Despite the outsize impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their work, physicians are in the No. 5 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the top 100 best jobs in the U.S. in 2021.
To create the list, U.S. News & World Report examined specific factors for each occupation, largely working from data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS released its most recent data in March 2020, and that data was from 2019. This means that U.S. News used data that predates the pandemic to make this year’s list.
‘More important than ever’
“The outlook for health care jobs is strong at a time when the sector is more important than ever, with nearly half of the 100 best jobs in health care or health care support roles,” says Antonio Barbera, U.S. News consumer advice editor. “Physician ranks fifth in the 2021 Best Jobs Rankings due to a low unemployment rate, high median salary and solid future job prospects.”
The list of 100 jobs also included five physician specialist roles: anesthesiologists landed at No. 14, psychiatrists at No. 27, OB-GYNs and surgeons tied for No. 42, and pediatricians were ranked 54th on the list. These five specialties were also ranked on U.S. News’ Best Jobs list last year; physician was No. 7 on the list last year.
Each job receives a score up to 10 for various factors and is ranked for its composite score. Ten is the highest/most desirable score and two is the lowest/least desirable score. Below is how U.S. News ranked physicians for:
- Salary: 10
- Job market/unemployment rate: 10
- Future growth (projected for the next 10 years): 9
- Stress: 2
- Work-life balance: 6
For physicians in 2021, U.S. News determined that a high median salary and high projected growth/demand outweigh a high level of stress and average work-life balance. Physicians also landed at No. 3, behind physician assistants and nurse practitioners, on U.S. News’ 2021 list of the best health care jobs, and No. 8 on U.S. News’ 2021 list of the best-paying jobs.
Find more information on U.S. News’ methodology here.