How U.S. News Ranks the Best Jobs

Careers are subjective. Creating high-profile marketing campaigns for hot products sounds like a perfect job to some people, while others dream of delivering healthy babies to excited new parents.

Yet some career qualities are desired fairly universally. Workers tend to prefer higher salaries, ample open positions and opportunities for promotion. These are the characteristics used to make the U.S. News Best Jobs of 2022 rankings.

This article explains the methodology behind the rankings, including how U.S. News selects jobs to profile and how those jobs are ranked against one another.

Selecting the Jobs

To identify professions for the 2022 rankings, we started with jobs that have the largest projected number and percentage of openings from 2020 to 2030, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobs that topped the list were then selected for the 2022 Best Jobs analysis and rankings.

Ranking the Jobs

U.S. News ranks jobs in an overall list, a best-paying list and in 12 occupational industry lists: Best Business Jobs, Best Construction Jobs, Best Creative and Media Jobs, Best Education Jobs, Best Engineering Jobs, Best Health Care Jobs, Best Health Care Support Jobs, Best Maintenance and Repair Jobs, Best Sales and Marketing Jobs, Best Science Jobs, Best Social Services Jobs, and Best Technology Jobs. We also have lists for Best STEM Jobs, Best Jobs Without a College Degree and Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree. Careers are ranked based on our calculated overall score, which combines multiple components into a single weighted average score between 0 and 10.

The overall score is calculated from seven component measures, and for each measure, jobs receive a score between 0 and 10. Here are the component measures and their weights in computing the overall score.

About the Component Measures

Median Salary

This is the median salary earned by someone employed in a given occupation, according to the BLS.

Why is it important?

Most people prefer higher salaries.

How is this score calculated?

We translate median salary from a dollar amount to a numerical score using the following formula: salary score = the square root of the median salary divided by 40. We set a maximum salary score of 10 points.

[Read: Salary Negotiation: How to Negotiate Salary and Succeed.]

Unemployment Rate

This is the percentage of people in an occupation who are currently unemployed.

Why is it important?

A low unemployment rate indicates ample employment opportunities in that field.

How is this score calculated?

We translate unemployment rates, recorded for each profession, to a 10-point scale. For example, if a job’s unemployment rate is less than 1.5%, it earned the full possible 10 points. A job with unemployment between 1.5% and 2.8% earned 8 points, between 2.9% and 5.2% earned 6 points, between 5.3% and 9.2% earned 4 points, and those jobs with unemployment rates 9.3% and higher earned 2 points.

10-Year Growth Volume

Growth volume, according to the BLS, is the total number of new jobs that should be created for an occupation in a 10-year span. For example, the BLS projects the U.S. will add 409,500 new software developer jobs between 2020 and 2030.

Why is it important?

If the number of jobs in a given occupation is expected to increase, future job seekers may enjoy more opportunities.

How is this score calculated?

We translate job growth volumes to a score of up to 10 points. Occupations expected to grow by 150,000 openings or more received the highest score: 10. Occupations with job growth numbers between 44,000 and 149,999 earned 8 points, between 17,000 and 43,999 earned 6 points, between 2,000 and 16,999 earned 4 points, and fewer than 2,000 openings earned 2 points.

[See: 25 Best Jobs That Pay $100K.]

10-Year Growth Percentage

This is an occupation’s employment percentage growth over the course of 10 years. For example, the BLS estimate of 409,500 new software developer jobs between 2020 and 2030 equates to a 22.2% increase.

Why is it important?

The 10-year growth percentage estimate measures how rapidly an occupation is expected to expand. A high growth rate indicates increased demand for this type of worker. The BLS predicts that total occupational employment is projected to increase 7.7% between 2020 and 2030. Jobs with higher percentages are growing at a faster rate than average.

How is this score calculated?

We translate job growth percentages to a score of up to 10 points. Occupations for which the projected growth rate increased by 30% or more earned the total possible 10 points; those for which growth increased between 17% and 29.9% earned 8 points; where growth increased between 9% and 16.9%, the job earned 6 points; and where growth increased between 6% and 8.9%, the job earned 4 points. Occupations expected to grow less than 6% received 2 points.

Future Job Prospects

This rating conveys the likelihood of landing a job in the future, based on the number of openings versus the number of job seekers. For example, the BLS predicts physician assistants will be in high demand due to the growing and aging population, an increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases, increases in incomes — which can improve access to health care services — as well as advances in medical technology, which will continue to increase the number and types of treatments available. That means this job has a good job prospect rating. By contrast, the BLS projects a decrease in cashiers over the next decade due to advances in technology such as the use of self-service checkout stands in retail stores and increasing online sales. Competition for open positions for cashiers will be intense, so this occupation received a lower job prospect rating.

Why is it important?

If you’re looking for a career for which demand is predicted to increase over the next 10 years, pursue one with a higher job prospect rating.

How is this score calculated?

We translate the BLS “descriptive rating” to a score of up to 10 points. A job that received an “excellent” prospect rating earned 10 points, a job with a “very good” rating earned 9 points, a job with a “good” rating earned 8 points, a job with a “favorable” rating earned 6 points, a job with varied prospects earned 4 points and an occupation with a “keen competition” rating earned a score of 2 points. U.S. News did not assign a prospect score to jobs for which prospects weren’t identified.

[Read: How to Ace a Job Interview: What to Wear, What to Bring and Other Tips.]

Stress Level

This rating indicates the amount of day-to-day stress someone might experience while working in a particular occupation.

Why is it important?

The level of stress a worker feels in his or her job can lower quality of life, worsen health and damage professional self-esteem.

How is this score calculated?

Based on interviews and extensive research, our editors assign qualitative stress-level ratings to each occupation. These ratings are intended to represent the typical stress level for the occupation, and it’s important to note that stress varies significantly among individuals and their specific job circumstances.

These qualitative stress-level ratings are translated to a 10-point scale. A stress-level rating of “high” translates to 2 points (the lowest score), a rating of “above average” translates to 4 points, a rating of “average” translates to 6 points, “below average” to 8 points and “low” translates to 10 points (the highest score).

[Read: How to Change Careers.]

Work-Life Balance

This rating captures how much any profession will affect lifestyle.

Why is it important?

Striking a comfortable balance between career, ambition, health, family and leisure activities can improve job performance and quality of life.

How is this score calculated?

Based on interviews and an assessment of literature, U.S. News editors assign qualitative work-life balance ratings for each occupation. Similar to stress level, work-life balance may vary significantly among individuals and with specific job circumstances.

Our qualitative work-life balance ratings are translated to scores on a 10-point scale. A rating of “high” translates to 10 points (the highest score), a rating of “above average” translates to 8 points, a rating of “average” translates to 6 points, a rating of “below average” translates to 4 points and a rating of “low” translates to 2 points (the lowest score).

More from U.S. News

The 100 Best Jobs of 2022

The 25 Best Jobs of 2022

25 Best Jobs That Pay More Than $100K

How U.S. News Ranks the Best Jobs originally appeared on usnews.com

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