12 of 100
12. Optometrist

Like this job? Now Like CNNMoney on Facebook for career tips, plus the latest business news and features on Personal Finance, the Economy, Markets, Technology, and more.

Median pay: $105,000
Top pay: $149,000
10-year job growth: 33.1%
Total jobs*: 34,200
What they do all day? It's not just about the eye charts. Optometrists do everything from helping patients get the right prescription for glasses, to treating red eye, to diagnosing serious eye diseases. They typically work in a medical office but might also work in a hospital or retail outlet (think LensCrafters).

How to get the job? Much like M.D.s, optometrists need a four-year post-graduate degree, as well as a license. Some students also do a one-year residency to develop a specialty or boost their experience.

What makes it great? Good pay, without the frequent long hours and middle-of-the-night emergency calls doctors expect. Patients typically aren't in pain or afraid, so visits tend to be low-key, and many stay with the same optometrist for years.

What's the catch? That four-year degree? It's not easy or cheap. And depending on the setting, working evening and weekend hours may be part of the job. --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
Do Optometrists have great jobs, or what?
Highest-paying jobs

Neurosurgeons take home a median $368,000 in salary and bonus annually. What other Best Jobs in America offer big paychecks?

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. More

Comments? E-mail the editors

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.