CareerCast.com recently came out with its 2012 Jobs Rated report. It details 200 jobs ranked from best to worst based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook. Use the report to get an idea of where your current occupation stands in the job market, see if switching to your dream job would be a wise move, or brag how awesome your job is to anyone with a job below yours — unless yours is last (Lumberjack, No. 200).
Insurance agent ranked 68 on the list. That means only 67 jobs, or 33.5% of the list (Mathematician, No. 10), ranked higher. Advising clients about amount and type of coverage can entail long working hours, which contributes to the job’s stress level. However, the insurance industry has a solid hiring outlook, which could help push the average annual income of $47,342 up a bit and, with hope, simultaneously lower some of that stress.
Continue on for 10 jobs that ranked higher than insurance agent.
Software Engineer, No. 1
Topping the list is software engineer. These fortunate folks research, design, develop and maintain software systems, and develop hardware systems for medical, scientific and industrial purposes. Stress is low thanks to automated help desks that deal with frustrated users for them. With a laptop and Wifi, they can work from home, the office or a coffee shop, which contributes to the job’s low work environment score. And demand for smartphone apps means $88,142 a year and very few worries about job security.
Actuary, No. 2
Even though actuaries interpret statistics to determine probabilities of accidents, sickness, death and loss of property from theft and natural disasters, the stress level isn’t as high as one would imagine. Despite higher average income ($88,202) and a stronger hiring outlook than a software engineer, the work environment and physical demands kept these risk-assessors out of No. 1.
Pharmacist, No. 14
More than just preparing and dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists advise physicians and patients on the effects of drugs and medications, for which they are compensated with an average $112,070 a year. Listening to piped music all day could be the reason for a tougher working environment or, on the flip side, the reason for the low stress load associated with the job. How’s the job security? Well, baby boomers hate being called “job security.”
Market Research Analyst, No. 32
Guessing is fine. Guessing with the aid of data is better. Businesses rely on market research analysts to collect and evaluate data to make recommendations concerning trends in consumer purchasing. Analysts can sit comfortable with the second highest hiring outlook on the entire list (just behind event coordinator, No. 82). But don’t throw a party just yet: the work environment scored low, and the stress and physical demands scored high. Their annual income is trending at $61,236 a year. They recommend it should be higher.
Nurse (Registered), No. 38
Clinics, hospitals, public health center and health maintenance organizations rely on registered nurses to assist physicians in administering holistic medical care and treatment to assigned patients. The work environment, stress and physical demands of this job are not to be ignored, but $65,116 a year, a solid hiring outlook (boomers, remember?), and not spending all the extra time in med school to be a doctor put it high on the list.
Physician (General Practice), No. 40
Physicians perform examinations, diagnose medical conditions, and prescribe treatment for individuals suffering from injury, discomfort or disease, yet, their work environment scored the same as that of a corrections officer (No. 129) — and those guys at least get riot gear. White coat, $205,029 a year and curing their fellow man make it all worth it.
Accountant, No. 47
Accountants prepare and analyze financial reports to assist managers in business, industry and government. Their work environment is normal, their stress level is nothing exceptional, the physical demands are average, the hiring outlook is on the low side and they pull in about $62,174 a year. Ironic nicknames like Diesel, Hammer, Brick and Freight Train of Tenacity were coined just for accountants. Settle down, Rowdy, it was just an accountant joke.
Architect, No. 56
More than building scale models, architects plan and design spaces to be constructed or remodeled per specifications of clients. Architects earn about $73,179 a year. They spend just as much time behind a desk as they do on a job site, so the work environment score approaches that of an oil rig worker (No. 197). Stress levels are high from clients who want to move a door, expand a room or add an underground parking structure after construction has started. The hiring outlook is surprisingly high considering the construction industry's slow rebuild.
Judge, No. 62
With thorough command of federal statutes and legal precedent, judges arbitrate legal matters coming under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The sometimes hilarious antics of bumbling criminals serve to keep judges’ stress levels in check, but the hiring outlook is suspect. Argued another way (Attorney, No. 87), the number of Wall Street crooks is on the decline; therefore, so is the demand for judges.
Heating/Refrigeration Mechanic, No. 63
The work environment for a heating/refrigeration mechanic is never just right. Installing air conditioning for clients who are too hot and furnace systems for clients who are too cold can be very stressful. The average income of $43,158 a year pales compared to its neighboring occupations on the list (Judge, $119,429 and Physiologist, $52,178). The first true blue-collar job to appear on the list ranks so high because it has a very strong hiring outlook thanks to people constantly fiddling with the thermostat.
Read up on 10 occupations that ranked below insurance agent -- Insurance Agent: The Job Everybody Else Wants. Insurance agents encourage you to.