Best Jobs of 2015


Each Year, U.S. News and World Report generates a list of the best jobs for the coming year. The occupations selected are those the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow the most between 2012 and 2022. Those top 100 jobs, from the industries of business, creative, construction, health care, social services and technology, are then ranked based on projected openings, rate of growth, job prospects, unemployment rates, salary and job satisfaction.

Using that formula, health care and technology jobs top the list. In fact, seven of the top ten are in those two fields. Here’s the list with projected job growth and salary data.

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(We know why this guy is smiling.)

No. 1: Dentist
Dentist was number one in 2013, number 3 in 2014, and deserves its status. Dentists have an unemployment rate of 0.9 percent. They also have schedules and office hours that make other health care workers envious: 9 to 5 hours and few, if any, emergencies requiring middle of the night or weekend care. In 2013, dentists earned an average salary of $164,570 and a median salary of $146,340. BLS predicts there will be 23,200 new job openings, growing at a rate of nearly 16 percent between 2012 and 2022.

No. 2: Nurse Practitioner
According to the BLS, employment growth for U.S. News’ No. 2 job will grow by 37,000, a rate of 33.7 percent, between 2012 and 2022.

No. 3: Software Developer
Software developer was 2014’s number 1 job. Average annual earnings for 2013 were above $96,000, and developers earned a median salary of $92,660 that same year. BLS predicts there could be more than 139,000 new software developer jobs by 2022.

No. 4: Physician
Physician jobs will grow 18 percent between 2012 and 2022. Current unemployment is just 0.7 percent. Internists, or the physicians who diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses, made an average salary of $188,440 in 2013 and a median salary of $186,850.

No. 5: Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienist positions will grow 33.3 percent and make a good living; in 2013, their median salary was $71,110.

No. 6: Physical Therapist
Physical therapists can work in a private practice, a health clinic or a hospital. BLS predicts employment will grow 36 percent between 2012 and 2022 because more qualified PTs are needed to work with the large aging baby boomer cohort. The median annual wage for physical therapists was $81,030 in 2013, according to the BLS.

No. 7: Computer Systems Analyst
Systems Analysts are the liaison between the programmers, engineers and key business stakeholders. The BLS predicts 24.5 percent employment growth. The Labor Department reports that computer system analysts made a median salary of $81,190 in 2013.

No. 8: Information Security Analyst
This occupation will continue to grow in importance as data security becomes crucial in every industry. The BLS predicts that this job will grow at rate of 36.5 percent between 2012 and 2022. Information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $88,590 in 2013, according to the BLS. The best-paid 10 percent made $138,780, while the lowest-paid took home $50,430.

No. 9: Registered Nurse
Registered Nurses have a low unemployment rate of 2 percent and the BLLS estimates that more than 525,000 new nursing positions will be created between 2012 and 2022. The BLS reports the median salary for a registered nurse was $66,220 in 2013. The best-paid 10 percent of RNs made more than $96,320, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $45,630.

No. 10: Physician Assistant
Physician assistants are well-trained personnel who diagnose ailments, analyze test results, monitor patient progress and prescribe treatment and medicine. Their skills and training are imperative to fulfill the growing need to see and treat more patients due to an aging population and increased demand. The BLS predicts 38.4 percent growth for the No. 10 job between 2012 and 2022. Physician assistants raked in a median annual salary of $92,970 in 2013, according to the BLS.

The message is clear; if you are planning a career change in 2014, consider healthcare or IT. Of course, most adults won’t make a late-career decision to go to medical school, but they will certainly be able to find a career in healthcare that offers job security and great wages.

If you’re a parent, it’s important to make sure your children are aware of where the growth and great earnings are happening in the job market. Most schools are now placing a strong emphasis on STEM curricula (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.) There has even been talk about reducing Florida university tuition for students who major in STEM subjects. This list of jobs shows why students at any level can’t afford to shun these subjects.

I’ve written before that most of the jobs your young children and grandchildren will hold don’t exist right now. But that’s not true about the jobs on this list; they will be with us for as long as humans have bodies and use digital media in their lives. In other words, forever.

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