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The best jobs for 2014

Gimme an S! Gimme a T-E-M ... what's it spell? STEM!
Andy Ryan | Stone | Getty Images

CareerCast is out with its annual ranking of the and 10 worst jobs for 2014, and let's just say that math and science guys everywhere are about to high-five.

Nine out of 10 of the best jobs fell into the STEM career category (science, technology, engineering and math), with the "numbers guys," in particular, locking in 3 of the top 4 spots.

"This absolutely verifies the importance of STEM careers," said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com and JobsRated.com.

CareerCast looks at 200 of the most populated jobs and then ranks them on a variety of criteria that fall into four key categories: environment, income, outlook and stress. (Stress alone has 11 different factors, from high risk to tough deadlines.)

"When you look across a range of criteria — not just salary and hiring outlook but also the work environment, physical factors and stress — [STEM] jobs are the best," Lee said.

The list has a very practical application for teachers, who use it to launch a discussion with their students about careers.

Hmm. That's a great point. You never hear a kid say he wants to be an actuary when he grows up, do you?!

Hey, someone had to get that conversation started!

Click ahead for the 10 best jobs for 2014.

By CNBC's Cindy Perman
23 April 2014

10. Speech pathologist
Tetra Images | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Up 2
Midlevel income: $69,870
Key factors for ranking: low stress, hiring outlook

Speech pathologists help diagnose and treat problems with communications and swallowing disorders. It tends to be personally rewarding, because of its positive effects on a patient's life, Lee said.

Health-care jobs have ranked extremely well over the past few years as baby boomers age, and this year was no exception, with 4 of the 10 best jobs coming from the sector.

The job outlook is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

9. Occupational therapist
Phil Fisk | Cultura | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Down 2
Midlevel income: $75,400
Key factors for ranking: outlook, low stress

These are people who help injured or disabled patients so they can get back to their everyday life and work.

"It's very satisfying work," Lee said, explaining that it's one of those jobs that receives more thank-yous than others because its aim is to help patients overcome a major obstacle.

The job outlook is expected to jump 29 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

8. Computer systems analyst
ColorBlind Images | Iconica | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Up 2
Midlevel income: $79,680
Key factors for ranking: work environment, outlook

These are the people who work with the actual hardware (from servers to laptops) to make sure that it's the right equipment, the right amount, it's doing what a company needs it to do, and there are no outages. They're always working to increase speed and efficiency. And there is a huge demand for what they do.

"We've got a technical revolution going on," Lee said. "The need for more and more hardware is just growing every year as everything migrates to online."

The job outlook is expected to soar 25 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

7. Software engineer
Nullplus | E+ | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Down 4
Midlevel income: $93,350
Key factors for ranking: low stress, outlook

These are the "creative minds behind computer programs," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These are the people who write software code for programs that manage everything from online shopping to home heating and airport-landing schedules.

In 2012, there were more than 1 million of these jobs and, according to BLS projections, that number will jump 22 percent by 2022.

6. Dental hygienist
Uppercut Images | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: no change
Midlevel income: $70,210
Key factors for ranking: low stress (it ranks as the least stressful of all 200 jobs on this list), outlook

"Talk to a dental hygienist and they'll tell you the best part of their job is that they're in control of the situation," Lee said. They work directly with their patients and get to set their own schedule. Plus, Lee said, it's the only job in the top 10 where you don't need a four-year degree.

The number of jobs in this field is expected to surge 33 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

5. Audiologist
Carmen MartA-nez BanAs | E+ | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Down 1
Midlevel income: $69,720
Key factors for ranking: outlook, lack of stress

Audiologists tend to work in a low-stress environment in a job that is very rewarding, since their focus is to help patients deal with hearing issues. Plus, the hiring outlook gets a boost on two fronts: aging baby boomers and retiring audiologists.

The number of jobs in this field is expected to jump 34 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

4. Actuary
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc | Blend Images | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Down 3
Midlevel income: $93,680
Key factors for ranking: environment, hiring outlook

Actuaries, who came in No. 1 on last year's best jobs list, are the people who determine how long something is going to last. Typically, they work for insurance companies (this accounts for around 80 percent of actuaries), estimating how long people are going to live or the statistical likelihood that they will get a particular disease. However, they're increasingly being used for other industries, such as infrastructure: How long will that bridge last? Is it time to replaced that rail line?

The job outlook is expected to grow 26 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

3. Statistician
Monty Rakusen | Cultura | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Up 17
Midlevel income: $75,560
Key factors for ranking: work environment, outlook

"These are the people who determine the statistical likelihood of things," Lee said. "They figure out how many people will buy that new iPad or if that breakfast cereal is selling well due to changing demographics." Basically, any kind of planning for the future. And they can work across most industries.

The number of jobs in this field is expected to grow 27 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2. Tenured university professor
Peter Dazeley | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Up 12
Midlevel income: $68,970
Key factors for ranking: work environment (ranks No. 1 of all jobs), lack of stress

The key word here is tenured. "That means they have a job for life," Lee said, pointing out that they also receive a six-month sabbatical every seven years. Plus, they usually teach about three to four classes per week and have a say in setting their schedule.

There were more than 1.2 million post-secondary teachers (as the BLS calls them) in 2012, and that number is expected to climb 19 percent by 2022.

1. Mathematician
Cadalpe | Image Source | Getty Images

Change from ranking on 2013 list: Up 17
Midlevel income: $101,360
Key factors for ranking: work environment, high income and outlook, low stress

And THE BEST job for 2014 is ... mathematician!

These are the people who figure out if a decision makes sense for a company or organization, be it digging for oil or building a car. They work in a variety of sectors, including energy, transportation and IT.

"Mathematicians have historically been thought of as academics," Lee said. "But now they do so much more—they're hired in the public and the private sector. Nonprofits."

The number of mathematicians is expected to jump 23 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read more:
The 10 worst jobs for 2014