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What are the most underrated jobs?

(MoneyWatch) Dreaming of being the modern-day equivalent of Don Draper of "Mad Men" fame? Don't, concludes CareerCast, which lists working in advertising as one of the nation's most overrated jobs. Ad executives are often overworked, underpaid and can lose their job in a heartbeat if a big client jumps ship, the job search site concludes.

Instead, job-seekers may be better off exploring jobs that tend to fly beneath the radar. CareerCast defines such work as the kind that, while often overlooked, offers competitive pay, decent working conditions and a measure of  job security. Here are the nation's 12 most underrated professions, according to the firm.

What are the most underrated jobs?

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12. Librarian

Marian the librarian may not be working at a public library these days, but could be ensconced in a law school or corporation, helping professionals find the research they need whether in books or online. The median pay for librarians is $55,370, according to CareerCast. The job isn't overly stressful, poses few work hazards and the physical demands are minimal. Government statisticians also expect the profession to grow by about 7 percent by 2020.

What are the most underrated jobs?


11. Electrician

If you've had to replace wiring in your home, you know that the people who can keep the lights on aren't paid poorly, with electricians taking home a median annual salary of $49,840. Although the job involves some physical demands, it's not particularly hazardous or stressful. You can be your own boss and the nation is likely to need 23 percent more electricians by 2020.

What are the most underrated jobs?


10. Plumber

There's no need for a college degree or to wear a suit to work. If you're good with your hands, you can work for yourself as a plumber virtually anywhere in the country. And while the median wage is $49,150, among the lowest in CareerCast's listing of underrated jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there is a wide range of wages in plumbing. Plumbers in New York earn an average of $84,000 annually and those in San Francisco earn just under $80,000.

What are the most underrated jobs?


9. School principal

The biggest stress of being a principal is that you're constantly in the public eye, either talking to parents, students or teachers. But the job security and working conditions are good compared with many jobs, and the average pay is a healthy $87,760. The profession is growing, with about 10 percent more principals expected to be needed by 2020, according to CareerCast.

What are the most underrated jobs?


8. Civil engineer

Did you like to play with Legos and Kinetic toys as a kid? Civil engineering is a lot like that but on a much bigger scale. These are the folks who help design and build roads, bridges and dams, and they get paid generously in return, with an average annual income of $79,340. An outdated national infrastructure bodes well for the profession, with the American Society of Civil Engineers estimating that the nation will need to spend $3.6 trillion by 2020 to repair and replace crumbling roads and bridges.

What are the most underrated jobs?


7. Legal assistant

If you love law but don't want to spend seven years in college, you might consider becoming a legal assistant. They can earn an average of $46,990 per year and don't have to deal with the stress of taking a case to court. For a job that doesn't require a college degree, the working conditions are good -- there are few physical demands and little chance that you'll be working around hazardous materials or have to travel extensively for work. The profession is also growing, with the government estimating that there will be roughly 18 percent more legal assistant positions by 2020.

What are the most underrated jobs?


6. Emergency medical technician

A high school degree and one to two years of training can qualify you to be an emergency medical technician, one of the specialists who typically help fire departments, hospitals and other emergency crews deliver onsite medical care to victims of accidents, fires and domestic violence. EMTs are also frequently tapped to transport patients between hospitals and long-term care facilities, a role likely to grow with an aging population. That may be why the government expects there to be 33 percent more EMT positions available in 2020 than there are now.

What are the most underrated jobs?


5. Accountant

It may not sound as sexy as saying you're a stock broker, but going into accounting can pay just as well with a lot less stress. The average accountant takes home $63,550, according to CareerCast. Top professionals in the field who end up becoming partners at accounting firms can earn high six-figure incomes. Of course there are deadlines, and you'll need a bachelor's degree and a strong command of math. But the working conditions are good, the job security is fine and the profession is expected to grow by about 16 percent by 2020.

What are the most underrated jobs?

4. Market research analyst

You'd get to dive deeply into one industry, determining what makes the sector work and how it can function better. With companies gathering an increasing amount of data on consumers through their use of social media, online shopping and other sources, government officials expect that there will be 41 percent more jobs in this industry by 2020. Average annual salary: $60,300.

What are the most underrated jobs?

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3. Biologist

If you're great in biology, you might be considering a career as a doctor. But being a biologist, where you can study some aspect of life without being responsible for maintaining it, is less stressful and has a better long-term outlook. Indeed, a recent survey of doctors found that less than half would choose careers in medicine if they could do it over. The average annual salary for a biologist is tidy $72,700, and there are likely to be 31 percent more biologist positions in 2020 than there are now, according to CareerCast.

What are the most underrated jobs?


2. Veterinarian

If you want to save lives, you might consider saving animal lives as a career. Being a veterinarian allows you to take home an average wage of $84,460, with good working conditions. Government prognosticators expect the nation will need 36 percent more vets in 2020 than there are now.

What are the most underrated jobs?


1. Computer systems analyst

Computer geeks have it good. Just ask anyone who has worked for Google or Apple. With the right set of technical skills, you could work in a compound where they offer free meals, a flexible working environment and great pay. The average salary of a computer systems analyst is $79,680, but those who end up working for the top companies in an executive level position can earn far more. And in an increasingly wired world, the job prospects are great.

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