Which profession is criminally underpaid?

  1. Social workers. High dollar educational costs with licensure for case loads that are not humanely manageable safely and not enough money to eek out a living

  2. Worked as a direct support professional for adults with disabilities in a long term care home. Cooked, cleaned, dispensed meds, bathed, worked on skills goals, drove, shopped, planned enrichment activities, and more. I loved the job most of the time. I really enjoyed helping the people live a decent life. Was paid $9.79 an hour in 2015. I left when I realized I could be a cashier at Walmart for that kind of money and I was putting my future career in jeopardy when some negligent stuff was happening.

  3. Somehow these are traditionally “women’s jobs”, they all pay less. (Lower) Education, childcare, healthcare…

  4. Can I ask what kept you in that profession or if you know why other people are still doing it? I don’t know how there are any EMTs working the hours they do at that pay rate. I honestly can’t believe every single one of them hasn’t decided it’s just not worth it and moved to a different profession.

  5. We literally just had this conversation today on shift. I work IFT (I can’t afford to work 911 with a $8-$9/hr paycut from what I get paid now) and we’re still underpaid, if nothing more than for some of the crap we put up with from the folks sitting in the office.

  6. In college I worked as a medical scribe in the local ER (a level 2 trauma center). The sum total of my training was like two days of powerpoints. I followed a doc around for 12 hours and typed up charts.

  7. 911 dispatchers. We literally have to listen to people die on our phone lines, and in some states, are still classified as secretarial personnel. Over ten years of experience, certifications coming out my ears, and I don't break 40k a year unless I pull massive amounts of overtime.

  8. Public Defenders. I have a private law practice. The public defenders make a fraction of what guys like me make, know criminal law inside and out, and carry obscene caseloads. The system would break down immediately if they went on strike. Which honestly they should.

  9. My girlfriend is a public defender and the amount of stress she’s in at work every day alone should be worth double what she makes.

  10. Yeah also the lawyers who represent parents in child welfare cases. The state removes your child then assigns you a lawyer who can barely afford to keep their lights on to represent you in the court process.

  11. Long time PD. The biggest qualm I’ve had with the idea of a strike is that the people who will likely suffer the most are the clients - many of whom are locked up in jail or prison. Often times, with some hard work some of those people could be out on their next court dates, but not if their lawyers aren’t there. It has to get really bad to be willing to strike (but see, e.g. OPD in New Orleans)

  12. SAUL GOODMAN only made about $700 a case. That’s like paying a brain surgeon $10 an hour. Thank god he got involved in the meth business #sigmagrindset (j)

  13. I will never forget, right when COVID was bad for the first time in New York, when a reporter was interviewing EMS workers and made a joke like, “Well at least you guys can get to the hospital real quick if you get sick,” and without missing a beat on the EMS guys goes, “We don’t make enough money to go to a hospital. We don’t even have insurance.”

  14. Sometime last year our local EMS/fire department started putting job postings on social media. I was shocked to learn that the starting pay for entry level EMS was $15/hr. We pay our regular babysitter $20/hr.

  15. It’s comforting to know that the person performing CPR on you is looking at their watch ‘cause they’re running late for their second job at Jimmy John’s.

  16. I worked as a paramedic in Canada, there was a policy called ‘pager pay’ in more remote stations where you literally would get 2$/hour if no calls came through. SO fucked up

  17. So you mean to say that it costs $15,000 to get an ambulance in America and basically none of that goes to the people actually doing the work?

  18. “You play an absolutely VITAL role in our healthcare system. Without EMS services, tens of thousands of people would die each year. This position is incredibly high stress, grueling, dangerous, and will take a toll on your mental health. Because of that, here’s $15/hour and a tentative Pizza party every three months that will most definitely be forgotten about and never actually happen.”

  19. I knew 6 EMTs 5 years ago, zero of them are still EMTs. One now works at a car wash, she said she gets paid the same, better hours and no one tries to kill her.

  20. I’m an advanced EMT and started out at $15 two years ago. Now I make more, $21.50, but I this weekend I delivered a baby that came out blue and I opened her airway, breathed for her, and raised her oxygen from less than 50% to a normal range, all before she was a minute old. I got pulses back during a cardiac arrest and the patient should leave the hospital soon and see his kids again. I managed the airway and breathing of a patient in respiratory failure, without me and my partner, the patient would have died within an hour or two.

  21. Social Workers. They see abused/neglected kids all day, awful living conditions, desperation and poverty. Hands are tied with the ridic amount of red tape, etc.

  22. Girlfriend is a social worker and she comes home talking about her day. Her average day at work would be the worst day of work I have ever had. She has her masters degree and I sit at home practically doing nothing and I make significant more than she does.

  23. Absolutely. My friend has a Masters and is a social worker for CPS. Not only is the job soul sucking, she ends up working longgg hours for mediocre pay because the office is so understaffed and the work can't exactly be put off since they are dealing with the welfare of children.

  24. I Can confirm. I’m a masters level social worker and have been working as an addiction counselor for over 10 years. I make less than my clients with no education and still have to pay $400 a month in student loans.

  25. Don't forget that you need a master's degree that you generally have to pay for out of pocket. So you have to pay an extra 40-100k to get underpaid!

  26. I worked on a project for a hospital where I was building some networks of missing youth in the foster/group home system, but often interacted a lot with Social Workers just to get insight on how certain homes worked, procedures, their experience with how children go missing (sex trafficking, etc.). They had the absolute DARKEST sense of humor that I have ever encountered, pretty much because you almost have to if you are dealing with all of what you said above.

  27. Social worker here ! My life is being sucked out of me and our legislature just voted no to our raises again! Hurray! Apparently " pay isn't the problem " with us having nearly 80 percent vacancy. Personally , I think going to school getting a master's degree and having to have that degree while making 29k a year is fucking stupid , but hey what do I know

  28. 100%. Speaking as a social worker, who never works with kids, we still see and talk about some pretty dark and twisty things on a daily basis.

  29. Not to mention social workers and CPS are constantly blamed for “not doing anything” in situations that many deem worthy. Hell, even the workers deem the situations worthy, but as you said there is so much red tape that it takes a long time for processes to happen.

  30. It also depends on the type of social work. I worked with the homeless population for years, and while the victories were great, they were very few and far between. Once I paid my dues, I moved from nonprofit to local government and make significantly more with less stressful clients.

  31. I’m a trauma therapist (clinical social worker) who specializes with people who have chronic suicidal ideation. I see 37 hours of clients a week and my base rate is $23.50/hour. The insurance rate for me is $175/hour. I have four different special certificates in various treatment types AFTER a masters degree and clinical internship.

  32. I do it because I was abused as a child. I feel like I'm rewriting my own history, and saving that little version of me I have hidden away.

  33. Sadly, this. All I wanted to do was be a therapist. Worked in a community mental health setting for about 1.5 years before I had to leave because I couldn't deal with the long hours, high caseload (130+), lack of paperwork time, and low pay. I'm starting a job on Monday with an insurance company that still uses my degree but pays 48% more than what I was getting paid at an opioid treatment clinic. I think insurance companies are trash but I can't help ANYONE if I can't pay my own bills and save my sanity.

  34. Yep. A graduate degree without a living wage plus a license and years of witnessing and hearing traumatic stories and then watching the de-funded overly bureaucratic system churn people through poverty hell.

  35. Yup, I found out the CNA treating my grandma and a whole floor of a nursing home only made $13 an hour. Should be making quadruple that for all of the literal shit she has to take care of.

  36. Elderly care workers. Unsung heroes. The job is so damanding mentally and physically. Words cannot describe the respect I have for these people. My nanna last month's and days were in a care home. She had dementia. I will forever be in their debt. God bless.

  37. Used to work in childcare. Can confirm the pay is garbage. I make more as a receptionist at a law firm where I mostly just sit there and occasionally answer a phone than I did doing actual work. It’s sad. And children need stable people for them at schools, but turnover at schools is high because the pay is so bad.

  38. We hired the girl who worked at my son’s daycare/preschool (Primrose) to babysit him after she left the daycare. I paid $1400/mo to that daycare for him to go three days a week. And I found out she made $10.50/hr working there. Where in the hell is all that money going if not to the teachers/caregivers?!

  39. I work in care, and they only recently upped out wages because they had to legally, lives literally depend on us, every day, if every carer quit their job straight away most of our patients would die pretty quickly, all of them would be dead in a week. The gratitude you get from the patients and families makes it worth it but as sad as it is, appreciation doesn't pay the bills

  40. Ppft after seven years working in childcare I was only making $12.15. that's including the "raise" I got after getting my CDA. When I got my CDA my boss told me "so the normal wage increase is 50¢ but I think you deserve more than that". I got $1 increase. 🤦 She made herself out to be a martyr for it too

  41. In Denver, people at gas stations make more than our childcare workers. We lose more and more people every day to this bullshit

  42. Add in the horrible treatment by the people who require our services and it's a not so fun job to be in. Seriously treat your child care staff better people!

  43. I’m a therapist at a non-profit. I have a master’s degree and most of the time I’m getting paid $15/hr to fill out tons of paperwork that only someone with a master’s degree can fill out. It sucks. I also only get paid hourly. If I only have 3 clients that day, I get paid for those three hours only. If someone cancels on me, no pay for that time wasted, even though I structured my whole day around seeing them. I thank my higher power every day that I have no student debt because my paychecks wouldn’t be paying back shit. At this point I’m basically working for dirt cheap so I can get licensed and go about my own business. I didn’t get into this field for the money, but it’d be nice if I could at least live off my paycheck, ya know.

  44. My MFT wife was at one of those at a publicly funded mental health clinic for teens for three years until she finally finished her required hours for state licensure. She went from $45K a year full time (in California!), to start her private practice and charge $200/hour and only works about 15 hours a week. Brings home more, and is way happier.

  45. My wife's uncle is a janitor and I whole heartedly agree. The man saved up a couple months worth of pay and gave it to us so we could pay rent because my wife was on maternity leave and didn't get paid and I don't make enough to cover all the expenses myself.

  46. I vouch for this. While it's often untrained work and we know how wage scales look down on that, having a skilled janitor who knows what to do when a building floods or when someone bleeds all over the bathroom floor is invaluable.

  47. I think Janitors at Universities get paid pretty damn well actually. I worked at a museum in school and became friends with the Janitor. He was early 50s and got the job because he was a stay at home dad most his life just wanted to get out. Worked his way to Janitor Level 3 and he only had to worry about the museum and not the dorms or cafes. Pretty sure he gets a pension, 30 or more PTO days a year, great benefits

  48. I've always found it laughable that so many "essential" jobs are also considered "low skill jobs that don't really matter" at the same time. Baffling.

  49. Thanks for this. I'm a chemist, and I manufacture medical devices vital to some forms of chemotherapy, plus environmental testing & surveying. I haven't stopped, and neither has a fuck ton of people who work ancillary to what the public regards as "healthcare."

  50. At my truck stop job (mind you, we never even got slower because semi truck drivers were also essential) they gave us our required $.50 raise then cut our hours down to 11 and had us working skeleton shifts. Meanwhile my supervisor bought a second house and bragged to us employees that he paid $10,000 to put a pool in.

  51. The other thing thats understate is how much money a GOOD social worker can SAVE society (police, courts, other person's personal property) when they reform, correct, or help people handle their issues.

  52. Having your budget cut regularly based on the results of elections. Being given more and more cases, every time the budget is cut.

  53. This is why I fucking hate disaster type movies. Always show the rich scientist in their top tier lab driving a tesla. Irl is more like broke ass phds trying to find the protocol for a donated piece of equipment and its corresponding software from 1998 that can only run on win95. Would be fucking rad if we could get 1/1000th the funding of a mid size biotech to save the elephants and penguins…

  54. Out of undergrad you don’t qualify for most permanent jobs in fish/wildlife/ natural resources - so you have complete the “technician circuit” for a few years. Your lucky if you can live above the poverty line, and you have to move all the time. If your really lucky after a few years you can eventually land a lowly 34k/ year job with a state or federal agency… but if you want any chance of advancement you have to sell your soul to graduate school. If you can’t find a graduate advisor with money, that’ll be 600$ a credit for two years while a full time student. Working on conservation is a racket.

  55. Absolutely. People forget that nature needs caring and love just like human problems. It's surprising to see this so far down honestly seeing as if nature fails , so do we.

  56. I have a degree in conservation. Never ever had a job in conservation lol. SO has the same degree as I and works in the industry. I make more than 2x what she does.

  57. Yes!! I did not do 8 years of school with 200k in debt to be told I “don’t care about animals” and that I chose this career “for the money.” There’s a reason the suicide rate is exponentially high. People complain so hard about the cost forgetting that it’s the SAME technology and takes the SAME training as human medicine, which is triple the price, but you don’t see that before insurance. If we didn’t care about animals and wanted money, we would’ve easily done human medicine for adequate pay and respect.

  58. Scientists, imagine studying 10 plus years, holding the highest academic title possible and earning less than most common 9 to 5s that require little to no education. But hey, its honorable right.

  59. Even well before you have those academic titles, graduate students often make less than minimum wage and will work way more than 40hrs per week.

  60. Any caretaking position. From personal experience, I can loudly say that mental health and behavioral techs are VERY underpaid. Working in a job that regularly sends people to the hospital due to assault by clients, has a very high burnout rate, and very high secondary trauma is HARD. Not to mention, people in these roles are caring for individuals that their family/parents cannot handle and they are supervising 4-10 of these individuals at once. It takes a HUGE toll on your mental health, and it barely pays the bills. Being in charge of safety for those that do not have an interest in keeping themselves safe is rough. I’m sorry, but $15-$17/hour is not enough.

  61. All professions listed in this thread seem to provide tangible real world value to make our lives better. It sucks that they are underpaid while some hedge fund douche is raking in 6 figures while providing literally zero value to anyone.

  62. Im an accountant for large corporations, I'm pretty sure I provide zero value to anyone. Especially when you consider how incredibly lazy I am.

  63. Teacher's aid. I get headbutt, kicked, scratched, bitten, spit, kick, thrown up on, and peed on for less than 700 every 15 days. The parents are worse.

  64. I straight made $8.75 as a teacher’s aid in a toddler room in college and would get pooped on. I’m not sure how some people were able to live on that money

  65. I am a teacher, and I will fight anyone who says paras are in anyway lesser than teachers. EVERY para I have had in my classroom, heck, in the building, works hard and looks twice as rough for wear as every teacher in the building. I have coworkers who brag about not know a kids names... y’all are a walking DSM-V of IEPs and 504s while know favorite colors and candy.

  66. I am an SLP. Every time I get a chance to make suggestions, I say the 1:1s and paras need a fucking raise. I work with a woman who has to wipe a 15 year old’s butt daily, deal with his constant elopements and occasional aggression, and she is the most nurturing influence.

  67. Firefighters are reasonably well paid in the UK but it’s still not enough in my opinion. I complained about the someone pinching my milk at work and they go into buildings on fire.

  68. Wildland firefighters are criminally underpaid with a terrible schedule and fighting some of the worst fires in history. Then you wonder why California, British Columbia and other parts of the world are losing entire cities and millions of acres of forests

  69. Librarians and library support staff. It's not uncommon that the wage on paper is decent, but the institution cuts costs by keeping jobs part-time or temporary to avoid providing benefits. The education required is high, and the job requires continual education once in the field. With the exception of smaller institutions or institutions with unique bylaws, it's increasingly difficult to take the journeyman path through libraries. One really can't advance past a certain point without the master's degree. Pitiful pay for the level of education required and for the level of customer service labor involved. This can be extended to museum workers and archival and public history workers, as well.

  70. Yep, I work at a library. It's especially tough for people just getting into the field. Only part-time no benefits jobs paying $13 an hour are available to get your foot in the door. Better hope you have a family financial support network to make your way into the world of libraries...

  71. My mother made less than 40k at a library for 15 years while raising triplets, didn’t get a raise until she went back to school to get her masters, while we were still in high school. In one year she was making double what she had previously at a different library, insanity

  72. I work at a library and there is so much that goes on! Other big things we deal with: people diagnosed with various health issues but have been given no resources by their doctor; legal issues (sooo many people trying to navigate our legal system on their own); and elderly people who are lonely. Plus all the rest. And people who just want a book. And people who don't want us to offer certain books. And kids needing help with homework. And new parents hanging on by a thread. And...the list goes on and on and people think I just quietly read all day, lol

  73. Social workers, most teachers, janitors, and EMS tend to see the worst of society that most don’t want to see or deal with. They deserve better pay.

  74. Every good teacher I knew in high school has had to dip into their personal savings to help enrich the classroom. Whoever is in charge of providing so little disposable funding for educators to use while also paying them pennies for their work should be locked up. It truly is criminal :(

  75. Many good teachers leave the profession. Part of what makes them good is the wisdom to realize they’re being disrespected and underpaid.

  76. Any teachers. Schools can't even afford to pay them. My friend is a teacher, like 10 teachers in his school are leaving and they may not even be able to replace them because funding and no one even wants to be a teacher these days.

  77. The "good" teacher thing always frustrates me because there are "good" and "bad" people in every profession. Teaching is no different than engineering or accounting. There's a spectrum of skill levels.

  78. I see this opinion a lot and I find it a bit troubling. Everybody says ‘truckers deserve higher pay’ nobody ever says ‘good truckers’ (just an example). I think we’re taught to think like this so that there’s a goalpost that just can’t be reached. What’s your definition of ‘good’? Other people probably think otherwise. Is a good teacher one that makes sure every kid can read at a certain level? A) they all do that and B) that ignores factors that make reading difficult. Teaching is a job that requires training, and it should be paid like a job that requires training. I’m not asking for 500k, I want like 70k that’s really not a lot for a job that requires a masters. There’s a reason so many teachers leave the profession early and it’s because it’s too stressful for them or they underestimated what it really took.

  79. Why are teachers the only profession that needs the "good" designation here?? Wtf, obviously all good workers deserve more but I notice no one specified "good" EMS or "good" healthcare aids. Let's just assume all teachers suck, but dont worry you're one of the good ones right??

  80. Resident physicians. Some make less than minimum wage for 80 hour work weeks despite saving countless lives.

  81. Yea I’ve never understood that concept of residency! It’s exploitation. Making a new doctor work those insane hours for barely any money.

  82. I’m an 8th year trainee, because I decided to go into cardiac electrophysiology which requires that long of a training cycle. That means I have essentially been a resident (then a fellow, then “super” fellow, both of which are just different terms for a resident) for EIGHT YEARS.

  83. In a lot of EU countries, residents are unionized and not only earn roughly similar base rate, but paid overtime for hours worked past the contracted 39hours per week.

  84. Pilots. Yes, older pilots do well but new pilots have to take on so much debt, only to make maybe $600/week. What many people don’t realize is they get paid for flight time, not actual time. And they are limited to something like 100-120hrs a month of flying, if they are given it. That, and regional pilots are often away from home for days on end due to their routes. There is a lot of “paying your dues” for decades in that profession

  85. I was looking for this comment lol. As a career pilot, thank you for saying this. I finished with my CFI rating at about 80K+ in debt. That was with misc help, like my CFI who didn’t charge me for grounds. I made 25k/yr as a CFI (I was also a full time student), most of my peers made about 30K. Winters were hard. If a student didn’t show up, you simply didn’t get paid. Regional FO pay was better at 40K initially and then we got bumped to 55K. When I upgraded to captain, I made about 90K. Sounds great, but you are working your ass off for that 90K. The whole operation falls on your shoulders. Lots of responsibility and things to watch out for especially when stuff goes sideways. Can’t believe airline pilots got paid 20k/yr not that long ago honestly. I love flying but I have more self respect than that.

  86. Flying anything other then ATP for airlines or charter is way underpaid, and joining an airline is like signing the years of your life away. There is no winning. To get hours you have to fly incredibly dangerous jobs like AG or whatnot. Almost like signing a death certificate when you fly AG, at least in my area.

  87. I make 60k as a kitchen manager. But I’ve been doing this over 20 years and still cook on the line at my current job. I made around the same for the past 10 years give or take a few grand. I was offered a regional manager position for a pizza chain for the same money. Fuck that. I’m a glorified prep cook and can walk to work in 5 minutes. And we are only open breakfast and lunch.

  88. !!!!! this. I was doing co op for chef and was going to do it. Top chefs make a avg of 50k thats GARBAGE. went for civil engineer tech for 2 years and 50k is my starting salary and its WAY less stressful work

  89. Grave shift fast food and food service in general. Anything grave shift. Almost no one does that shift because they have better options and it is always an adult doing it, not some kid working for fun money due to labor laws.

  90. Cps or prison work. I worked at a group home with jdc kids at a direct care facility. We made $10/h. I make more at walmart now and I get hit with way less chairs now.

  91. Lab techs, we do so much work for doctors to get to the results and never get any recognition for it. Drawing blood, performing quality controls, run stats and bring blood when there is a big trauma.

  92. Got my bachelor's in chemistry but quickly started as a chemical engineer because lab work sucks and the pay is shit lol

  93. Gonna toss my hat in the ring for research lab techs as well. Well educated (never met a tech with less than a bachelor's) in a job that requires a highly technical skill set.

  94. I wish this answer was higher! Low pay, normally in toxic work environments, no benefits, and you're expected to work yourself to death. Then you add on the physical toll it takes on your body and the emotional load everyday, just not worth the pay.

  95. My fiancé is a vet tech and when she tells me what she does every day and it blows me away how little money they make. And the certification takes several years as well. Crazy

  96. This. From the time i was a small child i dreamed of being a vet tech, but i was forced to give it up for another career, and some of the reason why was how low the pay is.

  97. Came here for this! I was a technician for 16 years, managed a large hospital and didn’t make more than $36k my entire career. We do EVERYTHING in the hospital, are certified, AND routinely risk our lives for peanuts.

  98. Agreed! Plus, dentistry, anesthesiology, radiology, lab work... I was a tech for 8 years before the low wages and mistreatment forced me out.

  99. Yep. Can we include kennel staff too? I got minimum wage to clean up rotting intestines, feces, urine, maintain a surgical suite, and all hospital maintenance by myself

  100. Nursing assistants. The people left in the profession are there because they either actually love what they do or have been doing it long enough tneh are making some resemblance of a decent wage. Ten years of experience might get you 18$ an hour I think.

  101. Somebody's going to point to high-profile, well-connected therapists in LA or New York who charge $350 an hour. That's like saying, "Musicians aren't underpaid. Ed Sheeran made 70 million pounds last year.".

  102. I spent 9 years in school (6 years to be able to treat patients, 3 years specialization) and get paid on par with a 3 year teaching degree. The teachers are currently in the process of protesting for higher wages which would make them earn more than me. I'm not bitter and like my profession but looking at my friends earning double the money I bring in and doing so from a younger age does make me question my career path.

  103. A dirty little secret about farm work: it's one of the few sectors where you can employ young kids, like middle schoolers, without any oversight. You can usually get away with paying those kids less than minimum wage too. There are literally thousands of minors who work on US farms and their work is usually under the table or unregulated. I know some teachers who work in farm communities and those kids miss months of school because no one is checking their work schedule. They get sprayed with pesticides too, which is SUPER messed up while they're growing.

  104. Childcare at any level -- especially preschool and early childhood educators. Being able to adequately manage and empower children is an artform.

  105. Absolutely, and just to add, therapy staff in the UK too (Physio's, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language etc). Share similar unpleasant tasks as nurses, and they have to be responsible in a similar way - prescribing, testing and assessing. Same starting salary (£25,000 ish)

  106. Architects (and I don’t mean the Hollywood big name single owners of the big firms architects, I mean the 98% of the other architects who work under them or in smaller firms)

  107. 4 year undergrad degree, plus 3.5 year professional degree plus 3+ years experience and a 7 part exam only to make about as much as teachers - plus you get to work 80 hours a week in an abusive and toxic work environment full of narcissists and psychopaths.

  108. Architects - requires a masters degree and exams/licensure like other higher paying positions (lawyer, etc) while making a fraction of the pay. Hours are long, deadlines are constant, and burn out is inevitable.

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