It's always been hard for journalists to work their way up the ladder, says second year King's student Rose Dallas Behar. (Graphic: Ryan Hemsworth)

Journalists top list of most educated, least paid

Students learn to roll with the punches despite research by 24/7 Wall St.


And you thought your job was rough.

The website 24/7 Wall St. filed a story last week, "The seven jobs that require the most education, but pay the least." Although reporters took the number one spot this year, the news didn’t devastate too many students currently studying journalism.

"We've known this forever," Jordan Parker says.

Parker, a graduating student in the University of King's College journalism program, doesn't bat a lash at news like this anymore.

"We knew this when we signed up," he says, speaking for his classmates. "Everyone here isn't doing journalism for the money."

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Dr. Chris Waddell is the director of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University. (Photo supplied: Dr. Waddell)

24/7 Wall St.'s "seven jobs that require the most education, but pay the least".

1. Reporters & Correspondents
> Median income: $34,530
> Bottom-tier income: $19,970

2. Survey Researchers
> Median income: $36,050
> Bottom-tier income: $18,660

3. Medical/ Clinical Laboratory Technicians
> Median income: $36,280
> Bottom-tier income: $24,210

4. Museum Technicians & Conservators
> Median income: $37,310
> Bottom-tier income: $24,440

5. Mental Health & Substance Abuse Social Workers
> Median income: $38,600
> Bottom-tier income: $25,210

6. Biological Technicians
> Median income: $39,020
> Bottom-tier income: $24,930

7. Recreational Therapists
> Median income: $39,410
> Bottom-tier income: $24,640

One thing you might notice from the jobs included in the list is the vast difference in freedom each career holds.

Falling behind reporters on the list are survey researchers, medical laboratory technicians, and museum conservators.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a lab technician with as much creative freedom as an arts writer.

Money can’t be the only motivation

24/7 Wall St. is a publication dedicated to financial news. The outlet has found its niche recently in ranked lists of anything to do with jobs and the future.

"If money is your prime motivation for journalism, you're probably going to go do something else after five or 10 years," says Dr. Chris Waddell, director of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University.

As the website reported, college grads with student loans owed an average of US$24,250 last year, a five per cent increase from 2009. Graduating students were faced with just over a nine per cent unemployment rate in America; eight per cent in Canada.

How to break through

Rose Dallas Behar is another student of journalism who has learned to accept these numbers.

"I think, in a way, these kinds of reports weed out the undedicated journalists," the second year student at King's says. "Then you're left with people who are really passionate about telling stories."

Behar doesn’t plan to “work her way up the ladder,” as she puts it. She plans to balance business with online writing, making it easier for her to break through after graduation.

Dr. Waddell believes students should have a strategy.

"There's a balance to any job," he says. "What you have to do, how much freedom you have to do it – but journalism has a higher sense of self-direction."

This kind of freedom might be daunting for students halfway out the door, but for ones like Parker and Rose, the future isn't so scary.

"I could care less if I make a lot of money," Parker says. "I'll be happy, and I'll be making a difference. And hey, if it doesn't work out, I'll write a book."

For journalists falling out of love with their jobs, 24/7 Wall St. conveniently published a companion piece, its “best paying jobs of the future,”
with occupations such as management analysts and accountants and auditors making the list. At number one on the list: registered nurses.

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