Published: February 23, 2021 | Updated: February 22, 2021

Medical dominates annual 'Best Jobs' list

Sholeh Patrick

Sholeh Patrick

If you want a six-figure income with a decent work-life balance, your best bet is health care.

That’s according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual jobs ranking released in January. Healthcare is so dominant, in fact, that it knocked software developer down from the number-one spot it’s held for three years. Dentists — another lucrative health career appealing to doctor-hopefuls who prefer to avoid night and weekend work — also fell from the top five to number nine in the general ranking.

The 2021 Best Jobs rankings list the 100 best jobs overall, considering salary, projected openings and growth, work-life balance and stress levels. It also ranks jobs by pay and required education level, as well as certain industries.

Highlights include:

“Best Job” overall: Physician assistant (median annual salary of $112,260; Master’s degree required) — which also made No. 1 in the STEM category — was number one; followed by software developer ($107,510; Bachelor’s) degree); then nurse practitioner ($110,700; Master’s); medical services manager ($100,980; Bachelor’s); and physician ($206,500; Doctorate).

The Best STEM Jobs included the same top four as the overall category, but with statistician ($91,160; Master’s) in the No. 5 spot instead of physician. Statisticians collect and analyze data which help others in a variety of fields make informed decisions.

Best Healthcare Jobs: Physician assistant was No. 1, followed by nurse practitioner, physician, speech pathologist ($79,120; Master’s), and dentist ($155,600; Doctorate).

Best Business Job: Medical/health services manager, followed by statistician, financial manager ($129,890; Bachelor’s), financial advisor ($87,850; Bachelor’s), and operations research analysts ($84,810; Bachelor’s) — who use data and modeling to increase business efficiencies.

Best Jobs Without A Degree: Home health aide ($25,280) was number one with high job satisfaction and high growth, followed by personal care aide ($25,280), wind turbine technician ($52,910), phlebotomist (blood draw specialists, $35,510), and massage therapist ($42,820).

The Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree were patrol officer ($63,150), executive assistant ($60,890), sales representative ($59,930), flight attendant ($56,640), and electrician ($56,180).

For more about the rankings see

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Sholeh Patrick is a portly columnist for the Hagadone News Network unashamed of her peanut butter habit. Email