How we picked the Best Jobs

It's still a tough job market out there, so when we set out to find America's Best Jobs this year, first and foremost we looked for professions that offer great growth opportunities. Another big factor: how well the job pays, since being able to make a good living is especially important now. We also considered softer issues, like how satisfying, flexible, or low stress a job is. Here are the details:

CNNMoney and compensation experts PayScale.com began with more than 9,000 job titles and identified those that require at least a bachelor's degree:

  • We focused on jobs projected to grow higher than average (14.3%) from 2010 to 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts.
  • Using PayScale.com survey data, we cut jobs where median pay is below $50,000 for workers with at least five or seven years' experience (depending on what's typical for a given job).
  • We also screened out jobs that might be great, but are relatively tiny, excluding any titles with fewer than 10,000 positions nationwide.
To rank the remaining 800 jobs, we looked at a variety of data. Most heavily weighted:
  • Job growth estimates for 2010-2020, according to BLS forecasts.
  • Median pay for experienced workers.
  • How big the field is: i.e. The estimated number of people working in the broader BLS 'job family.'

We also incorporated data from a PayScale.com survey of more than 120,000 workers. Employees ranked their jobs on quality-of-life factors such as stress, flexibility, satisfaction and how they feel their job affects the world. Ease of entering the field also was considered.

For the Best New Jobs in America, we looked at job titles in PayScale's database that were experiencing relatively high growth over the past five years, as indicated by an increase in job profiles on the site. We selected the top 6 based on their projected 10-year job growth and median pay for experienced workers.


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