America's Best Careers 2009

You'll find all of America's Best Careers--along with its most overrated and up-and-coming--here.

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U.S. News has plowed through hundreds of careers, looking for the jobs with the best outlook in this recessionary economy (and beyond), the highest rates of job satisfaction, the least difficult training necessary, the most prestige, and the highest pay. These careers have staying power: They're smart moves now, and they'll be smart moves for years to come.

Overrated Careers

It looks glamorous on TV. Or you've got an uncle who loves it. Or you heard you could earn a lot of money at it. People pick careers for many reasons, including some bad ones. So in addition to identifying the Best Careers for 2009, U.S. News has also highlighted 13 occupations with a mystique that exceeds reality.

Full list of overrated careers

Ahead-of-the-Curve Careers

Cutting-edge careers are often exciting, and they offer a strong job market. Alas, the cutting edge too often turns out to be the bleeding edge, so here are some careers that, while relatively new, are already viable and promise further growth. They emerge from six megatrends.

Full list of ahead-of-the-curve careers

Best-Kept-Secret Careers

Job seekers have it tough in these troubled times, especially in going after big-name careers. It's a great time to consider these hidden gems, which score well on the Best Careers 2009 selection criteria.

Full list of best-kept-secret careers