What do an orthodontist, accountant and nurse practitioner have in common? They're all great jobs. And while selecting a career is a personal decision, high-quality jobs typically share certain characteristics, including high wages, low unemployment and good work-life balance. U.S. News' list of the 100 best jobs highlights the professions that have those traits in common. Click on to explore the best jobs of 2016.
Patients may require occupational therapy to manage a lifelong medical condition or the effects of a stroke, accident or other physical trauma. OTAs help these patients live as independently as possible, teaching them to perform daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth and getting dressed. To enter the field, OTAs need to earn an associate degree, which typically takes about two years.
Accountants inspect financial records and may work for government agencies, private corporations, nonprofits or individual clients. While an associate degree is available for accounting, employers may prefer a bachelor's or master's degree.
OTs help patients build or restore their ability to perform daily tasks and work toward certain goals. Licensed OTs typically need to earn a master's degree, pass board examinations and complete a fieldwork requirement.
Registered nurses monitor a patient's condition, perform medical procedures and administer medicine. Entry-level RN positions are available with an associate degree, but a bachelor's degree is becoming the industry standard.
Cartographers specialize in drawing maps, which have seen reinvention in an environment where millions of people look at GPS-enabled maps on cellphones and interactive maps online. Cartographers typically must earn a bachelor's degree in cartography or a related field.
Web developers build websites, working with software applications or writing code to get the job done. Employers typically prefer a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field. Specialized certifications may also demonstrate expertise in a certain area.
Physicians manage patients for a variety of medical issues, doing everything from diagnosing and treating injuries and illnesses to prescribing medicine. Becoming a physician is no easy path. Aspiring physicians need to attend medical school and complete advanced training requirements.
Workers in this business-related field dive into raw data and mathematical equations to help businesses make educated decisions. A bachelor's degree in math, business or industrial engineering can open the door for entry-level workers. Some employers may favor master's degree recipients.
The highest-ranked business profession on this year's list requires mathematical prowess and a passion for numbers. Statisticians use data to make decisions. A bachelor's degree should open doors, but a master's degree or Ph.D. may open more.
PTs help patients battling physical issues or injuries regain movement and manage pain. To enter the field, hopefuls must typically complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, as well as residency and licensing requirements.
Software developers design computer programs, often flexing their creative muscles and technical know-how. A bachelor's degree in computer science is typical – but not required – as are strong programming skills.
OB-GYNs specialize in women's reproductive health, managing everything from contraception to childbirth. Like other medical fields, the road to becoming an OB-GYN is paved with medical school, licensing examinations and residency requirements.
These health professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating issues related to the mind and mental health. Becoming a psychiatrist requires a medical school degree and additional specialized training.
Nurse practitioners treat patients for a variety of issues and ailments and may be able to work independently from a physician. To enter the field, hopefuls must earn specialized credentials on top of their nursing degree.
These registered nurses specialize in anesthesiology, administering drugs to minimize the pain of procedures. These health professionals undergo training on top of their nursing degree to specialize in this area.
Anyone with a mouth full of braces can tell you about orthodontists. Professionals in this No. 1 ranked job straighten teeth and align bites. Among other requirements, orthodontists must attend dental school and receive specialized training.