Nurse practitioners have the best job in health care, U.S. News & World Report says

Analysis ranks three nursing jobs in the top 10 for health care

Is being a nurse better than being a doctor? According to U.S. News & World Report, at least one sort of nurse is.

Nurse practitioners have the best health care job for 2023, the news site wrote. Not only that, they ranked No. 2 for 100 best jobs and for best STEM jobs.

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Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have a higher degree, which allows them to “take patient histories, perform physical exams, order labs, analyze lab results, prescribe medicines, authorize treatments and educate patients and families on continued care,” U.S. News wrote.

“NPs are thrilled to have their role recognized by U.S. News World & Report as the top health care job and the second-ranked best job of any field,” April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, told Daily Nurse. “This honor is a testament to the outstanding care delivered by the nation’s more than 355,000 licensed NPs to patients in more than 1 billion visits each year.”

To determine its rankings within each profession, U.S. News compared median salary, unemployment rate, 10-year growth volume and percentage, stress level and work-life balance.

Being No. 1 means nurse practitioners beat physician assistants (No. 2), physical therapists (No. 3), dentists (No. 4) and veterinarian (No. 5). Physicians don’t appear on the list until No. 6.

Here are the top 10 health care jobs, along with their projected jobs, median salary and education needed.

1. Nurse practitioner

  • Projected jobs: 112,700
  • Median salary: $120,680
  • Education needed: master’s
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2. Physician assistant

  • Projected jobs: 38,400
  • Median salary: $121,530
  • Education needed: master’s
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3. Physical therapist

  • Projected jobs: 40, 400
  • Median salary: $95,620
  • Education needed: doctorate

4. Dentist

  • Projected jobs: 7,700
  • Median salary: $160,370
  • Education needed: doctorate

5. Veterinarian

  • Projected jobs: 16,800
  • Median salary: $100,370
  • Education needed: doctorate

6. Physician

  • Projected jobs: 19,400
  • Median salary: $208,000
  • Education needed: doctorate

7. Orthodontist

  • Projected jobs: 300
  • Median salary: $208,000
  • Education needed: doctorate

8. Registered nurse

  • Projected jobs: 195,400
  • Median salary: $77,600
  • Education needed: bachelor’s
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9. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

  • Projected jobs: 300
  • Median salary: $208,000
  • Education needed: doctorate

10. Nurse anesthetist

  • Projected jobs: 5,300
  • Median salary: $195,610
  • Education needed: master’s
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