U.S. Markets close in 3 hrs 20 mins

The 25 Must-Have Health Care Jobs of 2017

Evan Taylor, Whitney Blair Wyckoff

An industry dedicated to quality care

They fix our teeth, fill our prescriptions and sharpen our eyesight. Health care professionals help their patients live healthier lives, and the need for those who diagnose, fight and treat illness is only expected to increase. Perhaps that's why many of these jobs are also among the best paying. Take a look at this year's Best Health Care Jobs.

25. Audiologist

Median Salary: $74,890
Unemployment Rate: 2.8 percent
Expected Job Openings: 3,800

Suffer from a ringing in your ear? Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders, including tinnitus and vertigo. They also may fit a patient for hearing aids or offer advice on how to prevent hearing loss.

Learn more about audiologists.

24. Radiation Therapist

Median Salary: $80,220
Unemployment Rate: 1.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 2,300

Radiation therapists give cancer patients radiation treatments prescribed by radiation oncologists and dosimetrists. At minimum, radiation therapists must complete a yearlong certificate program, though most employers like candidates to have an associate degree, and increasingly bachelor's degrees are becoming common in the field.

Learn more about radiation therapists.

23. Pharmacist

Median Salary: $121,500
Unemployment Rate: 1.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 9,100

Pharmacists must understand the complex compositions of over-the-counter and prescription medicines, how drugs interact with one another and the laws that regulate them. A flare for customer service is also critical, as they're tasked with dispensing advice from behind the counters of grocery and drug stores, as well as hospitals and clinics.

Learn more about pharmacists.

22. Chiropractor

Median Salary: $64,440
Unemployment Rate: 0.8 percent
Expected Job Openings: 7,900

Chiropractors take a holistic approach to healing. By making adjustments to the spine and other areas of the body, these practitioners treat ailments of the nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Learn more about chiropractors.

21. Respiratory Therapist

Median Salary: $57,790
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 14,900

Respiratory therapists provide care for patients with heart and lung problems, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, sleep apnea and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15 million adults in the United States live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which will contribute to an increasing need for respiratory therapists.

Learn more about respiratory therapists.

20. Speech-Language Pathologist

Median Salary: $73,410
Unemployment Rate: 1.8 percent
Expected Job Openings: 28,900

Patients who are dyslexic or hard of hearing might work with a speech-language pathologist. These practitioners diagnose and treat a range of speech, language and swallowing disorders. You'll find them in private offices, hospitals and even public schools.

Learn more about speech-language pathologists.

19. Podiatrist

Median Salary: $119,340
Unemployment Rate: 1.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 1,400

Podiatrists specialize in ailments of the foot and ankle, like ingrown toenails or bone spurs. They'll diagnose the problem, provide treatment (such as prescribing special shoe inserts) and conduct surgeries.

Learn more about podiatrists.

18. Occupational Therapist

Median Salary: $80,150
Unemployment Rate: 1.3 percent
Expected Job Openings: 30,400

Occupational therapists help their patients live independently despite health-related limitations. They may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, medical offices and clients' homes.

Learn more about occupational therapists.

17. Registered Nurse

Median Salary: $67,490
Unemployment Rate: 1.5 percent
Expected Job Openings: 439,300

Registered nurses may specialize in a specific condition, part of the body or environment (like the emergency room). Their duties range from dispensing medications and performing tests to administering procedures.

Learn more about registered nurses.

16. Prosthodontist

Median Salary: $119,740
Unemployment Rate: 0.1 percent
Expected Job Openings: 100

If you're missing a tooth, a prosthodontist can help restore your smile. Prosthodontists specialize in making prosthetics that replace teeth or correct deformations of the mouth.

Learn more about prosthodontists.

15. Psychiatrist

Median Salary: $187,200
Unemployment Rate: 1.2 percent
Expected Job Openings: 4,200

Psychiatrists are physicians who diagnose mental health disorders and prescribe treatments, like medications or psychotherapy.

Learn more about psychiatrists.

14. Physician

Median Salary: $187,200
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 5,100

It takes years of study, medical school, internships and residency to become a physician. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for physicians will increase by about 9 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Learn more about physicians.

13. Anesthesiologist

Median Salary: $187,200
Unemployment Rate: 1.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 7,100

These physicians administer anesthesia before you undergo surgery and monitor your vital signs through the procedure. Anesthesiologists must complete medical school, a one-year internship, a three-year residency and then, typically, a subspecialty fellowship program.

Learn more about anesthesiologists.

12. Physical Therapist

Median Salary: $84,020
Unemployment Rate: 1.1 percent
Expected Job Openings: 71,800

As the population ages, the demand for physical therapists is expected to grow. Physical therapists are charged with helping their patients increase mobility and reduce the pain associated with moving.

Learn more about physical therapists.

11. Nurse Midwife

Median Salary: $92,510
Unemployment Rate: 0.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 1,300

Equipped with a graduate degree in midwifery, these registered nurses specialize in women's health care services. Nurse midwives can provide annual exams, care for women going through menopause and offer pregnancy care.

Learn more about nurse midwives.

10. Surgeon

Median Salary: $187,200
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 9,100

Surgeons must undergo rigorous training before they can operate on people to treat injuries, diseases or deformities. They can specialize in areas like orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular and plastic surgery, or train as general surgeons.

Learn more about surgeons.

9. Optometrist

Median Salary: $103,900
Unemployment Rate: 1.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 11,000

If your child complains the blackboard in class is too blurry, you might consider making an appointment with an optometrist. Optometrists prescribe glasses or contacts, screen for and treat eye diseases, and perform vision therapy.

Learn more about optometrists.

8. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Median Salary: $187,200
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 1,200

Dentists must undergo at least four extra years of training before they can become oral and maxillofacial surgeons. These surgeons specialize in procedures related to the face, mouth and jaw, and treat patients with facial trauma, cleft lips and certain kinds of cancer, as well as perform face-lifts.

Learn more about oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

7. Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Median Salary: $187,200
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 4,300

These physicians focus on all aspects of women's reproductive health -- delivering babies, conducting annual "well-woman" checkups and treating diseases like cervical cancer.

Learn more about obstetricians and gynecologists.

6. Pediatrician

Median Salary: $170,300
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 3,600

Pediatricians care for and treat babies, children, teenagers and young adults.

Learn more about pediatricians.

5. Nurse Anesthetist

Median Salary: $157,140
Unemployment Rate: 0.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 7,400

Nurse anesthetists administer local and general anesthesia, and monitor a patient's vital signs during surgery. Unlike anesthesiologists, who are physicians, nurse anesthetists have earned at least a master's degree in the specialty and have at least one year of critical care experience.

Learn more about nurse anesthetists.

4. Orthodontist

Median Salary: $187,200
Unemployment Rate: 0.1 percent
Expected Job Openings: 1,500

Orthodontists use braces, retainers and other tools to correct a patient's bite or improve the look of his or her smile.

Learn more about orthodontists.

3. Physician Assistant

Median Salary: $98,180
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 28,700

Physician assistants must be prepared to treat a range of concerns, illnesses and injuries while they move from patient to patient. They work in primary care, family medicine, psychiatry and emergency medicine practices.

Learn more about physician assistants.

2. Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary: $98,190
Unemployment Rate: 0.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 44,700

Nurse practitioners can extend many of the services a physician provides, authorizing treatments, performing physical exams, prescribing medicine and counseling patients in hospitals and clinics.

Learn more about nurse practitioners.

1. Dentist

Median Salary: $152,700
Unemployment Rate: 0.1 percent
Expected Job Openings: 23,300

More studies are linking oral health to overall health, so regular visits to the dentist are important. Dentists are among the best-paid health care professionals due to their expertise and ability to perform extensive oral procedures. Thanks to dentists' handsome median salaries, comfortable work-life balance and a booming employment growth rate of nearly 18 percent by 2024, this profession snagged the No. 1 spot among U.S. News' Best Jobs overall.

Learn more about dentists.



More From US News & World Report