America's 12 Most Underrated Jobs

Maybe below the radar is where the answer lies. While many unemployed will do almost anything to get working, those employed in high-paying power positions may find themselves daydreaming of a life less encumbered by work. There may be a middle road, says a new study by CareerCast.com.

In compiling a list of the "most underrated jobs," CareerCast.com, a job search portal devoted to local and niche employment, focused on employment at median-to-higher income levels with lower stress, lower environmental dangers and lower physical demands. The jobs on its list also shared a lower-than-average unemployment rate.

"I have the best of both worlds. I get to do the work that I want, but I don't have the high demands that a lawyer does," Jennifer Dahms, a paralegal at a Milwaukee law firm, told CareerCast. "I wouldn't say that my job is underrated. I would say it's equally balanced. I get to take vacations, leave work and have a life."

Below is the list of CareerCast's most underrated jobs. The rankings are based on a range of criteria, including income, stress, danger and physical demands.


paralegal1. Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Income Average: $47,153.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 4.6 percent

Job Description: Assists attorneys in preparation of legal documents; collection of depositions and affidavits; and investigation, research and analysis of legal issues.




accountant2. Accountant

Income Average: $60,174.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 5.0 percent

Job Description: Prepares and analyzes financial reports to assist managers in business, industry and government.




loan officer3. Loan Officer

Income Average: $55,239.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 7.7 percent

Job Description: Loan officers help people apply for loans for significant purchases, such as to buy a house or a car, or pay for college.




4. Market Research Analyst

Income Average: $62,229.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 7.7 percent

Job Description: Collects and evaluates data to make recommendations to businesses concerning trends in consumer purchasing.




software engineer5. Software Engineer

Income Average: $87,140.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 4.6 percent

Job Description: Researches, designs, develops and maintains software systems along with hardware development for medical, scientific and industrial purposes.




Computer Systems Analyst
6. Computer Systems Analyst

Income Average: $77,153.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 5.9 percent

Job Description: Plans and develops computer systems for businesses and scientific institutions.




7. Insurance Agent

Income Average: $46,342.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 5.4 percent

Job Description: Sells insurance and advises clients about amount and type of coverage based on needs and circumstances.




Dietician8. Dietician

Income Average: $52,127.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 3.2 percent

Job Description: Assesses patients' dietary needs, plans menus, and instructs patients and their families about proper nutritional care.




9. Dental Hygienist

Income Average: $67,107.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 1.2 percent

Job Description: Assists dentists in diagnostic and therapeutic treatments at group or private dental practice.




10. Civil Engineer

Income Average: $76,139.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 3.9 percent

Job Description: Plans and supervises the building of roads, bridges, tunnels and buildings.




physical therapist11. Physical Therapist

Income Average: $74,104.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 2.0 percent

Job Description: Plans and directs treatment to improve mobility and alleviate pain in persons disabled by injury or disease.




Chiropractor12. Chiropractor

Income Average: $68,358.00

Unemployment Rate for 2010: 2.3 percent

Job Description: Treats physical problems by manipulating various parts of the body, especially the spinal column.


Next: Why Where You Live Matters In Your Job Search



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