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27. Dentist

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Dentist
Median pay: $147,000
Top pay: $253,000
10-year job growth: 21.1%
Total jobs*: 130,700
What they do all day? While it takes four years of dental school to get certified, the payoff is worth it. Dentists not only earn big bucks, they often set their own hours. It's a big plus to be your own boss in a relatively low-stress environment, especially if you like working with people. --J.A.

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction Low stress Benefit to society Flexibility
A C A C
Published: October 29, 2012
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least five or seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2010-20, and based on people working in broader 'job family' from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CNNMoney research
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