Survey rates 10 best and worst jobs for 2013

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Since the average worker spends about two-thirds of his or her day at work or on work-related activities, how your job ranks could say a lot about the quality of your life overall.

The lists, published by, are part of the site’s 25th annual Jobs Rated report which ranks jobs based on work conditions, salary, stress level and hiring outlook.

“Ultimately, only the individual can determine the best job for her or his abilities and passions,” the report said.  “Unlike many other facets of life, the jobs we work at are choices we make; ones we can stick with or change.”

10 Best Jobs: 

The survey ranks these as the top ten jobs of 2013:

Actuary:  This job, which involves interpreting statistics to determine probability of losses , had the lowest overall score, meaning the lowest rank for negative job-related conditions and effects and a median salary that exceeds $90,000 per year.

Biomedical Engineer:  This is the second-best job on the list, with an average annual income of just over $85,000 to analyze and design solutions for problems in biology and medicine to improve patient care.

Software Engineer:  Researching, creating and maintaining software systems is the third-best job on the list, with a higher income potential then biomedical engineering but a lower hiring outlook.

Audiologist:  Diagnosing and treating hearing problems can earn you more than $68,000 annually according to the list, and the stress level is low but other work environment can be slightly more stressful than the top three positions on the list.

Financial Planner:  Managing and planning financial portfolios for individuals can be lucrative, with the average salary into six figures, but the hiring outlook is lower and stress level higher than the top four positions on the list.

Dental Hygienist:  Cleaning teeth and examining patients for oral diseases is the sixth-best job on the list.

Occupational Therapist:  Salaries can exceed $74,000 on average and the stress level is low but the work environment can have some challenges for individuals who develop activity programs for mentally, physically, developmentally and emotionally impaired people.

Optometrist:  The hiring outlook and stress level are a little better than occupational therapists but the hiring outlook and salary are lower for the number eight job on the list.

Physical Therapist:  Planning and providing treatment to people who have suffered injury or disease has a lower stress level and the average salary can be near $80,000 per year, but the work environment can be more challenging and the hiring outlook is a little lower than the top eight jobs on the list.

Computer Systems Analyst:  The work environment is comparable to that of software engineers, and the hiring outlook is better for this job developing computer systems,  but the stress level is a little higher and the average salary is about $10,000 lower.

10 Worst Jobs: 

High stress, low pay and dismal growth potential plague jobs that made a recent list of the 10 worst jobs of the  year.

The tenth-worst job for 2013 is flight attendant.  The job involves high stress and zero expected job growth as airlines continue to reduce staff.  Median salary for flight attendants is $37,740.

Roofer is the ninth-worst job on the list, primarily because of lower salary potential (median is just over $34,000) and inconsistent availability of work.  Long hours exposed to weather extremes and dangerous work conditions also contributed to the low rank for this job, although job growth was projected at 18%.

Eighth-worst on the list is mail carrier, with job growth expected to drop dramatically at -26%.  Technology is blamed for making a large part of this job obsolete, since people communicate more online than via “snail mail.”  Median salaries are over $53,000 for those in the field.

Meter reader is the seventh-worst job on the list, because the career is often thankless and workers are isolated, seldom interacting with others.  Remote reading technology means the field is expected to decline with -10% job growth and a median salary of just over $36,000.

Dairy farmer ranked as the sixth-worst job on the list.  Median salary is over $60,000 but job growth was projected in negative numbers (-8%) since smaller farms are often being forced out of business by larger farms that can streamline production.  Physical demands of the job also contributed to the low rank.

Oil rig workers rank number five on the worst jobs on the list, with a median salary of $37,640 and projected job growth at eight percent.  Fracking is providing some new job opportunities, but working on an oil rig is more common and that work requires long hours on rigs often located at sea or in oil fields far from major cities.

The fourth-worst job on the list is actors, who make a median salary of $17.44 per hour and face job growth of about four percent.  Earning enough to support yourself as a full-time actor is one of the most difficult of all career paths.  Fewer than half of the members of the Screen Actors Guild work full-time in their chosen field.

Number three on the worst jobs list is enlisted military personnel, who earn a median salary of about $42,000 at an E-7 rank with 8+ years of experience.  Routinely dangerous situation and facing the prospect of continued military drawing down contribute to this job being near the bottom of the list.

Near the bottom of the list is lumberjack, with inherent physical danger from the machinery and remote locations of the work plus a median salary just over $32,000 and poor job prospects with growth projected at 4%.

The absolute worst job?  Newspaper reporter, since many experts think print publications will be gone within the next ten years – not to mention the median salary of $36,000 and projected job growth at -6%.