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Stressful jobs that pay badly

Restaurant kitchen managers, vet techs, daycare directors... they all share one thing in common: Each day they take on a great deal of stress but don't get paid much for doing so.

Mental health counselor

stressful jobs mental health counselor
  • Median pay: $32,599
  • % who say their job is stressful: 84.4%

Whether it's addiction, marital problems or post-traumatic stress disorders, mental health counselors hear all sort of problems.

"We take on everyone's stresses," said LaMarr Edgerson, an Albuquerque, N.M.,-based counselor who specializes in emotional trauma treatment. "They tell us their deepest fears, their most secret thoughts. We help them figure things out."

Yet, sometimes it's difficult to leave the client's problems behind.

Pay is another problem. Money for mental health services is short and counselors -- who works at places like veteran's administration hospitals and outpatient care centers -- are often underpaid. That's despite years of education and training: about two-thirds of mental health counselors have master's degrees or higher.

"We are one of the lowest paid professions," said Edgerson. Mental health services is often one of the first things the government cuts in a budget crisis. "They don't see the value in what we do," he said.

Luckily, the rewards of the job are as substantial as the stress. "It's an amazing feeling when someone looks you in the eye and says, 'You saved my life,'" said Edgerson.

Source: PayScale
Methodology: Starting from a database of more than 9,000 jobs, PayScale used data from over 120,000 respondents who rated their jobs for quality of life factors. The 15 were selected based on the national median pay for workers with at least five or seven years' experience and the percent of workers surveyed who said their jobs were "fairly stressful" or "extremely stressful." Only one job per "job family" was included. PayScale conducted the survey between August 2011 and August 2013.
  @CNNMoney - Last updated June 24 2014 10:56 AM ET

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