About the U.S. News Best Jobs Ranking Methodology

An insider’s look at our process for selecting and ranking the best jobs of the year.

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4. Employment rate. 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 translate 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. This rating indicates the ease of landing a job in the future, based on the number of openings versus 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, so this job has an excellent job prospect rating. By contrast, the BLS projects there will be more lawyers seeking jobs than there will be openings, so that occupation has a low job prospect rating and will likely be competitive.

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 one 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 score of 3.3. Those jobs for which prospects weren't identified on that scale were considered not applicable for a prospect score.

6. Stress level. 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 in his or her job can lower quality of life, negatively affect health and alter someone's opinion of the work he or she does.

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 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. This rating captures how much any profession will affect lifestyle.

Why is it important?

Finding the appropriate balance between career, ambition, health, family and leisure activities can improve job performance.

How is this score calculated?

Based on interviews and an assessment of literature, U.S. News editors assign qualitative work-life balance ratings for each occupation. Similar to stress level, it's important to note that work-life balance may vary significantly among individuals and with specific job circumstances.

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

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