12 of the happiest careers in 2022 that also pay well

November 23, 2022  •  Reading Time: 10 min.

Are you in the process of making a career change, or simply looking for the right career path?

Many job seekers look for the “happiest” work when deciding on a particular career or applying for certain positions. They want a career they enjoy and that still pays good money.

  • But is a “fun job” really all it takes to be happy in a career?
  • What other factors make a job truly “fun” in the long run?

In this article, we take a closer look at what actually constitutes job satisfaction as a whole and which jobs are the best examples of the happiest jobs in 2022!

📝 Note: This post is especially useful for career starters who are about to kick off their professional pursuits this year – while aligning them with their personal goals!

What are typical careers with high job satisfaction?

The better the income, the higher the job satisfaction?

At first glance, that makes perfect sense. After all, a certain salary ensures you a standard of living with which you can buy the things that make you happy, and it also provides security. However, according to a study by Glassdoor, work culture, company values, development opportunities and the quality of management contribute much more to job satisfaction and thus to overall happiness at work.

📝 Note: This means that the work environment often has a much greater impact on job and life satisfaction than compensation!

💡 Tip: Learn all about work environment here.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get both, though. Careers in a variety of industries offer the opportunity to have a great working environment and a high salary at the same time.

For example:

  • Physical therapist
  • Teaching assistant
  • Kindergarten teacher
  • Human resources manager
  • Loan officer
  • Information security analyst
  • Software engineer
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Solar project manager

… and many more!

Male worker who loves his work environment in a field with solar panels

What is the #1 happiest job?

Can there be one job that is truly the happiest job of all?

Yes. There can be one job that really suits you and is therefore your personally happiest job. However, in general, there are many rewarding jobs, and it is not possible to call one job the happiest.

To help you get inspired, we’ve done the research for you and found great examples of happy and satisfying jobs.

12 of the happiest careers with high annual salary

If you are looking for career happiness, simply browse through this list.

📝 Note: We’ve focused mainly on occupations that are known for offering high job satisfaction and a good job outlook.

We’ve also kept it a bit “mixed and matched”, meaning you’ll find something that’s a good fit for you if you have a Bachelor’s degree, but also if you have a Master’s degree or a High School diploma. For some careers, such as photographer, talent and/or on-the-job training are most important, and you don’t need a specific degree to pursue that career.

Happiest careers #1: Dental hygienist

A dental hygienist provides preventive oral care by professionally cleaning their clients’ teeth.

Besides cleaning teeth, dental hygienists educate patients about maintaining good oral health and examine patients for signs of oral disease. Many dental hygienists also enjoy building a relationship with their patients.

Photo of smiling dental hygienists with okay sign

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • The job prospects are great.
  • The working environment encourages interaction with other people, which is known to be good for mental health.
  • Working as a dental hygienist is one of the most satisfying jobs because you can see the results of your work immediately.

Happiest careers #2: Esthetician

An esthetician typically performs facial cleansing on clients.

The goal is to improve the beauty of the client’s skin and maintain its long-term health and vitality. Estheticians also address their patients’ skin problems and suggest specific treatments. For this purpose, they often collaborate with other healthcare professionals.

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • Estheticians frequently work on their own schedule and can thus maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Among other factors, they are able to help customers with their skin problems, and therefore this profession can be very rewarding.

Happiest careers #3: Fashion designer

Fashion designers create clothes and accessories.

Most fashion designers first develop designs and then select the fabrics for the garments. There are practically no limits to creativity.

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • Many fashion designers are self-employed and can determine their own work schedule, which gives them more creative freedom.
  • Once their pieces are worn by fashion celebrities, for example, they may be able to earn extremely high fees for their designs.

Happiest careers #4: Finance manager

The primary duty of finance managers is to monitor the financial health of a business.

To this end, they prepare financial reports and implement strategies to achieve long-term goals. In addition, a financial manager’s duties often include identifying trends and making forecasts for a company’s finances.

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • The job security in this profession is very high.
  • Finance managers usually earn a handsome salary.
  • While the work can be stressful, it can also be very fulfilling for people who have a knack for numbers and are looking for a job that challenges them often.

Happiest careers #5: Human resources manager

HR managers are instrumental in hiring and firing decisions.

That means they play an important role in creating and maintaining the company’s culture. They also handle training for new and existing employees, payroll, benefits and much more.

📝 Note: A human resources position typically requires a Bachelor’s degree in either HR or business management.

HR representatives positively greet female applicant

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • Although this position can be challenging at times (as it involves not only hiring but also firing employees), it has the potential to be very rewarding.
  • After all, shaping an entire company culture can give you great job satisfaction and the motivation to always find the most suitable job seekers.

Happiest careers #6: Teaching assistant

A teaching assistant helps supervise classroom activities.

Teaching assistants often aid in creating lesson plans and monitoring student progress. Because they are hired as extra help, they can address individual students’ problems, which can be of great benefit to the children or teenagers.

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • Teaching assistants help students succeed both academically and personally. Therefore, this can be a very fulfilling job.

Happiest careers #7: Marketing manager

A marketing manager promotes a company’s products or services.

The job entails a lot of creativity and offers great opportunities for professional development, as trends in the marketing industry are constantly evolving.

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • The opportunities for career growth are excellent.
  • If you love cultivating professional relationships and dealing with many different people on a daily basis, this could be your dream job.

Happiest careers #8: Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists help injured or disabled people regain the skills they need for everyday activities.

To that end, they often use everyday activities (such as dressing or stretching) as tools for their occupational therapy. Occupational therapists also develop treatment plans tailored to each patient’s specific needs.

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • The profession often offers a flexible schedule.
  • Seeing patients’ quality of life improve can be very rewarding.

Happiest careers #9: Photographer

Many photographers start out of a passion.

In this profession, you are usually self-employed, and the greatest job satisfaction is achieved when you have found your personal niche and can also earn good money with it.

Photographer at work demonstrating her talent

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • You don’t need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree to be successful in this profession.
  • As long as you have talent, enough experience and a positive attitude, you can easily make this your full-time job and earn a decent salary.

Happiest careers #10: Physical therapist

Physical therapists offer treatment to patients with injuries, disabilities and other physical ailments.

They also provide help in case of chronic diseases, improve or restore mobility and relieve pain. With this in mind, physical therapists show patients how to carry out certain exercises at home as well.

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • Physical therapists don’t sit in an office all day, but work with people they can help immediately.
  • For this reason, this is one of the happiest careers out there.

Happiest careers #11: Software engineer

software engineer creates programs, digital products, and computer systems with the help of a programming language.

Software engineers often work closely with their clients to keep them informed about the status of the project and to make desired changes. Sometimes software engineers help software developers design code for systems or applications, for example.

Software engineer on laptop working with Python programming language

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • Software engineers often enjoy complete autonomy in their work, and the great pay also contributes to their job satisfaction and happiness.
  • In addition, software engineers are in high demand, which means that they can always find work quickly.

Happiest careers #12: Speech-language pathologist

Speech-language pathologists help patients in coping with and recovering from impairments of swallowing, language, communication, and speech.

As a result, they can assist individuals of all ages who are unable to communicate properly because of hearing issues, long-term diseases, trauma, or neurological conditions.

📝 Note: In addition to a Master’s degree in healthcare, most employers for this profession require a certificate of clinical competence in speech-language pathology.

Why is this one of the happiest jobs?

  • Speech-language pathology is highly meaningful work, as therapists can make a significant difference in the lives of their patients.
  • The flexibility of working hours allows them to manage their hours well. These factors contribute greatly to the overall level of job happiness.

Conclusion and tips on how to find your dream job

As you can see, there are many social professions on our list.

This, however doesn’t automatically entail that working with people and making them happier or healthier means joy for yourself. To find your own dream job, you first and foremost have to consider the skills you bring to the table and also which environment you want to work in. Then think about what kind of jobs give you a sense of meaning.

Ask yourself:

  • Will I be able to go to work motivated on most days?
  • Does this job align with my values?
  • Is the working environment in this profession something I would generally enjoy?

Of course, you most likely won’t be able to find out about the workplace environment at the particular employer before you actually work there (unless you can find useful information about what other employees say, for example, on online portals). In any case, if you are considering a particular field or profession, you should research it online or ask friends/ relatives who work there.

This will most likely give you valuable insight into job satisfaction and happiness in that profession!

💡 Tip: Happiness has a lot to do with whether or not you are succeeding professionally. Read our article “Career success: How to be successful at work” to get important tips for a thriving career!

📝 Note: If you need even more inspiration on this topic, continue reading with “What is the best job for me? Find answers!”.

Illustration of businessman on rocket with a very good job outlook

Happiest careers – FAQ

Which careers offer a great work-life balance?

Some examples of jobs with a healthy work-life balance are: dentist, data scientist, physician assistant, teaching assistant or nail technician.

What is the happiest job you can have?

Event planner, early childhood educator or optometrist are among the professions with the highest job satisfaction.

What is the least stressful job?

The best jobs with the least stress include: dietician, massage therapist, equipment repairer, or medical technologist.

What are happy, high-paying jobs?

The professions in which employees are most satisfied with their compensation and overall working conditions include: product management, consulting, human resources and finance.