Top 10 Worst And Best Jobs This Year

If you've ever watched a TV news reporter deliver a live report and thought, "that'd be a great job," think again. Broadcast journalists, along with their print brethren, newspaper reporters, are among the worst professions in the U.S., according to new survey by

One reason those two positions rank as low as, say, butchers and dairy farmers, is simple: the pay is low. Broadcasters earn an average $27,324 a year, while newspaper reporters -- at $35,725 -- do only slightly better. Butchers and dairy farmers, meanwhile, earn about the same: $29,156 and $33,119, respectively.

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It isn't only meager earnings-potential, however, that makes these jobs and other low-rated professions among the worst jobs of 2012, the job-search portal says. Other factors include poor working conditions, high stress and long hours.

That's likely one reason that enlisted military personnel for the first time were included among this year's worst jobs. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq resulted in many military members being deployed multiple times to areas of conflict, exacting a toll on both their professional and personal lives. Further, at an average annual income of $36,261, no one in the enlisted ranks is getting rich.

But it isn't all doom and gloom. On the other end of the spectrum, there are jobs that -- as CareerCast Publisher Tony Lee puts it -- "have few physical demands, minimal stress, a good working environment and a strong hiring outlook."

Those include jobs such as software engineer (average annual salary, $88,142), which topped this year's list. Other winners include: human-resource manager ($99,191); dental hygienist ($68,109); and financial planner ($104,161).

Those jobs, as with many others that ranked high, generally require a college degree, suggesting that despite the recent debate about the value of attending college, those who do tend to have better jobs.

"While it's true that some people are happy washing dishes, waiting tables or slicing meat as a career, job seekers who want to compete for the nation's best jobs need to gain a competitive edge by expanding their knowledge and skill set with a college education," Lee says.

He adds that many of the nation's worst jobs don't even require a high-school diploma.

To see how the best and worst jobs of 2012 fared, check out CareerCast's latest rankings:

Best Jobs in 2012 vs. How They Fared in 2011; Midlevel Income

Worst Jobs in 2012 and How They Fared in 2011; Midlevel Income

The Best and Worst Jobs of 2012

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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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