People often assume high-profile careers come with big paychecks. In reality, jobs with lots of visibility don't always pay as much as you might think. "Glamour, for all it is worth, may not be worth very much financially," says Lori Gersh Weiner, career expert and author of "Good Manners Are Contagious". (Is status worth the cost? Find out in Is Your High-Profile Job Worth The Price?)

In Pictures: 6 Hot Careers With Lots Of Jobs

Here are some high-profile jobs that probably don't pay as well as you think:

Local News Anchors
Since they often become local "celebrities," many people assume their favorite news anchors earn an enviable salary. That's often not true, especially in small markets. Entry-level news anchors earn approximately $27,000 a year upon entering the profession, and can earn as little as $30,000 after five years of service. Of course, wages depend on the viewership and network range, but even mid-sized city "celebrities" often maintain multiple jobs to provide for themselves and their families. For example, in Cincinnati, reporters typically earn only $40,000 while salaries for those in the big leagues can increase to half a million. (Read up on other jobs that may not meet expectations in Compensation Myths: Burger Flipper Vs. Investment Banker.)

Local and State Politicians
Sure, New York City's mayor officially makes $225,000 a year – although billionaire Mike Bloomberg declines to take all but one dollar of that – and Barack Obama has a $400,000 salary, but state politicians and their small-town counterparts usually make a fraction of that. In Mississippi, for example, state legislators make $10,000 a year (plus a per diem rate to cover expenses while they're in session). The pay level is even lower in small towns, where the mayor and council members often make very little.

Stand-Up comics
Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld make a fortune now, but that certainly wasn't the case in their early days, when they were doing stand-up at small clubs. Many TV audiences' perception of stand-up figures is skewed by well-known comedians of late-night television. However, those trying to get into the industry often have to settle initially for unpaid amateur nights and, once they have been accepted into the community, must compete with other comedians for event slots.

According to the Princeton Review, the average stand-up comic earns around $50 for two 20-minute sets at a comedy club. Many comedians start out by doing "open mic" nights, where they get no pay at all. Unfortunately, very few comedians actually maintain a consistent schedule.

"Lots of people think chefs are multimillionaires," says Eve Tahmincioglu, columnist for MSNBC's "Your Career". "But if they don't have book deals and they're not on FoodTV, they're pretty much living paycheck to paycheck. Cooks probably make about $13 an hour, and unless you're an executive chef, you probably make under $50,000."

Minor League Athletes
They may sign autographs and perhaps even have their own trading cards, but these athletes don't earn big-league bucks. Minor league baseball players, for example, have a $1,100 per month maximum rate for their first contract season. Even a major league athlete isn't necessarily guaranteed a big payday - Canadian Football League players often have second jobs during the off season. (Learn how even the mega rich athletes become poor in 7 Costly Pro Athlete Screw-Ups.)

Furthermore, Olympic athletes get the glory, but unless they are lucky enough to star in commercial deals or have endorsement deals, they don't bring in the bacon. In Canada, it is estimated that 70% of amateur athletes live below the poverty line.

For every J.K. Rowling who hits it big, there are thousands of authors (and aspiring authors) toiling away for little or no money. "There are many would-be authors still writing their first book and thinking they will make millions for it," says Weiner. "Think again. Writing a book, unless you are a big name in the business, doesn't make the 'pay grade.'" (Looking to get paid to write? Check out Becoming A Financial Writer.)

Comic Book and Video Game Artists and Animators
These jobs may have some nice perks – the opportunity to work on cool projects, the potential to develop a cult following and even the occasional Comic-Con appearance – but the pay is usually not as high as people might think. According to Animation Arena, a video game artist with a few years' experience will make around $41,500 on average. For animators and artists, the real money comes when/if they work on a project that attracts attention from Hollywood, a major game company or a big publisher. (Check out Play Video Games; Become A Millionaire.)

The Bottom Line
Becoming a small town "star" or a hero can be very cool, but it doesn't guarantee a big paycheck. So don't assume a local celebrity or high-profile personality is making the big bucks. In reality, they may earn less than you.

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    10 Reasons It Is Time to Look for a New Job

    Learn 10 good reasons for switching jobs, such as major life changes, ethical concerns, job description creep and upwards mobility.
  2. Economics

    Management Strategies From A Top CEO

    Jack Welch is a legend in the business world: during the two decades he was CEO of General Electric, the company’s value rose by 4000%.
  3. Markets

    Top 6 Apps for Financial News

    Understand why real-time financial information is so important in today's business environment. Learn about the top six financial information apps.
  4. Professionals

    Common Interview Questions for Project Managers

    Discover the basic skills needed for a position as a project manager along with common interview questions used in applying for such a position.
  5. Investing

    From Supermodel to Entrepreneur: Gisele Bündchen's Sejaa Pure Skincare

    As one of the highest-paid models in history, Bündchen has turned her name and image into a worldwide brand, and Sejaa is part of her massive empire.
  6. Professionals

    5 Financial Careers You Didn’t Know Existed

    Discover some often overlooked financial career opportunities, and learn how accountants can catch the bad guy or rub elbows with Hollywood's elite.
  7. Taxes

    Payroll Taxes: Picking Apart Your Paycheck

    Here's what gets deducted from your pay, what your employer pays and where your payroll taxes actually end up.
  8. Professionals

    5 Things to Request If You Can't Get a Raise

    The job market is improving, but many companies are still running on tight budgets which means no raises. But there are other forms of compensation.
  9. Personal Finance

    5 U.S. Cities With High Paychecks and a Low Cost of Living

    Consider these U.S. hubs where workers get paid competitive salaries while enjoying a high quality of life due to a low cost of living.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    You're Fired! Trump's Best Apprentice Axes

    Hubris, offensive comments and infamy. The most memorable firings from 14 seasons of The Apprentice.
  1. Does working capital include salaries?

    A company accrues unpaid salaries on its balance sheet as part of accounts payable, which is a current liability account, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do financial advisors need to meet quotas?

    Most financial advisors are required to meet quotas, particularly if they work for firms that pay base salaries or draws ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between AGI (adjusted gross income) and gross income?

    In the United States, individuals pay taxes based on their adjusted gross income, or AGI, rather than their gross income. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How is marginal propensity to save calculated?

    Marginal propensity to save is used in Keynesian macroeconomics to quantify the relationship between changes in income and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can minimum wages contribute to a market failure?

    The minimum wage acts like a price floor on labor, reducing the supply of jobs available to a level below the market-clearing ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does the always be closing (ABC) strategy benefit a salesperson's sales funnel?

    It is good practice in sales to always be closing, because it's common for a salesperson's sales funnel to be leaky. When ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  2. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  3. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  4. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  5. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  6. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
Trading Center