What are the best jobs in America? And, more importantly, how can you get one?
Money and Payscale.com pored through thousands of jobs - analyzing factors such as salary, quality-of-life, and job growth - to come up with their list of America's Best Jobs.
Check out their list of the 10 best jobs in America...Then learn how you can get the training and education you need to join the ranks of “the best.”
Job #1: Systems Engineer
Median Salary: $87,100
The Job: Systems engineers are essentially managers who oversee the engineering aspects of a system or project, often leading a team of lower-level engineers.
Did You Know? No longer confined to just the IT industry, systems engineers work everywhere from NASA to Wall Street and Main Street.
What You Need: As a minimum, you'll need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field.
Job #2: Physician Assistant
Median Salary: $90,900
The Job: A physician assistant (PA) practices medicine under a doctor's direct supervision, which can include diagnosing diseases, writing prescriptions, and assisting in surgery.
Did You Know? Job opportunities for PAs are growing rapidly in inner cities and rural areas.
What You Need: A bachelor's degree in a health-sciences focused field will get you started, but you'll need a master's degree to advance to the highest income levels. You'll also need to pass a national exam. Many nurses gravitate to this field as a way to advance their health care careers.
Job #3: College Professor
Median Salary: $70,400
The Job: Teaching, writing scholarly papers and books, and possibly some administrative work. While getting your summers off is great, remember that it will take you a while to get the advanced degree you need to get a top-paying job.
Did You Know? Private universities tend to pay much more than state schools and community colleges.
Job #4: Nurse Practitioner
Median Salary: $85,200
Did You Know? Unlike PAs, NPs can work independently and don't have to report directly to an MD.
What You Need: There are many avenues to starting a nursing career. Many people will add a bachelor's degree on top of their initial training. Earning your master's is the next step to becoming a full NP.
Job #5: IT Project Manager
Median Salary: $98,700
The Job: An IT project manager plans, manages, and completes projects while also managing the project cost, quality, and expectations.
Did You Know? One perk of the job is that it can lead to very senior-level positions, like chief technology officer (CTO) and chief information officer (CIO).
Job #6: Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Median Salary: $74,200
The Job: Accounting is a year-round profession which involves much more than taxes. Many CPAs work for companies planning and managing their finances as well as handling tax and regulation issues.
Did You Know? Jazz musician Kenny G, novelist John Grisham, and Ultimate Fighting champ Chuck Liddell each have an accounting degree. And Nike founder Phil Knight is a licensed CPA.
What You Need: To nab a top-paying job, you'll want to earn your bachelor's degree in accounting, but many people start with an associate's degree in accounting. You'll need to get certification by taking the CPA exam.
Job #7: Physical Therapist
Median Salary: $74,300
The Job: Physical therapists treat everyone from newborns and athletes to the elderly. It's a job known for its high-satisfaction rate, as well as the ability to work independently.
Did You Know? A Swiss physical therapist is the smarty pants who discovered that the stability ball, which was first created as a toy, could also help treat lower back pain.
Job #8: Computer/Network Security Consultant
Median Salary: $99,700
The Job: These guys and gals are on the frontlines of the newest kind of terrorism: cybercrime. Wireless security and computer forensics are two of the hottest jobs right now.
Did You Know? The total number of known computer viruses, worms and Trojan horses surpassed one million in 2008.
Job #9: Intelligence Analyst
Median Salary: $82,500
The Job: Does sitting at a desk analyzing data - some of which may be top-secret - sound exciting? That's what many intelligence analysts do, whether they work for a defense contractor or government agency.
Did You Know? Language skills are a hot commodity in this field. The FBI lists 14 priority languages for potential intelligence analysts.
What You Need: A bachelor's degree. Beyond that, experience is the key, whether you're fluent in several languages, familiar with international policy, or a military veteran.
Job #10: Sales Director
Median Salary: $140,000
The Job: A sales director oversees a sales staff, sets goals, and helps move product. Do this well, and you can write your own ticket, whether it means moving into senior management or earning performance-based bonuses.
Did You Know? In Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman, it is never disclosed what the main character, Willy Loman, actually sells.
What You Need: Leadership skills and a bachelor's degree. Studying marketing or business will give you a strong background and earning an MBA will give you management skills and boost you into the upper levels of earning potential.
All salary information is from Payscale.com. Median salaries are based on at least two to seven years of experience on the job.