These are the jobs that you usually don’t hear a mother proudly say, “My son is a ________!” or see Hollywood glamorizing one of these underrated jobs -- but when you look at the stats, they should be!
“You never saw a movie about a civil engineer or a TV show starring a computer-systems analyst!” said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com.
See this slideshow: Colleges That Bring in the Highest Paychecks 2012
The job listing and advice site has come out with its annual list of the most underrated jobs – and the most overrated jobs.
So, what makes a job underrated?
“The pay is better, the hiring outlook is better , the level of stress tends to be lower, and the physical demands aren’t that great,” Lee said. “It’s a good job with a good forecast.”
He added: “The most underrated jobs offer increasing opportunities and rewarding potential for job seekers new to the labor force, or those who need a change.” What’s more, several of these positions don’t even require a college degree.
Read ahead for the Most Underrated Jobs of 2012.
1. Computer Systems Analyst
Median Salary: $78,148
These are the guys who study an organization’s computer systems and procedures and make recommendations for how to better organize, manage, and upgrade technology.
These guys aren’t usually the heroes in the movie – if they’re even in the movie – but if you’ve ever used a computer at your job you know this is one of the most necessary, and underrated, jobs.
“It’s a terrific job,” Lee said. “Demand is extremely high. Pay is strong. And you get to work pretty autonomously.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is expected to grow 22 percent in the next decade.
Computer systems analysts, we salute you. Your job is underrated!
2. Civil Engineer
Median Salary: $78,133
The only time civil engineers really get respect seems to be on the History Channel. And this area of engineering, which is on the lower end of the engineering pay scale, tends to not be that popular.
But right now, Lee said, there is huge demand for rebuilding bridges, roads, and other infrastructure, all of which require civil engineers.
“At long last, we seem to be moving forward with infrastructure improvement in the country,” Lee said, adding that there are actually shortages of engineers right now.
Median Salary: $82,190
“With the amount of work and school being so high, the perception is that, ‘If I’m going to do that, I should just be a person doctor!’” Lee said.
In fact, there’s a real shortage of veterinarians, he said. Plus, you get to manage your own schedule, and you don’t have to worry about health-care regulations!
What’s more, Lee said, Look at the baby boom generation: “They are at the wealthiest stage of their lives, and they all have pets!”
Median Salary: $73,285
When was the last time you heard a kid say, “I want to be a biologist when I grow up!”
Right. Well, maybe they should.
“There’s a lot of demand,” Lee said. “Biologists have a lot of things going for them. They’re needed by the whole military complex, with biological weapons. At the same time, they have mapped the human genome – so, there’s biological science in health care.”
“The need for biologists is very large. And yet biology is a field that has not attracted huge numbers of new graduates,” Lee said.
5. Market Research Analyst
Median Salary: $61,236
“This is one where we’ve become such an incredible consumer nation and market research has really elevated it to where there isn’t a product or service that doesn’t require market research,” Lee said. “And yet most people don’t think of market research as a profession. They might think of going into marketing but that’s different from market research.”
Median Salary: $62,174
Oh, accountants. When was a movie ever made that didn’t show them as nerdy and uninteresting? Well, accountants, you can stick this in your pocket protector – you are among the most underrated jobs!
“In fact, it’s a very solid, secure profession,” Lee said. “Accountants are needed whether the economy is good or bad.”
And, let’s face it, the most recent downturn and subsequent scrutiny on accounting highlighted the need for accountants even more.
See the full list: The Most Underrated Jobs
More from CNBC: