Nurse Practitioners Have the Best Job in Healthcare

By Carol Davis

Nurse practitioner (NP) is the best healthcare job in the United States, and No. 2 overall, U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Jobs revealed today.

“I love my profession, and it’s not surprising nurse practitioners have been named one of the top jobs for 2023,” says April Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

“NPs are highly trusted healthcare providers who are at the forefront of diagnosis, research, and treatment. We ensure patients receive access to high-quality care that leads to better health outcomes,” Kapu says.

U.S. News’ top-5 Best Healthcare Jobs looks like this:

1. Nurse Practitioner

Median salary: $111,680

Unemployment rate: 1.2%

Number of jobs: 114,900

2. Physician Assistant

Median salary: $121,530

Unemployment rate: 1.2%

Number of jobs: 38,400

3. Speech-Language Pathologist

Median salary: $79,060

Unemployment rate: 1.7%

Number of jobs: 34,000

4. Physician

Median salary: $208,000

Unemployment rate: 0.3%

Number of jobs: 19,400

5. Registered Nurse

Median salary: $77,600

Unemployment rate: 1.6%

Number of jobs: 195,400

Besides ranking No. 1 in healthcare jobs, NP ranked No. 2 in the top 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News, the global authority in rankings. And though nearly 40% of the best jobs are in healthcare, a technology job—software developer—captured the top spot this year because of the “rising number of products and services that leverage software,” says Janica Ingram, careers editor at U.S. News.

‘Jobs in healthcare continue to dominate’

The annual rankings offer a look at the best jobs across 17 categories from sectors such as healthcare, technology, business, social services, education, construction, and media, to help job seekers evaluate the employment landscape with detailed information on training and education requirements, median salary, and job satisfaction.

The ranking takes into account the most important aspects of a job, such as salary, growth potential, and work-life balance.

Rounding out the top five overall jobs are medical and health services manager at No. 3, physician assistant at No. 4, and information security analyst at No. 5.

“It is unsurprising that jobs in healthcare continue to dominate the Best Jobs rankings. This year’s cold and flu season reiterates the ever-present human need for healthcare practitioners,” Ingram says. “The higher-than-average salaries, low unemployment rates, and strong future prospects for many of these roles certainly reflect that.”

Healthcare jobs also continue to rank high among the U.S. News Careers with the Most Job Security ranking, with the industry capturing 13 of that list’s top 20 jobs. Nurse practitioner captured No. 1, while dentist took the No. 3 spot, physician assistant landed at No. 4, and orthodontist came in at No. 5.

To calculate Best Jobs, U.S. News draws data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify jobs with the greatest hiring demand. Jobs are then scored using seven component measures: 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentage, median salary, employment rate, future job prospects, stress level, and work-life balance.

“The ranking of NPs as a top job demonstrates the strength of the profession in serving communities and meeting the skyrocketing demand for healthcare across the nation,” Kapu says. “As more Americans choose an NP, we will continue delivering exceptional care in every healthcare setting.”

“The NP role is more than a job—it’s a calling, and it is an honor,” she says. “I look forward to a new generation of providers heeding that special call to serve and build healthier lives.”

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.