Benefits and Compensation

America’s Most Needed Occupations and What They Pay

Not every job in America is as lavish as the C-suite. Some jobs force workers to get down and dirty, or 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, food found in your pantry and refrigerators. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation 97% of farms are family owned.

Read on for information about the other 11 most-needed occupations cited in the survey.