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The Best Jobs of 2012

The Top 50 - Best Jobs in America      Top 10: Highest-paying careers      Top 10: Fastest-growing fields      TOP 5 JOBS IF YOU JUST NEED A CHANGE      TOP 5 JOBS IF YOU GIVING UP PLAYDATES      TOP 5 JOBS IF YOU'RE HANGING UP THE UNIFORM      TOP AMERICAN SIX FIGURE JOBS      TOP 5 JOBS IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A SECOND ACT    TOP 10 detailed industries with the largest wage and salary employment growth, for 10 years    TOP 8 JOBS in United States 2008    TOP 10 Dream Career    Top 8 Careers to Help Lower Your Stress Meter     Highest Paying Majors in College ;   5 Jobs with Surprisingly High Salaries   ;  10 Hot Jobs That Start at $50K+    10 Best Jobs Requiring Two-Year Degrees   Fast-Growing Careers With High Salaries   Top 5 High-paying service jobs   U.S. master's degree graduates of the 10 highest paid professional    U.S. PHD degree graduates of the 8 highest paid professional   Six Flexible Careers That Pay $70k   Dirty Jobs That Pay Well      The Quickest Route to a Six-Figure Job      Top 50 BEST JOBS IN AMERICA 2009      Top 10 Jobs for 2010      10 Best and Worst Jobs for 2010      20 Worst-Paying College Degrees in 2010      Top 8 Colleges That Bring the Highest Paycheck 2011      10 great jobs in high-growth fields 2012     

10. Occupational Therapist

Salary Range: $48,920-$102,520
The term "occupational therapist" is purposely vague, because the purview for which these highly trained professionals could provide therapy is exhaustive. Patients with mental, physical, developmental, and emotional disabilities might see an occupational therapist to learn to function independently. There is no "typical" day, and therapists' specific--yet varied-- skills will particularly be in demand as a large chunk of our population ages. This is one of fastest growing occupations this decade, but to land one of the 36,400 positions available before 2020, you'll have needed a headstart. Certified therapists must earn at least a master's degree from an accredited university.

9. Computer Programmer

Salary Range: $40,820-$114,180
Unlike some of the others on the list, computer programmers might be able to enter the field with a two- year degree instead of a four-year bachelor's. But if you're going to advance, it's best to think of yourself as a perpetual student who's always staying just ahead of the latest programming language. prospects.

8. Physical Therapist

Salary Range: $53,620-$107,920
This is another healthcare job that requires a minimum of a master's degree to begin practicing. And with good reason, since physical therapists often see patients overcoming adversity: Injured athletes, amputees, and stroke victims might all find themselves working with these professionals to rebuild their range of motion, coordination, and muscle strength. This profession graces our top 10 not only because of its comfortable salary and good job prospects, but because it's also one of the faster-growing occupations of the next decade. There should be a nearly 40-percent increase in available positions by 2020.

7. Computer Systems Analyst

Salary Range: $48,360-$119,070
Think of this occupation as a very technically oriented project manager. Computer systems analysts determine the technological needs of their clients and then help configure a system to fulfill those needs. They often serve as a liaison between the client and another occupation on our top 10, software developers, when compiling a rundown of necessary hardware specifications. Similar to other information technology professions, computer systems analysts should have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field.

6. Web Developer

Salary Range: $43,190-$119,940
Web developers use their knowledge of applications and HTML code and couple that with an understanding of Web users' preferred browsing experience to create visually appealing, intuitive, and organized Web content. A bachelor's degree in a computer-related concentration is usually the first requirement to land one of the 65,700 expected jobs in this profession, but you could also study to receive certifications that designate your level of expertise. And there are a few other good qualities Web developers should have that can't be learned: patience, imagination, and versatility.

5. Database Administrator

Salary Range: $41,570-$115,660
Does anyone even use file cabinets anymore? Much of today's storage lives on a datachip, and competent database administrators (DBAs) are needed to build and maintain the systems used to house that information. Challenger explains why now is prime time to enter into this IT job: "The educational system hasn't caught up with the demand for technology skills. ... The education and preparation people need to qualify for science and technology jobs is extensive enough and requires so much that the population has yet to fully recognize the requirements to do the job." DBAs should earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or management information systems, and might want to pursue a master's in business administration. You should also obtain certification for as many database platforms as possible, so that your skills are transferable from one company to the next.

4. Medical Assistant

Salary Range: $20,810-$40,190
There's no formal training required to become a medical assistant--technically. But if you want to distinguish yourself from the 162,900 other budding medical assistants out there, you gotta get a gimmick. For example, if you want to work in a dermatologist's office, consider training and certification as an esthetician or massage therapist. Keep in mind that the additional knowledge, when coupled with experience, could lead to a promotion into other healthcare-support positions.

3. Pharmacist

Salary Range: $82,090-$138,620
There are some obvious perks to this profession. The compensation is one--pharmacists earn one of the highest average salaries of all of our Best Jobs--and excellent job prospects is another. But these literal pill pushers also undergo years of study, several examinations, and a postgraduate residency before donning their white coats. And like many healthcare practitioners, pharmacists frequently work evening shifts, weekends, and some holidays. Place yourself ahead of the competition during your job hunt by trying to secure internships early in your education. Also consider taking a few business courses if your program doesn't already include them in the curriculum, since many pharmacists work within retail facilities.

2. Software Developer

Salary Range: $54,360-$87,790
software developers should have one hand writing code and the other on the pulse of the evolving IT world. Advances are constant in this industry, and having an inquisitive nature will serve a budding developer well. Nailing as much on-the-job training as possible will also help, particularly as some software developers are able to advance through the ranks based on their experience.

1. Registered Nurse

Salary Range: $44,190-$95,130
One of the first things you should determine when entering this field is what type of nursing you'd like to do. one of the reasons this profession will gain nearly 712,000 positions this decade is because it's such an expansive profession, period. Actually its growth rate is good, but not out of line with some other occupations. Registered nurses should grow by about 26 percent. The healthcare practitioner occupations as a whole have a growth rate of about 26 percent, though. The bench might be deep, but the playing field is still competitive. For a better chance at landing a nursing job, you'll want to determine your niche early, consider using virtual networking tools, and look for employment outside a hospital setting.