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People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal



All professions are different, and each impacts the world in different ways. No matter how small or big, every job is valuable and should be treated as such. But the truth is that some of the most looked-up-to jobs are often undervalued.

There are so many reasons why this happens. As society keeps evolving, you might notice that some of the jobs you previously thought were prestigious just don’t pay people enough any more. To prove that point, we’ve compiled this list of high-end jobs with shockingly low salaries.

More info: Reddit

People who work with at risk populations like youth, the homeless, addicts, etc to work with them to help them turn their lives around. You’re typically working for nonprofits who rely on government grants and donations by the community to get them funded. The people you are working with aren’t paying for these services and thus, these agencies aren’t bringing in income from these people. Welcome to the psychology field.

ChickenXing , Brooke Cagle Report

When kids are young, they’re often forced into careers for the sake of money, prestige, or sometimes both. But certain renowned careers of old no longer pay enough. To understand this phenomenon, Bored Panda interviewed Kristin Hiemstra, the Founder and CEO of AlightSuccess, an empowerment coaching platform focused on career and personal development. Hiemstra is also an Adjunct Lecturer in management, innovation, and entrepreneurship at NCSU Poole College of Management, with expertise in creating organizational culture, employee engagement, and emotional intelligence.

Kristin told us, “unfortunately, several highly regarded professions in the US, particularly in the service sector, don’t pay very well. This includes roles like ministers, nurses, police officers, architects, and untenured college professors. Even some lawyers face financial struggles despite the common perception that they all earn high salaries.”

It’s heartbreaking to note that people working in some of the most demanding professions are often paid peanuts. Kristin stated, “nurses, for instance, are vital to our healthcare system and often work long, demanding hours. Despite this, their compensation doesn’t always match the critical nature of their work. Similarly, police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line daily to protect and serve the community. Yet, their salaries often do not reflect their risks and responsibilities.”

On the other hand, some of the jobs you’d expect to compensate well may not live up to your expectations. “For example, I recently met a nurse who chose this career because it offered more stability and better pay than his previous job as a criminal lawyer. It’s surprising to many, but even in the legal profession, not everyone makes a substantial income, especially those starting or working in certain areas of law,” Kristin added.

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal My sibling has a PhD in Audiology. And there’s not much money in it at all. I barely have a high school degree and make 3x what they do in my tech sys admin role. .

Xerisca , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Another profession that’s always been highly valued yet doesn’t seem to pay a livable wage is architecture. Research shows that there has been a downshift in architects’ earnings over the years. In 1992, the hourly rates of male architects were almost 70% above the average for full-time male employees. However, this steady decline in salary has significantly impacted the industry. 

Kristin mentioned that “while the profession is highly respected and requires significant education and training, many architects struggle financially, especially those just starting their careers. The same goes for college professors who haven’t yet secured tenure; they often work long hours for relatively low pay while contributing significantly to the education and development of students.”

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal This may be niche but being a professional opera singer sounds very prestigious and cool but even singers at top houses are barely surviving financially, and big stars often still have to do things like teach master classes or teach lessons/coachings whatever .

Tremblingchihuahua8 , cottonbro studio Report

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal A lot of political jobs. I worked in politics for a bit for a state rep and the pay was criminally low. Everyone thought it was such a fancy exclusive job but nope. I was making like $24k a year.

Zestypalmtree , August de Richelieu Report

Even lifesaving jobs like emergency service providers are no exception to this pay disparity. We asked Kristin why such important jobs weren’t compensated as well. She said, “there are a few reasons why vital jobs like EMTs, firefighters, and teachers are sought after but don’t pay a livable wage. First, it often comes down to education requirements. Even though they are crucial, jobs that don’t require a college degree tend to pay less.”

“Additionally, many people find emotional rewards in these roles, which can be seen as compensation. For example, everyone remembers their favorite teacher, and that emotional connection is incredibly valuable,” she added. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, EMTs make 30% less than other working Americans, with most making less than $37,000 annually. This is truly shocking to consider!

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal I thought Administrative Assistant sounded cool until I became one. Feels like I’m a one-man department for menial tasks.

its_garrus , Jsme MILA Report

No matter how much we’d like to shake things up, there are certain reasons why previously prestigious jobs no longer hold the same weight. Kristin states that, “professions like teaching offer significant time off, like summers, which affects salary structures. Then there’s the issue of revenue generation. Jobs that directly bring in money, like those in the private sector, usually pay more. Public service roles, while essential, don’t generate direct revenue. And historically, professions dominated by women, such as teaching, have been undervalued and underpaid.

“So, while these jobs are respected and vital, the compensation doesn’t always reflect that importance. Teaching, for instance, was highly sought after despite lower pay because of its societal value and benefits like summers off. But today, we’re seeing a significant teacher shortage in the US, partly because of inadequate pay. This contrasts with other countries where teachers receive a living wage, and the profession is more stable,” she added.

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal I get this all the time. Theoretical particle physicist for the Department of Energy Office of Science. I live, I survive, I have savings, I can cover emergencies but if I were private, I would almost be making double. However I will take the stability of this position with its amazing benefits and pension plan.

JezmundBeserker , cottonbro studio Report

It might seem like there’s no hope, or you have to settle for a poor salary if you want to get into any of these professions. That isn’t always the case. Like the many sides of a dice, each job offers many opportunities for you to do your best and to get the best out of it. It’s up to you to do your research and figure out how to make that possible. Do you have an example of any profession that would fit this list? Let us know in the comments.

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal Paraprofessional… If you think teachers have it rough, we’re the ones who help those teachers manage the kids with behavior issues, Mal-adaptive personalities, autism, severe ADHD, learning disorders… A generation before, these kids would have been sent away to mental asylums and forgotten about if they couldn’t adapt to “normal” schooling, but we’re trying to give them an equal shot at an education.

laurenlcd , Arthur Krijgsman Report

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal Im a Millwright for a medium-large sewer system and they pay is pretty good but as a critically essential service that gets literally no recognition, and trust me we go through some s**t to ensure you dont have to worry about flushing.

InitialAd2295 , Chevanon Photography Report

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal EMTs (emergency medical technician)!!! Wtf? We call em in because we don’t want to die. [They] make barely enough for a loaf of bread.

WTFisThatSMell , Pavel Danilyuk Report

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal Business Operations, sounds like some kind of GM if you don’t know full Finance hierarchies but really it’s largely entry level AR, I made less per hour than I did at a restaurant, but benefits and building the resume for future jobs made it well worth it. How I got my start and if you word it right can really help to jump to the next step (typically AR has a low ceiling so have to pivot to staff Accounting or FP&A to keep moving up).

Also, any Non-Profit roles (I see CFO and Directors making pretty measly money in NP, but another good opportunity to build the resume) as well as lots in Education/Healthcare. Anything publicly funded/reliant on grants will not pay great and may artificially inflate titles to attract talent.

ChuckOfTheIrish , LinkedIn Sales Navigator Report

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal Assistant District Attorney.

I currently make $75k but just got bumped to $90k after 2 years.

Really any professional government job though…

I was thinking about applying for the CIA as an analyst and the application said the pay range was like $60k-$80k.

I was like nope, I’d love to apply but I can’t afford a $10k-$20k pay cut when I’m barely scraping by on $75k.

ArgumentDismal5340 , August de Richelieu Report

People Share 32 Jobs That May Sound Prestigious But The Pay Is Abysmal Graphic Designer.

You can make bank if you are good at selling yourself in freelance to people who will pay, but they’re

enterAdigit , Antoni Shkraba Report

Jeweler. Right now in AZ they make about $15-20 an hour, and that’s after going to school and with previous professional experience.

PermanentRoundFile Report

NASA Astronaut. I think the average pay is like $100K a year which is crazy low for such a dangerous job.

UCFknight2016 Report

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