Someone Needs to Do These Jobs!

Today we’ll explore a CareerBuilder® report describing the most critical jobs in the United States. Take note recruiters, filling these jobs depends on you.

Not every job in the United States is as lavish as the C-suite. Some jobs force workers to get down and dirty or can even put employees lives at risk. These jobs are the backbone of the United States, and as Mike Rowe of the hit televisions show Dirty Jobs would say, “Someone has to do it!” In honor of these everyday heroes, CareerBuilder and Emsi have compiled a list of occupations we can’t live without—and what these critical occupations are being paid.
“There are more than 323 million people in America today,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, in a press release. “While every job plays an important role in making America a successful, thriving nation, our study focuses on 12 careers that provide for our most basic needs: food, clean water, health, shelter, safety, and communication. These workers impact our lives every day, so today we’re taking our hats off to celebrate our often unsung heroes.”
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers

  • Number employed: 494,879
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 farmer for every 654 people
  • Median income: $30,597
  • Why we can’t live without them: Crops and livestock found on farms are responsible for most, if not all, of the food found in your pantry and refrigerators. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, 97% of farms are family owned.

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

  • Number employed: 113,370
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 operator for every 2,856 people
  • Median income: $45,968
  • Why we can’t live without them: When we need to pour fresh water or dispose of used water, this usually only takes a simple turn of a handle. But, to move water from one place to another requires a lot of equipment, constant monitoring, cleaning, and frequent testing of water samples.


  • Number employed: 4,031,658
  • Ration to U.S. population: 1 teacher for every 80 people
  • Median income: $55,557
  • Why we can’t live without them: Teachers give our children knowledge and understanding of the world around them while preparing them for adulthood. This number includes teachers from kindergarten through secondary education, including Special Education.

Construction laborers

  • Number employed: 1,335,944
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 construction worker for every 242 people
  • Median income: $31,658
  • Why we can’t live without them: One of the most physical occupations on this list, construction workers can be found operating a wide variety of hand and power tools—from a hammer and nails to cement mixers—at construction sites around the country. They build our bridges, skyscrapers, houses, and just about everything else.

Electrical and telecommunications line installers and repairers

  • Number employed: 238,922
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 line worker for every 1,355 people
  • Median income: $60,965
  • Why we can’t live without them: Electronic devices are part of our everyday lives. Cables travel long distances from power stations to provide electricity and phone communications to almost every structure in the United States. When the power goes out, we also rely on these workers to locate and fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Refuse and recyclable material collectors

  • Number employed: 134,250
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 collector for every 2,412 people
  • Median income: $34,258
  • Why we can’t live without them: Researchers from Yale University estimated that Americans throw out about 5 pounds of trash per person per day. That’s a lot of garbage we don’t want crowding our streets, so we need these individuals to keep our neighborhoods sanitary.

Police and sheriff’s patrol officers

  • Number employed: 675,939
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 officer for every 479 people
  • Median income: $60,466
  • Why we can’t live without them: Police officers across the country maintain order and respond to emergency situations at a moment’s notice to apprehend criminals every day.


  • Number employed: 314,928
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 firefighter for every 1,028 people
  • Median income: $48,859
  • Why we can’t live without them: Firefighters keep communities safe from one of the most destructive natural forces on the planet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires were responsible for 3,275 civilian deaths and $11.5 billion in property damage in 2014.

Tomorrow we’ll see the rest of the list.