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Stressful jobs that pay badly

For veterinary assistants, drug counselors and sous chefs, a day on the job involves a whole lot of stress ... and not a lot of pay. Here are 15 of the most overworked and underpaid professions, according to PayScale.

Veterinary assistant

  • Median pay: $32,000
  • % who say their job is stressful: 83%

You might think that veterinary assistants spend their days playing with kittens and puppies, but their role is actually far more complex—and stressful.

Many veterinary assistants essentially serve as nurses to veterinarians, drawing blood, prepping for surgery and helping with X-rays.

Such tasks are all part of a typical day for Megen Santana, a veterinary assistant at Flagler Animal Hospital in Palm Coast, Fla.

"In human medicine, you might have a phlebotomist, a radiologist and an RN, but in veterinary medicine, we have to do it all," she says.

Related: Don't expect a big pay raise in 2018

It's not uncommon for veterinary assistants to work overnight shifts at 24-hour hospitals -- and to incur a scratch or two when handling frightened and injured animals. Veterinary assistants also need to be equipped to talk with pet owners, who can become frightened and emotional, too. (Pets are family, after all).

Despite the long hours and physical demands, experienced veterinary assistants earn a median salary of just $32,000 per year. But for many veterinary assistants, the work offers rewards that aren't financial.

"At the end of the day, you go home knowing that you made a difference and you may have saved an animal that couldn't save themselves, or you gave that animal a better life," Santana says.

Source: PayScale
Methodology: This report focuses on jobs that have low median pay and workers that report high levels of stress. A job was included in this analysis if its median experienced pay was below $50,000. Data includes 32,000 employee profiles completed between October 2015 and October 2017. 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.
  @CNNMoney - Last updated January 03 2018 02:11 PM ET

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