The concept of the American dream represents how anyone can achieve success and prosperity in their life and career through hard work and determination. In pursuit of this economic and social success, people have sought their dream job.
So, what is the American dream job today? For many Americans, it is a job that allows them to achieve their personal and professional goals. In 2022, an average of around 5.2 million¹ Americans were searching for jobs at any given time, many of whom were undoubtedly looking for their dream job.
At Business Name Generator we were keen to know more. So we looked at the number of Google searches for over 22,000 search terms that related to job seeking for specific roles. This allowed us to identify the most popular and searched-for jobs. We also looked at the number of job postings for the most popular jobs in major U.S. cities to find out where jobseekers can expect to find these roles.
- Nursing is the most in-demand job role in the U.S.
- Almost 90,000 people a month are searching for how to get a job as a nurse.
- Six of the top 20 most popular jobs were in the healthcare industry.
- Travel was the second most popular industry, with three of the top 20 jobs in this sector.
- Despite not making it into the top 20, 15,690 people a month searched for how they could become a social media influencer.
What Jobs Are People Searching For The Most?
The number one most searched-for job is nursing, with an average of almost 90,000 searches a month. In our analysis, a career as a nurse included all variations of nursing, from pediatric to geriatric.
The varied nature of the role and the focus on helping others could be what makes this role so popular among job hunters. Interestingly, the number of monthly searches increased by 34% between March and April 2020, after the first COVID-related restrictions came into effect and people became more interested in contributing to helping those affected by the pandemic.
Nurses are also in high demand, and it is unlikely that this will change in the foreseeable future.
Nursing roles were among the most plentiful in many major cities. In New York City alone, there were over 11,000 nursing jobs available on Indeed.com at the time of analysis (October 2023).
Nursing is rewarding and also provides job security and strong opportunities for advancement. As such a stable and rewarding career, it’s unsurprising that nursing tops the list.
Closely following becoming a nurse is becoming a therapist, another care role that is focused on helping other people. Google searches for ‘how to become a therapist’ have increased by 11% in the last year, and have seen an upward trend over the past few years. In the last year, we counted an average of 88,190 searches per month – over 1 million in the last year. This is likely since the demand for mental health services is growing and stigmas are changing.
New York City is the major city where the greatest number of therapy jobs are available, according to our analysis of Indeed, making it a great destination for those looking to relocate in search of their dream job.
Therapy is a rewarding and well-compensated career, with a mean salary of $71,860 annually – above the U.S. average.
3. Real Estate Agent
The third most popular career is real estate, with a total of 74,870 monthly searches. ‘How to become a real estate agent’ alone is searched an average of 17,000 times a month across the U.S. – that’s around 204,000 times a year!
Unlike nursing and therapy, which require years of training, real estate is relatively easy to enter. There are no formal education requirements to become a real estate agent, and the licensing process is fairly straightforward.
Interestingly, Phoenix, Arizona, is the city where budding real estate agents will find the most work, with thousands of jobs available in this industry.
Real estate is also a flexible job. Agents can often set their own hours, enabling them to work around other commitments. Real estate can also be a very lucrative career, with agents earning an above-average salary. Of course, because of this, it’s a highly competitive area to work.
Teaching is searched for 70,620 times a month, making it the fourth most searched-for career. Teaching is a secure and rewarding job that often offers many benefits.
Boston is the city where teaching jobs are most available, with 3,510 Indeed postings, followed by Chicago, with 2,832.
It is also often sought after because it allows people to make a meaningful contribution to other people’s lives. Teachers play a vital role in the development of future generations.
5. Police Officer
Americans searched for ‘how to get into a police force career’ 61,260 times a month. Being a police officer is another secure and meaningful career that also offers the opportunity to work outdoors and take part in more physically demanding activities, rather than being confined to a desk every day.
Police officers will also have the opportunity to work with a variety of people from all walks of life and work in exciting and challenging situations.
All cities around the world will need police officers.
They play a vital role in protecting the public and reducing crime. Individuals looking to be part of something greater and serving their community may be inclined to search for this job.
In sixth place is being a pilot, with 55,930 people a month searching for how to pursue this career. Despite the high barriers to entry, being an airline pilot is one of America’s dream jobs.
However, people dreaming of becoming a pilot will need at least 1,500 hours of flying time to apply for a license and qualify as an airline captain. ATP Flight School, a leading American pilot training school, claims it costs $101,995 to become a pilot when starting with no previous experience, meaning it’s also a very costly career to pursue.
This is not a location-specific role.
The opportunity to travel and the prestige that surrounds being a pilot is likely to attract people.
Modeling is an exciting career with the benefits of travel opportunities, working with exciting brands and potentially a level of fame and popularity. It’s unsurprising, then, that becoming a model was one of the most searched-for jobs, with 49,760 monthly searches for how to get a job in this industry.
However, some of the most successful models were discovered whilst living their daily lives, so jobseekers may not find the answers they’re looking for online.
This is not a location-specific role and many major cities will offer opportunities for modelling.
The opportunity to see the world and become a household name may attract people to becoming a model.
In eighth position, with 47,130 searches, is becoming an actor. People who have a passion for acting and the arts may look to pursue this professionally. Acting provides the opportunity to work in varied work environments, from the stage to international sets and historic locations.
Large cities and acting hubs like New York or Los Angeles will often present the greatest opportunities.
At a high level, acting can offer the chance to work on high-budget projects with other talented actors and a healthy salary. Acting is often a career that individuals are truly passionate about, making it their true dream job.
Finance roles included jobs like finance brokers, hedge fund managers and finance managers, as well as searches for ‘job opportunities in finance’ and other similar searches. These amounted to an average of 46,400 monthly searches.
New York City is deemed to be the finance capital of the U.S, and we found over 3,000 Indeed job postings for ‘Finance’ in this area.
Jobs in finance are particularly sought after due to the high earning potential, as these roles are typically very well paid. Financial managers, for example, have a median pay of $139,790 per year.
10. Flight Attendant
Rounding off the top 10 jobs is flight attendant, with 38,740 monthly searches. This is the second travel-related role in the top 10. Unlike becoming a pilot, there is a much easier path to becoming a flight attendant. As a flight attendant, you can train on the job, rather than needing to complete training before you can apply.
This is not a location-specific role since flight attendants can typically choose the home base airport they report to. Most major U.S. airlines also have more than one hub.
Much like pilots, flight attendants will have ample opportunity to travel the world and explore new cultures through their work – a major advantage and a large part of the appeal of this career.
Other Jobs in the Top 20
- Sports coach
- Travel agent
- Dental hygienist
Methodology & sources
To find out the most searched-for jobs in America, we analyzed 22,856 search terms and their search volumes. Data on search terms was gathered from Ahrefs, a search traffic tool. We used the following seed keywords to form our list of job-related 22,856 keywords:
- how to be a
- how to become a
- how to get a job as a
- job opportunities for
- job opportunities in
- requirements for job
- skills needed for
- steps to become a
We excluded results that did not imply professions (e.g. ‘how to be a good mother’). In instances where multiple variations of one overall job had search volume, we took the overarching role and summed the search volumes (e.g. ‘chemistry teacher’ and ‘English teacher’ would both count under ‘teacher’). Religious roles were removed. Searches implying the length of time it took to achieve a job were also removed.
For data on job openings in major cities, we looked at the number of job postings on Indeed.com within a 25-mile radius around 32 of the largest cities in the U.S.
Data on YoY increases in Google searches was taken from Glimpse in Google Trends.