The 10 Best Jobs of 2009

The 10 Best Jobs of 2009

By: Tony Lee

This is our 2009 10 Best Jobs report. See the 10 Best Jobs of 2010

Remember that kid in elementary school who always had a pencil and calculator nearby, and while the rest of us drew pictures, read comic books or played cards, that kid was happily crunching numbers – for fun. Fast forward 20 years or so, and it turns out that kid probably has one of best careers around today, according to an exclusive new study of the nation's best and worst jobs.

Compiling research on 200 different positions, this year's report ranks mathematician as the country's best job, followed by actuary and statistician – three jobs for which a calculator and solitude are prerequisites. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Monty Python troupe made famous the song, "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK." Unfortunately, our study finds that lumberjacks have the nation's worst job, followed by dairy farmers and taxi drivers, which seems to bear out the old grade-school adage that "it's better to earn a living with your head rather than with your hands."

Of course, it doesn't take much effort to determine that mathematician is a more attractive job to most people than lumberjack. But ranking 200 jobs from best to worst is no easy feat. To compile this year's report, researchers relied on five criteria to compare jobs as different as librarian and sheet metal worker. Those criteria: stress, physical demands, hiring outlook, compensation and work environment (for more info on scoring, visit our Methodology Page).

All these positions rate highly in the key criteria, and all require at least a college degree, if not graduate-school credentials. But whatever job you're interested in learning more about, data will be a valuable aid to help ensure that your choice measures up to the standards you've set for yourself. Jobs are also ranked by industry, giving you the best options in fields ranging from Agriculture to Travel.

If lumberjack is currently America's worst job, followed by dairy farmer and taxi driver, what other positions should you avoid? Read on to see's complete list of the 10 WORST jobs you can get.

Continue to the next page to see the 10 WORST Jobs of 2009

If advanced equations aren't your strong suit, however, there are plenty of other jobs that score well, too. After the top three math-oriented careers, the rest of the top 10 read like a who's who of well-educated professions:


1. Mathematician

Overall Rating:
Median Salary:
  • Applies mathematical theories and formulas to teach or solve problems in a business, educational, or industrial climate.
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