Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and PAs ranked first and second, respectively, in the new U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best Health Jobs list. On the overall 2022 100 Best Jobs lists NPs ranked second and PAs ranked third showing the importance of health care workers especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ranking of NPs as the nation’s top health care job demonstrates the strength of the profession in serving patients and communities and meeting the skyrocketing demand for high-quality health care across the country,” stated April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

“Year after year, our profession continues to be named among the very best jobs in our country by U.S. News & World Report,” said AAPA President and Chair of the Board Jennifer M. Orozco, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA. “Now more than ever, our country needs more PAs, and this national recognition shines a light on the essential role PAs have in health care and will surely encourage many individuals to pursue a career in medicine as a PA.”

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Rankings for the lists are based on aspects like work-life balance, opportunities for growth, and salary. Other health care professionals on the list include registered nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, speech-language pathologists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

In 2021, the average salary reported for NPs was $112,979 and for PAs was $116,373, with 47% of NPs and 44% of PAs reporting earning higher salary in 2021 than in 2020, according to Clinical Advisor’s salary survey.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected income for many health care workers. Nurse practitioners (21%) and PAs (27%) reported earning less income in 2021 because of the pandemic, while 19% of NPs and 15% of PAs reported earning a higher income.

“These rankings highlight what we have known for some time: the NP role is not just a job, it’s a calling for more than 325,000 NPs who are working tirelessly on the front lines of health care. Nurse practitioners are highly trained and committed health care providers improving the health of their patients and communities,” said Dr. Kapu. “As we enter the third year of the pandemic, America’s NPs will continue delivering high-quality care in every health care setting and expanding access to care in vulnerable and underserved communities. Their dedication makes me proud to be an NP.”

“For me, this underscores the fact that PAs are integral to not only our patients but the future of our nation’s health,” said Orozco. Recognition like this rededicates me to my patients and this meaningful profession.”


1. American Association of Nurse Practitioners. AANP applauds US News & World Report ranking of nurse practitioners as “Best Health Care Job” in 2022. January 11, 2022. Accessed January 11, 2022.

2. AAPA. PA Named #2 Best Health Care Job by US News & World Report. January 11, 2022. Accessed January 12, 2022.

3. US News & World Report. Best health care jobs. Accessed January 11, 2022.