Special Report

The Most (and Least) Meaningful Jobs

10. Anesthesiologists
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 29,220
> Annual median wage: $00
> Job satisfaction: 83%

Like many jobs with high reported levels of fulfillment, anesthesiologists work in medicine. Anesthesiologists are responsible for administering anesthetics before, during, and after surgical procedures. Helping people in need in such a tangible way likely affirms a sense of meaning among professionals in the field. Though the job is fulfilling, it is not especially easy to become an anesthesiologists. The vast majority of anesthesiologist jobs require post-doctorate training.

9. Epidemiologists
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 5,460
> Annual median wage: $69,450
> Job satisfaction: 77%

While professionals in several jobs report feeling that their work makes the world a better place, epidemiologists are one of the few who truly work on a global scale. Epidemiologists work to identify and prevent the spread of diseases and conditions before they become serious problems. Epidemiologists, for example, have been working to identify the connection between the mosquito-borne Zika virus and microcephaly, a disease that can cause physical deformity and stops brain development. Epidemiology is a relatively specialized position. Less than 5,500 epidemiologists are currently employed in the United States.

8. Chiropractors
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 32,080
> Annual median wage: $64,440
> Job satisfaction: 70%

Only six jobs in the country have a higher share of workers who feel that their job makes the world a better place than chiropractors. Chiropractors primarily help their patients by manipulating their spine in order to treat specific bodily aches and pains. As the baby boom generation continues to age, employment in the field is projected to grow by 14% over the next eight years, roughly twice as fast as employment growth across all occupations. Many chiropractors may have a great deal of independence or control over their work schedule as roughly one-third of all chiropractors in the country are self employed, one of the largest such shares of any occupation.

7. Psychiatrists
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 24,060
> Annual median wage: N/A
> Job satisfaction: 85%

The 24,060 psychiatrists working in the United States are very well compensated, earning nearly $200,000 a year on average. Income is an important factor in job satisfaction, and the position’s high earnings may explain the 85% job satisfaction rate among psychiatrists, which is tied for 10th highest across all occupations. Of course, many psychiatrists may enjoy their work because they feel they are making a difference. Of the psychiatrists surveyed by PayScale, 92% said they felt they were making the world a better place.

6. Radiation therapists
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 16,930
> Annual median wage: $80,220
> Job satisfaction: 86%

Radiation therapists are at the forefront of the fight against cancer, one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Of the roughly 16,930 radiation therapists working in the country, 93% say the world is a better place because of their work. Like many other jobs in medicine, an aging population is contributing to faster than average projected employment growth in the field. By 2024, there will be an estimated 14% more radiation therapists, roughly double the growth estimate across all occupations.