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Median pay: $90,200 Top pay: $206,000 10-year job growth: 32.1% Total jobs*: 206,800
What they do all day?
You can DIY a lot of things, but big money decisions are sometimes best left to professionals. Financial advisers step in where many people fear to tread, offering advice on investments, savings, taxes and insurance decisions.
How to get the job?
Although certification isn't required to become an adviser, employers are more likely to hire prospects with letters after their names, such as CFP (Certified Financial Planner), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) or CPA (Certified Public Accountant). Once they pass their test of choice, advisers may have to work for a certain number of hours before the certification is official.
What makes it great?
Advisers help clients achieve financial success, which feels pretty warm and fuzzy. And they can hang a shingle for themselves, work as part of a larger firm or even work virtually if their clients are comfortable with it.
What's the catch?
In an up market, financial advisers can be heroes. In a down market, they can be scapegoats. Handling someone else's life savings can be daunting, especially when things are headed south.
Quality of life ratings:
Benefit to society
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
It's still a tough job market out there, so when CNNMoney and PayScale.com set out to find America's Best Jobs this year, first and foremost we looked for professions that offer great growth opportunities.