Best jobs in America: Yours on the list?

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CNN Money teamed up with PayScale to rank the top careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.

1. Software Architect

  • Median pay: $124,000
  • Top pay: $169,000
  • 10-year job growth: 23%

In the same way an architect designs a house, software architects lay out a design plan for new programs. That usually means leading a team of developers and engineers, and making sure all the pieces come together to make fully-functioning software.

What’s great: New problems come up all the time and new technologies arise, making each day different, and keeping professionals in demand. “I’m pinged at least once or twice a week for new opportunities,” said software architect Christopher Felpel. “There’s just a lot of work out there, and that doesn’t surprise me.” –Jillian Eugenios

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction: A | Benefit to society: B | Telecommuting: A | Low stress: A

2. Video Game Designer 

  • Median pay: $79,900
  • Top pay: $115,000
  • 10-year job growth: 19%

It’s not all fun and games for video game designers. Much like movie directors, they’re responsible for the entire creative vision of a project, and lead a team of programmers, designers and artists, to realize the vision.

What’s great: The medium is relatively new, so it’s still a very innovative field. “The opportunity to define a new expression comes along once or twice a century and you get to be a part of that,” said video game designer Warren Spector. –J.E.

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction: A | Benefit to society: B | Low stress: A

3. Landman

  • Median pay: $103,000
  • Top pay: $160,000
  • 10-year job growth: 13%

As the nation’s energy boom unfolds, landmen are needed to negotiate oil and gas leases between the companies and the folks that own the resources. They travel the countryside in search of people willing to sell their mineral rights, and match them with oil firms.

Despite fluctuations in the price of oil, long-term projections for the oil industry — and the profession’s prospects — remain strong.

What’s great: One of the best things about the job is seeing the project through to the end, which often includes a regular person getting a substantial payout. “There have been times when I’ve walked that first check to the door myself,” said landman John Harris. “Everyone loves to get money.” –Steve Hargreaves

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction: A | Benefit to society: A | Low stress: A

 4. Patent Agent

  • Median pay: $126,000
  • Top pay: $182,000
  • 10-year job growth: 13%

Patent agents look at inventions and decide if they should be patented, prepare and file patent applications, and represent inventors in front of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

What’s great: Dealing with new inventions means there’s a lot of exposure to great ideas. “If something’s not new, I don’t need to know about it,” said Dan Beinart, a patent agent in the Boston area. “I never have to get involved with the same thing twice.” –Emily Jane Fox

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction: A | Benefit to society: A | Low stress: A

5. Hospital Administrator 

  • Median pay: $114,000
  • Top pay: $207,000
  • 10-year job growth: 23%

Hospital administrators coordinate with different departments and staff to keep the place running smoothly. They juggle medical professionals, patients and operating staff to create an efficient operation.

What’s great: Challenges arise daily, so no two days are ever the same. “It’s this big web of different things that comes down to the simple concept of taking care of patients,” said Jake Golich, hospital administrator. –Kathryn Vasel

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction: A | Benefit to society: A | Low stress: C

MORE: See top 100 jobs in America here