NPs Have the Best Job in Healthcare

Derick Alison
Derick Alison
4 Min Read

Being a nurse practitioner (NP) is the best job in healthcare, and the physician assistant (PA) is a close second, according to U.S. News & World Report‘s 2024 rankings.

Indeed, the NP ranks first overall in the publisher’s top jobs list for this year, beating out financial manager, software developer, and IT manager. The PA comes in fifth on the main list, according to the rankings.

“The 10-year outlook for this occupation [NP] is strong, with one in three of the top 100 jobs being in healthcare — an increase from one in four in the 2023 rankings,” Erika Giovanetti, money expert at U.S. News, said in a press release. “Future growth and a high median salary make this career sector appealing as well.”

This year’s “Best Jobs” list from U.S. News logs the top employment opportunities across 17 categories, including healthcare and healthcare support.

NPs reign on the healthcare-specific list, making a median annual salary of $121,610, and PAs in second place make a median salary of $126,010.

Other jobs include the nurse anesthetist at number 6, making a median of $203,090, and the physical therapist at number 7, with a median salary of $97,720.

The first physician job doesn’t appear until the 9th spot — and it’s for the psychiatrist, making a median salary of $226,880.

Then, the anesthesiologist holds spot number 13 ($239,200), followed by the ob/gyn at spot 14 ($239,200) and the pediatrician at spot 22 ($190,350).

Genetic counselors hold the top spot on the healthcare support list, making a median salary of $89,990. They’re followed by orthotists and prosthetists ($77,070), dental hygienists ($81,400), and hearing aid specialists ($59,020).

Data for the annual best-jobs lists come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, according to U.S. News methodology. Jobs are ranked based on their overall score, which combines five variables into a single weighted average score, the organization said. Those variables are future prospects/growth potential (30%); wage potential (25%); employment rate (20%); job safety and stability (15%); and work/life balance (10%).

Here are the top 10 jobs from the healthcare-specific lists, along with median salary.

Healthcare

1. NP; $121,610

2. PA; $126,010

3. Speech-Language Pathologist; $84,140

4. Occupational Therapist; $93,180

5. Veterinarian; $103,260

6. Nurse Anesthetist; $203,090

7. Physical Therapist; $97,720

8. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon; $239,200

9. Psychiatrist; $226,880

10. Registered Nurse; $81,220

Health Care Support

1. Genetic Counselor; $89,990

2. Orthotist and Prosthetist; $77,070

3. Dental Hygienist; $81,400

4. Hearing Aid Specialist; $59,020

5. Vet Tech; $38,240

6. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer; $81,350

7. Occupational Therapy Assistant; $64,250

8. Physical Therapist Assistant; $62,770

9. Massage Therapist; $49,860

10. Pharmacy Tech; $37,790

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    Kristina Fiore leads MedPage’s enterprise & investigative reporting team. She’s been a medical journalist for more than a decade and her work has been recognized by Barlett & Steele, AHCJ, SABEW, and others. Send story tips to k.fiore@medpagetoday.com. Follow

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