NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Important but Surprisingly Low-Paying Jobs

March 18, 2015

Since Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, President Obama and other politicians have vowed to beef up care for the mentally ill. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Data, mental health counselors, which it defines as people who help those struggling with addiction, substance abuse, stress management and other problems, earn a median salary of just $43,700.

Here is the list of other surprisingly low-paying jobs:

  • Firefighters, which have high-risk jobs, earn an average of only $45,600. 
  • Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics bring home just $31,270.
  • Preschool teachers boosts school readiness, especially for disadvantaged children, but only make an average of $27,570.
  • Lifeguards, Ski Patrol and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers, whose efforts can mean the difference between life and death, earn just $19,040.
  • Legislators, who do the important work of governing our states, average $20,620 in salaries.
  • Radio and TV announcers, who have high-visibility and high-pressure pressure jobs bring home only $29,020.
  • Marriage and family therapists, who try to keep families knitted together make just $48,160, on average.
  • Telemarketers earn $22,610.
  • Fast food workers take home $18,330.
  • Maids make $19,780.

As the national debate continues about raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, lawmakers could also be discussing how to stimulate higher pay for important jobs such as mental health counselors, firefighters, EMTs and pre-K teachers, whose jobs save and transform lives.

Source: Susan Adams, "Nine Surprisingly Low-Paying Jobs," Forbes, March 16, 2015.

 

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