Lowest-paying jobs in Knoxville

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(Photo via Stacker)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Stacker collected information on the lowest-paying jobs in Knoxville, TN, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by average annual salary with information up to date as of May 2020. Job descriptions are from O*NET.

In Knoxville, the annual mean wage is $47,740 or 15.2% lower than national mean of $56,310, while the lowest-paying occupation makes $19,660.

Read on to see which jobs make the list.

Dolly442 // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $28,140
– #16 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 50

National
– Annual mean salary: $33,540
– Employment: 75,160
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Tuscaloosa, AL ($23,690)
— Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO ($24,070)
— Morristown, TN ($24,940)
– Job description: Set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood nailing machines. May operate computer numerically controlled (CNC) equipment.

Needpix

#49. Food batchmakers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $28,090
– #24 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 400

National
– Annual mean salary: $34,970
– Employment: 153,270
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— San Angelo, TX ($18,770)
— Hammond, LA ($20,450)
— Tyler, TX ($21,070)
– Job description: Set up and operate equipment that mixes or blends ingredients used in the manufacturing of food products. Includes candy makers and cheese makers.

Nejron Photo // Shutterstock

#48. Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $27,670
– #181 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 1,200

National
– Annual mean salary: $29,400
– Employment: 341,660
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL ($20,280)
— Albany, GA ($20,850)
— Dalton, GA ($20,890)
– Job description: Wash or otherwise clean vehicles, machinery, and other equipment. Use such materials as water, cleaning agents, brushes, cloths, and hoses.

Canva

#47. Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $27,600
– #25 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 160

National
– Annual mean salary: $30,800
– Employment: 147,760
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($20,270)
— Houma-Thibodaux, LA ($20,500)
— New Bern, NC ($21,670)
– Job description: Use hands or hand tools to perform routine cutting and trimming of meat, poultry, and seafood.

GagliardiPhotography // Shutterstock

#46. Nursing assistants

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $27,540
– #79 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 4,230

National
– Annual mean salary: $32,050
– Employment: 1,371,050
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Monroe, LA ($21,840)
— Brunswick, GA ($22,370)
— Columbus, GA-AL ($22,540)
– Job description: Provide or assist with basic care or support under the direction of onsite licensed nursing staff. Perform duties such as monitoring of health status, feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, or ambulation of patients in a health or nursing facility. May include medication administration and other health-related tasks. Includes nursing care attendants, nursing aides, and nursing attendants.

Unsplash

#45. Etchers and engravers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $27,520
– #2 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: data not available

National
– Annual mean salary: $35,230
– Employment: 9,490
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX ($23,290)
— Knoxville, TN ($27,520)
— Colorado Springs, CO ($29,350)
– Job description: Engrave or etch metal, wood, rubber, or other materials. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers, and silk screen etchers.

Canva

#44. Cooks, institution and cafeteria

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $27,450
– #141 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 840

National
– Annual mean salary: $29,940
– Employment: 387,300
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Montgomery, AL ($19,990)
— Dothan, AL ($20,340)
— Decatur, AL ($20,520)
– Job description: Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Vasin Lee // Shutterstock

#43. Residential advisors

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $27,270
– #48 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 270

National
– Annual mean salary: $33,430
– Employment: 102,450
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Gadsden, AL ($20,950)
— Jonesboro, AR ($20,980)
— Amarillo, TX ($21,360)
– Job description: Coordinate activities in resident facilities in secondary school and college dormitories, group homes, or similar establishments. Order supplies and determine need for maintenance, repairs, and furnishings. May maintain household records and assign rooms. May assist residents with problem solving or refer them to counseling resources.

Unsplash

#42. Library technicians

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $27,200
– #25 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 50

National
– Annual mean salary: $39,630
– Employment: 89,070
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Twin Falls, ID ($19,270)
— Jonesboro, AR ($23,470)
— Brownsville-Harlingen, TX ($24,420)
– Job description: Assist librarians by helping readers in the use of library catalogs, databases, and indexes to locate books and other materials; and by answering questions that require only brief consultation of standard reference. Compile records; sort and shelve books or other media; remove or repair damaged books or other media; register patrons; and check materials in and out of the circulation process. Replace materials in shelving area (stacks) or files. Includes bookmobile drivers who assist with providing services in mobile libraries.

Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#41. Helpers–pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $27,000
– #13 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: data not available

National
– Annual mean salary: $34,990
– Employment: 55,740
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Staunton-Waynesboro, VA ($20,210)
— Charlottesville, VA ($22,530)
— Tuscaloosa, AL ($23,080)
– Job description: Help plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, or pipelayers by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying, or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.

The Boston Globe // Getty Images

#40. Stockers and order fillers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $26,960
– #55 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 8,050

National
– Annual mean salary: $31,010
– Employment: 2,210,960
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Fond du Lac, WI ($23,990)
— Monroe, LA ($24,240)
— Florence, SC ($24,420)
– Job description: Receive, store, and issue merchandise, materials, equipment, and other items from stockroom, warehouse, or storage yard to fill shelves, racks, tables, or customers’ orders. May operate power equipment to fill orders. May mark prices on merchandise and set up sales displays.

JOHANNES EISELE // Getty Images

#39. Passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $26,670
– #69 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 960

National
– Annual mean salary: $34,360
– Employment: 599,980
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Decatur, AL ($17,980)
— Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL ($18,250)
— Dothan, AL ($18,260)
– Job description: Drive a motor vehicle to transport passengers on a planned or scheduled basis. May collect a fare.

Jorge Royan // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Cooks, restaurant

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $26,290
– #132 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 3,140

National
– Annual mean salary: $29,530
– Employment: 1,109,650
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Brownsville-Harlingen, TX ($20,590)
— Laredo, TX ($21,000)
— Gadsden, AL ($21,540)
– Job description: Prepare, season, and cook dishes such as soups, meats, vegetables, or desserts in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.

Oksana Shufrych // Shutterstock

#37. Recreation workers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $26,250
– #93 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 660

National
– Annual mean salary: $30,960
– Employment: 325,640
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Rocky Mount, NC ($20,040)
— Lake Charles, LA ($20,300)
— Monroe, LA ($21,000)
– Job description: Conduct recreation activities with groups in public, private, or volunteer agencies or recreation facilities. Organize and promote activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, games, music, dramatics, social recreation, camping, and hobbies, taking into account the needs and interests of individual members.

Picsfive // Shutterstock

#36. Food cooking machine operators and tenders

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $26,020
– #6 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 110

National
– Annual mean salary: $34,180
– Employment: 26,530
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— El Paso, TX ($20,140)
— Florence, SC ($23,290)
— Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL ($24,380)
– Job description: Operate or tend cooking equipment, such as steam cooking vats, deep fry cookers, pressure cookers, kettles, and boilers, to prepare food products.

Unsplash

#35. Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $25,790
– #82 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 6,200

National
– Annual mean salary: $31,410
– Employment: 1,990,510
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Monroe, LA ($21,200)
— Sumter, SC ($21,400)
— Dothan, AL ($21,670)
– Job description: Keep buildings in clean and orderly condition. Perform heavy cleaning duties, such as cleaning floors, shampooing rugs, washing walls and glass, and removing rubbish. Duties may include tending furnace and boiler, performing routine maintenance activities, notifying management of need for repairs, and cleaning snow or debris from sidewalk.

ProfDEH // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Couriers and messengers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $25,660
– #30 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 260

National
– Annual mean salary: $33,010
– Employment: 70,700
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Tuscaloosa, AL ($19,770)
— Monroe, LA ($21,160)
— Lawton, OK ($21,380)
– Job description: Pick up and deliver messages, documents, packages, and other items between offices or departments within an establishment or directly to other business concerns, traveling by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, automobile, or public conveyance.

Paul.J.West // Shutterstock

#33. Teaching assistants, except postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $25,460
– #117 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 2,770

National
– Annual mean salary: $30,630
– Employment: 1,272,840
– Entry level education requirements: Some college, no degree
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Alexandria, LA ($17,810)
— Gadsden, AL ($18,110)
— Hammond, LA ($18,740)
– Job description: Assist a preschool, elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher with instructional duties. Serve in a position for which a teacher has primary responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.

Canva

#32. Pharmacy aides

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $25,450
– #34 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 210

National
– Annual mean salary: $32,250
– Employment: 38,900
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($20,300)
— Shreveport-Bossier City, LA ($21,220)
— Grand Island, NE ($21,360)
– Job description: Record drugs delivered to the pharmacy, store incoming merchandise, and inform the supervisor of stock needs. May operate cash register and accept prescriptions for filling.

viviandnguyen_ // Flickr

#31. Packers and packagers, hand

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $25,390
– #107 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 1,280

National
– Annual mean salary: $29,270
– Employment: 599,270
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Wichita Falls, TX ($18,740)
— Casper, WY ($19,850)
— Johnstown, PA ($19,920)
– Job description: Pack or package by hand a wide variety of products and materials.

Smash the Iron Cage // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Slaughterers and meat packers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $24,800
– #4 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 370

National
– Annual mean salary: $31,210
– Employment: 77,980
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Memphis, TN-MS-AR ($24,210)
— New Orleans-Metairie, LA ($24,450)
— Tulsa, OK ($24,700)
– Job description: Perform nonroutine or precision functions involving the preparation of large portions of meat. Work may include specialized slaughtering tasks, cutting standard or premium cuts of meat for marketing, making sausage, or wrapping meats. Work typically occurs in slaughtering, meat packing, or wholesale establishments.

SarahAnderson // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Medical appliance technicians

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $24,770
– #1 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 120

National
– Annual mean salary: $45,630
– Employment: 13,710
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Knoxville, TN ($24,770)
— Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC ($27,270)
— Ogden-Clearfield, UT ($32,470)
– Job description: Construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices such as braces, orthotics and prosthetic devices, joints, arch supports, and other surgical and medical appliances.

Canva

#28. Orderlies

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $24,750
– #9 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 140

National
– Annual mean salary: $31,780
– Employment: 43,570
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC ($22,440)
— Birmingham-Hoover, AL ($22,810)
— Jackson, MS ($22,850)
– Job description: Transport patients to areas such as operating rooms or x-ray rooms using wheelchairs, stretchers, or moveable beds. May maintain stocks of supplies or clean and transport equipment. Psychiatric orderlies are included in Psychiatric Aides.

Canva

#27. Automotive and watercraft service attendants

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $24,640
– #31 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 580

National
– Annual mean salary: $28,150
– Employment: 112,750
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Valdosta, GA ($21,570)
— Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA ($21,740)
— La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN ($21,950)
– Job description: Service automobiles, buses, trucks, boats, and other automotive or marine vehicles with fuel, lubricants, and accessories. Collect payment for services and supplies. May lubricate vehicle, change motor oil, refill antifreeze, or replace lights or other accessories, such as windshield wiper blades or fan belts. May repair or replace tires.

UfaBizPhoto // Shutterstock

#26. Sewing machine operators

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $24,610
– #19 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 570

National
– Annual mean salary: $29,420
– Employment: 116,520
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— El Paso, TX ($18,940)
— McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX ($21,950)
— Wichita Falls, TX ($22,070)
– Job description: Operate or tend sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate, or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garment or nongarment products.

RossHelen // Shutterstock

#25. Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $23,750
– #1 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: data not available

National
– Annual mean salary: $41,480
– Employment: 99,890
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Knoxville, TN ($23,750)
— Provo-Orem, UT ($24,700)
— Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ ($28,310)
– Job description: Set up, operate, or tend paper goods machines that perform a variety of functions, such as converting, sawing, corrugating, banding, wrapping, boxing, stitching, forming, or sealing paper or paperboard sheets into products.

Unsplash

#24. Amusement and recreation attendants

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $23,700
– #183 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 430

National
– Annual mean salary: $25,610
– Employment: 248,190
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Houma-Thibodaux, LA ($18,040)
— Lynchburg, VA ($18,600)
— Auburn-Opelika, AL ($18,650)
– Job description: Perform a variety of attending duties at amusement or recreation facility. May schedule use of recreation facilities, maintain and provide equipment to participants of sporting events or recreational pursuits, or operate amusement concessions and rides.

Atstock Productions // Shutterstock

#23. Telemarketers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $23,520
– #12 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 550

National
– Annual mean salary: $30,930
– Employment: 117,610
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Charleston-North Charleston, SC ($19,280)
— Erie, PA ($19,760)
— Logan, UT-ID ($21,130)
– Job description: Solicit donations or orders for goods or services over the telephone.

VGstockstudio // Shutterstock

#21 (tie). Food servers, nonrestaurant

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $23,040
– #83 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 730

National
– Annual mean salary: $27,460
– Employment: 254,650
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Decatur, AL ($18,460)
— Enid, OK ($18,780)
— Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($18,960)
– Job description: Serve food to individuals outside of a restaurant environment, such as in hotel rooms, hospital rooms, residential care facilities, or cars.

Dean Drobot // Shutterstock

#21 (tie). Cashiers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $23,040
– #120 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 9,870

National
– Annual mean salary: $25,710
– Employment: 3,333,100
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Hattiesburg, MS ($19,530)
— Monroe, LA ($19,780)
— Albany, GA ($20,320)
– Job description: Receive and disburse money in establishments other than financial institutions. May use electronic scanners, cash registers, or related equipment. May process credit or debit card transactions and validate checks.

Martin Smith // Shutterstock

#20. Parking attendants

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,820
– #24 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 290

National
– Annual mean salary: $27,910
– Employment: 123,790
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Lake Charles, LA ($19,840)
— Huntsville, AL ($19,910)
— Auburn-Opelika, AL ($20,000)
– Job description: Park vehicles or issue tickets for customers in a parking lot or garage. May park or tend vehicles in environments such as a car dealership or rental car facility. May collect fee.

Canva

#19. Skincare specialists

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,770
– #1 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 170

National
– Annual mean salary: $41,230
– Employment: 46,640
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Knoxville, TN ($22,770)
— Fort Wayne, IN ($25,530)
— Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO ($26,120)
– Job description: Provide skincare treatments to face and body to enhance an individual’s appearance. Includes electrologists and laser hair removal specialists.

Canva

#18. Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,500
– #1 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: data not available

National
– Annual mean salary: $39,130
– Employment: 23,950
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Knoxville, TN ($22,500)
— Clarksville, TN-KY ($22,770)
— Lubbock, TX ($24,670)
– Job description: Mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation, or chemical application on trees, shrubs, lawns, or crops. Usually requires specific training and state or federal certification.

David Corby // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,470
– #7 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 400

National
– Annual mean salary: $30,980
– Employment: 98,810
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Johnstown, PA ($19,580)
— Tyler, TX ($20,460)
— Cleveland, TN ($20,690)
– Job description: Feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine postoperative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

Krakenimages.com // Shutterstock

#16. Childcare workers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,380
– #112 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 1,740

National
– Annual mean salary: $26,790
– Employment: 494,360
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Rome, GA ($17,330)
— Dothan, AL ($18,370)
— Warner Robins, GA ($18,440)
– Job description: Attend to children at schools, businesses, private households, and childcare institutions. Perform a variety of tasks, such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and overseeing play.

Pixabay

#15. Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,350
– #68 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 120

National
– Annual mean salary: $27,050
– Employment: 113,150
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Montgomery, AL ($17,440)
— Athens-Clarke County, GA ($17,790)
— Sheboygan, WI ($17,940)
– Job description: Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes, to provide assistance and protection to participants.

Education Images // Getty Images

#14. Substitute teachers, short-term

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,330
– #25 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 480

National
– Annual mean salary: $36,090
– Employment: 512,030
– Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL ($17,360)
— Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL ($17,470)
— Huntsville, AL ($17,470)
– Job description: Teach students on a short-term basis as a temporary replacement for a regular classroom teacher, typically using the regular teacher’s lesson plan.

Canva

#13. Food preparation workers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,280
– #60 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 4,710

National
– Annual mean salary: $26,820
– Employment: 793,590
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Hammond, LA ($18,290)
— Morristown, TN ($18,550)
— Monroe, LA ($19,010)
– Job description: Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.

Ryan Everton // Unsplash

#12. Dishwashers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $22,180
– #140 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 620

National
– Annual mean salary: $25,600
– Employment: 395,660
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL ($17,490)
— Fond du Lac, WI ($18,400)
— Muncie, IN ($18,550)
– Job description: Clean dishes, kitchen, food preparation equipment, or utensils.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

#11. Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $21,620
– #34 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: data not available

National
– Annual mean salary: $26,600
– Employment: 179,890
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Hattiesburg, MS ($18,060)
— Warner Robins, GA ($18,580)
— Rome, GA ($19,050)
– Job description: Operate or tend washing or dry-cleaning machines to wash or dry-clean industrial or household articles, such as cloth garments, suede, leather, furs, blankets, draperies, linens, rugs, and carpets. Includes spotters and dyers of these articles.

aboutsung // Shutterstock

#10. Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $21,550
– #122 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 1,220

National
– Annual mean salary: $26,300
– Employment: 374,940
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Monroe, LA ($18,090)
— Houma-Thibodaux, LA ($18,100)
— McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX ($18,240)
– Job description: Facilitate food service. Clean tables; remove dirty dishes; replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, glassware, and dishes; supply service bar with food; and serve items such as water, condiments, and coffee to patrons.

Jason Person // Shutterstock

#9. Cooks, short order

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $21,330
– #22 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: data not available

National
– Annual mean salary: $27,030
– Employment: 123,350
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Laredo, TX ($18,660)
— Gainesville, GA ($18,740)
— Mobile, AL ($18,820)
– Job description: Prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

Pxhere

#8. Fast food and counter workers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $21,190
– #118 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 5,810

National
– Annual mean salary: $24,540
– Employment: 3,450,120
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Dothan, AL ($18,690)
— Mobile, AL ($18,750)
— Montgomery, AL ($18,780)
– Job description: Perform duties such as taking orders and serving food and beverages. Serve customers at counter or from a steam table. May take payment. May prepare food and beverages.

Canva

#7. Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $21,140
– #8 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 30

National
– Annual mean salary: $26,050
– Employment: 31,980
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Raleigh, NC ($18,320)
— Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($19,670)
— Memphis, TN-MS-AR ($19,930)
– Job description: Press or shape articles by hand or machine.

Rawpixel.com // Shutterstock

#6. Maids and housekeeping cleaners

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $20,800
– #29 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 2,480

National
– Annual mean salary: $28,010
– Employment: 795,590
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Monroe, LA ($18,460)
— Valdosta, GA ($18,730)
— Alexandria, LA ($19,070)
– Job description: Perform any combination of light cleaning duties to maintain private households or commercial establishments, such as hotels and hospitals, in a clean and orderly manner. Duties may include making beds, replenishing linens, cleaning rooms and halls, and vacuuming.

Daniel Lee // Flickr

#5. Cooks, fast food

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $20,660
– #83 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 3,250

National
– Annual mean salary: $24,300
– Employment: 544,420
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Altoona, PA ($17,660)
— Johnson City, TN ($17,700)
— Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL ($17,900)
– Job description: Prepare and cook food in a fast food restaurant with a limited menu. Duties of these cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.

Dragon Images // Shutterstock

#4. Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $20,410
– #71 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 1,220

National
– Annual mean salary: $24,800
– Employment: 316,700
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Decatur, AL ($17,940)
— Gadsden, AL ($18,150)
— New Bern, NC ($18,190)
– Job description: Welcome patrons, seat them at tables or in lounge, and help ensure quality of facilities and service.

Gabriel Georgescu // Shutterstock

#3. Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $19,900
– #11 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 440

National
– Annual mean salary: $26,900
– Employment: 222,550
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Decatur, AL ($18,020)
— Dalton, GA ($18,450)
— Monroe, LA ($18,500)
– Job description: Accommodate hotel, motel, and resort patrons by registering and assigning rooms to guests, issuing room keys or cards, transmitting and receiving messages, keeping records of occupied rooms and guests’ accounts, making and confirming reservations, and presenting statements to and collecting payments from departing guests.

Pexels

#2. Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $19,760
– #16 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 840

National
– Annual mean salary: $26,390
– Employment: 95,600
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Tulsa, OK ($18,650)
— Appleton, WI ($18,760)
— Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC ($18,930)
– Job description: Assist patrons at entertainment events by performing duties, such as collecting admission tickets and passes from patrons, assisting in finding seats, searching for lost articles, and helping patrons locate such facilities as restrooms and telephones.

Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#1. Waiters and waitresses

Knoxville, TN
– Annual mean salary: $19,660
– #39 lowest pay among all metros
– Employment: 6,750

National
– Annual mean salary: $27,470
– Employment: 1,944,240
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with lowest average pay:
— Brownsville-Harlingen, TX ($17,980)
— Decatur, AL ($17,980)
— Shreveport-Bossier City, LA ($18,060)
– Job description: Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

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