Lisa Featherngill is a director of Financial and Estate Planning at Calibre in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Top 50 rank: 6
What they do: Crunch the numbers, whether it's for financial analysis or tax preparation.
Why it's great: Businesses began stocking the payroll with CPAs after major accounting scandals earlier this decade, and a host of new corporate accounting rules going into effect soon should ratchet up demand further.
Government agencies are also hiring CPAs, to monitor how well companies are complying with the new regs. Add inevitable changes to personal income tax rules and you have a pretty recession-proof profession.
"Unless Congress does away with taxes, we'll always have work," says CPA Lisa Featherngill of Winston-Salem, N.C. Some 33,000 independent CPAs also work for themselves, typically as tax preparers.
Drawbacks: Deadlines are nonnegotiable; if you're in tax preparation, kiss your personal life goodbye between mid-February and April 15.
Pre-reqs: A certification exam and, typically, 150 hours of business and accounting classes and work experience.
Do CPAs have great jobs, or what?
Certified Public Accountant stats
|Job title||Best Jobs rank|
|Telecommunications Network Engineer||30|
|Personal Financial Advisor||N.A.|