Total number of jobs: 145,331
Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 32.3%
Median annual salary: $98,288
Typical education: Master’s degree
Health care coverage in our country may be up for debate, but the increasing need for quality medical care is irrefutable. Advancing technology, greater focus on preventive care and an aging population will mean a growing number of patients requiring care in hospitals, doctors’ offices, long-term-care facilities and even private homes. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are highly sought after to meet that need. They’re able to provide much of the same care as full-fledged doctors, including performing routine checkups and writing prescriptions, and they can work independently. Exact guidelines vary by state.
Are also in high demand. The already robust workforce of 2.9 million is expected to grow 17.2% by 2026. And they enjoy a healthy pay rate, too: The median salary for RNs is $67,418 a year.
Becoming a nurse requires either a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) (another one of our best college majors), an associate’s degree in nursing or a diploma from an accredited nursing program (which usually takes two to three years). NPs must also get a master’s or doctoral degree. Both RNs and NPs need a license to practice, not to mention reserves of compassion, patience and emotional stability.