Best healthcare jobs of 2015

Healthcare jobs topped the list of U.S. News & World Report's 100 Best Jobs of 2015 — securing seven of the top 10 spots.

The health sector offers good prospects in terms of salary, future job prospects and growth. Healthcare support jobs are expected to grow the most by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The following rankings list the top 10 jobs in the healthcare sector for 2015 based on stress level, work-life balance, growth volume, growth rate, median salary, current employment rate and future job prospects, which compares the projected number of openings to the future number of job seekers.

1. Dentist. Dentists earn a median salary of $146, 340 and maintain a good work-life balance. BLS expects dental jobs to continue to grow in over the next decade too, predicting 23,000 new dentist jobs by 2022.

2. Nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners secured a top spot due to the autonomy of the position and projected growth. BLS expects 37,000 new NP jobs by 2022, according to the report. The median salary is $92,670, according to BLS.

3. Physician. Job prospects for physicians are expected to skyrocket over the next decade due to the physician shortage. BLS predicts 123,000 job openings for physicians between 2012 and 2022. They also bring home a decent salary: general internists make a median salary of $186,850, according to BLS data. Some of the best paying areas in the country for physicians are Wilmington, N.C., Witchita, Kan., and Tallahassee, Fla., according to the report.

4. Dental hygienist. Hygienists make a median salary of $71,110, but tend to have flexible schedules and often only work part time. Some work in dental offices, but many find ambulatory care centers also pay well for their services. Hygienists make top dollar in California too — especially in major metropolitan areas, according to the report.

5. Physical therapist. PTs have a projected growth rate of 36 percent by 2022 and make a median salary of $81,030, according to the report. PTs working in schools, home health care or nursing homes make the highest wages. The top 10 percent earn $113,340, according to the report.

6. Registered nurse. With the shift to team-based care, nursing jobs may be in higher demand. BLS forecasts 19.4 percent employment growth between 2012 and 2022. Nurses make a median salary of $66,220 and, like dental hygienists, tend to find the highest pay in California's metropolitan areas.

7. Physician assistant. PAs are a top job because they maintain an incredibly high level of employment: Just 1.4 percent are unemployed and 33,000 more jobs are expected to be added by 2022. Plus, PAs bring home good pay. PA compensation is highest in the home healthcare sector.

8. Diagnostic medical sonographer. Sonographers benefit from high levels of patient interaction. They also can find work in a variety of settings, including outpatient care centers, universities and professional schools. They make a median salary of $66,410.

9. Occupational therapist. Occupational therapists make a median salary of $76,940, according to BLS data from 2013. Home healthcare settings offer the best compensation and the top 10 percent bring in $109,380 a year. Jobs also are expected to grow 29 percent between 2012 and 2022.

10. Occupational therapy assistant. Occupational Therapy Assistant jobs are expected to grow rapidly, with predicted employment growth of 42.6 percent through 2022. They took home a $55,270 median salary in 2013, and salary can range anywhere from $34,870 to $74,000.


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