9 Surprisingly Low-Paying Jobs

Careers That Pay a Whole Lot Less Than You Think

7. Chemist

JOB TITLE: Chemist

I was an English major and I make my living as a writer/editor. Which means I don't know much about chemistry, nevermind what chemists actually do. But in my head, they are geniuses in white lab coats who add a little of this with a little of that, and POOF -- something amazing is discovered. And that sounds profitable.

In reality, chemists analyze organic and inorganic compounds to determine chemical and physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, and reactions. They develop, improve, and customize products, while testing and analyzing said products to make sure they adhere to standards. Like many people, I'm not really sure what all that means but I know it sounds impressive and important. But despite that, the national annual median salary for mid-career chemists barely cracks $60,000. That's still a lot of money in a lot of places, but this is for a job that requires a bachelor's degree, in some cases a master's degree, and 4-5 years of experience.