U.S. adults see firefighters, doctors and nurses as having prestigious occupations, while business executives, stockbrokers and real estate agents fall at the opposite end of the spectrum, according to a recent poll.

The poll, conducted by Harris Poll, surveyed more than 1,000 people, asking for their perceptions of 23 occupations.

Six occupations are perceived to have "very great" prestige by at least half of all adults -- firefighters (63 percent), doctors (58 percent), nurses (55 percent), scientists (54 percent), teachers (52 percent) and military officers (51 percent). They are followed by police officers (43 percent) and priests/ministers/clergymen (40 percent).

Of the respondents, the largest percentage, 40 percent said that the accounting profession had "some prestige." Another 30 percent said the profession had "considerable prestige," and 17 percent said the profession had "very great prestige" -- 1 percentage point below entertainers, tied with bankers, and 1 percentage point above journalists. Just 11 percent of respondents said that the profession had "hardly any prestige at all."

Teachers are the only occupation, among the 11 tracked since 1977, to see a rise in prestige -- rising 23 points, to 52 percent. Business executives have fallen by 7 points, to 11 percent.

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