October 30, 2023 | Allison Robertson

The Unsung Heroes: 15 of the Most Underpaid Jobs

15 of the Most Underpaid Jobs

Concerned people split image

Every day, countless professionals offer their services, often with unwavering dedication, to keep our society functioning smoothly. Yet, there's a vast discrepancy between the value they provide and the compensation they receive. 

Here's a list of 15 jobs where the pay often doesn't align with the significance and demands of the work.


Senior female teacher wearing blue sweater is looking at front and smiling.nappy, Pexels

Average Base Pay: $38,000 per year.

Teachers are tasked with shaping the minds of the next generation, planning lessons, grading assignments, and providing guidance to students, both academically and personally.

Despite the profound influence they have on young minds and their role in society, many educators often dig into their own pockets for classroom supplies, working long hours without adequate compensation.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Patients Faking ItShutterstock

Average Base Pay: $34,000 per year.

EMTs respond to emergency calls, administer on-site medical care, and transport patients to medical facilities.

EMTs often work in high-pressure, life-or-death situations. Yet, their salaries often don't reflect the stressful and vital nature of their work.

Social Worker

Worst thing on the jobShutterstock

Average Base Pay: $49,000 per year.

Social workers provide support to individuals and families, addressing a range of issues from mental health to child welfare.

The emotional toll and the extensive hours, combined with the low pay, make social work a particularly undervalued profession.


Interview NightmaresShutterstock

Average Base Pay: $41,000 per year.

Journalists research, write, and report news stories for various media outlets.

The rise of digital media and the decline of traditional revenue models have led to many journalists receiving wages that don't mirror the importance of free press in a democracy.

Childcare Worker

Nightmare Co-Workers factsShutterstock

Average Base Pay: $24,000 per year.

They care for children, providing basic needs and organizing activities to ensure their proper development.

Childcare workers play a critical role in early child development, yet their compensation does not match the responsibility they hold.

Agricultural Worker

Senior farmer squatting beside rain gauge in corn fieldBudimir Jevtic ,Shutterstock

Average Base Pay: $23,000 per year.

These workers plant, cultivate, and harvest crops, often performing physically demanding tasks.

Ensuring our food supply, they work long hours in varying conditions, yet their pay is not commensurate with the essential nature of their job.

Nursing Assistant

Photo an older man in a wheelchair smiles at the nurse assistant.artursafronovvvv , Freepik

Average Base Pay: $28,000 per year.

Nursing assistants provide basic care to patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities.

Their role is vital to patient care, and yet they earn a fraction of what registered nurses and doctors make.

Library Assistant

Karens Behaving Badly FactsShutterstock

Average Base Pay: $25,000 per year.

They aid librarians in organizing materials, helping patrons, and performing clerical tasks.

Libraries are essential community hubs, yet those assisting in their daily functions are often not adequately rewarded for their vital service.


Paramedics responding to emergencyMikhail Nilov, Pexels

Average Base Pay: $40,000 per year.

Paramedics provide medical attention in emergency situations and transport patients to medical facilities.

Their responsibility is immense, often working in traumatic scenarios, yet their pay doesn’t often mirror the vital nature of their role.

Veterinary Technician

Weirdest Anesthesia StoriesShutterstock

Average Base Pay: $35,000 per year.

Vet techs care for animals under the supervision of a veterinarian, conducting clinical procedures and assisting during surgeries.

With the increasing importance of pets in families, their role is crucial. However, their earnings don't reflect the emotional and physical demands of the job.

Correctional Officer

Blood-Curdling Paranormal TalesPexels

Average Base Pay: $43,000 per year.

They oversee individuals who have been arrested or sentenced to serve time.

In high-stress environments, they ensure safety and order, but their pay often doesn't compensate for the risks involved.

Restaurant Server

Waitress Taking An Orderfizkes, Shutterstock

Average Base Pay: $20,000-$25,000 per year (excluding tips).

Servers take orders, serve food, and ensure customer satisfaction.

Their income is highly dependent on tips, making it inconsistent. They often deal with challenging customers and work long hours on their feet.

Home Health Aide

These Nurses Dared To Correct The Doctor Adobe Stock

Average Base Pay: $24,000 per year.

They assist elderly, convalescent, or disabled persons in their homes, helping with daily tasks.

Given the aging population, their role is becoming even more critical. Yet, their pay does not match the physical and emotional demands.

Retail Worker

Karens vs employeesShutterstock

Average Base Pay: $22,000 per year.

They assist customers, manage inventory, and maintain store appearance.

The retail industry is booming, but those on the frontline often receive minimal pay, especially when considering the long hours during peak seasons.

Postdoc Researcher

Patients Faking ItShutterstock

Average Base Pay: $48,000 per year.

They conduct research after earning their doctoral degrees, often aiming to further academic or scientific knowledge.

Despite their advanced degrees and the importance of their research, postdocs often earn less than other professionals with similar educational backgrounds.

Final Thoughts

Empty walletTowfiqu barbhuiya , Pexels

The disparity between the value of work and compensation is evident in many sectors. Recognizing these underpaid professionals is crucial, as they often form the backbone of essential services in society.

While pay is influenced by numerous factors, it's essential to continuously advocate for fair compensation, ensuring that dedication and hard work do not go unnoticed.



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