How U.S. News Ranks the Best Jobs

Career satisfaction is 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 universally desired. Workers tend to prefer higher salaries, ample open positions and opportunities for promotion. These characteristics are used to calculate the U.S. News Best Jobs of 2023 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 choose professions for the 2023 rankings, we started by identifying the jobs with the largest number and percentage of projected openings from 2021 to 2031, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobs that topped the list were selected for the 2023 Best Jobs analysis and rankings.

Ranking the Jobs

U.S. News ranks jobs in an overall top 100 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

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 their overall score, which combines multiple components into a single weighted average score between 0 and 10.

About the Component Measures

Median Salary

This is the midpoint of salaries earned by individuals employed in a given occupation, according to the BLS.

Why is it important?

For most people, salary remains an important factor when selecting a future career.

How is this score calculated?

We translate the 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 .80%, it earns the full possible 10 points. A job with unemployment between 1.7% and 3.15% earns eight points, between 3.15% and 5.8% earns six points, between 5.8% and 33% earns four points, and those jobs with unemployment rates 33% and higher earn two points.

10-Year Growth Volume

Growth volume, according to the BLS, is the total number of new jobs that are expected to be created for an occupation in a 10-year span. For example, the BLS projects the U.S. will add 370,600 new software developer jobs between 2021 and 2031.

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 85,000 openings or more received the highest score: 10. Occupations with job growth numbers between 36,000 and 84,999 earned eight points, between 10,000 and 35,999 earned six points, between 1,000 and 9,999 earned four points, and fewer than 1,000 openings earned two points.

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

10-Year Growth Percentage

This is an occupation’s percentage of employment growth over the course of 10 years. For example, the BLS estimate of 370,600 new software developer jobs between 2021 to 2031 equates to a 26% increase over 10 years.

Why is it important?

A high growth rate indicates increased demand for this type of worker. The BLS predicts that total occupational employment will increase by 5% between 2021 and 2031. 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 25% or more earn the maximum 10 points; those for which growth increased between 15% and 24.9% earned eight points; where growth increased between 7% and 14.9%, the job earned six points; and where growth increased between 4% and 6.9%, the job earned four points. Occupations expected to grow less than 4% received two 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, as well as an increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases. Additionally, advances in medical technology will continue to increase the number and types of treatments available. In contrast, the BLS projects a decrease in cashiers over the next decade due to technological advances, 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 nine points, a job with a “good” rating earned eight points, a job with a “favorable” rating earned six points, a job with varied prospects earned four points and an occupation with a “keen competition” rating earned a score of two points. U.S. News did not assign a 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 stress a worker feels in their 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, but 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 two points (the lowest score), a rating of “above average” translates to four points, a rating of “average” translates to six points, “below average” to eight points and “low” translates to 10 points (the highest score).

[How to Change Careers Successfully]

Work-Life Balance

This rating captures how much a profession will affect someone’s lifestyle.

Why is it important?

Striking a comfortable balance between career, 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. Like the stress level, work-life balance may vary significantly among individuals and based on 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 eight points, a rating of “average” translates to six points, a rating of “below average” translates to four points and a rating of “low” translates to two points (the lowest score).

More from U.S. News

The 100 Best Jobs of 2022

The 25 Best Jobs of 2023

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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