16 Most Overrated (and Underrated) Jobs in America

man slumped over his desk at work
Office worker slumped over desk, wishing he had looked for good jobs outside of an office | iStock.com

Need, or want a new job? There are good jobs to be had, even if there is worrisome and discouraging economic news floating around out there. The fact is, many employers are looking, unsuccessfully, for worthy and qualified candidates. The issue seems to be that job seekers aren’t interested, and are instead gunning for more lucrative positions.
But what if some of those lucrative positions aren’t at all what they’re cracked up to be? That’s the basic idea behind a new report from CareerCast, which ranks both the most overrated and underrated jobs in America.
“The idea of becoming an Advertising Account Executive and schmoozing clients over bourbon and steaks seems exciting but it’s a far cry from reality,” said CareerCast’s Kyle Kensing, in a press release accompanying the report. “For broadcasters, the attraction of appearing on television might bring some into the field initially, but the poor outlook, increasingly competitive marketplace and demands weed out many.”
Those are two examples from the report, which takes a look at the demands of certain jobs and contrasts them with the median salaries and growth outlook. CareerCast concludes that many jobs, which we would consider to be lucrative and exciting, are simply overrated. On the flip side, though, are a number of underrated jobs.
Read on to see the eight jobs CareerCast has deemed America’s most overrated, and the eight that it thinks are the most underrated.

Overrated: 1. Advertising account manager

Jon Hamm in Mad Men
Jon Hamm in Mad Men | AMC

Want to live out a real-life Mad Men fantasy? It’s the most overrated career path out there, according to CareerCast, meaning those who go after these jobs should “be aware of the stress, competition, industry volatility and high job turnover associated” with them. Either way, a $124,850 annual median salary and 9% growth rate isn’t bad.

2. Author

Outlining a novel
Outlining a novel | iStock.com

$60,520 is a solid median annual salary for an author, but a growth rate of only 2% doesn’t inspire confidence. Of course, if you want to be a published author, it’s never been easier thanks to the internet.

3. Broadcaster

A SiriusXM broadcaster
A SiriusXM broadcaster | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

The days of Edward R. Murrow are gone, unfortunately. Anybody can broadcast these days through YouTube or podcasts, and because we’re saturated with broadcasts, professionals are getting squeezed. Annual median salaries land at $37,720 and the growth rate is -9%.

4. Corporate executive

A member of the C-suite taking care of business
A member of the C-suite taking care of business | Douglas Miller/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

These numbers don’t look bad: $102,690 annual median salary, and a 6% growth rate. But it’s the stress and incredible pressure of C-suite life that make it overrated.

5. Event coordinator

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage 7 during a launch event
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage 7 during a launch event | Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Ever attend a wedding, gala, or some sort of big event and wonder who has to put all of it together? Seems like a major, stressful headache, and there’s a lot that can go wrong. Event coordinators are the ones pulling the strings, and they earn an annual median salary of $46,840 for their trouble. The growth rate is 10%.

6. Photographer

A young photographer at work
A young photographer at work | iStock.com

Everybody wants to take pictures for a living, but it’s a hard career to swing. You don’t make much, with annual median salaries at $31,170, and a dismal growth rate of 3%.

7. Public relations executive

PR execs work out a deal
PR execs work out a deal | iStock.com

PR sounds fun, right? It pays well, with a $104,140 annual median salary. And there’s opportunity, with a 7% growth rate. But again, it’s a stressful, time-consuming gig. For that reason, CareerCast says it’s overrated.

8. Stockbroker

A broker wears a costum to celebrate carnival at the German stock exchange in Frankfurt am Main, on February 21, 2012. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL ROLAND (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A broker wears a costume | Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images

An annual median salary of $71,550 and a growth rate of 10% — that’s the life of a stock broker. But be wary, job cuts are coming to Wall Street. According to CareerCast? Overrated.

Most underrated: 1. Computer Systems Analyst

An undercover computer professional
An undercover computer professional | iStock.com

Moving to the underrated side of CareerCast’s report, computer systems analysts top the list. High salaries — $85,800, and growth rates, 21% — fuel the optimism around the career field.

2. Diagnostic medical sonographer

Brain lobes in different colors
Brain lobes in different colors | iStock.com/alex-mit

These are the people who operate imaging machines, in many cases. And it’s a good field to get into. You’ll make a median annual salary of $63,630, and have plenty of opportunity as the growth rate is 24%.

3. Dietitian

A shopper consults their dietary plan
A shopper consults their dietary plan | iStock.com

Since Americans evidently don’t know or refuse to properly eat, dietitians are in high demand. You can earn a median annual salary of $57,910, and the field is growing at 16%.

4. Environmental engineer

Smoke rises from smokestacks
Smoke rises from smokestacks | Fred Doufor/AFP/Getty Images

With a climate crisis incoming, environmental engineers are needed to prepare. These engineers earn annual median salaries of $84,560, and the growth outlook is 12%.

5. Financial analyst

Unpaid bills for rent, other costs
Unpaid bills folder | iStock.com

Love to analyze finances? This is the career for you — and it’ll fetch you around $80,310 per year. The growth outlook isn’t bad either, at 12%.

6. Human resources manager

HR professional Toby Flenderson from 'The Office'
HR professional Toby Flenderson from The Office | NBC

Ah, to be Toby Flenderson — Scranton’s top HR rep. If you can handle it, HR is actually a fairly lucrative field with annual median salaries pegged at $104,440. The growth rate? 9%.

7. Medical technologist

Medical physician doctor woman writing with laptop on table
A doctor consults with a patient | iStock.com

The medical technologist field is growing at 16%, and can earn you $50,550 per year. What, exactly, do they do? Basically, you’re a lab scientist. It involves analyzing body fluids and tissues.

8. Physical therapist

Physical therapist
Physical therapist | iStock.com

Finally, CareerCast’s last most underrated job is that of physical therapist. You can make $84,020 per year, and the growth rate is a whopping 34%.

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