By Jessica Hanley
Some jobs are famous for their perks: CEOs get to use the corporate jet, Google employees can see a chiropractor on site, and snowboard company Burton gives employees a free season pass to a nearby resort. But you don't need to be the boss or work for a cutting-edge company to qualify for valuable job perks. Take a look at four careers with average salaries--but big benefits.
The following jobs offer perks that can save you money, create opportunities for further earnings and add to your bottom line.
1. Career: Teacher
Perk: Summer and holiday breaks
Teaching is a rewarding career that requires a bachelor's degree and a state teaching credential. Teachers are responsible for fostering children's academic, emotional and social growth. They help students establish healthy relationships and academically prepare for future schooling and careers.
While you can't put a price tag on emotional fulfillment, the other major perk of teaching--time off in the summer and holidays--can lead to more money in the bank:
- Summer school. Teachers can enhance their base salary by teaching classes over the summer. Depending on the school or program, teachers can earn between $1,500 and $3,000 through additional summer teaching.
- Tutoring. Teachers can also use their time off to tutor students. At $30 to $100 per hour, tutoring can be quite lucrative.
- Save on child care. Teachers with children of their own can save on child care by staying home with their children during summer and winter holidays. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, daycare for preschool-aged children ranges from $371 to $1,100 per month. With three months off, teachers can save as much as $3,300 in child care expenses.
Teacher perks can add up to $3,000 per year to the median annual salary of $51,660 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Median annual salary: $51,660
Adjusted annual salary: $54,660
2. Career: Retail salesperson
Perk: Store discount
According to the BLS, over 4 million Americans worked as retail salespeople in 2010. Retail salespeople are employed across industries, with the majority working in clothing, department, building materials and general merchandise stores. Many salespeople work part time, which enables them to attend school or care for their children.
While retail salespeople earned a below-average median income of $20,670 in 2010, many enjoy store discounts.
- Store discounts. The majority of retail salespeople are entitled to discounts on products sold by their employer. Discounts vary by company, but large retailers Gap Inc. and Macy's are reported to offer employee discounts between 30 and 50 percent. For someone who spends $3,600 per year on clothing, these discounts can save $1,080 to $1,800 per year.
The ability to work part time is another advantage of retail employment. Working part time allows employees to continue their education, thereby increasing their earning potential for the future.
Median annual salary: $20,670
Adjusted annual salary: $22,470
3. Career: Flight attendant
Perk: Free air travel
Flight attendants are responsible for the safety and comfort of passengers on commercial airplanes. They are required to have a high-school diploma and FAA certification, and many airlines prefer to hire flight attendants with a college degree. According to the BLS, flight attendants earned a median income of $37,740 in 2010, but the perk of free travel can be worth even more.
- Free airfare. Flight attendants and their immediate families often receive free air travel from the airline they work for, as well as discounts on other airlines. For a family of four who travels by plane four times per year, this perk translates into savings between $3,200 and $6,400 per year. Savings are even greater for international flights.
- Expenses while working. Working as a flight attendant often requires overnight stays away from home, and airlines typically pay for flight attendants' hotel rooms and meal expenses. Expensed meals can save a flight attendant between $20 and $50 per week, which translates to $1,040 to $2,600 per year.
Median annual salary: $37,740
Adjusted annual salary: $46,740
With discounted air travel and covered expenses for work travel, flight attendants' effective annual salary can be as high as $46,740.
4. Career: Child care worker
Perk: Free child care
Child care workers are employed in a variety of settings, including private homes, daycare facilities and small child care centers. Training requirements vary from place to place; in some cases, a high school diploma may be sufficient while other employers may require college coursework in early childhood education. Many child care workers run small daycares out of their own homes, which requires a license in most states.
Though annual salaries for child care workers aren't high, workers with children of their own experience a worthwhile perk: free child care.
- Free child care. The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies reports that the average cost of center-based daycare in the US is $11,666 per year per child. Child care workers running their own centers can include their own children for free, and many larger daycare centers also offer free or heavily discounted care for employees' children.
Taking child care savings (for just one child) into account, the effective median salary for child care workers increases from $19,300 (BLS) to $30,966. In addition, child-care workers don't have a second commute between daycare and the office.
Median annual salary: $19,300
Adjusted annual salary: $30,966
The bottom line? When evaluating a job offer or potential career path, make sure to take perks into account. With value ranging from a couple thousand dollars to more than $10,000, some job perks can more than compensate for modest salaries.
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