Median starting pay: $31,800
Median mid-career pay: $44,900
NEXT: Athletic Training
Dealing with homelessness, drug addiction, poverty and abuse on a daily basis in exchange for a tiny paycheck is emotionally -- and financially -- straining.
"Anybody who does this isn't in it for the money. If they are, they're in the wrong field," said Katie Stine-Hodges, a graduate of Portland State University with a degree in child and family studies. Now a case manager for a foster program in Portland, Ore., Stine-Hodges knew her salary would be low, but she has no regrets.
"It sucks to not make as much money as someone else who is doing something less emotionally challenging, but that's the way it is, and I feel lucky to be able to help people and go home at night and feel like I accomplished something."