To compile their list, U.S. News looked at jobs that offer employees the most opportunity -- in terms of projected growth as reported by the Labor Department, quality of life and compensation -- in five sectors: business, creative and service, health care, social service and technology.
All of the jobs listed have above-average median annual pay rates, and all are expected to experience above-average growth between 2008 and 2018. Jobs that are expected to have few openings in the coming year were not included.
The report comes as the economy starts to recover, and although some warn that the job market remains fiercely competitive, others believe that this year competition has eased. CEO of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas John Challenger told U.S. News that "the whole environment has changed ... it feels like springtime compared to last year's winter in the job market."
Whether you're just about to start college or nearing the finish line, check out these 13 great jobs that require at least a four-year degree and their median annual salaries in 2009. And see U.S. News for the full list and for the particulars of each position.
Are you studying to work in any of these fields? Let us know in the comments section.