U.S. News & World Report Announces the Best Jobs of 2016

Posted By Terri Williams on February 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm
U.S. News & World Report Announces the Best Jobs of 2016

At least 9.8 million jobs are projected to be created by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The retirement of many senior workers will help to fuel the increase in job openings. The most jobs opening will occur in the healthcare and social service sectors.

However, for college students pondering a degree choice, job openings are just one piece of the puzzle. Ideally, they want to pursue a profession that also pays well, provides a good work-life balance, and checks a few other boxes as well. To help students with this decision, U.S. News & World Report recently released its report on the best jobs of 2016.

The report lists the best overall jobs and the highest paying jobs, and also identifies the best jobs in specific categories, such as business, healthcare, and technology. Keep reading to discover which jobs made the list.  (Note: we did not include the categories of jobs that do not require a college degree.)

The best overall and best-paying jobs

TOP 5 JOBS Salary Range
1 Orthodontist $118 – $187K
2 Dentist $108 – $187K
3 Computer Systems Analyst $64 – $104K
4 Nurse Anesthetist $132 – $181K
5 Physician Assistant $82 – $113K


1 Anesthesiologist > $187K
2 Surgeon > $187K
3 Oral &Maxillofacial Surgeon > $187K
4 Obstetrician and Gynecologist $156 – $187K
5 Orthodontist $118 – $187K



The top 5 jobs in degree-requiring categories

BUSINESS Salary Range
Statistician $58 – $104K
Operations Research Analyst $56 – $102K
Accountant $51 – $87K
Financial Advisor $52 – $139K
Mathematician $74 – $127K


HEALTH CARE Salary Range
1 Orthodontist $119 – $187K
2 Dentist $108 – $187K
3 Nurse Anesthetist $132 – $181K
4 Physician Assistant $82 – $114K
5 Nurse Practitioner $82 – $113K


1 Interpreter/Translator $31 – $60K
2 Art Director $60 – $121K
3 Public Relations Specialist $40 – $76K
4 Choreographer $28 – $68K
5 No 5th best job


EDUCATION Salary Range
1 High School Teacher $45 – $71K
2 Middle School Teacher $44 – $68K
3 Elementary School Teacher $43 – $68K
4 Preschool Teacher $22 – $37K
5 Health Educator $37 – $68K



1 Computer Systems Analyst $641 – $104K
2 Software Developer $73 – $120K
3 Web Developer $45 – $86K
4 IT Manager $99 – $161K
5 Information Security Analyst $67 – $113K


1 Cartographer $48 – $78K
2 Biomedical Engineer $66 – $110K
3 Mechanical Engineer $66 – $104K
4 Environmental Engineer $63 – $104K
5 Civil Engineer $64 – $104K


SCIENCE Salary Range
1 Industrial Psychologist $65 – $106K
2 Epidemiologist/Medical Scientist $53 – $87K
3 Biochemist $58 – $115K
4 Anthropologist $43 – $77K
5 Survey Researcher $29 – $73K


1 Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor $31 – $50K
2 School Psychologist $51 – $89K
3 Marriage and Family Therapist $37 – $62K
4 Lawyer $75 – $172K
5 Clinical Social Worker $40 – $63K































Examining the methodology

U.S. News and World Report uses the following components to determine the country’s best jobs: Median salary, employment rate, 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentages, jobs prospects, stress level, and work-life balance. GoodCall asked several experts to weigh-in on some of the report’s criteria.

According to Dr. Lori Trahan, associate director of Kennesaw State University’s Career Services Center, “Students always want to know ‘How much will I get paid in XYZ field?’ and their parents want to know about the other categories, because they’ve lived through tough job markets so they want to know their kids will have some stability.”

Indeed, employment rates and job growth projection rates are categories that many college students may fail to consider when they’re selecting a major. But according to Doug Walker, manager of HR Services at Insperity, it’s wisdom to gravitate toward occupations with greater employment opportunities. “Where there is a high demand for certain skill sets, and a limited number of qualified applicants, the chances for success increase significantly.”

As an example, Walker explains that a large percentage of the population is aging, which creates more demand for health care workers. “Seventy-five percent of the top 20 jobs listed in the rankings are health care related positions,” says Walker.

In fact, Steve Rothberg, founder and president of College Recruiter, tells GoodCall that his organization recommends healthcare as a great career. “Healthcare is a great field for a number of reasons, including the sense of satisfaction that comes from providing care to those in need, the high levels of job security and compensation as compared to careers with somewhat similar educational requirements, and the likely growth in the number of people due to the aging of our population,” explains Rothberg.

Work-life balance is also an important factor, and Walker tells GoodCall that the companies that offer flexible schedules and telecommuting options are more likely to attract top performers. He adds, “Employees who have a significant amount of control and are allowed to prioritize their time and projects often find their jobs more fulfilling and less stressful.”

Emerging trends

Looking at the list, Dr. Trahan sees several emerging trends. Dr. Trahan tells GoodCall, “What I see as emerging trends for the ‘best jobs’ are (1) They aren’t all in the traditional fields people think of when thinking about the world of work; (2) We’re going to see more jobs on that list requiring technical expertise beyond high school; (3) Many of the jobs that will be on that list in 5 years haven’t been created yet.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of the Computing Technology Industry Association.

 He tells GoodCall, “The past few years have seen robust growth in nearly every category of IT occupation, and the emergence of new positions, such as data visualizer, Internet of things architect, and cloud systems engineer.

Other factors

While the criteria used by U.S. News & World Report calculates 7 crucial factors, there are some areas that it may not be able to accurately gauge. Kristin Scarth, career services manager at Employment BOOST, tells GoodCall, “What I find interesting about the ‘best jobs’ is that the labeling of ‘best’ may not equate to attainable or even happiness.” For example, Scarth says that computer systems analyst is probably the top technology job because it is in high demand and offers a great salary. “But it’s in high demand because it’s hard to find people due to the complexity of the job.”

Scarth also questions some of the report’s classifications. “I also find it interesting that the best creative job is a translator and interpreter – I mean, if you’re just translating or relating information, one can wonder how that is even creative.”

And it shouldn’t just be about which jobs pay the most. Scarth believes the title “best job” should also evaluate other factors, such as attainability, fulfillment, and longevity. “We see many people in their 40’s and 50’s begin to struggle with keeping up with the changing times, new technology, industries fading out and no longer being needed, along with competition – often cheaper competition as the new graduates hit the market.” And as a result, Scarth says “best job” should include positions that an employee can maintain and continue to advance and succeed in throughout their career.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

You May Also Like