Best Jobs in America

CNNMoney/PayScale's top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.

19. Portfolio Manager
Portfolio Manager
19
"I really enjoy doing the research and uncovering profitable ideas that are not mainstream," says Rodney Che, a portfolio manager for United Asset Strategies in Garden City, N.Y.
Median pay: $121,000
Top pay: $210,000
10-year job growth: 32.1%
Total jobs*: 206,800

What they do all day? Portfolio managers do extensive research to make investment decisions for a fund or group of funds under their control. They may spend the day meeting with analysts, researchers, and clients, checking the financial markets, keeping up on company news, and buying and selling investments as things change.

How to get the job? Many portfolio managers started out as financial advisors or research analysts, then worked their way up. To rise to the top, it's essential to demonstrate superior analytical skills and initiative, and to also be detail-oriented, uber-organized and comfortable making big decisions for others. Some also pursue certification through the Academy of Certified Portfolio Managers (ACPM).

What's great? What's not? For those with lots of drive, and a passion for markets and investment analysis, the job is highly appealing. And the money is top-notch. Hours are long, though, and handling other people's money is a demanding responsibility. --K.A.

What they do all day? Portfolio managers do extensive research to make investment decisions for a fund or group of funds under their control. They may spend the day meeting with analysts, researchers, and clients, checking the financial markets, keeping up on company news, and buying and selling investments as things change. --K.A.

Quality of life ratings:
  • Personal satisfaction: B
  • Benefit to society: B
  • Flexibility: A
  • Low stress: B
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*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

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

Do Portfolio Managers have great jobs, or what? Are these great jobs, or what?
It's still a tough job market, so when CNNMoney, in partnership with data from PayScale.com, set out to find America's Best Jobs this year, first and foremost we looked for professions that offer great growth opportunities.

Other big factors: pay (how strong it is now, and how fast it's growing), overall job satisfaction, and how many jobs are in the field overall.
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