Although most people can think of prestigious or high-paying jobs, some jobs generally thought of as “normal,” or even boring, pay very well and have many great qualities that are easily overlooked, according to CareerCast.com,which developed the list.
CareerCast ranked the most underrated jobs based on a range of criteria, including low stress levels, low environmental dangers, low physical demands, and median-to-high income levels. The jobs listed here also have a lower-than-average unemployment rate. To see what types of skills are required, we’ve also included job descriptions from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
“While terms like flashy, glitzy, glamorous and prestigious aren’t typically associated with our list of underrated jobs, these careers have some great advantages that are often overlooked,” says Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com. “They’re professions that don’t woo people with the high salaries or notoriety, but instead have characteristics that make them especially worthy.”
So, what are 12 most underrated jobs in this economy? Click ahead to find out!
By Paul Toscano
Posted 21 Sept 2011
Income Average: $68,358
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 2.3%
Job description: Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system; they also treat the effects of those problems on the nervous system and on general health. Many chiropractic treatments deal specifically with the spine and the manipulation of the spine. Chiropractic is based on the principle that spinal joint misalignments interfere with the nervous system and can result in lower resistance to disease and many different conditions of diminished health, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $74,104
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 2.0%
Job description: Physical therapists, sometimes referred to as simply PTs, are health-care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limits the ability to move and perform functional activities, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $76,139
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 3.9%
Job description: Engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between scientific discoveries and the commercial applications that meet societal and consumer needs. Many engineers develop new products. During the process, they consider several factors. For example, in developing an industrial robot, engineers specify the functional requirements precisely; design and test the robot's components; integrate the components to produce the final design; and evaluate the design's overall effectiveness, cost, reliability, and safety, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $67,107
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 1.2%
Job description: Dental hygienists remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene, and provide other preventive dental care. They examine patients' teeth and gums, recording the presence of diseases or abnormalities. Dental hygienists use an assortment of tools to complete their tasks. Hand and rotary instruments and ultrasonic devices are used to clean and polish teeth, which includes removing tartar, stains, and plaque, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $52,127
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 3.2%
Job description: Dietitians and nutritionists plan food and nutrition programs, supervise meal preparation and oversee the serving of meals. They prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications. For example, dietitians might teach a patient with high blood pressure how to use less salt when preparing meals, or create a diet reduced in fat and sugar for an overweight patient. Dietitians manage food-service systems for institutions such as hospitals and schools, promote sound eating habits through education, and conduct research. Many dietitians specialize, becoming a clinical dietitian, community dietitian, management dietitian, or consultant, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $46,342
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 5.4%
Job description: Most people have their first contact with an insurance company through an insurance sales agent. These workers help individuals, families and businesses select insurance policies that provide the best protection for their lives, health and property.
Insurance sales agents, commonly referred to as “producers” in the insurance industry, sell one or more types of insurance such as property and casualty, life, health, disability, and long-term care. Property and casualty insurance agents sell policies that protect individuals and businesses from financial loss resulting from automobile accidents, fire, theft, storms and other events that can damage property, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $77,153
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 5.9%
Job description: Nearly all organizations rely on computer and information technology to conduct business and operate efficiently. Computer systems analysts use IT tools to help enterprises of all sizes achieve their goals. They may design and develop new computer systems by choosing and configuring hardware and software, or they may devise ways to apply existing systems' resources to additional tasks, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $87,140
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 4.6%
Job description: Computer software engineers design and develop software. They apply the theories and principles of computer science and mathematical analysis to create, test and evaluate the software applications and systems that make computers work. The tasks performed by these workers evolve quickly, reflecting changes in technology and new areas of specialization, as well as the changing practices of employers, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $62,229
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 7.7%
Job description: Market and survey researchers gather information about what people think. Market research analysts help companies understand what types of products people want, determine who will buy them and at what price. Gathering statistical data on competitors and examining prices, sales, and methods of marketing and distribution, they analyze data on past sales to predict future sales, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $55,239
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 7.7%
Job description: Many individuals take out loans to buy a house, car or pay for a college education. Businesses use loans to start companies, purchase inventory or invest in capital equipment. Loan officers facilitate this lending by finding potential clients and helping them to apply for loans. Loan officers gather information to determine the likelihood that individuals and businesses will repay the loan. Loan officers may also provide guidance to prospective borrowers who have problems qualifying for traditional loans. For example, loan officers might determine the most appropriate type of loan for a particular customer, and explain specific requirements and restrictions associated with the loan, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $60,174
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 5.0%
Job description: Accountants and auditors help to ensure firms are run efficiently, public records are kept accurately and taxes are paid properly and on time. They analyze and communicate financial information for various entities such as companies, individual clients and federal, state and local governments. Beyond carrying out the fundamental tasks of the occupation — providing information to clients by preparing, analyzing and verifying financial documents — many accountants also offer budget analysis, financial and investment planning, information-technology consulting and limited legal services, according to the BLS.
Income Average: $47,153
Unemployment Rate for 2010: 4.6%
Job description: Although lawyers assume ultimate responsibility for legal work, they often delegate many of their tasks to paralegals. Paralegals, also called legal assistants, are continuing to assume new responsibilities in legal offices and perform many of the same tasks as lawyers. Nevertheless, they are explicitly prohibited from carrying out duties considered to be within the scope of practice of law such as setting legal fees, giving legal advice and presenting cases in court, according to the BLS.