NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If asked what they want to be when they grow up, the answer for most kids probably wouldn’t be a paralegal -- but a new report argues the job may be one of their best bets.
Paralegals earn a better-than-average salary of about $47,000 and experience less work stress in general than many professions, plus the unemployment rate for this occupation is just 4.6%, roughly half the rate of the overall labor market. All of these reasons make it the most underrated job of 2011, according to a report from the job site CareerCast.com.
Many job hunters tend to focus on salary and prestige when searching for work, but CareerCast decided to compile a list of 12 jobs that workers might overlook but shouldn’t, each of which involve minimal stress, low physical demands, good pay (though perhaps not six figures) and most importantly, a strong employment rate. Each of these data points was taken from a previous ranking the job site did of the 200 best and worst jobs of the year.
“While terms like flashy, glitzy, glamorous and prestigious aren’t typically associated with our list of underrated jobs, these careers have some great advantages that are often overlooked,” CareerCast explained in its report.
The list is dominated by white-collar jobs, most of which are in either technology, health care or financial services. Some of the occupations, such as dental hygienists and physical therapists, have unemployment rates of 2% or less, far below the national average. Others, like loan officers and computer systems analysts, combine relatively high pay (of $55,000 or more, on average) with very low rates of work stress and physical demands.
As this report shows, there’s more to a good job than just a good salary. With the positions on this list, you can support yourself without having too much stress follow you home, all while knowing that your occupation has a bit more job security than most.
Here is Careercast’s complete list of the 12 most underrated jobs:
1. Paralegal/Legal Assistant
3. Loan Officer
4. Market Research Analyst
5. Software Engineer
6. Computer Systems Analyst
7. Insurance Agent
9. Dental Hygienist
10. Civil Engineer
11. Physical Therapist
For more careers that have good prospects in this tough economy, check out MainStreet’s roundup of the 10 fastest-growing jobs and where to find them.
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