A lot of work goes into making a truly bad job. First, start with a poor work environment and add a high stress level. Next, pile on physical demands, cut down on the possibility for promotion, or simply decrease the hiring outlook to the point where looking for a new job is a losing proposition, and voila! You have a truly awful job.

The 5 worst jobs in America

Take a look at the top picks for America’s worst jobs. If your job made the cut, there’s good news: each of these jobs comes with an alternative career route that could require less education than you might think. Save yourself from the worst jobs in the country!

Worst job #1: Telemarketer

Getting hung up on is just one negative of this awful job; another is the total lack of job security in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 5-to-10 percent drop in job opportunities between 2008 and 2018.

  • Alternative career: Technical support worker. Add a certification and some technical skill and you could be in demand with a number of phone-based or in-person support centers.
  • Training recommendation: Earn a computer-related associate degree, such as a networking degree. Computer support workers earned mean annual wages of $47,360 in 2009, the BLS reports.

Worst job #2: Construction laborer

A heavy physical workload is par for the course in this grueling job; without the support of a union, you’re looking at a low-education job with little growth capacity.

  • Alternative career: Construction manager. According to the BLS, construction managers earned a healthy mean annual wage of $93,290 in 2009, or about $44.80 an hour.
  • Training recommendation: A bachelor’s degree in construction managment plus some construction experience can get you started.

Worst job #3: Pharmacy aide

While this job doesn’t seem awful at first–aides typically answer phones, stock shelves, and operate registers–the job outlook puts it on our top 5. The BLS reports that a decrease of 6 percent is expected for aides between 2008 and 2018.

  • Alternative career: Pharmacy technician. With just a little more education, you can see an earnings boost and projected job growth of 31 percent. Technicians earned $28,940 in 2009 while aides only earned $22,330, the BLS notes.
  • Training recommendation: A diploma, a certificate or an associate degree from a pharmacy technician training program can help meet requirements.

Worst job #4: Meter reader

This physically demanding career has you dodging backyard dogs and fielding the questions of angry customers about their electrical usage. There’s got to be a better way!

  • Alternative career: Electrical technician. Get behind-the-scenes on the meter with technical training. Electrical engineering technicians earned mean annual wages of $55,410 in 2009, the BLS reports.
  • Training recommendation: An associate degree in electrical engineering can lead the way to a satisfying career.

Worst job #5: Desktop publisher

Arranging material for publication used to be in strong demand, and in a way it still is–just in a different form. Jobs for desktop publishers are expected to decrease 23 percent between 2008 and 2018. As manual layout becomes a thing of the past, it’s time to update your skills.

  • Alternative career: Graphic designer. A 13 percent projected growth between 2008 and 2018 and a healthy current wage ($47,820 in 2009) are both reasons to pursue a degree program.
  • Training recommendation: A bachelor’s degree in graphic design is considered standard training for all but the most basic technical jobs, which could require only an associate degree.

Career training help you escape America’s worst jobs

Escape the crummy career future and high stress of the worst jobs across the country. With a certificate or degree program, you could find yourself with a rewarding, low-stress career that actually rewards your skills and has you looking forward to a day at work. Learn more about the alternative careers and training recommendations described above and take your first steps towards a career you enjoy.

This article was originally published on WorldWideLearn.com