A service that everyone needs is prevalent on U.S. News & World Report’s latest list of best jobs: health care.
And one health care job tops the 2021 list overall: physician assistant. Also in the top five are nurse practitioner (No. 3), medical and health services manager (No. 4) and physician (No. 5). Software developer rounded out the top five at No. 2 overall.
U.S. News analyzed median incomes, unemployment rates and key data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (e.g. future job prospects) in putting together its list of best jobs.
“We also have some of our own in-house data and research, for things like work-life balance and stress level,” said Antonio Barbera, consumer advice editor for U.S. News.
The rankings, which examine several industries, offer job hunters detailed information on training and education requirements, as well as median salary and job satisfaction.
U.S. News also sized up jobs that pay over $100,000, and it looked at “best-paying cities.” D.C. scored well on the latter list, ranking No. 8 in terms of the most jobs having annual mean salaries that are among the nation’s highest for a particular position.
D.C. notched 24 such occupations, led by orthodontist — $244,500 annually — and oral and maxillofacial surgeon — $237,850. These occupations are also Nos. 1 and 3 overall, respectively, on U.S. News’s list of “25 best jobs that pay more than $100k.”
Some of the other jobs that pay comparatively well in D.C. include political scientist, public relations specialist, lawyer, fundraiser, interpreter/translator and even choreographer.
No. 1 on U.S. News’s list of best-paying cities was San Francisco. Ten other California cities also made the top 20.
As for the list of best jobs, 42 of the top 100 were in health care. And 15 such jobs are on the over-$100,000 list.
The pandemic has illustrated why that job sector is so essential, Barbera said. And with the baby boom generation reaching retirement age, he said, “There’s only going to be more demand for health care support.”
Physician assistant topped this year’s list, he said, in part because it does not have the same barriers to entry that the job of physician does.
“Physician assistants do not need to go to medical school,” he said. “They do not need to complete a residency. So not only is the education requirement lower, the cost of getting that education is also significantly lower.”
Flight attendant (No. 64) was a new addition to the best jobs list this year. Data scientist (No. 8) also made its debut, “due to its strong growth rate, comparatively high salary, good work life balance and solid job prospect evaluation,” according to a statement from U.S. News.
Check out the complete 2021 best jobs rankings on the U.S. News site.
WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.