The 25 Best Jobs Of 2012

Posted by on January 6, 2012

Picking a career is hard, in fact its so hard that most people will change theirs 5 to 7 times in their lifetime. But we here at List25 decided to simplify things for you. We found the careers that everyone else seems to like so now you just have to choose who you want to copy. Of course that is assuming that you are searching for a new career. Those of you stuck in your dead end jobs – we’re sorry, this may be a tough read.

Biomedical Engineer

Working closely with other scientists and physicians biomedical engineers are responsible for bringing us many of the advanced medical procedures we have today. They employ their knowledge of engineering to do everything from building MRI machines to developing new drug delivery processes. There is no other job that comes even close to matching the expected growth in this industry. It is calculated that jobs will increase by 72%. This is largely due to an aging population and extremely high demand for new medical technologies.


Emergency Management Specialist

Although not as visible as the Police, Paramedics, and Firefighters, Emergency Management Specialists work behind the scenes to make disaster response a success. Many times they are employed by governments but colleges, hospitals, and non-profits are big employers as well. Ever since 9/11 the job outlook as been fairly good especially considering that companies are more willing to pay for emergency planning and related services.



The eye is a complicated structure and optometry is therefore a complicated profession. Doctors of Optometry treat a wide variety of diseases and disorders pertaining to vision and there are even many opportunities to specialize within this already specialized profession. The expected job outlook is very positive especially when you combine an aging population with new advances in eye surgery.



When most people think of museum curators they probably imagine a grumpy old lady enforcing that impossible to keep “do not touch” policy. You couldn’t really fall farther from the truth though. The job of a curator can be as varied as the exhibits they curate. Many time they are required to do field work and research on various artifacts to determine authenticity and find new items to display. They tend to be experts in a particular field and may even publish journal articles on their research. Of course, curators have to know how to deal with the public as well considering that they are essentially the face of the museum.



Hollywood misconceptions aside, the job of an actuary involves significant risk…calculating it to be exact. Many times actuaries work for insurance companies employing mathematics to determine the likelihood of various events and risk of particular investments. Job outlook is expected to continue growing especially as the expanding healthcare industry begins to require more statistical and financial manpower.


Computer Systems Analyst

Computer Systems Analysts are the gurus behind the scenes who create and establish the computer systems that power businesses both large and small. With rapid advances in technology the demand for people in this profession is astronomical, especially with the advent of e-commerce and larger databases. Considering that only a bachelors degree is required for entry the potential payout is fairly lucrative hovering around $80,000.



As courtroom crazy as the world is becoming it flies in the face of logic to think that people would still submit their disputes to mediation, but the growth rate in this field remains above average. Many governments and corporations are seeing the value in mediation over litigation primarily because of the price tag…its significantly cheaper. The key in this industry is to gain experience in a niche and then eventually start your own firm.


Registered Nurse

As one of the fastest growing fields in the world nurses play a central and critical role in the health care system. Although there are many specialties and possible career paths a nurse can take, most nurses practice in physicians’ offices performing routine medical procedures such as checkups and shots. The outlook is tremendous and opportunity for advancement is high as well considering that many people move on to get masters degrees or become nurse practitioners.


Technical Writer

If you are one of those rare breeds that enjoy decoding assembly instructions then this may be the job for you. Technical Writers take hard to understand concepts and translate them into simple terms. This can include anything from the manual to your TIVO to the instructions on how to put together your office chair. Many times people in this profession freelance and specialization in medical and scientific fields can be a huge plus.


Sales Manager

This is certainly not a position for someone who can’t handle stress. Sales Managers are directly responsible for reaching the sales goals of the company and for finding a team to help reach that goal. This requires a broad skill set that combines numerical analysis with the ability to motivate others and establish solid client relationships. With great responsibility, however, comes great reward. The median earnings in this field hovered right around $100,000.


Network Architect

Network Architects, less commonly known as Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts, create and troubleshoot intranets for companies and governments. This job requires knowledge of both hardware and software and at times may require some manual labor when installing cables and other systems. As with any computer related field, the outlook for this profession is expected to be enormous and the payout quite nice as well.


Urban Planner

Part designer, part diplomat, Urban Planners are faced with the task of not only creating beautiful parks and residential complexes but also convincing everyone to get on board with the idea. Sometimes, however, the job involves less public elements such as simply making sure that the water and electricity continue to function as the project unfolds. Most new jobs will be with the government but as the population continues to expand there will be increased demand for housing and public transportation systems.


Physical Therapist

As health professionals Physical Therapists interact with Physicians and other providers by helping patients with rehab and recovery. The primary employers tend to be clinics and hospitals, while some therapists start their own private practices. Job outlook and pay is good across the board but its seems to be especially bright in rural areas.


Commercial Pilot

When most people think of pilot they immediately envision Boeing 767′s and trans-Atlantic overnighters. While this is true, most pilots work in a wide variety of other fields. Some are employed in the agricultural industry to dust crops while others help police and firefighters perform rescues. Jobs are expected to increase across the board, but with the recent layoffs in the the airline industry there may be a temporary spike in competition.


Financial Adviser

Within the financial services industry this is one of the more flexible career paths. Essentially it is whatever you make it. Many advisers do freelance work while other are employed by large financial services organizations. Specialization is usually key and many times you will find yourself competing with lawyers and accountants who are cross-certified. Although this profession is predicted to continue growing there is the possibility that more sophisticated and readily available online software could crowd out some jobs.

Syed Balkhi


Syed is a co-founder of List25 and a very successful blogger. He is most famously known for his blog WPBeginner that covers WordPress tutorials, beginners guides on topics like installing WordPress, choosing WordPress hosting, and more.

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  • Anna

    This article is grossly misinformed regarding PAs and the oversimplification of their career and ability to practice. It is not by any means a two year process. PA programs are so competitive they require a Bachelors degree (4 yrs as best) in premedical studies/biology with a 3.5 GPA or higher just for the application prcess. Then if you’re selected you get to endure 2-3 additional years of a bootcamp structured medical school curriculum in which you test every week and breeze through anatomy,physiology, clinical medicine, womens health,infectious disease, emergency medicine,clinical skills and procedures, pharmacology etc. Usually there are two semesters part 1,2 for each core requirement each successive course harder than the first,designed to weed out weak clinicians. Then, you do your clinicals. 6-8 weeks in each specialty and must demonstrate out in the field clinical mastery of ortho,womens health,emergency medicine, dermatology,internal medicine, gastroenterology,pediatrics,general surgery. You are paired with an MD who then appraises your clinical worth and evaluates your clinical skills on their patients. If you earn a B or better in all clinicals the academic part is done. Now you take you Medical Board, thats right, even if you graduate you may never get to practice if you do not earn your medical license on your state exam. You must recertify every 5 yrs. Bottom line, for me becoming a PA-C (certified,required to practice in TX)it took 7 yrs. I am a Masters level PA and all curriculums in TX now require an MS to apply for your board as a PA and attempt certification. So,please do not make anyone think this is an easy career path. I saw my family three times during PA school. And there is a lot of sacrifice involved. And for everyone else that doesn’t understand NPs and PAs respect eachother alot. It is not a competition. We aretrained in the medical model like doctors and Nps are trained in the nursing model and it is very complementary to work together. Anyone else who makes it about ego or title or even salary is already detracting from their patients and the meaning of these professions. It isn’t always rewarding. More often than not we eat humble pie from patients who don’t understand our training and/or background. Its part of the job. Praise to all the EMTs and nurses and our MAs. With out you all we could not do our jobs.

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  • Alia

    I am a graduating medical student and have to admit I do not know too much about the distinction between NP or PA. I know purely from personal experience as a patient I have received great care from nurse practitioners. I’m happy with my career choice and options but I will admit that I’ve sometimes wondered if NP would have been a better option. I think for people who are purely interested in clinical work NP is a good way to go.

    On the other hand I’ve been completely unimpressed with any PA I’ve gone to for care. (Again I acknowledge that this is only my experience and may not be relevant for other people). There IS a big difference in knowledge and confidence. How can someone with two years of training have the same knowledge base as someone with ten? Yes i know that you continue to learn in practice but Clinical training begins after two years for most MD programs and it’s standardized. It sounds like for PAs the training and experience is dependent on whoever hires them. Sure I guess if someone goes home and studies every night and has an amazing teacher working with them for 7 years then they will have a great knowledge base but there’s no way to know what you’re getting.

    It’s not about money or status. I wouldn’t want a loved one to go to someone who chooses their career because it’s easier – not when it comes to their health.

    The whole idea that it’s easier to switch fields if your a PA is uninformed. Even if you can switch jobs you still need to spend time getting trained. The potential for growth is much greater for an MD. I’ve met MDs who’ve switched careers and often the residency programs that except them are willing to work with them to make a schedule that makes sense (ex. A practicing obgyn who wants to switch to EM probably won’t have to redo his/her residency obgyn months).

    All I’m saying is don’t give up on MDs. It’s a great field with a lot of great options and there’s nothing wrong with a challenge!

    P.S. I think RNs are incredible and the work they do is incredible and a great RN is invaluable.
    P.P.S. I will also say that ER PAs are usually the best at suturing. If you’re in an ER and need stitches don’t demand that someone from plastic surgery come because the PA will probably do a great job.

    • Alia

      Oops except = accept :-P

    • Dave

      You’re correct. You don’t know much about NPs or PAs. As a graduating Medical Student you should learn, rather quickly, to know about something before you render comment and make yourself look like a fool. This comment might anger you but trust me… it’s good advice. Learn before you spew nonsense.

    • PA#!

      Sounds like you certainly have no real knowledge about the profession….. PA’s have 4years under grad and 2 years post grad, which is straight through. Our professors were the same as the DO program and our clinicals were with med students, residents exc….We have a residency program at our hospital and I’m involved in teaching the residents since we spend so much time together. We are medical based training vs. nursing based. Better school yourself more with the profession because I doubt as an MD you will survive without one!!!!

  • Stephanie

    Why all the hate on PA’s? I was a nurse and am now a PA and would never go back! PAs are treated as MDs in regards to respect and type of medical focus. I thought about nurse anesthesia, but I wanted to action and mental challenge that PA get everyday. If you are a productive PA who is good at billing, you can easily match/surpass a CRNA salary. Great profession as are all the other professions listed here!

  • dr. ravi

    no need to give same position to PA as doctor because them duties is just work with physician that sit..

    • Mike

      How about you learning how to spell?
      Like one of my professors said, no one has a monopoly on knowledge.Just because you spent 10 years in Med school it doesn’t make you any more knowledgeable than a PA who practiced medicine for 7 years.

  • Amber

    PA’s are awesome!

  • Shannon

    There was a much better top jobs of 2012 listed by Forbes which ranked jobs based off job outlook, job stress, income, benefits etc. This list seems off. By a lot. I’d rather go off Forbes list than a blog where they misrepresent most careers and income outlook. Forbes actually “researched” for their lists. Where’s the science and methods for this list??

  • MD

    What they dont mention about these assistants is that they do all my work for me and I still get $400K a year… Also Nurse practinioners can do the same job assistants do.

    • William Sutton

      There is a distinct divide in the education, despite the rumors they’re “interchangeable”. NPs cannot first-assist in surgery without further training, and build upon a patient-based medical model, not the physician-based medical model. I would recommend recently-graduated PAs who’ve taken courses in diagnostics over NPs with anything less than 10 years of practice..

    • PA

      that raises a question for the future outlook and need for physicians vs PAs. especially with the new healthcare pla. as the number of PAs grows at a much higher rate than the MD, then your “400K” salary will also become less since there will be more PAs to do your job. one MD can supervise several PAs.

    • Dave

      You are absolutely right. I’m the PA who posted before. Without MDs, PAs are useless because of supervision. NPs are smart in seeking independent practice. PAs stick to the dependent role and they think it’s a good move. I’m a PA and I regret making this choice because while there are jobs, you’re still someone’s potential slave.

      Bang for buck- RN is a much better career. Probably the best career in medicine right now. Sure you don’t have as much autonomy but the salaries are good. They have unions, and most work 3 12 hour shifts.

      As for MDs- they will never be replaced because MDs are ‘captains of the ship’ and that’s perfectly ok with me.

      You have to give credit where credit is due but you also have to fend for yourself sometimes; something the PA profession fails to do.

  • Oliver

    I am a PA in South Florida. The article for the most part is accurate, but most, if not all, graduates will NOT make six figures ANY time soon. Further more: “might be earning a little less than your physician counterparts” is just FALSE! PAs typically earn half or less than their suppervising physicians. South Florida has 5 PA programs that oversaturates the market so we might be ‘below average’ in terms of pay/benefits. That being said, I would not do anything else with my life. I am very happy and proud to be in this profession.

  • Doing Big Things!!

    Well I have a Finance degree, an MBA, and now I’m in PA school. I don’t think I’ll ever have a problem with a job!! My true love lies in Medicine though. PA is definitely the way to go!! I thought long and hard financially about it and did the math. MDs take on much more debt and don’t really start making money until they are older. Then they still have all the debt. Why not be a PA and start making over 100,000 a year right off the bat?? Last time I checked nurses don’t make 100,000 a year.

    • Jen M

      Depends on what type of nurse…..

      I’m a nurse anesthetist and I may roughly 30-50 dollars an hour MORE than the PA’s where I work.

  • nicole

    There are 5 year PA programs. So you can be a PA in 5 years and make over 100,00 a year working 3 days a week or be a doctor 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, & 3 years of residency and do not technically start making real money for 11 years. and when you are a doctor you have to work all the time. PAs all the way !!!!

  • Dawn Cottone

    I guess I chose the right Profession !!!

  • Stephanie

    yeah physician assistants! it’s a great profession and the mobility, pay, and autonomy make it all the better!

  • Lol

    Stock brokers make sometimes 500k to 1M a year, with little to no effort. They make as much as or more than doctors sometimes with much less schooling. A financial planner I guess would be similar, but this article is bs. How is being a fireman or a PA any better pay wise? Lol

    • Firefighter

      You are a money hungry idiot. Firefighting, EMS, and any medical profession represents the preservation of life. Its not about the money you moron, its just a bonus. You might need us one day. Think about it.

  • Erin Harrigan

    Lol…. the average salary of a sales manager is NOT $100K!

  • Jensingstheblues

    Sad to see Private Music Instructor did not make that list. I left a well-paying, promotion-guaranteed job in banking to start my own private music studio. I now make triple what I was making in my previous career. I set my own schedule, I have less than half of the stress, and I wake up every day excited about my job. I work from home and I am my own boss. I offer adults and children a chance to read, understand and perform music. Every day the work gets easier and more enjoyable as I get better at it. What’s not to love? The arts were way underrepresented on this list.

  • Nic

    So what about the Game Industry? Growing industry that makes games?

  • Dave

    #1 should NOT be Physician Assistant. I am a Physician Assistant. It’s not a good career. You do all the work the Doctor does not want to do and get paid like a Nurse!!

    • LJ

      Hey now, Dave old boy, maybe you’re just in the wrong field or working for the wrong supervising physician. I am a PA in an emergency department in New York City, and I absolutely LOVE MY JOB. I help make crazy diagnoses and come up with treatment plans with my team. I’m treated with great respect and nobody cares one bit that I’m a PA and not an MD. The patients don’t care, as long as I do my job well. One of my PA colleagues was featured in a Diagnosis column in the NY Times, because it was the PA and NOT the MD who was smart enough to come up with a diagnosis worthy of Lisa Sanders’ esteemed column.
      The best part about being a PA is the flexibility: four months out of the year, I travel to Africa and Southeast Asia to do surgery and diagnose and treat infectious diseases that you never see in the United States.
      I LOVE MY JOB.

      • S from NY

        lolll Lisa Sanders is a crazy b!tch!!!

        PA student here.. done in less than 11 months!!

        Love the profession.. hate NCCPA though

    • PA#!

      you need to learn how to negotiate or find a new job!!!! The majority of the time it’s not that way…

  • E. k

    They make it sound like PA school so much shorter than medical school in the didactic aspect. They are comparing it incorrectly because they included undergrad for med school do in order to vampire it correctly try also need to do that for pa school which would make it 6 yrs and some schools are 3 yrs vs 2 which would make it 7 yrs.

    • Rachel

      Actually, for the 8 yrs to become an MD, he’s counting 4 yrs of med school and 3+ yrs of residency. PAs do not require residency, so 2+ yrs of grad school and you’re ready to practice.

    • HG

      Just FYI, The 8 years of training for doctors does not include undergrad: its 4 years medical school 3-7 years residency training depending on the specialty.

      Like all internet blog lists this needs to be taken with a grain of salt, what data is there to back this up? Salaries? Job satisfaction? Still, as someone in the medical field I’d have to say nurse, nurse practitioner, and PA are all pretty good in today’s economy when you consider they require a fraction of the school(and debt) of medical doctors and have significant job security and flexibility. But its still a lot of hard work, and youre lower on the medical totem pole. You’ll be doing a lot of the hands on, dirty procedures. If that’s what you prefer, that kind of hands on patient contact rather than the more cerebral physician’s role, then its a good choice. Like everything, it’s only a “best job” if you make it the best for you.

      • BK

        FYI PA’s have 4 years of undergrad as well plus a 2 year full time year round masters program.

  • Kristin

    Or the teacher to teach them all how to do it?

  • Claire

    yay! i am in college to become a curator & researcher!

  • Praveena Sarathchandra

    Where is the “Software Engineer” who codes the systems for the above people? :O

    • John O’Leary

      Agree 100%!!!!

    • Funky Noodle


    • Jack

      They got outsourced to India and China