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Posted on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

13 professions making less than you might think

By Ben Freed

I know everyone out there thinks that newspaper reporters are just raking in the money.

However, data from the Bureau of Labor Statics shows that being a reporter actually is one of 13 surprisingly low-paying jobs according to a story today on


Firefighters make just $47,730 per year on average according to the Forbes report.

Daniel Brenner | file photo

The list is a compilation of professions that people expect to have high earning power, but on average are making less than $50,000 per year. People don’t generally expect high salaries for waiters, but chefs did show up on the list, making just $46,600 a year on average.

Other professions on the list include marriage therapists, who on average make just $48,710 a year, and models, who come in at a paltry $27,830, despite the high earnings of some of the top dogs in the business.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Tom Todd

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:02 p.m. jealous of anyone who makes more.

Tim Hornton

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Agreed Mr. Squirrel. As for Miss Webster's comment = unfunny fail. You must be more clever then that Ben Freed and Jessica Webster if you guys want to leave bias liberal AAnews and go to bias liberal news or bias conservative Fox news and make the big bucks. I personally am content with my super low paying job as an assistant shift supervisor at Starbucks I nailed with my BS degree in Women's Studies.

Jessica Webster

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

Good thing I'm content with my job here, Tim Hornton. Thanks for the morning laugh!

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

My dog is a top model? Woof!


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

Woof yerself.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

I make an obscene amount of money.

kindred spirit

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 6:54 a.m.

Teachers in Michigan will be joining that list soon. The recent contracts coming out show the trend. Thanks, Koch Brothers!

Dr. Fate

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:49 a.m.

Wow, no wonder models are so skinny.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:22 a.m.

I don't see any mention in the Forbes article about pensions and other benefits. For general comparison the median HOUSEHOLD income in Michigan, 2007-2011, was $48,669. Knowing that, do those incomes mentioned seem so paltry?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

It's not that they're low incomes in general, but "a compilation of professions that people expect to have high earning power, but on average are making less than $50,000 per year." Note that the median household income figure includes jobs that don't require post-HS education that you might not expect to make more than 50k. I would expect a therapist, presumably with graduate degree, to make more than that.

Dog Guy

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

By acute investment the typical legislator becomes wealthy.

An Arborigine

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

Astute investments by lobbyists in legislators results in wealthy legislators.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

Okay, okay. This list surprised me as far as the mean salary for legislators and tax assessors... who I would have thought made slightly more. Not a lot, but slightly more. Also Ben, hilarious lede.

Jeff Gaynor

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:07 a.m.

Reporters should get paid more just for knowing how to spell 'lede'. Ok, maybe that's the entry requirement for this job. Who else knows this word!


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 6 p.m.

This article answers the question most of us reading have been wondering for a while now: Why, Ben, with your good looks, haven't you been pursuing a modeling career?


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

yeah Ben, you sexy thang!

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

I always knew you got into this for the money, Ben.

Ben Freed

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

It's true... while Journalism is often not as glamorous as modeling, it does pay better on average (if only slightly).

An Arborigine

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

How about checking the city payroll info and comparing AA Firefighters to the national average? While I haven't been to a marriage therapist for over a decade, they were charging $90 an hour. Quick math reveals $49K a year would be a part-time therapist.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

Who's going to deal with insurance--- who does the paperwork etc-- are you getting paid when no one shows up -who pays for office space-- are your clients back to back all day all week?. If you do your research you will find that a marriage therapist is a low paying profession.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:25 a.m.

Very true zigziggityzoo. Plumbers, electricians, and similar professions often come into a person's home for a short period of time. While it may only take 15 min. for a plumber to fish a line clean after one's child flushed a stuffed animal down the toilet, such a worker has a lot of "unpaid" administrative time to account for. Taking the call, figuring-out where the job is, gathering needed tools/supplies for the job, traveling perhaps over an hour for a 15-30 min. job, must buy their own health care, insurance, travel costs, etc, etc.... Time/ expense that in many cases far, far exceeds the time the worker spends "doing the job" in your home. Such workers are typically licensed and accept legal liability should something go wrong as well. By contrast, in-home personal care workers are responsible for the most intimate, personal, and medical care of your loved ones. People who like plumbers and electricians have similar "unpaid" overhead and time costs. So the $7-11/hour that such workers are typically paid is in BEST case scenario a usually a $2-4/hour job. This is a level of pay so low that one auto accident, one illness, mishap, etc. can easily make this a $0/hour job or worse (costing the worker more than the job makes).... Increasingly, very few jobs come close to bringing a skilled, trained, schooled, hard-working individual anywhere NEAR $40-$50K/year....


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:04 a.m.

Running a business usually eats into that overhead. A plumber might cost $115 an hour but that's a far cry from what he's taking home to feed the family.

ms 2013

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

they need more $$$$$ they work so hard


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

I don't think anybody believes that newspaper reporters earn a lot of money (at least the small market ones). Especially ones who call certain models "top dogs" in their profession...!

Jessica Webster

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Should he have referred to them as "top squirrels"? I think that sounds nuts.