Tough Jobs, and What They Pay

A new report looks at some of the toughest jobs in America, and lists what they pay on average. This eye-opening tally should make us all think about what we really value in this society.

Staffing firm CareerBuilder and its Emsi employment data business recently set out to analyze some of the toughest jobs in the U.S.

These included hard but vital occupations such as farming, construction labor, EMTs, Nurses, Military jobs and others.

Here’s what they found out about what these jobs pay:

Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers

Number employed: 675,939

Median income: $60,466


Number employed: 314,928

Median income: $48,859

EMTs, Paramedics and Ambulance Drivers

Number employed: 266,853

Median income: $32,510

Registered Nurses

Number employed: 2,870,340

Median income: $69,077

Military Occupations

Number employed: 2,098,652

Median income: $35,194

Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

Number employed: 494,879

Median income: $30,597

Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators

Number employed: 113,370

Median income: $45,968


Number employed: 4,031,658

Median income: $55,557

Construction Laborers

Number employed: 1,335,944

Median income: $31,658

Electrical and Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers

Number employed: 238,922

Median income: $60,965

Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

Number employed: 134,250

Median income: $34,258

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

Number employed: 1,926,886

Median income: $39,312

Some of these jobs are dangerous, and some even involve genuine heroism. But all of them are tough, and all of them are necessary.

What they also have in common is relatively low pay. When you think of all the less-than-necessary jobs that pay much more it really makes you think about what we value as a society.

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