Best and Worst Jobs of 2013

Know someone graduating from high school soon? Looking for a career change? Check it out…the latest list of best and worst jobs is up.

Sorry, Newspaper Reporters

Topping the list of worst jobs is newspaper reporter. The reasons for the low rating are low pay, long hours, high stress, and of course a shrinking industry.

I don’t doubt that a beat reporter has a tough, low-paying gig, but I’m convinced this was chosen to make more headlines for the list. If I wanted the most exposure possible on a story I would certainly make the news industry out to be the worst. Talk about kicking them while they are down!

What the Heck is an Actuary?

Topping the list of the best jobs is an actuary. An actuary helps insurance companies and other companies determine life expectancies and other facets of risk and uncertainty. The actuary makes a strong salary, has strong career security, and apparently has a low barrier to entry.

The actuary has made these best jobs lists for a decade now it seems. When are we going to wake up and take these jobs? Given that an actuary doesn’t need to actually have a degree (just pass a series of exams, albiet apparently tough ones), you would think the market would be flooded with actuaries. Hasn’t happened.

  • According to the BLS, actuaries and newspaper reporters make $87,650 and $36,000, respectively (national median).
  • Other jobs on the worst list include: military, actor, lumberjack, oil rig worker, dairy farmer, meter reader, mail carrier, roofer, and flight attendant.
  • Other jobs on the best list include: biomedical engineer, audiologist, financial planner, software engineer, dental hygienist, occupational therapist, optometrist, physical therapist, and computer systems analyst.

What do you think of the list of best and worst jobs of 2013? Do you have one of these jobs? Ever wanted to have one of these jobs?

Last Edited: April 25, 2013 @ 3:54 pm The content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.


  1. You’ll notice the best jobs are ones no character in a movie has ever held. (Or at least, no character who is supposed to be sympathetic/the main character). The worst jobs are mostly kind of sexy-sounding. The problem is something that Daniel Gilbert explored in Stumbling on Happiness. We don’t know what will make us happy in the future. We think it will be the sexy/exciting/fast-paced job, like most of those on the worst list, that will make us happy. But ultimately, we’ll be much more satisfied with a well-paid position with good job satisfaction. But it’s hard to convince a college student that they really would be happy as an actuary.

  2. Finovera says:

    The best jobs are also the ones that you’d be interested in doing in your free time.  My advice to a high school graduate would be to go get really good at what they’d love to do (so they can get paid for it as well)

  3. Christian L says:

    Although not the same, all this actuary attention keeps making me think of the narrator’s job in Fight Club. I guess he was an estimator. Anyway, I didn’t sift through the whole list yet, but I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter. It’s a noble service that gets you in shape and fulfills a sense of adventure.
    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money