Best jobs in America in 2022

The right job for you

The pandemic continued to influence the extreme fluctuations of the job market and the way we worked in 2021. Many workers who were able to remain remote did so, as concerns over the coronavirus persisted in spite of access to vaccines; others returned to a workplace that looked vastly different from before times. More notably, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in November 2021 alone, a record 4.5 million workers quit their jobs, becoming part of a growing trend known as the “Great Resignation.”

Companies are still scrambling to find ways to attract, hire and retain workers in a candidate’s market that saw 10.6 million job openings at the end of November 2021, according to the BLS.

This year, job seekers may continue to pursue opportunities in a new career and field, with specific priorities in mind. Whether it’s an occupation that offers good work-life balance, low stress or promising job prospects, the following round out this year’s list of the 25 best jobs.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked jobs using data from the BLS and in-house reporting. Read more about how we rank the Best Jobs here. Did your dream job make the cut? Find out which 25 jobs top the list. You can also browse the complete rankings.

25. Patrol Officer

Industry: Social services

Median Salary: $65,540

Unemployment Rate: 0.8%

Job Growth: 7%, or 48,600 new jobs by 2030

Patrol officers are public service workers who protect their local communities by surveilling streets and responding to incident reports. Keeping a community safe from public safety threats comes at an expense for these law enforcement officers, who work long hours and have a high rate of job-related injuries as they may encounter life-threatening situations on the job. A more tedious part of the role includes writing up detailed paperwork documenting each incident.

These professionals must attend some sort of training academy, although each jurisdiction has its own educational requirements for patrol officers. The education needed to enter the profession may range from a high school diploma to a college degree.

Learn more about patrol officers.

24. Marketing Manager

Industry: Sales and marketing

Median Salary: $142,170

Unemployment Rate: 4.7%

Job Growth: 10%, or 29,400 new jobs by 2030

Marketing managers research and monitor trends to estimate the demand for something in order to plan marketing campaigns for selling a particular product. They look at potential markets and often work on pricing strategies to ensure a company is on track for maximum profit.

Because this type of work affects a company’s revenue, the job typically exposes marketing managers to top executives. This career can be stressful around deadlines, and many marketing managers may work more than 40 hours a week, according to the BLS.

A bachelor’s degree in a business or communications field is required for a job as a marketing manager. These professionals typically need to possess strong organizational, analytical and decision-making skills.

Learn more about marketing managers.

23. Veterinarian

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $99,250

Unemployment Rate: 0.8%

Job Growth: 17%, or 14,500 new jobs by 2030

Veterinarians are doctors who care for the health of man’s best friend and all of creature kind. They perform surgeries, treat wounds, vaccinate, test for diseases and euthanize animals. Vets work in animal clinics and hospitals, but may also work on farms or ranches, or in labs, zoos and even slaughterhouses and food processing plants to ensure the health of animals.

The job can be emotionally stressful and physically demanding. People treat their pets like family members, so they demand top-notch care for their furry, feathered or finned kin. As veterinary medicine advances and as consumers spend more money on their pets, employment for veterinarians is projected to grow much faster than average, according to the BLS.

Vets need to complete a veterinary program and must receive the appropriate licensing in their state.

Learn more about veterinarians.

22. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Industry: Health care support

Median Salary: $75,920

Unemployment Rate: 1.4%

Job Growth: 19%, or 14,400 new jobs by 2030

Knowing the sex of a child through an ultrasound is possible through the work of diagnostic medical sonographers, who knowledgeably operate imaging equipment to reveal images — either sonograms or ultrasounds — of the body’s organs and tissues. These professionals work closely with physicians and surgeons to diagnose medical conditions.

Diagnostic medical sonographers may specialize in breast sonography to confirm the presence of tumors after a mammogram, cardiac sonography to examine a patient’s heart, or obstetric and gynecological sonography to track a baby’s growth and detect birth defects. To enter this line of work, an associate degree, postsecondary certificate or professional certification may be required. Colleges offer associate and bachelor’s degrees in sonography, and employers prefer graduates of accredited programs.

Learn more about diagnostic medical sonographers.

21. Logistician

Industry: Business

Median Salary: $76,270

Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

Job Growth: 30%, or 56,400 new jobs by 2030

Logisticians are supply chain experts, directing the movement of people, goods and more in almost every field imaginable. When natural disasters hit, logisticians coordinate cleanup and rehabilitation efforts. They make sure everything runs smoothly, ensuring a company has all the right tools, supplies and people needed to complete a task. The largest employers of these organized, problem-solving professionals include manufacturing companies, the federal government, and professional, scientific and technical services, according to the BLS.

Most logisticians need a bachelor’s degree to enter the field, although some companies accept candidates with an associate degree or related work experience. E-commerce, online shopping and the general need to continually move product makes the job of a logistician critical for years to come. Employment of these professionals is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.

Learn more about logisticians.

20. Actuary

Industry: Business

Median Salary: $111,030

Unemployment Rate: N/A

Job Growth: 25%, or 6,800 new jobs by 2030

Actuaries are math whizzes who use statistics and financial theory to estimate financial risks and help businesses mitigate them. With their calculated findings, they create digestible charts, tables and reports to help their clients — ranging from executives, government officials, shareholders and more — understand their proposals. Most actuaries work at insurance companies where they specialize in a specific field such as health, life, or property and casualty insurance. These professionals are also employed by the finance and government sectors, according to the BLS.

Actuaries need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, math, statistics or another analytical field and pass multiple exams for certification to work professionally. Exam requirements differ depending on an actuary’s specialty.

Learn more about actuaries.

19. Nurse Anesthetist

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $183,580

Unemployment Rate: N/A

Job Growth: 13%, or 5,600 new jobs by 2030

If you’ve ever been asleep during a medical procedure and experienced as little discomfort as possible throughout the process, you likely have a nurse anesthetist to thank. These advanced practice registered nurses administer local or general anesthesia before, during or after surgeries, making sure to note any patient allergies and illnesses and monitor vital signs.

Because they are tasked with caring for patients’ health, the job of a nurse anesthetist is rewarding, yet stressful. They spend a lot of time on their feet and may work nights, weekends and holidays and sometimes need to be on call. Aside from a master’s degree in their specialty role, nurse anesthetists need to be licensed as a registered nurse in their state, pass a national certification exam and have a state advanced practice registered nurse license, says the BLS.

Learn more about nurse anesthetists.

18. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $208,000

Unemployment Rate: 0.7%

Job Growth: 8%, or 400 new jobs by 2030

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists who specialize in surgeries of the mouth, face and jaw. They perform wisdom teeth removals, repair cleft lips, administer anesthesia, oversee cosmetic surgery and may manage patients with head, neck or oral cancers.

For oral and maxillofacial surgeons, the schooling doesn’t stop at dental school. A doctoral or professional degree is usually required to enter the field. At the very least, surgeons must complete a competitive residency program and obtain board certification, which needs to be renewed periodically. And because technology to treat the face, mouth and jaw advances so rapidly, these dentists have to commit themselves to a life of learning and adapting to new developments. But all the hard work eventually pays off, as it’s one of the best-paying jobs on the Best Jobs list.

Learn more about oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

17. Management Analyst

Industry: Business

Median Salary: $87,660

Unemployment Rate: 4.8%

Job Growth: 14%, or 124,400 new jobs by 2030

Company leaders need to know that their organizations are making a profit and working efficiently. Management analysts, or management consultants, are the right professionals for analyzing how a company operates and determining how it can remain competitive in the market.

Many analysts work under contract and travel frequently to interact with clients one-on-one. They work under tight deadlines to meet their clients’ needs, often working more than 40 hours per week. Management analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree and years of work experience to start in this career, but job seekers would benefit from obtaining a master’s degree in business administration. The BLS predicts a high demand for management analysts particularly within health care and information technology consulting.

Learn more about management analysts.

16. Respiratory Therapist

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $62,810

Unemployment Rate: 1.4%

Job Growth: 23%, or 31,100 new jobs by 2030

Respiratory therapists help those who have difficulty with the most essential human function: breathing. They treat patients with heart and lung problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis or sleep apnea, and may also be seen in emergency situations helping patients dealing with heart attacks, stroke or shock. They can perform tests to measure lung capacity, create treatment plans alongside physicians, and even teach patients and their families how to use ventilators and other equipment and medication.

While the profession only requires an associate degree, this impactful job requires workers to learn and adapt to changing health care practices. The job may require respiratory therapists to work around the clock — evenings, nights and weekends.

Learn more about respiratory therapists.

15. Operations Research Analyst

Industry: Business

Median Salary: $86,200

Unemployment Rate: 1.8%

Job Growth: 25%, or 25,600 new jobs by 2030

Operations research analysts are the problem-solvers who help organizations run smoothly and determine the best business decisions by managing and evaluating data. Depending on their areas of focus — whether it’s business, logistics, health care or elsewhere — operations research analysts may do it all, including determining how to allocate resources, creating production schedules, managing the supply chain or setting product prices.

The finance and business sectors most employ operations research analysts, but the federal government, particularly the Department of Defense, also hires a large number of these experts through private consulting firms, according to the BLS. A bachelor’s degree is essential to enter the field, but many employers hire those who have also obtained a master’s degree. The BLS says there are few schools that offer degrees in operations research, so many analysts study engineering, computer science, analytics or mathematics.

Learn more about operations research analysts.

14. Market Research Analyst

Industry: Business

Median Salary: $65,810

Unemployment Rate: 5.2%

Job Growth: 22%, or 163,600 new jobs by 2030

Market research analysts are on the pulse of what consumers want — who will buy which products and at what price. They conduct research and analysis on sales trends, gather information about consumer demographics, buying habits and opinions, and show their findings to clients through graphs, charts and reports. The work of a market research analyst helps businesses determine better ways to sell a product or service.

Most industries use and need market research, so these experts can work throughout various fields. As more data is collected online, more companies will need the expertise of market research analysts to make sense of the information. Market research analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree in market research, business, communications or a social science concentration.

Learn more about market research analysts.

13. IT Manager

Industry: Technology

Median Salary: $151,150

Unemployment Rate: 2.9%

Job Growth: 11%, or 52,700 new jobs by 2030

Information technology managers, also called computer and information systems managers, work with a company’s leadership to direct the organization’s computer needs. They make sure a company’s hardware, software, networks and systems are securely maintained and upgraded as necessary. IT managers may oversee other tech professionals, such as software developers, analysts and computer support specialists.

A bachelor’s degree in computer or information science is necessary to become an IT manager, but many in these roles also have a Master of Business Administration.

Learn more about IT managers.

12. Registered Nurse

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $75,330

Unemployment Rate: 2.4%

Job Growth: 9%, or 276,800 new jobs by 2030

Talking with a registered nurse is typically the first interaction a patient has in a doctor’s office. These health care professionals assess and record a patient’s conditions, symptoms and vital signs before a doctor observes the patient. Afterward, they set up plans for patient care, help administer medicines and other treatment, and offer advice for how to best treat illnesses or injuries.

RNs may choose to concentrate in a specialty, such as becoming a neonatal nurse to care for newborn babies or working as a rehabilitation nurse to treat people with chronic illnesses or injuries. There are different educational paths to become an RN: either a bachelor’s or associate degree in nursing or a diploma from an approved nursing school, according to the BLS. All RNs must be licensed.

Learn more about registered nurses.

11. Physician

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $208,000

Unemployment Rate: 0.7%

Job Growth: 5%, or 18,700 new jobs by 2030

Doctors care for patients through colds, pregnancy, heart attacks and other illnesses and conditions. Physicians examine patients, order tests, treat a variety of illnesses, prescribe medications and more, all to the betterment of a patient’s health and well-being.

Physicians attend four years of medical school, earning either a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. They must also undergo a residency program, which can take three to seven years to complete. It’s one of the best-paying jobs, but it’s one that comes with a lot of stress. Employment for physicians is growing slower than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.

Learn more about physicians. You can also read about different types of specialists: pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, anesthesiologists, surgeons and psychiatrists.

10. Speech-Language Pathologist

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $80,480

Unemployment Rate: 2.5%

Job Growth: 29%, or 45,400 new jobs by 2030

Speech-language pathologists help children and adults who have difficulty speaking or swallowing. These disorders may be caused by a variety of reasons, including stroke, developmental delay, autism or Parkinson’s disease. Speech-language pathologists, or speech therapists, evaluate a patient’s ability to speak and swallow and implement treatment plans. These professionals may work in medical facilities with a team of health care workers or in schools with teachers and parents to help students with speech impediments, for example.

Speech-language pathologists need at least a graduate degree and a license to work, depending on the state. Employment in this field is growing much faster than the average occupation, according to the BLS, due to an increase in cases of dementia and strokes among the aging baby boomer population.

Learn more about speech-language pathologists.

9. Lawyer

Industry: Social services

Median Salary: $126,930

Unemployment Rate: 1.1%

Job Growth: 9%, or 71,500 new jobs by 2030

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses and government agencies on legal issues and disputes in court. After researching and analyzing a legal issue, they gather and coordinate with clients and present the facts — verbally and in writing — on their behalf, making strong communication skills a key characteristic of a good lawyer.

Becoming a lawyer requires a lot of time spent in school. A bachelor’s degree in law, legal studies, history or social sciences as well as passing the Law School Admission Test is necessary for acceptance into a law school, according to the BLS. After completing a J.D. degree program, prospective lawyers need to pass a bar exam in the state in which they’d like to practice.

Learn more about lawyers.

8. Statistician

Industry: Business

Median Salary: $92,270

Unemployment Rate: 2%

Job Growth: 35%, or 14,900 new jobs by 2030

Statisticians work closely with numbers, collecting, analyzing and interpreting data. They work in a range of industries from government to health care to education and research; they may also collaborate in teams among scientists, engineers and other specialists, according to the BLS.

Statisticians should have a bachelor’s degree in statistics, but need a Ph.D. to conduct research or teach. The need for statisticians is growing much faster than the average among all occupations, according to the BLS. This profession will see significant growth in the next few years as more data is digitally stored. Job openings for statisticians are expected in research and development, consulting, and computer systems design and related services.

Learn more about statisticians.

7. Financial Manager

Industry: Business

Median Salary: $134,180

Unemployment Rate: 2.9%

Job Growth: 17%, or 118,200 new jobs by 2030

Financial managers work closely with the top executives of a company to help them make tough financial decisions and ensure an organization is meeting its money goals. They work well with numbers and people, as they analyze finance reports and are able to verbalize findings and share ideas on how to better make a profit and cut costs. Financial managers are often experts on tax laws and regulations specific to their industry: Those working in government must know budgeting and appropriations, while those in health care need knowledge on the billing and reimbursement processes, for example.

Financial managers usually have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, economics or finance, but many pursue a master’s degree in any of these subjects as well. They also benefit from continuing their education through certifications, licensing and financial management training to keep on top of the latest economic trends.

Learn more about financial managers.

6. Data Scientist

Industry: Technology

Median Salary: $98,230

Unemployment Rate: 2%

Job Growth: 31.4%, or 19,800 new jobs by 2030

Data scientists are statisticians. They are inquisitive and have a knack for numbers but also combine software programming and computer learning to do their jobs. The role involves using programming languages, such as Python and R, to extract and log data. They then analyze and identify trends and patterns within that data to improve performance and productivity within a company.

The field of data science is fairly new. Data scientists typically have a bachelor’s degree in math, statistics or computer science; some schools just recently started offering data science programs, but there are boot camps and online programs that teach data science skills.

Learn more about data scientists and data science programs.

5. Software Developer

Industry: Technology

Median Salary: $110,140

Unemployment Rate: 3%

Job Growth: 22%, or 409,500 new jobs by 2030

Apps are ubiquitous in everyday life. From checking bank account balances, connecting with friends on social media or ordering takeout, just about everyone takes advantage of the work done by software developers.

Software developers design user-friendly computer software and smartphone applications. These professionals are creative and detail-oriented, testing and perfecting apps until they’re as seamless as possible for the best user experience. Software developers enter the field with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field and must be familiar with computer programming. The demand for new apps and software will drive the need for software developers in the years to come.

Learn more about software developers.

4. Medical and Health Services Manager

Industry: Business

Median Salary: $104,280

Unemployment Rate: 2.2%

Job Growth: 33%, or 139,600 new jobs by 2030

Medical and health services managers run medical practices and health care service providers such as nursing homes, hospitals and clinics. Their duties include hiring staff, monitoring budgets, keeping and organizing facility records and more. Also called health care executives or administrators, they ensure all operations run smoothly and that the organization is providing the best quality care and following all regulations and laws.

A bachelor’s degree is necessary to enter the field, but employers usually prefer those with a master’s degree, according to the BLS. These professionals need to demonstrate strong leadership skills and attention to detail and be able to communicate effectively with other health professionals and staff. Because of the many responsibilities they hold, medical and health services managers often need to be on call at all times depending on where they work. This makes this profession a high-stress job.

Learn more about medical and health services managers.

3. Physician Assistant

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $115,390

Unemployment Rate: 1.4%

Job Growth: 31%, or 40,100 new jobs by 2030

The job of a physician assistant is very similar to that of a doctor or internist. They diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medication, help with surgeries and perform certain procedures in various areas of medicine. The biggest difference is that a PA’s specific duties and the degree of how they’re supervised by physicians vary by state, according to the BLS. In underserved communities, physician assistants may serve as the primary care providers, working in more of a collaborative role with a physician. Most PAs work in physicians’ offices, but others may work in hospitals or outpatient care centers.

Physician assistants don’t need to go to medical school like physicians, but do need a master’s degree from an accredited program and some experience caring for patients, either as registered nurses, EMTs or paramedics. Employment in this field is growing much faster than average among all occupations, according to the BLS. This is due in large part to PAs being trained more quickly while still providing many of the same services as physicians.

Learn more about physician assistants or physician assistant programs.

2. Nurse Practitioner

Industry: Health care

Median Salary: $111,680

Unemployment Rate: 1.2%

Job Growth: 52%, or 114,900 new jobs by 2030

Nurse practitioners, also called advanced practice registered nurses, are registered nurses who have similar duties to physicians and provide both primary and specialty care. They record patients’ symptoms, perform physical exams, diagnose health problems, prescribe medications and more, typically focusing their care for specific populations of people — pediatric or geriatric health, for example. NPs work closely with physicians and other health care professionals as needed. The work of an NP can be emotionally and physically demanding, as they spend much of the workday on their feet caring for patients. They may work night shifts, weekends and holidays at hospitals and health care facilities.

NPs need a master’s degree from an accredited program. Employment in this profession is growing faster than average compared to all other occupations, according to the BLS.

Learn more about nurse practitioners or nursing programs.

1. Information Security Analyst

Industry: Technology

Median Salary: $103,590

Unemployment Rate: 1.2%

Job Growth: 33%, or 47,100 new jobs by 2030

If your personal information has never been compromised in a data breach, information security analysts are to thank. These cybersecurity experts make sure hackers and cyberattacks don’t infiltrate the information systems and networks of banks, financial institutions, health care organizations and anywhere else that uses cloud-based services.

A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field is necessary to enter this industry. Information security analysts should know that the career entails continual research on the latest IT security trends to keep up to date on the new ways hackers attempt to scheme into systems. Pursuing this career won’t guarantee you a 9-to-5 job; since cyberattacks can happen at any time, information security analysts are almost always on call. But that also means there’s high demand for these professionals as much of the internet continues to rely on cloud services. Employment in this field is growing much faster than average, according to the BLS.

Learn more about information security analysts.

The Best Jobs of 2022 include:

— Information security analyst.

— Nurse practitioner.

— Physician assistant.

— Medical and health services manager.

— Software developer.

— Data scientist.

— Financial manager.

— Statistician.

— Lawyer.

— Speech-language pathologist.

See the full rankings.

More from U.S. News

How U.S. News Ranks the Best Jobs

25 Best Jobs That Pay More Than $100K

How to Change Careers. (https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/how-to-change-careers)

The Best Jobs in America in 2022 originally appeared on usnews.com

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