The hottest careers require higher education

From teeth to feet, the hottest careers in the United States involve higher education — lots of it — and specialization to make the kind of dollars many consider important to balance work/life. If it’s a six-figure salary you think you need to make your life better, consider the fast-growing medical field.

According to the 25 hottest jobs as defined by U.S. News & World Report, six figure salaries dominate in the health field. As the youngest Boomers and the first of the Gen X generation reach their mid-fifties in 2018, healthcare continues to be of major importance. None of us think we will ever get old, but the reality is that we do. Even the Millennials will — just ask the Boomers who once declared anyone over 30 to be so very old.

Let’s start with the teeth. The number one job with the most openings is that of a dentist. With an average salary of almost $153,000, the demand for dentists is growing, showing a need of over 23,000 new dentists. Americans are obsessed with having good teeth and will pay for cosmetic procedures to keep their teeth pearly white and in excellent condition. Orthodontists (No. 5) can earn even more at just over $187,000.

The No. 2 job is that of nurse practitioner with an average salary of over $98,000. This job requires specialized credentials in addition to a nursing degree. With the predicted shortage of doctors, this field is expected to grow by 35 percent by 2024 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — five times the national average for all occupations. Or, become a physician assistant at about the same salary range.

One of the few non-medical jobs is that of statistician, so if you have a knack for numbers, this might be the job for you. Median salary is a bit over $80,000. While a bachelor’s degree is nice, the jobs that rack up the salary number are those with a master’s or beyond degrees that are expensive to earn.


Dentist — $152,700

Nurse practitioner — $98,190

Physician assistant — $98,180

Statistician — $80,110

Orthodontist — $187,199

Nurse anesthetist — $157,140

Pediatrician — $170,300

Computer systems analyst — $85,800

Oral & maxillofacial surgeon — $187,199

Obstetrician and gynecologist — $187,199

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon — $187,199

Optometrist — $103,900

Occupational therapy assistant — $57,870

Software developer — $98,260

Surgeon — $187,199

Nurse midwife — $92,510

Physical therapist — $84,020

Anesthesiologist — $187,199

Physician — $187,199

Psychiatrist — $187,199

Mathematician — $111,110

Prosthodontist — $119,740

Registered nurse — $67,490

Occupational therapist — $80,150

Diagnostic medical sonographer — $68,970

Podiatrist — $119,340

Source: U.S. News & World Report – the 25 Best Jobs of 2017

The above are positions offering a combination of low unemployment, generous wages, robust growth, and solid work-life balance.


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