Special Report

Best Jobs in America

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20. Optometrist
> Median annual salary: $111,790
> Projected employment growth, 2018-2028: 9.5%
> Total employment: 37,220

Optometrists diagnose and treat eye problems, injuries, and diseases. Many of the best jobs are not easy to get, and this occupation is no exception. Optometrists must earn a doctorate of optometry degree, which takes four years to complete, on top of four years of undergraduate studies. Additionally, optometrists need to be licensed in the state in which they practice.

The investment of time and money in education leads to one of the highest median salaries in the labor force. The typical optometrist earns nearly $112,000 a year.

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19. Physicist
> Median annual salary: $120,950
> Projected employment growth, 2018-2028: 9.5%
> Total employment: 17,620

Physicists are scientists who study the ways that matter and energy interact. They can work in any number of environments, including offices, laboratories, and observatories. One of the most secure jobs in the country, employment of physicists is projected to grow by nearly 10% between 2018 and 2028 as demand will likely increase in educational services and health care and social assistance industries.

Physicists typically have a doctoral or professional degree, and like most jobs with high educational requirements, they are well compensated. Most physicists in the United States earn over $120,000 a year.

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18. Physical therapist
> Median annual salary: $87,930
> Projected employment growth, 2018-2028: 21.9%
> Total employment: 228,600

Physical therapist is one of several occupations in health care to rank on this list. One of the most secure jobs in the country, demand for physical therapists is projected to grow by nearly 22% between 2018 and 2028 as baby boomers age and become increasingly susceptible to falls and conditions that require physical therapy.

Generally well compensated, physical therapists have a median annual salary of $87,930, more than double the median across all occupations. According to CareerCast, physical therapists generally have low levels of work-related stress.

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17. Application software developer
> Median annual salary: $103,620
> Projected employment growth, 2018-2028: 25.6%
> Total employment: 903,160

Application software developers typically create computer applications for consumers, such as games or word processors — though they can also create databases for or internal programs for companies. The work requires strong analytical, communication, and problem solving skills but is relatively low stress. Most application software developers are well compensated, earning over $100,000 a year.

Job openings for application software developers are projected to increase by a staggering 25.6% between 2018 and 2028 as demand for computer software continues to grow.

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16. Web developer
> Median annual salary: $69,430
> Projected employment growth, 2018-2028: 13.0%
> Total employment: 127,300

Web developers typically have a combined skill set of graphic design and programming, which they use to build websites. As retailers are increasingly shifting their businesses online, demand for web developers is projected to grow by 13.0% between 2018 and 2028. Generally, web developers have low levels of work-related stress and have relatively good work environments.

Though the median salary of $69,430 among web developers is lower than most occupations on this list, it is still over $30,000 higher than the median salary across all occupations.

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