The 12 Best Jobs in Pennsylvania for 2012
Looking for a great job in the Keystone State? Taking care of people or computers are the keys to success. Based on the latest Jobs Rated report from CareerCast.com, positions in the red-hot healthcare and technology industries offer the best balance of pleasant working conditions, good salaries and strong projected growth in Pennsylvania through the end of the decade.
Currently at 7.5%, the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania has improved steadily in recent months (down from a peak of 8.7% in February 2010), and hiring continues to outpace the national average. But not all jobs in the Keystone State are created equal. Some growing industries like Gaming and Mining offer many opportunities, but create jobs that typically require long hours or a high risk of injury. Factoring in both projected growth and working conditions, Software Engineer, a job at the forefront of the nationwide tech boom, ranks as the best job in Pennsylvania for 2012.
Benefiting from an excellent work environment, few dangerous physical demands and low stress -- not to mention a median salary of nearly $90,000 -- Software Engineer was named America's best job of 2012 earlier this year. In Pennsylvania, thanks to the presence of technology companies like Microsoft, Symantec and Oracle, as well as the headquarters of companies like Bentley Systems and EPAM Systems, demand for Software Engineers is expected to grow by 2.2% annually through 2018. In addition, the computer, science and engineering industry in Pennsylvania is expected to grow by 10.4% overall through the end of the decade.
Jobs in the healthcare sector also rank well, with Pharmacist, Dental Hygienist, Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist all finishing among the top five jobs in Pennsylvania for 2012. Each position boasts a projected annual growth rate between 1.4% and 1.7% through 2018, and overall the healthcare industry is projected to expand by 15.4% in Pennsylvania through 2020.
Based on a measurement of average stress levels, work environment and physical demands, combined with projected local job growth through the end of next year, the following positions rank as CareerCast.com's 12 best jobs in Pennsylvania for 2012:
||Projected Growth Rate through 2018 (Pennsylvania)
|Computer Systems Analyst
Each year Jobs Rated researchers survey 200 jobs -- from Accountant to Zoologist -- scoring them according to five key criteria: Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Hiring Outlook and Stress. Some factors remain relatively constant from year to year, but others fluctuate greatly due to changes in the job market, technological innovations or current events. Using data from government sources, trade groups and private organizations, every job receives a score and rank in each category, and these ratings are then combined to form a complete ranking of 200 jobs for 2012, from best to worst.
Jobs Rated Methodology:
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry: