Few decisions will have as lasting an impact on your life as your choice of profession. You can pour your life into a career, only to see it taken away as technology and business attitudes render your specialty obsolete. On the other hand, if you discover that you happen to be great at a job that looks to be in high demand for decades to come, you can practically write your own meal ticket.
But what are the best jobs? CareerCast.com, a targeted career site, recently put together its list of the best and worst jobs in America, which it ranks using a proprietary formula based on the general categories inherent to every job: environment, income, outlook, and stress level. A better environment, a higher income potential, robust future growth, and manageable stress levels all combine to create a great job. The five jobs you’re about to see offer the best overall combinations of factors, which makes them the five best jobs in America. Let’s see what makes them so appealing.
5: Financial Planner
Many of our longtime Foolish readers will certainly appreciate this one, as we do count a number of financial planners among our readership. This profession helps people get their finances in order, whether it’s by helping to build a portfolio, minimize a tax burden, or recommend a good insurance policy. Although you can become a financial planner right out of college, many ambitious individuals seek out the Certified Financial Planner certification, which requires a fairly comprehensive course of study. There are only about 50,000 CFPs in the United States, or roughly a quarter of the total financial planning profession.
This is a small but vital part of the health-care community, and it will only grow in importance as more baby boomers find that their years of listening to the Rolling Stones or Steely Dan or [insert your favorite band here, boomers] at full volume has left them with hearing that’s a bit less than perfect. Because of their large niche population but small base of employment, most audiologists operate with less competitive pressure than other medical professionals, as is the case with general-practice doctors, dentists, optometrists, and the like. According to Gallaudet University, more than 38 million people in the United States are deaf or hard of hearing — that’s nearly 3,000 patients per audiologist.
3: Software Engineer
How many times have you heard (or said) that computer programming seems like a pretty great job? Many of the best companies to work for are major employers of software engineers. The Fool’s own list of the 25 best companies in America has three: Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM), and International Business Machines Corp (NYSE:IBM). Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM) also place highly on Glassdoor’s latest Best Places to Work list, which is topped by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), one of the few companies to inspire an award-winning film about (among other things) coding software.