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10. Occupational Therapist

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Occupational Therapist
Median pay: $74,900
Top pay: $102,000
10-year job growth: 33.5%
Total jobs*: 108,800
What they do all day? If it involves helping people perform daily activities on their own, occupational therapists have done it. While physical therapists might help someone with a hip injury learn to walk safely again, OTs would work on everyday tasks, such as getting out of bed or putting on shoes. They might also work with a child with OCD who has trouble at school, or help a patient with schizophrenia communicate more effectively.

How to get the job? Recruits must have a master's degree in occupational therapy, and most programs take two to three years. They also need a license.

What makes it great? OTs can help people and develop strong relationships with clients without the rigmarole of becoming a doctor. OTs can work a flexible or part-time schedule and still earn decent money.

What's the catch? It's not always the most glamorous job. Occupational therapists might have to help someone learn how to shower or use the bathroom again, and that's not everyone's cup of tea. --K.A.

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction Low stress Benefit to society Flexibility
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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