Oil rig workers gain dubious distinction

By Laura Batchelor, CNN


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- After last year's explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, oil rig workers are again thought to have the worst job in America.

CareerCast.com, a job search website, said the popularity of applications for iPods, tablets, smartphones and other devices boosted software engineers to the top of the list of the best jobs.

Oil rig worker, also known as a roustabout, was ranked as the worst job last year, and that was months before the April 20 blast that killed 11 workers and caused millions of gallons of crude oil to gush into the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana. The average salary for a mid-level roustabout is $32,143, according to CareerCast, but the dangerous nature and stressful tendencies of the job contribute to its dubious status.

Also included in the 10 worst jobs for 2011 are ironworker, lumberjack, roofer, taxi driver, emergency medical technician, welder, painter, meter reader and construction worker.

After software engineer, CareerCast said the best jobs in 2011 are mathematician, actuary, statistician, computer systems analyst, meteorologist, biologist, historian, audiologist and dental hygienist.

"A college education played a large role in this year's rankings," said Tony Lee publisher of a the CareerCast.com 2011 Jobs Rated Report. "Not only do the top five jobs pay more than twice as much comparing mid-level incomes as the bottom five jobs, they all benefit from a college degree and math skills."

Lee said the middle range for the top five jobs pays $83,777 per year, compared to $30,735 per year for the five worst jobs.

CareerCast said that If the jobs were ranked solely on salary, the worst job would be a dishwasher which has a mid-level income of $18,053 compared to the highest-paying job as a surgeon whose mid-level income is $365,258.

Besides income, CareerCast.com looks at multiple criteria such as outlook, environmental factors, stress and physical demands to rank 200 U.S. jobs. To top of page

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