Jobs in Which the Salaries Remain Relatively Flat


PayScale recently compiled a list of the 20 jobs in which the “salaries go nowhere”: that is, in which the person’s salary in mid-career varies least from their starting salaries.

This sort of comparison seems to me to undercut some of the emphasis on how much graduates earn six years out from their graduation dates.

Please note how many of these jobs are in STEM or STEM-related fields. In most cases, the starting salaries in those fields seem fairly substantial, but almost no one has been focusing on salaries in those fields in mid- and late-career. Like almost everyone else, I assumed that the high starting salaries meant that the salaries for those in such fields would continue to be proportionately higher throughout their working lives. Apparently, that is the case only in most engineering fields and in some other, selected STEM and STEM-related fields.

Notice also how many of the positions are in education—and, in particular, in early childhood and elementary education—as well as in human services. These salary figures tell a different story than the commonplace talking points about our grossly overpaid teachers and public employees.


  1. Respiratory Care

Most common jobs: Respiratory therapist, respiratory-services supervisor, registered polysomnographic technologist

Starting median pay: $47,800

Mid-career median pay: $64,000

Increase in pay: $16,200 / 33.9%


  1. Environmental Management

Most common jobs: Environmental health and safety manager, environmental manager, environmental health and safety specialist

Starting median pay: $51,300

Mid-career median pay: $68,600

Increase in pay: $17,300 / 33.7%


  1. Parks and Recreation Management

Most common jobs: Parks and recreation director, recreation supervisor, executive assistant

Starting median pay: $37,100

Mid-career median pay: $49,500

Increase in pay: $12,400 / 33.4%


  1. Medical Laboratory Science

Most common jobs: Laboratory technologist, laboratory scientist, laboratory supervisor

Starting median pay: $46,200

Mid-career median pay: $61,500

Increase in pay: $15,300 / 33.1%


  1. Computer Animation

Most common jobs: Animator, 3-D artist, graphic designer

Starting median pay: $42,600

Mid-career median pay: $56,700

Increase in pay: $14,100 / 33.1%


  1. Nutrition and Dietetics

Most common jobs: Dietitian, nutritionist, certified diabetes educator

Starting median pay: $43,400

Mid-career median pay: $57,700

Increase in pay: $14,300 / 32.9%


  1. Elementary Education

Most common jobs: Elementary school teacher, office manager, administrative assistant

Starting median pay: $34,300

Mid-career median pay: $45,500

Increase in pay: $11,200 / 32.7%


  1. Computer and Network Administration

Most common jobs: IT network administrator, systems administrator, IT network engineer

Starting median pay: $49,900

Mid-career median pay: $66,000

Increase in pay: $16,100 / 32.3%


  1. Recreation and Leisure Studies

Most common jobs: Administrative assistant, activities director, retail store manager

Starting median pay: $38,700

Mid-career median pay: $50,600

Increase in pay: $11,900 / 30.7%


  1. Nursing

Most common jobs: Registered nurse, registered emergency nurse, registered operating-room nurse

Starting median pay: $56,600

Mid-career median pay: $73,600

Increase in pay: $17,000 / 30.0%


  1. Logistics Management

Most common jobs: Logistics manager, warehouse manager, operations manager

Starting median pay: $49,800

Mid-career median pay: $64,200

Increase in pay: $14,400 / 28.9%


  1. Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Most common jobs: Elementary school teacher, preschool teacher (excluding special education), daycare teacher

Starting median pay: $32,900

Mid-career median pay: $42,300

Increase in pay: $9,400 / 28.6%


  1. Child and Family Studies

Most common jobs: Preschool teacher (excluding special education), child life specialist, daycare teacher

Starting median pay: $30,900

Mid-career median pay: $39,600

Increase in pay: $8,700 / 28.2%


  1. Human Services

Most common jobs: Medical case manager, social worker, administrative assistant

Starting median pay: $34,100

Mid-career median pay: $43,400

Increase in pay: $9,300 / 27.3%


  1. Clinical Laboratory Science

Most common jobs: Laboratory technologist, laboratory scientist, laboratory supervisor

Starting median pay: $47,400

Mid-career median pay: $60,100

Increase in pay: $12,700 / 26.8%


  1. Counseling

Most common jobs: Addiction counselor, office manager, social worker

Starting median pay: $32,300

Mid-career median pay: $40,900

Increase in pay: $8,600 / 26.6%


  1. Child Development

Most common jobs: Preschool teacher (excluding special education), daycare teacher, director of preschool

Starting median pay: $31,500

Mid-career median pay: $39,600

Increase in pay: $8,100 / 25.7%


  1. Early-Childhood Education

Most common jobs: Daycare teacher, preschool teacher (excluding special education), elementary school teacher

Starting median pay: $30,300

Mid-career median pay: $38,000

Increase in pay: $7,700 / 25.4%


  1. Diagnostic medical sonography

Most common jobs: Ultrasound technologist, echocardiographer, vascular technologist

Starting median pay: $57,700

Mid-career median pay: $70,800

Increase in pay: $13,100 / 22.7%


  1. Dental Hygiene

Most common jobs: Dental hygienist, dental-office manager, dental-hygiene instructor

Starting median pay: $65,800

Mid-career median pay: $72,800

Increase in pay: $7,000 / 10.6%



3 thoughts on “Jobs in Which the Salaries Remain Relatively Flat

  1. This is very interesting. For reference, is there any average rise in pay against which to benchmark these low-rising categories? It also reminds me of an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education within the last year or two in which it was revealed that the average bump in pay that one received upon tenure and the move from assistant to associate professor was only $5,000 (note that the article may have been focused on the humanities and social sciences, which would have been why I paid attention to it). It would be interesting to know where college and university professors figure in this scale.

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