Americans think these 6 jobs should have the highest salaries — but they actually pay under $52,000

  • Despite having a prestigious or respected reputation, many careers don’t pay as much as people think they should.
  • Jobs that save lives on a daily basis can appear drastically underpaid when compared to more perceivably glamorous jobs like sports stars, actors, and politicians.
  • Despite the fact that firefighters, police officers, soldiers, and more have a high perceived monetary value, they are actually paid lower salaries, on average.
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Despite having a prestigious or respected reputation, many careers don’t pay as much as you think they would, or even should.

Jobs that save lives on a daily basis can appear drastically underpaid when compared to more perceivably glamorous jobs like sports stars, actors, and politicians. The truth is – some of the most heroic jobs are actually paid the least.

Read more: 15 jobs in the US that are chronically underpaid

A recent survey by Vantis Life reports that Americans believe jobs associated with being “heroic” or “trustworthy” should also be paid the most. Respondents said they believe doctors should be paid the most, along with firefighters, police officers, soldiers, nurses, and other impactful careers. The analysts at Vantis Life pointed out, however, that despite the fact that some jobs have a high perceived monetary value among respondents, many of them are paid lower salaries.

Business Insider consulted average salaries on Payscale to determine how various jobs’ perceived social value relates to their actual pay.

Here are 6 jobs Americans believe should be paid the most, but actually pay under $52K:


Police officer

Average pay: $51,380

Police officers work tirelessly every day to preserve the peace and ensure public safety. Due to this fact, many people believe police officers should be paid highly for their heroic actions. However, this is rarely the case.


Firefighter

Average pay: $47,684

Firefighters are regarded as one of the most dangerous and heroic professions – they ranked as the second-most heroic profession in the Vantis Life survey. Despite saving lives, firefighters are not paid highly.


Teacher

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Teachers are underpaid, despite their contributions to society.
source
ShutterstockMonkey Business Images

Average pay: $47,372

Teachers are widely regarded as one of the most underpaid jobs when considering their contributions to society. Despite the fact that teachers were perceived as one of the most trusted and heroic professions in the Vantis Life study, they are nevertheless paid lower salaries for their work. Efforts are being made, however, to increase teachers’ salaries.


Farmer

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Farmers supply us with the food we need.
source
Reuters

Average pay: $43,945

Without farmers, the food supply that we would have access to would be vastly different. Farmers work diligently to supply populations of people with fresh produce, meat products, and more. However, farmers are not highly-compensated for their contributions.


Soldier/army officer

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Soldiers put their lives on the line to protect us, but are not highly paid.
source
US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb

Average pay: $32,074

Soldiers ranked as the most-heroic profession in the Vantis Life survey. However, despite army officers and soldiers placing their lives on the line to defend their country, soldiers are the second-lowest paid job holders on this list besides stay-at-home parents. Soldiers are living proof that perceived heroism does not equate with a high salary.


Stay-at-home parent

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People believe stay-at-home moms and dads should be compensated for their hard work.
source
Shutterstock

Average pay: $0

Stay-at-home parents are the least-paid profession on Vantis Life’s list of heroic jobs – probably because parents aren’t paid at all for taking care of their children! While staying home to take care of your kids can be extremely rewarding in other ways, survey respondents said that stay-at-home moms and dads should be compensated for their work. It’s no easy gig raising a child, and that should be acknowledged.