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Most Overrated Jobs of 2012


Television has made a lot of stressful and cutthroat jobs look more glamorous than they are. Here are the 12 most overrated jobs of 2012, including two health care jobs.

Considering the constant change, the stress, the declining reimbursements and the long hours, it shouldn’t be any surprise that those in the medical industry are unhappy.

Still, jobs in health care can pay a pretty penny, plus they have the added bonus of giving people the satisfaction of helping others. Thanks to the falsity of television, health care jobs and plenty in other industries are all portrayed as being far more glamorous than they really are.

And now CareerCast has popped the bubble with its list of most overrated jobs in America. Ruining the image that Mad Men has created, CareerCast has named advertising agency executive as the most overrated of jobs, but there are two health care professions that made the top 12.

“Poor outlook for future growth, long hours, stress and a multitude of new candidates entering the industry make it especially challenging to break into many of our overrated careers,” Tony Lee, publisher at, said in a statement. “Overrated jobs seem attractive from the outside, but often sound better than they really are.”

As for the most overrated job, according to Dave Wetzel, an account supervisor at an ad agency, people in advertising burn out fast. Sound familiar, physicians?

Here are CareerCast’s top 12 most overrated jobs.

(Job information from CareerCast)

12. Psychologist

Median salary: $67,179

Projected growth: 22%

Psychologists face high stress working with generally difficult clients, while the field’s median pay scale and hiring outlook are slightly below comparable positions in the health care industry.

11. Event coordinator

Median salary: $45,260

Projected growth: 44%

Event coordinators have many critics to win over with each project, namely the attendees. This lends itself to a stressful work environment — No. 6 among the most stressful jobs of 2012, in fact. The reward is not necessarily commensurate with the stress, either. The median pay is $45,260, lower than many of the positions in this list.

10. Architect

Median salary: $73,179

Projected growth: 24%

The burst of the housing bubble and stagnant growth across most sectors of construction have limited the opportunities for architects in recent years. The industry’s outlook is positive per the BLS, but those who do pursue careers there must be ready for high levels of stress and a work environment that ranks poorly, according to our methodology.

9. Photojournalist

Median salary: $40,209

Projected growth: 13%

Dwindling opportunities compound the challenges posed to photojournalists. Some are thrown into difficult situations, like natural disasters or wars, making for one of the most taxing work environments of any career. Photojournalists also receive a low median pay when compared to the potential hazards of the job.

8. Flight attendant

Median salary: $38,156

Projected growth: 0%

Free travel aside, the economic squeeze on the entire airline industry has trickled down to flight attendants, who have experienced stagnant wages and slowing job opportunities in recent years.

7. Public relations manager

Median salary: $92,156

Projected growth: 21%

Stress levels on public relations managers are among the highest of all careers because of demanding media, audience and clients. The pursuit of jobs is also competitive. Public relations also is among the most common majors for recent college graduates, adding more competition into the candidate pool.

6. Attorney

Median salary: $112,760

Projected growth: 10%

Job prospects for breaking into the field grow increasingly dimmer. The Wall Street Journal reports hiring of recent law school graduates dwindled all the way down to 62% in 2012, a drop-off from 85% a year ago.

5. Surgeon

Median salary: $305,078

Projected growth: 24%

The high stress surgeons face on a daily basis surpasses that of most any other profession. Becoming a surgeon requires exhaustive training, first at the postgraduate level, followed by a residency.

4. Stockbroker

Median salary: $70,474

Projected growth: 15%

Despite recent strength, up-and-down markets both domestically and internationally have upped the stress on stockbrokers, and volatility makes failure in the eyes of their clients a more likely possibility for those in the industry.

3. Commercial airline pilot

Median salary: $103,158

Projected growth: 11%

The rigors of being a commercial airline pilot make it one of the three most stressful jobs, according to our 2012 rankings. Add a stagnant job market, and the job’s inclusion on the list is undeniable.

2. Senior corporate executive

Median salary: $166,141

Projected growth: 5%

Senior corporate executives are tasked with shaping policy that impacts almost every facet of a business. So many make-or-break choices results in a lot of scrutiny, and even more stress on those bearing this responsibility.

1. Advertising agency executive

Median salary: $64,107

Projected growth: 14%

Turnover resulting from the pressure of high expectations and the competitive nature of the industry makes advertising agency executive one of the most stressful jobs available. Hiring outlook for the field is also low.

Read more:

Most Overrated Jobs in 2012 - CareerCast

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