Loss prevention officers typically monitor retail floors for shoplifters, watching video screens or walking the aisles.
"The most stressful part of the job is to decide when to apprehend and when not to," said Gene Smith, a veteran of 35 years in the industry and president of the Loss Prevention Foundation. "You have to be right 100% of the time."
A wrong call could bring a lawsuit, but being too hesitant could mean lost inventory.
Safety is another concern. They never know when a shoplifter will pull out a knife or gun.
Yet, wages fall well short of the judgment and guts required of the job. The median pay is only $23,000.
A CNNMoney analysis of Census data shows these jobs -- which have roughly the same amount of men and women workers -- have little disparity in salaries.