Actors, authors, lawyers, doctors, teachers, athletes – these are all highly visible jobs that a get a lot of notice and respect. But the people performing these jobs couldn't accomplish their tasks without the help of those working behind the scenes. From makeup artists to proofreaders, these hidden jobs are often not as specialized, and don't require the same training or education, but are still a very important part of the world around us.
We take a look at these imperative careers, what it takes to work in these fields, the job prospects and, of course, the pay, to see if it's worth it to work behind the scenes. (Some jobs offer more than financial perks. Check out 10 Rewarding Career Choices.)
Think movie and television stars are that beautiful when they roll out of bed in the morning? Of course not. That's why there are makeup artists. From prepping local news anchors to Broadway stars to Brad Pitt, there's a lot of variety in this field.
- Education: Makeup artists do not need certification like barbers and cosmetologists. Academies are available to instruct and do placements. Otherwise it's more about experience, who you know and personality.
- Salary: Mean annual salary is $39,020, but in the movie industry the mean annual salary is $79,600. The average for working in the performing arts is $53,930 and TV makeup artists make $40,720.
- Prospects: As of 2006 there were only 2100 positions in the United States. This field is expected to grow by 40%, to 3,000 positions, by 2016. California has the highest employment by state and also the highest wages.
The life of a lawyer is hectic, and there just isn't enough time in the day to work in the more banal duties like researching and investigating the facts of a case, and drafting contracts, mortgages and reports. So, behind every successful lawyer is a good paralegal. Paralegals carry out the duties mentioned above, but are not allowed to do actual legal work, advise on legal matters, set fees or present in court.
- Education: Post-secondary education.
- Salary: $48,790 as of May, 2008.
- Prospects: Between 2006-2016, this career is expected to grow by 22% - about 58,000 jobs nationwide.
You may think that all writers have perfect grammar and spelling, but let me assure you that they don't. A proofreader does just what you think: reads over manuscripts, advertising copy, news releases, magazine and newspaper articles, ensuring that there are no grammatical or typographical errors.
- Education: An undergraduate degree or diploma in English or Journalism, and experience in the editorial field.
- Salary: According to Payscale.com, proofreaders make between $29,798 and $55,006 as an annual salary.
Doctors, paramedics and nurses might get all of the attention on medical dramas like ER and Grey's Anatomy, but those victims don't get to the hospital on their own. Dispatchers can work for taxi companies, food delivery services, emergency services and so on, and their main goal is to dispatch workers, equipment and service vehicles. (Make sure your career plans will be viable once you graduate. Don't miss 5 Hot Career Paths For Future Grads.)
- Education: High school diploma. Most training is on-the-job. Some states require specific training for different dispatchers.
- Salary: As of May, 2008, the mean annual salary was $36,560. Those working for police, fire and ambulance will make a bit less at $35,340, while those working in rail transportation make the most, $60,830, on average. At the lowest end of the salary, limo and taxi dispatchers have a mean salary of $27,130.
- Prospects: This job is expected to grow by 6%, or 16,000 jobs, in the U.S. from 2006-2016, but this is at a lower rate than average job growth.
It's a common complaint that teachers are overworked and underpaid. But for those teachers who have the help of a teaching assistant, maybe it's not so bad. Teaching assistants (TAs) provide support for teachers, and can do anything from lesson-planning to grading papers to cafeteria supervision. TAs can also provide specialized attention to students, especially those with special education needs.
- Education: High school diploma, but some schools require degrees, college training, proven academic skills or state/local assessment of skills.
- Salary: Mean annual wage, as of 2008 was $23,560. Forty-percent of TAs work part-time, and just about all of them work a nine to 10 month work-year.
- Prospects: Expected to grow by 10%, or 137,000 jobs, from 2006-2016. The state of New York employs the most teaching assistants in the country.
Umpire, Referee and Sports Official
Those games can't run themselves; who would call the penalties and off-sides, or eject players from the game? This career can keep things interesting and organized for professional sports by enforcing the rules and regulations of play. However, this is known as a high-stress job due to the quick-thinking and disagreements with fans, players and coaches, which can result in verbal abuse and altercations. (Don't pick a career that's on its way out. Read The 9 Worst Career Choices Right Now.)
- Education: Education usually starts with experience, by volunteering with community sports. Each sport requires different courses and education for its officials.
- Salary: Mean annual salary is $28,330, but in the state of New York the mean is $51,300.
- Prospects: This field is expected to grow by 16%, or 3,000 jobs, between 2006 and 2016. However, the best prospects are for those seeking part-time employment.
The high-profilers can't do it all on their own, and that's why there are these behind-the-scenes jobs. Though they may not be as visible, these jobs are crucial to the positions they support. All figures are according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, except where otherwise noted.