overall Score: 164.00
  • Income: $74,160.00

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Plans, directs, and/or coordinates all human resource activities and staff of an organization.

  • Overall Score: 173.00
  • Income: $101,200.00

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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: 183.00
  • Income: $93,216.00

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Diagnoses visual disorders and prescribes and administers corrective and rehabilitative treatments.

  • Overall Score: 185.00
  • Income: $101,256.00

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Plans and directs treatment to improve mobility and alleviate pain in persons disabled by injury or disease.

  • Overall Score: 195.00
  • Income: $81,102.00

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

  • Overall Score: 204.00
  • Income: $87,165.00

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Plans drilling locations and effective production methods for optimal access to oil and natural gas.

  • Overall Score: 207.00
  • Income: $132,258.00

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Maintains complete, accurate, and up-to-date medical records for use in treatment, billing, and statistical surveys.

  • Overall Score: 207.00
  • Income: $35,148.00

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Join the Discussion

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Can you explain the numbers in relationship to the bars for the work envirmonent, stress, and hiring outlook.  What do the number represent?  What are they out of?


So an actuary earns less than a mathematician, a data scientist and the HR manager? WTF? Only in the USA I guess

The ranking of Dietitian as

The ranking of Dietitian as #12 is flat-out wrong.It is fast becoming a requirement to have a Master's Degree to become a Registered Dietitian. And then, you have both the Registry exam, and the state licensure to pass as well. Meanwhile, anyone, including obese rhinos like Dr. Phil believe themselves to be knowledgeable about nutrition, without having studied much more than the menu at Wendy's. Or pseudo-nutritionists/quacks like The Food Babe and Dr. Oz who peddle pseudo-science, or form opinions about nutrition that are baseless, at best.

And, the underinformed public eats it up, because Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz are on TV, and The Food Babe is pretty. At the same time, the credentialling body for Dietitians, the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics does little more than to whore out the professional repute of Registered Dietitians by partnering with Big Food companies like McDonalds and Kraft.

Meanwhile, there is scant opportunity for advancement in health care for anyone other than a nurse or an MBA with a health care concentration. Given the relatively HIGH barrier to entry, the poor wages [relative to the educational requirement], the lack of advancement opportunities, and the lack of support from the credentialling body, one wonders if this list was compiled by throwing darts or using tea leaves.

Seriously? #12? Go ask a Registered Dietitian when they'll pay off their student loans for their BS and MS degrees, while they're making a measly $56K. The overarching majority of the other jobs above and below make more money, with a lower educational requirement, and more opportunities for advancement.

What's the actual difference

What's the actual difference between a dental hygienist (position 7) and a dentist (position 59)?

For those who didn't get a

For those who didn't get a higher education, Chicago trade union wages match or beat most of these. Thank you Local 21! Google Cook County 2015 prevailing wages if you're interested in commercial construction and find an apprenticeship program. It's tough work, but it's easily middle class.

Chemical engineering is not

Chemical engineering is not even in the top 200?!

I teach 8th graders in

I teach 8th graders in Michigan and this report is terrific. I plan to build out several lesson plans using this data to talk about matching skills and interests with career paths for my kids. Very helpful.

Interpreting Data

Hi there, I would love to use this for my students, but I'm a little unclear on the data and what it means.Does a higher score in work environment, stress, and hiring outlook indicate positive or negative feedback?  Is a higher overall score bad or good?


Higher scores in work environment and stress indicate negative feedback. Lower scores for hiring outlook reflect negative feedback, but are scored inversely. 

Here is our methodology page, which details more thoroughly.

- Team CareerCast

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