Lowest-Paying Careers with the Most Education

I’m a big advocate of a good education. A good education, however, does not mean you will automatically make more money. Here is a list of the lowest-paying careers that typically have the highest education

Career % with Doctorate or Professional Degree Average Annual Salary
Judicial law clerks 73.8% $59840
Criminal justice and law enforcement teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $67040
Recreation and fitness studies teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $67870
Education teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $70260
Library science teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $72340
Foreign language and literature teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $73750
Postsecondary teachers, all other 43.7% $73990
Social work teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $74280
Communications teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $74360
English language and literature teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $76140
Philosophy and religion teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $77420
Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists 51.8% $78690
Audiologists 60.1% $79290
History teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $80880
Chiropractors 90.1% $81210
Sociology teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $81600
Mathematical science teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $82650
Psychology teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $84440
Area, ethnic, and cultural studies teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $84590
Geography teachers, postsecondary 43.7% $84660


As you can see from this list, most of the lowest-paying careers that require the most education are related to teaching postsecondary schools. In fact 80% of these are teachers and professors.

This does not suggest that becoming a college professor is not a good move. Some of the highest paid postsecondary teachers are teaching in the health sciences.

In addition, postsecondary teachers typically make more than someone working in that career. You can see this phenomenon within this chart. A professor of psychology makes 7% more than a clinical counselor.

This is true for other careers, as well. Take, for instance, the lowest-paid postsecondary teachers here: those who teach criminal justice. These teachers make 15% more than the average law enforcement worker.

On the other hand, teachers in this field make 18% less than a law enforcement supervisor. This suggests that there are a couple ways for someone to increase their salary within a given field: they can become a teacher or a supervisor.

This isn’t all bad news, though. The fact is, even the lowest paid of these careers (a judicial law clerk) still makes much more than the average worker in the United States. That is, a judicial law clerk makes 21% more than the average worker in the United States.

In short: getting higher education can lead to a higher-paying job in your career. Sometimes, however, there are better ways to make more money.