Special Report

The 10 Lowest-Paying Jobs for College Graduates

10. Museum Technicians and Conservators
> Median income: $40,020
> Bottom decile income: $23,440
> Number employed: 9,860

Museum technicians, also known as registrars, prepare and care for museum items, while conservators preserve and treat the artifacts and specimens. Nationally, there are only 9,860 people employed in these positions. While both require at least a bachelor’s degree specific to the type of museum, as well as significant experience, employers often look for conservators with a master’s degree in conservation. Graduate programs in museum conservation, however, are relatively rare in the United States. And yet, technicians and conservators receive low compensation relative to their education. The median wage was just $40,020 in 2013.

9. Directors of Religious Activities and Education
> Median income: $38,160
> Bottom decile income: $18,780
> Number employed: 18,600

In addition to creating educational programs and leading activities for a religious congregation, directors of religious activities and education may also provide health, marital and religious counseling. While they were typically paid only $38,000 last year, employers usually look for at least a bachelor’s degree and prior experience. Yet, outside of religious organizations, this position shows more promise. For instance, religious directors working for social advocacy groups earned far more than those employed by religious groups.

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8. Reporters and Correspondents
> Median income: $35,600
> Bottom decile income: $20,710
> Number employed: 43,630

The job outlook for reporters and correspondents is not especially optimistic. Traditional media already suffered a severe blow with the dawn of the Internet. Revenue is expected to continue to decline and, combined with consolidation, the number of reporter jobs is expected to considerably drop between 2012 and 2022. Pay is also hardly stellar, with a typical reporter or correspondent earning just $35,600 last year, or only slightly above the median for all occupations. Reporters and correspondents usually have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as journalism or communications, and many employers look for on-campus experience such as working for a college radio station or newspaper. A relatively high number of reporters are also self-employed — 13% as of 2012 — and take on freelance work.