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How we picked the Best Jobs

The job market is the strongest it’s been in nearly a decade, and it’s poised to maintain that strength throughout 2017. That means that workers can be pickier about where to apply their talents, so when we set out to find America's Best Jobs this year, we sought professions that not only offer opportunity for advancement, but ones that are satisfying as well. Other important factors: pay (how strong it is now, and how fast it's growing) and the overall availability of jobs.

We also considered how meaningful or stressful a job is, how difficult it is to get started in a given field, the likelihood of promotions (calculating, where possible, how many people end up in higher job titles 5 years down the road), and, where possible, the ability to telecommute.

Here are the details:
CNNMoney and compensation experts PayScale.com began with more than 450 job titles, and identified those that require at least a bachelor's degree; where median pay is below $40,000 for workers with at least five or seven years’ experience (depending on what’s typical for a given job); and where more than 95 percent of employment is in the private sector. From that group, we then identified and ranked the top 100 based on a variety of data. We weighed most heavily a job’s growth prospects based on job growth estimated for 2014-2024, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts. We also strongly considered:

  • Overall job satisfaction, according to a PayScale.com survey of 450,000 workers on quality-of-life factors.
  • Median pay for experienced workers, based on PayScale.com's database of 54 million profiles.
  • How big the field is: i.e. The estimated number of people working in the broader BLS 'job family.'

Other factors included:

  • how much education is required to enter the field
  • promotion opportunities
  • how employees rated their jobs for stress and meaningfulness, according to the quality-of-life survey
  • percent who can telecommute at least part of the time

When there were multiple job titles from the same category among the top jobs, we selected the one with the highest overall rating. Comments? E-mail the editor