Agriculture, forestry, and logging boast not only the highest levels of self-reported happiness but also incredibly low-stress rates. The data is based on a thorough analysis of thousands of work journals by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey.
On the other hand, a recent poll by Gallup revealed that despite billions of people working full-time, only 15% are truly engaged in their work. Shockingly, this means the majority, an overwhelming 85%, feel unfulfilled and unhappy with where their jobs.
So, if you’re feeling stuck in a job that doesn’t bring you joy or satisfaction, you’re certainly not alone. Everyone deserves the chance to find a career path that makes them truly happy. And to help you on your journey, we’ve created this guide to the 25 happiest careers of 2021. We want to arm you with all the necessary information– from salaries and qualifications to unique job traits- so you can make an informed decision about the career that will bring you true fulfillment. Scroll down to find your happiest career today!
What Creates Satisfaction And Happiness In A Job?
The negative impact of job dissatisfaction on mental health is well documented in recent studies. A 2022 Workplace Culture Report surveyed employees and found that 61% reported heightened irritability at home due to work-related stress.
Additionally, a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology concluded that adults with dissatisfying jobs had poorer mental health than those without employment. Hence, it’s clear that job satisfaction profoundly impacts one’s overall mental health, productivity, and well-being.
So, the question is, what drives happiness in the workplace? Here are six factors:
Creating an alignment between your own goals and aspirations with that of the company you work for is a must if you’re striving to find happiness in your job. Without this shared vision, staying motivated about what lies ahead can be difficult. Hence, to feel truly fulfilled, finding a job that actively supports personal growth and development should always be a top priority.
Employees regularly recognized for their efforts experience heightened job satisfaction and morale. A study conducted by McKinsey discovered that creating an environment of gratitude and appreciation within a team can significantly increase employee engagement by up to 55%.
Besides, recognition doesn’t always have to be monetary. Incorporating nonfinancial means of acknowledging employees’ successes, such as celebrating individuality and fostering peer-to-peer recognition, can also have a powerful and positive impact on the workplace.
Burnout is a prevalent problem in the modern workplace. According to the Deloitte Workplace Burnout Survey, an overwhelming majority (77%) of respondents reported feeling exhausted from their current job. This lack of free time and unceasing pressure can lead to troubling psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and stress-related illness.
Excellent Corporate Culture
A workplace’s culture and leadership greatly affect employee job satisfaction. It’s a fact heavily evidenced by the 35% of candidates shying away from unfriendly corporate cultures and 58% seeking new employment because of unsatisfactory managers.
Employee satisfaction isn’t just about job content or work-life balance; it relies heavily on compensation and benefits as well. According to the Pew Research Center, inadequate pay is one of the main reasons people leave their jobs. The Society for Human Resource Management explains that 63% of U.S. employees cite salary and benefit levels as key factors in employee happiness levels at work. These data highlight how important it is for employers to provide fair compensation packages to keep employee morale high and motivated.
Use Of Unique Skills And Talents
As mentioned earlier, Gallup research reveals that only a small fraction of people feel engaged in their work. For the remaining 85%, there is often an absence of emotional connection and purpose. However, by recognizing your own unique strengths and capabilities, you can create meaning to gain greater job satisfaction while helping your organization reach new heights.
25 Best And Happiest Careers 2021 List
An entrepreneur is someone who identifies a problem or a need in the market, comes up with a creative solution, and then turns that solution into a thriving business. They’re essentially the lifeblood of any economy. These go-getters don’t shy away from taking calculated risks and have an innate ability to weather the challenges that starting and running a business might throw their way. In a nutshell, entrepreneurs are bold, innovative thinkers who have the potential to transform industries and even the way we live our lives.
Average Annual Salary: $71,000
Required Training And Degree: Depends on the industry and role.
Firefighting is no cakewalk. It takes a special kind of courage to take on the unpredictable and hazardous situations they face daily- from medical emergencies chemical spills, and building fires, to name a few! They have an important role in keeping their local community safe by acting fast when danger arises, potentially saving lives or property with their hard work. Although risky at times, firefighting can be highly rewarding as firefighters get to make real changes for the betterment of society.
Average Annual Salary: $50,690
Required Training And Degree: You must have at least a high school diploma or GED. Plus, landing the job can be competitive, so obtaining an EMT certificate and paramedic’s license will give you an edge over other applicants.
Human Resources Manager
Human resource managers are people-oriented professionals who make it their mission to support and serve the employees of a company. If you enjoy helping others, this job is one of America’s happiest professions. It’s perfect for those looking for an opportunity to positively impact lives on a daily basis!
Average Annual Salary: $111,975
Required Training And Degree: Bachelor’s degree in business administration or human resources.
Physical therapists are passionate about providing the best possible care to their patients. They strive to help individuals with physical injuries, surgery, or other ailments regain full mobility and return to a pain-free life without restriction. Through this meaningful work, they experience genuine happiness in their career, knowing that every day brings an opportunity for them to make someone’s suffering more bearable.
Average Annual Salary: $90,887
Required Training And Degree: License to practice/ Doctorate in physical therapy.
Graphic design is a career for those with an eye for creativity. Through the use of visuals, audio and code-based programming, designers create stunning designs to be used in marketing campaigns, product promotions, etc. It’s no wonder this profession has been named one of the “happiest careers 2021” for those with a creative edge.
Average Annual Salary: $56,954
Required Training And Degree: A bachelor’s degree in graphic design to get started and 2-4 years of practical experience for career advancement opportunities.
Fashion designers have the exciting job of transforming ideas into beautiful, wearable pieces that meet a company’s specific needs and aesthetics. They skillfully use different styles, materials, colors, and consumer interests to develop inspiring design strategies to take products from the initial concept right through to production.
Average Annual Salary: $58,651
Required Training And Degree: Bachelor’s degree in fashion design and minimum 2 years of practical experience for career advancement opportunities.
Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents have a unique and exciting job- connecting people with their dream homes! They collaborate closely with clients, navigate intricate contracts, arrange showings, and ensure each step of the buying or renting process remains organized. It’s no wonder why it’s one of many individuals’ favorite professions.
Average Annual Salary: $107,512
Required Training And Degree: To become a real estate license holder, you don’t need to attend college or acquire a bachelor’s degree. Instead, all it takes is passing your state’s licensing test, which could be the key to unlocking great career opportunities!
Physician assistants are an integral part of a patient’s healthcare journey, providing the support and guidance needed to ensure successful outcomes. For those with a heart for service and caregiving, this career path can bring great joy through working closely with physicians on every step of their patients’ journeys toward better health.
Average Annual Salary: $113,998
Required Training And Degree: Master’s degree in health sciences/ state license/ NCCPA certification
There’s something incredibly fulfilling about the role of a nurse practitioner that has earned it a spot among the top happiest careers. Contrary to popular belief, their work extends far beyond assisting doctors by diagnosing and treating numerous health conditions.
Imagine waking up every day knowing that you hold power to make a remarkable difference in other people’s lives. A nurse practitioner works closely with patients, assists them on their journey to recovery, and often becomes their pillar of support through the most tumultuous times.
Average Annual Salary: $116,877
Required Training And Degree: After obtaining a master’s degree in nursing, individuals must also hold an RN license. Following this important step, they must pass the Advance Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) exam.
As one of the happiest careers of 2021, being a veterinarian blends a deep-rooted passion for animals with a profound sense of accomplishment derived from their ability to heal, protect, and ultimately bring joy to both pets and their owners. Likewise, each day presents an opportunity to make a tangible difference in countless lives.
Veterinarians often form cherished relationships with the animals they treat and the families who love them, making their job even more rewarding. It is this connection to their work, a blend of scientific precision and compassionate care, that turns being a veterinarian into a remarkably gratifying vocation.
Average Annual Salary: $102,334
Required Training And Degree: State License/ Doctorate in veterinary medicine
Social Media Director
Social media directors and managers are the perfect job for those who have a passion for connecting with consumers through digital channels. They are responsible for creating strategies to achieve company goals and brand awareness, as well as managing content creators, timing posts, and measuring success. With their creative thinking abilities and problem-solving prowess, social media directors are able to turn their ideas into results, making this one of the most gratifying and rewarding jobs available today.
Average Annual Salary: $87,286
Required Training And Degree: Undergraduate degrees in public relations, marketing, business, or communications.
There’s a certain undeniable charm to the world of interior design that makes it one of the happiest careers 2021 has seen. Being an interior designer is similar to being an artist. But here, your canvas is as vast as the rooms you’re given, and your tools include an array of colors, textures, and furnishings to bring joy and functionality to living spaces.
Every project brings a new opportunity to transform drab, lifeless environments into vibrant, inviting havens that reflect the client’s unique personalities and preferences. The sense of accomplishment, the grateful smiles of clients, and the ongoing parade of fresh challenges make this career creatively rewarding.
Average Annual Salary: $65,054
Required Training And Degree: To become an interior designer, it is usually necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in a specialty field such as architecture.
This might surprise some, but those who have worked in this field can certainly attest to the immense job satisfaction they experience as an insurance agent. One reason behind this happiness is the sense of fulfillment they get from helping people secure both their financial futures and peace of mind.
An insurance agent has the chance to build lasting relationships with clients and tailor the perfect insurance solution to navigate life’s uncertainties. Additionally, attractive financial incentives and opportunities for continuous growth within the industry play a significant role in cultivating this sense of happiness among insurance agents.
Average Annual Salary: $53,443
Required Training And Degree: You don’t need a college degree to become an insurance agent; however, state licensure is usually necessary.
Data scientists are the detectives of the business world, scouring through analytics to unearth key trends and hidden opportunities. They usually work with a team to unlock valuable knowledge from data sets using mining, analysis, and aggregation techniques. This enables businesses to make more informed decisions for greater success.
With their invaluable skills, they can help companies optimize their operations, contribute to advancements in healthcare, or predict future trends in economic markets. Aside from the stimulating nature of their work, data scientists are also well-compensated and often enjoy a healthy work-life balance. Hence, it’s no surprise that job satisfaction ratings are high among these data-driven experts.
Average Annual Salary: $74,335
Required Training And Degree: Master’s in engineering, computer science, math, or similar.
Electricians are the unsung heroes of construction, building, and renovation projects. With their expertise in wiring and electrical circuits, they help power up new buildings from scratch or repair and upgrade existing ones.
This rewarding profession offers numerous benefits that contribute to higher job satisfaction. For starters, electricians are constantly faced with new challenges and projects that keep their minds sharp and their days interesting. Plus, the demand for skilled electricians never dwindles, meaning steady work and financial security for years.
Average Annual Salary: $62,430
Required Training And Degree: After receiving your high school diploma, you must complete 4-5 years in an apprenticeship program to gain needed experiences. Then, passing a journeyman exam and obtaining a state license is a must.
Software developers are the brains behind our society’s essential tools, programs, and technologies. They conceive, design, code, debug, test, and launch programs that power everything from medical devices to innovative communication systems. These professionals play a pivotal role in bringing complex software projects to life. They offer their expertise every step of the way until project completion.
Average Annual Salary: $74,590
Required Training And Degree: A strong background in computer science is essential, with the ability to stay up-to-date with changes in tech trends and coding languages. To excel, you must have great technical and problem-solving skills to work quickly and efficiently within your development team’s timeline.
Ethical hackers are the heroes of computer security, acting as a barrier between potentially malicious cybercriminals and vulnerable organizations. Dubbed “white hats” for their good intentions, these tech-savvy experts employ various techniques to locate loopholes in corporate IT networks before “black hat” hackers can exploit them.
Average Annual Salary: $104,741
Required Training And Degree: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or IT.
Dentists get to bring a sense of pride and fulfillment to their profession by creating those eye-catching, picture-perfect smiles for their patients. By helping people maintain good oral health and boosting their self-confidence, dentists play an important role in enhancing the quality of life for many individuals. Plus, compared to other fields, dentistry allows for a flexible work-life balance and great job security, making the career not just rewarding but also enjoyable.
Average Annual Salary: $177,158
Required Training And Degree: Degree in dentistry/ state license.
Chiropractors provide dedicated care for patients struggling with a range of neuromusculoskeletal difficulties, including issues involving bones, muscles, nerves, and tendons. Spinal adjustments are one of the most effective treatments they offer to help reduce patient pain and improve their quality of life.
Average Annual Salary: $158,539
Required Training And Degree: Doctor of Chiropractic degree/ state license.
Speech-language pathologists are dedicated to helping people with speech impairments reach their full communication potential. Through tailored evaluations, treatment plans, and working within a multi-disciplinary team of experts, they strive to provide effective treatments and interventions for those affected by speech disorders.
Average Annual Salary: $88,077
Required Training And Degree: Master’s degree in speech pathology/ state license/ ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence.
Freelancing offers a unique level of freedom and independence for those working on their own terms. With no traditional supervisor or company to answer to, freelancers can manage the scope of work they complete and set hours that suit them best. No wonder a staggering 70 million American workers have already made this choice!
Average Annual Salary: Depends on the individual’s set rates and industry.
Required Training And Degree: Again, it depends on the project and role.
User-Experience (UX) Designer
A UX designer is an expert in creating the best possible experience for a user when interacting with digital programs. Through research and analysis, they understand what users prefer so businesses can make sure their online assets are well-received by consumers.
Average Annual Salary: $95,667
Required Training And Degree: Specialized training, certificates, and hands-on experience in UX.
Occupational therapists (OTs) are healthcare professionals who aid those suffering from physical injuries or illnesses. By performing assessments and developing individualized treatment plans, OTs strive to help patients regain their capacity for independent living and work in everyday life. Through therapist-led activities and suggestions of supportive modifications at home or the workplace, they also offer encouragement to empower individuals on a path toward recovery.
Average Annual Salary: $94,333
Required Training And Degree: Doctorate or master’s degree in occupational therapy/ state license/ completion of NBCOT exam.
Registered dietitians are experts in the field of nutrition. They provide valuable guidance and care plans to those wanting to take control of their diets. Plus, they help equip individuals with the knowledge and tools required for an improved lifestyle.
Average Annual Salary: $66,772
Required Training And Degree: To become a registered dietitian, one must obtain a bachelor’s in human nutrition, dietetics, or a similar field. Furthermore, individuals need to obtain 900 hours of supervised practice plus pass the Registered Dietician Examination before they can begin their journey as RD.
Brand strategists are the creative minds that leverage market research, consumer insights, and expert advice to help a brand convey its message. Their job is essential for virtually every company initiative, from new product launches to international expansions. If you’re passionate about marketing and strategy, being a brand strategist provides an incredibly satisfying career path.
Average Annual Salary: $64,563
Required Training And Degree: Degree in marketing, design, or economics.
In today’s fast-paced world, landing a job that pays well and makes you happy has become increasingly important. Gone are the days when people were content with just making ends meet. Now, we seek a sense of fulfillment from our careers, craving the perfect balance between financial security and personal satisfaction.
So, we hope our happiest careers 2021 list has provided insight into the many wonderful opportunities available for those looking to pursue a career with passion and enthusiasm.
Which career is the happiest?
According to our list, some of the happiest careers include entrepreneur, firefighter, human resources manager, and physical therapist, among others.
Which career is the most respected?
Some of the most respected careers are that of a doctor, scientist, or farmer. These are the occupations that people respect and look up to for their dedication and hard work toward improving our society.
What are the happiest careers that pay well?
Some of the happiest careers that pay well include real estate agents, physician assistants, physical therapists, and UX Designers.