Special Report

The Worst Jobs in America

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15. Child care worker
> Median annual wage: $23,240
> Total employment: 564,630
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +2.4%

Child care workers typically earn less than $23,500 per year, one of the lowest median annual wages among all jobs. The job can also be very stressful, as workers are tasked with watching over many children at the same time. There are over half a million child care workers in America, making it one of the more common jobs in the country.

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14. Bus driver
> Median annual wage: $34,450
> Total employment: 678,260
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +4.8%

Bus drivers are not well-compensated, with most earning less than $35,000 per year. One reason for the relatively low pay is that many bus drivers are employed by schools and school districts, only working while school is in session. Strict schedules and dealing with unruly students can make bus driving a stressful job.

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13. Firefighter
> Median annual wage: $49,620
> Total employment: 321,570
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +5.3%

Fire fighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, as firefighters often enter burning buildings that may be structurally unsound to help put out the flames and rescue anyone inside. Adding to the job’s stress level, firefighters typically must live at the station for extended periods where they are on call. Firefighters often have their sleep interrupted, working shifts that can last well over 24 hours and often working more than 40 hours in a week.

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12. Dockworker
> Median annual wage: $28,260
> Total employment: 2.9 million
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +4.9%

With nearly 2.9 million Americans in the field, this job is one of the most common in the country. Like other employees in jobs with no formal educational requirements, dockworkers do not tend to earn high wages. The median annual salary of dockworkers is $28,260, about $10,000 lower than the median annual wage for all jobs. Moving heavy crates can be perilous — there were 5.8 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time dockworkers in 2018.

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11. Painter
> Median annual wage: $38,930
> Total employment: 231,200
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +6.0%

Painters may paint walls, equipment, buildings, and other surfaces. They are typically paid less than $39,000 a year, roughly in line with the median salary across all occupations in the United States. Painters may work in precarious conditions, sometimes many stories in the air. They can also lose work opportunities due to weather conditions.