The 100 Best Jobs
The U.S. workforce has myriad talents, desires and lifestyles, so there is no one best job that suits each one of us. But if we were to define a good job generally, there are some unequivocal factors. The best jobs pay well. They challenge you without stressing you out too much. There's room to grow and advance. Maybe most importantly, the best jobs are ones that are hiring. From dentist, to accountant, to middle school teacher and civil engineer, the occupations on U.S. News' list of 100 Best Jobs of 2015 are ranked according to their ability to offer this elusive mix. There are 10,000 different jobs in the US so, these 100 were greatly researched. Read more about how we rank the best jobs, and check out our complete list.
Esthetician Ranking # 11 in Health Care # 24 overall
This Job is Ranked in:
Best Health Care Jobs #11
The 100 Best Jobs #24
Beauty is only skin deep." It's a familiar phrase that means what's on the outside doesn't always reflect what's on the inside. But if we're strictly talking about what's on the outside – well, skin does have a lot to do with outer beauty. And a skin care specialist has a lot to do with helping clients attain that outer beauty.
These specialists, or estheticians as they're sometimes called, cleanse and exfoliate, wax and laser, moisturize and apply makeup to enhance a person's overall appearance. A skin care specialist will first assess the condition of his or her clients' skin and make recommendations on what can be done to improve their skin quality. For instance, chemical peels can reduce the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles; waxing and lasers remove unwanted hair; and exfoliating scrubs can slough off dead skin. An esthetician will also cleanse the skin, and in so doing, educate the client on which face washes, lotions and creams are best suited to him or her. Applying makeup is another piece of the job description, as is advising the client on a personalized skin care regimen. An esthetician might also perform facials, massages and other full-body treatments. A less glamorous part of the job includes disinfecting equipment and cleaning work areas.
Since skin care specialists stand face-to-face with their clients, they should enjoy interacting with people. Many times, skin care specialists find great fulfillment in helping people look their best, especially since the pay isn't particularly high compared to other health care occupations. Respect and sensitivity are key traits, too. If clients show serious skin problems, skin care specialists may have to refer them to dermatologists.
The future looks bright for skin care specialists. The BLS projects employment growth of almost 40 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven primarily by women clients – although men are increasingly seeking skin care specialists to battle the appearance of aging.
# 52 Nail Technician
Job is Ranked in:
Best Social Services Jobs #6
The 100 Best Jobs #52
Manicures and pedicures are one of the few luxuries many women and men can't live without. It's no wonder, then, that the U.S. market for nail services saw revenues of $8.3 billion in 2013, according to statistics company Statista. Nail technicians, also referred to as manicurists and pedicurists, will reap the rewards of this thriving industry and see employment growth of 15.6 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There should be more than 13,500 new nail technician positions in this decade.
Nail technicians provide nail services to customers at salons, spas and barber shops, while some technicians operate their own business. Nail techs clean, file, trim, polish and repair fingernails and toenails. They discuss treatments with clients, such as applying artificial nails or moisturizing hands and feet, and sell additional services and products. They also clean and disinfect their tools and work area after every appointment. "You should be health conscious, keep your station clean and your instruments sanitized, dress appropriately, be polite and willing to learn, learn, learn," advises Tina Panariello, a nail technician for 30-some years, former educator for nail lacquer manufacturer OPI and author of "Polished: Filing Away at Life's Truths."
To encourage repeat customer visits, manicurists and pedicurists must also have excellent customer service skills and listen to the client's needs – including personal problems and juicy gossip – so being a "people person is a must",
This Job is Ranked in:
Best Health Care Jobs #28
The 100 Best Jobs #62
Want a job that aims, above all else, to make people feel better? Consider becoming a massage therapist. Employing their unique set of tools – "magic hands" and a "magic touch" – massage therapists relieve pain, reduce stress, unwind bound-up muscles and just plain make people feel better. With more than 80 types of treatments, massage therapists have many different ways to deliver this relief. Massage therapists can specialize in deep-tissue, acupressure, reflexology, orthopedic, sports massage and other areas. Often, massage therapists become experts in several modalities, all of which require specific skills and techniques. The length and type of massage provided typically depends on the client's condition and desires. Elderly clients, pregnant women and those recovering from a severe injury usually receive different treatments than elite athletes or those simply seeking relaxation. The nature of the massage is often discussed and agreed upon during a short interview with the client before it takes place. Massage therapists work for employers in a variety of environments, including spas and hospitals, and some are self-employed with their own small businesses. Regardless of the working arrangement, massage therapists should be friendly and personable to attract a consistent client base.
The increasing number of spas and massage clinics in recent years underscores a growing demand for massage services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects massage therapist employment growth of 22.6 percent between 2012 and 2022, adding 30,000 more professionals to this field.
This Job is Ranked in:
Best Social Services Jobs #9
The 100 Best Jobs #66
Whether they're forming beehives or braids, dreadlocks or ducktails, ponytails or pompadours, hairdressers are maestros of styling. Although we usually associate them with the technical aspects of their job, "there's so much more to what we do than cutting hair," says Scott J. Buchanan, president of Scott J. Salons & Spas in New York City and the 2013-2014 chairman of the Professional Beauty Association. "We also get to change people's lives and make them feel good about themselves." Hairdressers are licensed cosmetologists who have been trained in a spectrum of beauty styling techniques, such as giving manicures, pedicures and skin treatments, but they concentrate on hair services specifically, counseling clients on proper hair and skin care and learning to tiptoe around the Achilles' heel we all share – vanity. The best stylists adeptly juggle these tasks, and in the process, earn both our tips and our trust. And just like many of the professions on this year's list of Best Jobs, hairdressing is more than a career. It's a calling.
Although growth rates vary by specialty, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in this "calling" will grow by 12.7 percent. Demand to receive extensions, hair color, straightening and more could translate to 77,600 new cosmetologist positions by 2022.
Most states require hairdressers to have at least a high school diploma or GED to obtain a cosmetology license. For the license, a hairdresser has to complete courses with a state-approved barber or cosmetology school – where programs usually last a minimum of nine months – before taking a licensing examination. Some states have reciprocity agreements where licensed stylists who move will not have to complete additional training to practice in new states. Many cosmetologists take advanced courses to stay up to date on the latest trends.
Reviews and Advice
Although job prospects are good, there is fierce competition to receive a place in a prestigious salon. For the best chance, Buchanan suggests that cosmetologists-to-be align themselves with a good beauty school. A well know stylists who is an on site owner with a great hairstyling reputation. "That's going to give you some great foundation," he says. At the same time, Buchanan also advises going to "graduate school," which means working in a salon for at least a year. "That's when you get to hone your craft," he notes. Gaining salon experience also enhances people skills. "You have to have an outgoing personality and be ready to serve the customer," Buchanan says. "The biggest headache is when you find people who are technically great but don't deliver great service."