8 Careers That Pay Less Than You Think

By Janet Fowler | April 13, 2012 AAA
8 Careers That Pay Less Than You Think

Just because a job seems glamorous, requires a lot of education, is stressful or dangerous, it doesn't mean that you'll necessarily be earning the big bucks by pursing a career in one of these fields. Some jobs seem like they should pay a lot more than they actually do. If you're the type to be more motivated by the paycheck than by the work itself, these are a few career choices that you might want to steer clear of.

Emergency Medical Technician
You trust these professionals with your life. They're the people who step in to help those who are sick, injured or in danger, at times even placing themselves in precarious situations in the process. However, you might be surprised to learn that emergency medical technicians (or EMTs) aren't earning the big bucks. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average income for this occupation is only about $27,000 per year. Considering that this position requires workers to obtain post-secondary education, be on call, work shift work and deal with a huge amount of stress, this wage seems incredibly low.

Event Coordinator
Planning a big event takes a lot of work. Event coordinators take the stress out of event planning for others, thereby taking on all the stresses of organizing vendors, dealing with the hiccups, and ensuring that guests enjoy the event. Ensuring that every wedding, party or conference runs smoothly takes a lot of skill on the part of event planners or coordinators. They need to be organized, professional and able to juggle multiple tasks all at once. How much does this stressful position pay? Only about $36,000 per year.

Probation Officer
Dealing with those who are on probation or parole may not seem like a particularly glamorous position, but there's no doubt it's a stressful one. This job can be particularly rewarding, especially in the fact that you're helping to keep reformed criminals engaged and on track by helping to support their rehabilitation, assisting them with finding jobs and homes once they're released. On the other side of the coin, people in this field also have to deal with a great deal of disappointment and stress, since many former cons have a tendency to reoffend. CNN Money reports that this challenging job comes with an annual salary of about $38,400.

Family Therapist
Seeing how important family wellness is, it's surprising to find that those who are responsible for ensuring our family relationships function properly are only be paid about $45,000 per year. Therapists typically require quite a bit of education in order to practice, so this position comes with a fairly low rate of pay considering that some therapists might be repaying student loans. Therapists also have a tendency to experience burnout, since they are often responsible for seeing a number of clients each day, while helping these families to sort through some of the most stressful of situations.

Addictions Counselor
Similar to family therapists, addictions counselors help their clients to sort through some very challenging and stressful situations. Addictions counselors assist their clients with creating and adhering to treatment plans, which certainly has its share of challenges. Also, most addictions counselors are required to have post-secondary education in order to practice. Given the stressful nature of this job, it might be surprising to learn that this position typically comes with an annual income of only about $32,000 per year.

News Reporter
Being a reporter may seem exciting, but it doesn't guarantee a high salary by any stretch of the imagination. News reporters typically earn about $33,000 per year. This is quite a small amount of compensation considering that many news reporters are required to work unusual hours and work within strict deadlines.

Film or Television Producer
A job in film and television? That has to be glamorous, right? Well, the sad truth is that the majority of people working in this field are not earning the big bucks, especially when they're just starting out. Many film and television producers work long hours in order to ensure that their productions run according to plan and budget. The median income for individuals in this field is about $48,000 per year, though some producers have had to sacrifice their own salaries in order to inject more funds into the projects they're working on. This is definitely proof that not all jobs in the television industry are a sure-fire ticket to easy street!

Architect
Though this position may not come close to the lowest paying on our list in terms of actual earnings, it could be considered a lower-paying job because of the fact that it requires a lot of education and experience before you're able to practice in the field. Most architects require a minimum of a bachelor's degree before being able to work, which is then followed by licensing exams and internships. Architects in their first year of work can expect to earn roughly $35,000 per year, with those who are more senior earning about $69,000 per annum. Considering that most architects leave school with a fair amount of student debt, this certainly isn't going to leave a huge amount of cash for these professionals to spend on themselves after making their debt repayments.

The Bottom Line
It's a sad fact that not all stressful jobs are valued equally. Just because an occupation requires post-secondary education or deals with the unpleasant side of life, it doesn't ensure that you'll be living that comfortable of a life yourself, at least financially speaking. Before investing in post-secondary education, it's a good idea to investigate what kind of annual salary you'll be able to expect before hitting the books. You'll want to know how easily you'll be able to repay your student debt, and if you'll be able to support yourself on your earnings. Keep in mind that loving your job counts for something, but you also need to make sure that you can take care of your own needs with your annual income.

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