Ranking the Top Physician Jobs in America

Do you have the best job in America? Perhaps not … but your Physician Assistant comes awfully close. PAs came in second place in the "Top 100 Best Jobs in America," according to Money magazine. Eight physician specialties made the list -- is yours one of them?

Do you have the best job in America? Perhaps not … but your Physician Assistant comes awfully close. Physician Assistants came in second-place in a ranking of the “Top 100 Best Jobs in America,” as determined by Money magazine and payroll-data website Payscale.com.

Why do PAs have it so good? “No med school, no grueling internship, more freedom to move from one specialty to another -- yet all the satisfaction of delivering care,” Money magazine says. Median salary for PAs is currently $92,000, with top pay of $124,000, according to the magazine. Jobs for PAs over the next decade are expected to grow at a rate of 39%. PAs also got high marks from the ranking for personal satisfaction, job security and flexibility, though the position’s high stress was cited as a drawback.

In total, more than a quarter, or 27, of the Top 100 jobs were in the healthcare industry. Of that total, eight jobs were physicians. Did your specialty make the list? Here’s Money’s ranking of America’s top physician jobs:

No. 12. Dentist.

Salary

Median pay (experienced)

$142,000

Top pay

$237,000

Opportunity

10-year job growth (2008-18)

15%

Total jobs (current)

110,000

Quality of Life Ratings

Personal satisfaction

A

Job security

B

Future growth

A

Benefit to society

A

Low stress

C

Flexiblity

B

No. 25. Emergency Room Physician.

Salary

Median pay (experienced)

$250,000

Top pay

$368,000

Opportunity

10-year job growth (2008-18)

22%

Total jobs (current)

25,000

Quality of Life Ratings

Personal satisfaction

A

Job security

B

Future growth

A

Benefit to society

A

Low stress

D

Flexibility

B

No. 29. Psychiatrist.

Salary

Median pay (experienced)

$185,000

Top pay

$269,000

Opportunity

10-year job growth (2008-18)

24%

Total jobs (current)

40,000

Quality of Life Ratings

Personal satisfaction

B

Job security

C

Future growth

A

Benefit to society

A

Low stress

D

Flexibility

B

No. 34. Primary Care Physician.

Salary

Median pay (experienced)

$174,000

Top pay

$256,000

Opportunity

10-year job growth (2008-18)

22%

Total jobs (current)

35,000

Quality of Life Ratings

Personal satisfaction

A

Job security

B

Future growth

A

Benefit to society

B

Low stress

D

Flexibility

B

No. 56. Optometrist.

Salary

Median pay (experienced)

$108,000

Top pay

$163,000

Opportunity

10-year job growth (2008-18)

30%

Total jobs (current)

35,000

Quality of Life Ratings

Personal satisfaction

A

Job security

C

Future growth

A

Benefit to society

A

Low stress

C

Flexibility

B

No. 68. Anesthesiologist.

Salary

Median pay (experienced)

$290,000

Top pay

$393,000

Opportunity

10-year job growth (2008-18)

22%

Total jobs (current)

25,000

Quality of Life Ratings

Personal satisfaction

A

Job security

C

Future growth

A

Benefit to society

A

Low stress

D

Flexibility

B

No. 75. General Surgeon.

Salary

Median pay (experienced)

$260,000

Top pay

$412,000

Opportunity

10-year job growth (2008-18)

22%

Total jobs (current)

20,000

Quality of Life Ratings

Personal satisfaction

B

Job security

A

Future growth

B

Benefit to society

A

Low stress

D

Flexibility

B

No. 100. Obstetrician/Gynecologist.

Salary

Median pay (experienced)

$210,000

Top pay

$313,000

Opportunity

Opportunity 10-year job growth (2008-18)

22%

Total jobs (current)

20,000

Quality of Life Ratings

Personal satisfaction

B

Job security

B

Future growth

A

Benefit to society

B

Low stress

D

Flexibility

A

How did Money come up with this list? Experts at PayScale.com used U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics growth forecasts for 7,000 jobs, and then identified industries with the greatest increases in jobs requiring bachelor’s degrees. It then ranked the positions by their estimated growth and pay, and eliminated jobs that were projected to grow less than 10% between 2008 and 2018. Also cut were jobs with pay below $60,000 (except high-growth jobs) and those with fewer than 10,000 positions available nationwide. After culling the list, jobs were ranked by several quality-of-life factors, such as stress and flexibility, and short- and long-term employment outlook.

No surprise which quality of life category got low marks across the board for physicians: Low stress.