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# About the U.S. News Best Jobs Rankings Methodology

## We give job seekers an intuitive method to compare professions based on components that matter most

December 18, 2012

3. Median Salary

What is it?

This is the median salary earned by someone employed in a given occupation, according to BLS.

Why is it important?

Most people prefer higher salaries to lower salaries.

How is this score calculated?

We translate median salary from a dollar amount to a numerical score using the following formula: Salary Score = SQRT(Median Salary) 40. We set a maximum Salary Score of 10 points.

4. Employment Rate

What is it?

The percentage of people in this occupation who are currently employed.

Why is it important?

It's more challenging to get a job in an occupation with high unemployment.

How is this score calculated?

We calculate the employment score by translating unemployment rates, recorded for each profession, to a 10-point scale. For example, if a job's unemployment rate is 4 percent or less, it earned the full possible 10 points; a job with unemployment between 4.1 percent and 6 percent earned 8 points; between 6.1 and 8 percent earned 6 points; between 8.1 and 10 percent earned 4 points, and those jobs with unemployment higher than 10 percent earned 2 points.

5. Future Job Prospects

What is it?

The Job Prospect rating indicates the ease of landing a job in the future, based on the number of openings vs. the number of job seekers. For example, the BLS projects that there will be more database administrator job openings than candidates available to fill those jobs. Correspondingly, "database administrator" has an excellent job prospect rating. By contrast, the BLS projects there will be more lawyers seeking jobs than there will be openings. The occupation of "lawyer" has a low (competitive) job prospect rating.

Why is it important?

If you want to pursue a career in which the BLS projects it will be easier to find employment over the next 10 years, aim for a job with a higher job prospect rating.

How is this score calculated?

We translate the BLS descriptive rating to a score of up to 10 points, so a job that received an "excellent" prospect rating earned 10 points, a job that has a "balanced" rating earned 6.7 points, and a "competitive" rating earned a job a score of 3.3 in that category. Those jobs for which prospects weren't identified on that scale were considered not applicable for a prospect score.

6. Stress Level

What is it?

This rating indicates the amount of day-to-day stress someone might experience while working in an occupation.

Why is it important?

The level of stress an individual feels on their job can lower their quality of life, negatively affect their health, and alter their opinion of the work they do.

How is this score calculated?

Based on interviews and extensive research, our editors assign qualitative stress-level ratings to each occupation. These ratings are intended to represent the average stress level for the occupation, and it's important to note that actual stress varies significantly among individuals and their specific job circumstances.

These qualitative stress level ratings are translated on a 10-point scale. A stress level rating of "High" translates to 2 points (the lowest score), a rating of "Above Average" translates to 4 points, a rating of "Average" translates to 6 points, "Below Average" to 8 points, and "Low" translates to 10 points (the highest score).

7. Work-Life Balance

What is it?

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