Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance

Careers with good work-life balance

You might love your job, but you don't want it to take over your entire life. Which professions allow you to enjoy your off-duty time? Among the U.S. News Best Jobs rankings, these professions scored high on work-life balance. Keep reading to discover the best work-life balance jobs. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Median Salary: $208,000
Education Required: Doctorate

Orthodontists are dentists who have completed an additional residency that allows them to provide specialized care. They straighten teeth and realign the jaw using appliances such as braces and retainers.

As one of the best careers with good work-life balance, orthodontists have a relatively low-stress occupation. Emergency care is rarely needed, so these health care professionals can work regular hours, and their job isn't one in which the work can easily follow them home and demand their attention during nights and weekends. What's more, orthodontists have one of the best-paying jobs in the country, and while money isn't everything, it can allow them to spend their non-working hours doing what they really enjoy.

Learn more about orthodontists.


Median Salary: $155,600
Education Required: Doctorate

Dentists need an advanced education, but the reward for their many years of schooling is a job that pays well and is conducive to a good work-life balance. Many dentists have their own practices, which allows them to work when and how they want. For example, the BLS reports a number of dentists work fewer than 40 hours a week.

These professionals examine teeth, fill cavities and fit dentures among other duties. Some may specialize in a particular area of practice such as pediatrics or public health. Unemployment among dentists is extremely low, according to government data.

Learn more about dentists.

Data Scientist

Median Salary: $94,280
Education Required: Bachelor's degree

The job of data scientists is so new that the BLS hasn't started profiling it in its Occupational Outlook Handbook yet. Still, this is a legitimate career path for those who enjoy working with data and have good problem-solving skills. The occupation also comes with above-average flexibility that can mean remote or alternative scheduling options are available.

Data scientists help organizations in diverse industries -- from technology to the government -- collect and parse information that can then be used to make decisions. A bachelor's degree is the standard education in the field, and workers must have a strong understanding of statistics and computer programming.

Learn more about data scientists.


Median Salary: $91,160
Education Required: Master's degree

This occupation isn't just one of the best work-life balance jobs. It's also a top choice as a business job and a STEM job. Statisticians are expected to be in high demand in coming years as their expertise is valuable across a variety of industries, such as public safety, health care and more.

Not to be confused with data scientists, statisticians collect data, analyze it and report their findings. The job typically involves low stress and high flexibility. Plus, it offers above-average compensation. That makes this a good choice for those seeking a career that will allow them to successfully balance their work and personal lives.

Learn more about statisticians.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Median Salary: $100,980
Education Required: Bachelor's degree

Medical and health services managers work behind the scenes at hospitals, clinics and in other health care settings to ensure operations run smoothly. They may be responsible for setting budgets, overseeing staff and strategizing for the future. While these positions are generally full time, managers may have flexibility regarding when they spend their hours on site.

A bachelor's degree is common in this field, but some medical and health services managers have master's degrees. For some roles, such as that of a nursing home administrator, state licensure may also be required.

Learn more about medical and health services managers.

Software Developer

Median Salary: $107,510
Education Required: Bachelor's degree

Software developers may be involved in all aspects of software creation -- from analyzing user needs to creating a program to testing and maintaining it. It's a career that lends itself well to remote and flexible work arrangements which can improve work-life balance for employees.

You'll need a bachelor's degree to become a software developer, but that time in school will be rewarded with a career in which median incomes exceed six digits. These professionals can specialize in either application or system software development. The field is also expected to see robust job growth in the coming years, according to the BLS.

Learn more about software developers.

Physician Assistant

Median Salary: $112,260
Education Required: Master's degree

With doctors in short supply in some areas of the country, physician assistants have stepped up to fill the gaps. These professionals have a specialized master's degree that allows them to do many, but not all, of the same functions as a physician. In many states, they can conduct patient examinations, diagnosis illnesses and write prescriptions.

Unemployment for physician assistants is extremely low, and these workers may have access to flexible scheduling and working arrangements. Not only is this career one of the best work-life balance jobs, but physician assistants take the overall No. 1 spot in the 2021 U.S. News Best Jobs rankings.

Learn more about physician assistants.

Nail Technician

Median Salary: $25,770
Education Required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Also known as manicurists and pedicurists, nail technicians often have flexible schedules or are offered the option to work part time. While nearly 70% of workers in this field are employed by nail salons, spas and similar establishments, 28% are self-employed, the BLS says.

Nail technicians clean, shape and color nails. They may also remove dead skin, moisturize hands and feet and apply nail art. Workers need to pass a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program in order to become licensed, and these short-term programs may include both classroom and hands-on training.

Learn more about nail technicians.

Recreation and Fitness Worker

Median Salary: $30,490
Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Recreation and fitness professionals have jobs that blend work with fun. People in this career may be employed by schools, summer camps, nursing homes, health care facilities or nature parks, among other places. Regardless of their setting, these workers are called upon to create and lead activities in the areas of fitness, arts, music, sports and similar pursuits.

Improved health and well-being are common byproducts of achieving a good work-life balance, and recreation and fitness workers have jobs that naturally lead to those outcomes. Plus, they may be able to work outdoors, seasonally or part time, which can be a perk for some people.

Learn more about recreation and fitness workers.


Median Salary: $37,330
Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Pest control workers have a good job for anyone who wants to clock out at the end of the day and leave their work behind. With the exception of self-employed workers who may have some business tasks such as invoicing to complete, exterminators don't have to worry about taking work home to do after hours.

However, this work isn't for everyone. Exterminators have physical jobs that require them to bend, kneel or even crawl to inspect for pest infiltration or damage in the interior or on the exterior of buildings. If found, these professionals use a variety of tools and chemicals to eliminate unwanted insects, rodents and other animals.

Learn more about exterminators.

Management Analyst

Median Salary: $85,260
Education Required: Bachelor's degree

This less common occupation scores high for offering workers a positive work-life balance. Management analysts are hired to help improve a business or organization's efficiency. They may gather operational data, interview executives and review financial records. Then, they recommend strategies to improve policies, reduce expenses and increase revenues.

Many management analysts work as consultants, and their work may require them to put in long hours some weeks and travel to meet clients. However, between assignments, they may have more downtown and flexible schedules. The BLS notes that 18% of management analysts are self-employed, which means they can select their projects and their hours.

Learn more about management analysts.

Web Developer

Median Salary: $73,760
Education Required: Associate degree

If you want to land a good-paying job without spending years in school, consider a career as a web developer. A two-year associate degree is the standard level of education in this occupation, which is focused on designing and building websites.

Web developers may specialize on the back-end -- or technical development -- of a website or work on the front-end design and user experience. Some developers also maintain existing sites. Regardless of the specialty, web development work can be done remotely and lends itself well to those who want to work independently on a flexible schedule. Overall, 16% of web developers are self-employed, according to the BLS.

Learn more about web developers.

Interpreter and Translator

Median Salary: $51,830
Education Required: Bachelor's degree

If you're fluent in another language, working as an interpreter or translator can be one way to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Interpreters convert spoken words from one language to another while translators do the same for written content.

Some of these jobs are based at schools, courthouses and health care facilities and can only be completed in person. However, this line of work also lends itself well to remote work and self-employment. Interpreters and translators who work as independent contractors may have the luxury of scheduling their work times around family events and recreational activities.

Learn more about interpreters and translators.

Dental Hygienist

Median Salary: $76,220
Education Required: Associate degree

Dental hygienists have one of the best careers with good work-life balance. Although full-time jobs are available, many dental hygienists work on a part-time basis. This allows them to work a few days a week while having plenty of time available for family activities and personal pursuits.

These professionals clean teeth, take X-rays and assist dentists with various procedures. They may also educate people on proper dental care. Dental hygienists must be licensed by their state, but they don't need to earn a four-year degree in order to get a job. An associate degree is the standard level of education in this profession.

Learn more about dental hygienists.

14 best work-life balance jobs:

-- Orthodontist.

-- Dentist.

-- Data Scientist.

-- Statistician.

-- Medical and Health Services Manager.

-- Software Developer.

-- Physician Assistant.

-- Nail Technician.

-- Recreation and Fitness Worker.

-- Exterminator.

-- Management Analyst.

-- Web Developer.

-- Interpreter and Translator.

-- Dental Hygienist.