Undervalued Experts: The Professionals Who Deserve Far Better Pay

By Krystal Brown

There are many professionals that are very much undervalued in our society, and in turn, are underpaid. These professionals work really hard to ensure that they improve the lives of others, but this is very rarely compensated. So, which professionals are criminally underpaid? 


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One person said, “I work at a library. It’s especially tough for people just getting into the field. Only part-time, no benefits jobs paying $13 an hour can get your foot in the door. Better hope you have a family financial support network to make your way into the world of libraries.” Another person said, “My mother made less than 40K at a library for 15 years while raising triplets and didn’t get a raise until she went back to school to get her master’s while we were still in high school. In one year, she was making double what she had previously at a differet library; insanity.” 

Social Workers 

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Despite the hard work they put in, including within very difficult situations, they end up facing an overwhelming amount of caseloads and poor working conditions. One social worker said, “High dollar educational costs with licensure for caseloads that are not humanely manageable safely and not enough money to eke out a living.” Another person added, “Girlfriend is a social worker who comes home talking about her day. Her average day at work would be the worst day I have ever had. She has her master’s degree, and I do nothing at home. I make significantly more than she does.” 

Teacher’s Aid 

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Teacher aids are important for instruction, but they make the least amont of money and tend to work with the most challenging students. One person said, “I am a teacher and could not get through my days without my amazing aides. They make instruction possible. I am always saying how they get the MOST DIFFICULT students (sometimes all day long), yet they make the least. It’s criminal, for real. Some of them even need “hazard pay.” 

Emergency Medical Technicians 

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EMT’s are on low wages, and most of them leave for better paying jobs. Even though they have challenging and dangerous jobs, they receive very little compensation. One EMT said, “I knew 6 EMT’s 5 years ago; zero are still EMTs. One now works at a car wash; she said she gets paid the same, better hours, and no one tries to kill her.” Another person said, “My first job in EMS, I was paid $10.30/hour. I’m out of the field now, but I was pretty ticked off when my first raise bumped me to $10.92/hour. Management touted that 6% raise like they were being so generous.”

Veterinary Professionals 

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A person said, “8 yrs of schooling, six figures of debt that the salary will never help bring down, incredibly draining and emotional job, all for people to say you’re heartless for charging for medical care… it’s no wonder there are shortages for veterinarians AND veterinary nurses in so many countries. The copporations that own vet clinics are getting the cash, not all staff just trying to do their best in a constantly understaffed scenario.” 

Public Defenders 

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Another criminally underpaid job is a public defender. However, it is the opposite for their private counterparts, even though public defenders carry an overwhelming amount of caseloads and have extensive knowledge in criminal law. One said, “I have a private law practice. The public defenders make a fraction of what guys like me make, know criminal law inside and out, and carry obscene caseloads. The system would break down immediately if they went on strike, which honestly they should.” One other person said, “My girlfriend is a public defender, and the amount of stress she’s in at work every day alone should be worth double what she makes.” 

Wildlife Biologists 

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One person said, “I was a wildlife biologist… had to finally decide to leave if I was going to get a place of my own and have any semblance of financial freedom… sigh.” Another person added, “I have a degree in conservation. I never had a job in conservation, lol. Significant other has the same degree as me and works in the industry, and I make more than 2x what she does.” 

911 Dispatchers 

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Despite being highly trained and experienced, 911 dispatchers are criminally underpaid. They are actually often classed as secretarial personnel. However, the stress and risks of the job definitely deserves better compensation. One person said, “We have to listen to people who die on our phone lines, and in some states, are still classified as secretarial personnel. With over ten years of experience, certifications are coming from my ears. I don’t break 40K a year unless I pull massive amounts of overtime. We lost three of our people to COVID last year and are running at less than half capacity for the whole place; we can’t hire anyone to stay because they see what we have to deal with and nope tf out, or they’re just ill-suited for the position so they’re cut from training and sent packing. I love my job; I love what I do. I wish I could say I loved my paychecks.” 


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Janitors spend their working lives cleaning up after everyone else, and they are highly underappreciated for this. Even though they have a vital role, they are paid low wages. “They clean up all of our mess, get no respect, and are sometimes some of the most chill people I’ve ever met. We should pay them more.” One person said. “My fiancee is a janitor at Mayo clinic, and they just gave her a raise to $19.90/hour. She works from 5pm to 1am, so a shift differential is included.” said another person. 


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If a therapist is working at a non-profit, then they are usually paid a low hourly wage even though they will have an advanced degree and have to do paperwork only they can do. One therapist said, “I’m a therapist at a non-profit. I have a master’s degree, and most of the time, I’m getting paid $15/hr to complete tons of paperwork that only someone with a master’s degree can complete. It is bad. I also only get paid hourly for those three hours if I only have three clients that day. If someone cancels on me, I do not pay for that time wasted, even though I structured my whole day around seeing them. I thank my higher power daily that I have no student debt because my paychecks wouldn’t pay back. Now. I’m working for dirt cheap to get licensed and go about my own business. I didn’t get into this field for the money, but it’d be nice if I could at least live off my paycheck.”

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