The Top 20 Healthiest Jobs in America
Last Updated: Nov 11, 2016
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A recent NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll of more than 1,600 workers in the United States revealed that more than four in 10 working adults (44 percent) believe their current job has an impact on their overall health.
We’ve painstakingly culled a list by analyzing and comparing five studies: a heart-health study from the Centers for Disease Control, a best-paying opportunities jobs list from U.S. News & World Report, a Well-Being Index jobs study focused on depression rates, an overall well-being jobs study from CareerCast and a fitness/activity-level study from the CDC.
Taking into account both your mental and physical health, use our results to help determine which jobs are the healthiest opportunities around. Counting back from 20, with 1 being the most healthy, is your chosen profession on this list?
As it turns out, mental-health experts seem to have a strong understanding of how to tend to their physical health, as well. They score high rankings for fitness/activity level, are paid well and rank 10th for heart health. What’s more, they’re sixth least likely to suffer from depression — as one would hope!
Feet take a lot of wear and tear from carrying body weight, which is why podiatrists tend to have plenty of work to do. As doctors, their awareness of how the body works translates into a high fitness-level ranking, impressive rankings for heart health and compensation and a low likelihood of depression.
Bean counters must work out a lot to compensate for all that time desk in April! They rank second in heart health and high for fitness/activity level. Always in demand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates as much as a 10 percent employment growth in this field by 2020.
Compensation-wise, dentists come in a close second to their orthodontist colleagues in the U.S. News & World Report’s best-paying jobs index. They also rank high in fitness, are sixth least likely to be depressed, and rank high on the heart health list too.
Helping others to see clearly must have a positive impact — optometrists rank sixth least likely to have depression and an impressive 10th for heart health. Plus, the average salary is in the six figures — enough to provide a sense of security, which, by the way, helps with blood pressure.
DIAGNOSTIC MEDICAL SONOGRAPHER
The health care professionals who administer sonograms know a thing or two about well-being: They rank fifth in the overall well-being study. They also rank an impressive 10th in heart health and are 12th least likely to be depressed.
These oral-health pros seem to know a little bit about keeping healthy in general as well. They rank high for fitness and are sixth least likely to be depressed. What’s more, orthodontists came in first in the U.S. News & World Report’s best-paying jobs list. Money doesn’t always buy happiness, but it can buy peace of mind!
These innovators are responsible for inventing the medical and biological devices and software used in the health care field. Health care jobs often have great benefits, which makes self-care and fitness much easier to facilitate, as evidenced by their fourth-place ranking for heart health.
There’s great satisfaction in helping others. Occupational therapists customize programs to help mentally, physically, developmentally and emotionally impaired people get back on their feet (sometimes literally). They understand how to keep things in perspective. They rank seventh for having low rates of depression and 11th for overall well-being.
These problem-solvers are fit as a fiddle, ranking high when it comes to fitness/activity level and third when it comes to heart health. A rank of 35th when it comes to compensation is still relatively high — they make six figures a year and often work in federal government or in science and engineering research companies.
Though often computer-bound, mapmakers aren’t likely to have depression (they came in at 12th least depressed), scored high on the CDC fitness study, fifth for heart health and 16th for overall well-being.
SOFTWARE DEVELOPER & WEB DEVELOPER
Though both positions tie for 26th according to the overall well-being study these innovative techies come in first for fitness/activity level and score third for heart health. Those tech-company bike racks and wellness policies seem to prove effective!
Speech-language pathologists help those with speech difficulties overcome their obstacles. Sometimes they can work independently, which might leave them time to work out. They rank third for fitness/activity level, seventh for least likely to be depressed, eighth for heart health and ninth in overall well-being. Pretty impressive numbers across the board!
Physical therapists help others recover from injuries, so they possess a great deal of knowledge about the human body when it comes to identifying and healing injuries — knowledge that can be self-applied. Makes complete sense that they ranked among the fittest of the bunch.
Though they ranked 29th on the best-paying list, IT management professionals (the folks who keep your office computer systems running) rank third for heart health and have the lowest rates of depression of the lot. It’s no wonder: People who suffer from depression tend to eat poorly, get less exercise and smoke — all of which can contribute to heart disease.
These hearing-test administrators rank high for fitness level, 11th for heart health and are seventh least likely to suffer from depression. As many of them work in tandem with ENTs, they likely have great benefits and easy access to a variety of medical professionals.
OPERATIONS RESEARCH ANALYST
These strategic thinkers mine data to help businesses and organizations keep their operation costs down. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects as much as 30 percent growth for this position over the next 10 years — far more accelerated than average for all occupations. Plus, they came in an impressive second for heart health.
DATA SCIENTIST AND STATICIAN
Using math, statistics and research, these folks analyze complex data for knowledge. They’re tied with statisticians for third place on our list (as well as coming in first and second in overall well-being, respectively). Though both are tied for heart health and have a low likelihood of depression, data scientists tend to make a little more money, according to the overall well-being study.
COMPUTER SYSTEMS ANALYST
Like their software engineering colleagues, computer systems analysts ranked high for fitness level, third for heart health, third for best paying and 12th for overall well-being. With no shortage of opportunities in the tech field, jobs are plentiful and companies have a tendency to provide their workers with loads of health-supporting benefits.
SENIOR SOFTWARE ENGINEER
Though only ranking 13th for best paying, senior software engineers were statistically least likely to be depressed and most likely to be fit. They also come in an impressive third place for heart health. It makes sense: Tech companies like Yelp and Facebook often have on-site gyms and bike racks.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you have any of these jobs? How happy would you say people who have your job are? Were you surprised by any of these? What do you think is missing from the list? Let us know in the comments section!
Related: 15 Secrets to a Better Work-Life Balance
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