Americans view firefighters and doctors as having the most prestigious professions, according to a recent Harris Interactive poll.
When read a list of different occupations, 63% of respondents to the telephone poll said they feel firefighters have "very great" prestige, while 58% said doctors do. Other professions that were seen as having very great prestige included: nurses (55%), scientists (54%), teachers (52%) and military officers (51%).
The occupations seen by the fewest people as having very great prestige were: real-estate brokers (6%), stockbrokers (11%), business executives (11%), actors (12%), union leaders (12%) and journalists (12%).
Actors were seen by the largest percentage of people (37%) as having "hardly any prestige at all," followed by real-estate brokers at 32%.
Harris Interactive has been asking about the prestige of different professions and occupations since 1977. Over the course of that time, teaching is the only occupation that has seen an increase in prestige, rising 23 percentage points to 52% since 1977.
Lawyers have seen the greatest decrease in very great prestige, down 15 percentage points to 21%. Scientists have slipped 12 percentage points to 54%, and business executives have fallen seven percentage points to 11%.
I found it interesting that the most "prestigious" jobs were not necessarily the highest-paying jobs. At what price prestige? ;)