29 Surprising Jobs That Can Pay Over $100,000
There is fantastic news for those who are bored with their 9-to-5 jobs. More people are moving away from traditional careers and into unconventional jobs that are rewarding, offer flexible hours and pay well. Today, people are finding careers in dog walking, standing in line, cuddling, taking care of tropical islands and computer hacking. Some of those dream jobs require a bachelor’s degree, while others just require some related experience.
Check out these high paying careers, including salary information, job responsibilities, and thoughts from people currently in the industry.
Certified Ethical Hacker
Criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to illegally access computers for credit card information or passwords. The job of a professional hacker is to find any weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Most of these individuals have a master’s degree and CEH certificate from the EC-Council but it’s not always necessary if you are particularly good at it. Professional hackers take home between $50,000 to $120,000 a year depending on experience.
Golf Ball Diver
Retrieving lost golf balls can surprisingly be a treasure trove of cash for the right individual. Hardworking golf ball divers can make up to $100,000 annually. The job involves diving into water features at golf courses to retrieve sunken balls, cleaning them and selling them back to golf courses. The job isn’t as easy as it sounds. In order to make a livable wage as a golf ball diver, you’ll need to gather thousands of golf balls each week. Golf course water hazards can be dangerous, too. Depending on the location, snakes or alligators can inhabit the water hazards.
If you’re fluent in multiple languages, have great analytical skills and know patent law, you can look into becoming a patent examiner. These federal employees review patent applications and judge if a patent is allowed to move forward. In order for patents to be approved, the application must show that the invention works correctly and is both safe and original.
It sounds fancy because it is. Not many individuals can become Master Sommeliers. This exclusive job requires passing an incredibly difficult exam. In one section, you’re timed and blindfolded while tasting and identifying multiple wines. Worldwide, there are only 255 Master Sommeliers. Upscale hotels and restaurants hire Master Sommeliers to provide high-quality beverage service, which involves spending time with chefs to create perfect food and wine pairings, maintaining the wine cellar, traveling to different vineyards for tastings and selecting the entire wine collection.
Nuclear divers are responsible for cleaning, repairing and inspecting nuclear-powered vessels to ensure radiation levels at nuclear power plants meet U.S. safety measures. According to Divers Institute of Technology, “Nuclear divers have to work hard conducting welding, electrical work and inspections in hot water, all while balancing speed and safety.”
When brides don’t want to rely on their family or friends for wedding help, they can now hire a professional bridesmaid. Normally, bridesmaids are unpaid while they help plan the bridal shower, organize the bachelorette party and support the bride on any wedding-related tasks. “The Professional Bridesmaid does all the heavy lifting — so you and your girls can focus on the fun,” says professional bridesmaid Jen Glantz. These wedding experts earn from $300 to $2,000 for each wedding.
This is truly great news for people who love to snuggle. A professional snuggler gets paid to improve a client’s mood through cuddling. Snuggle sessions can include watching a movie, having conversations and even eating. The experience must be relaxing for both parties. The important part is that everything remains consensual, comfortable and non-sexual. Snugglers must be affectionate and stop clients when they try to overstep boundaries.
Bingo managers do much more than call out numbers in smoke-filled bingo halls. These professionals are employed by casinos to oversee all aspects of bingo games. There are numerous state and federal laws that govern how casinos operate. Bingo managers are responsible for making sure that the casino’s bingo games are compliant with these laws.
Dating Profile Ghostwriter
Do you consider crafting the perfect bio for your Tinder profile an art form? Do you often find yourself helping your friends with their online dating profiles? If so, a career as a dating profile ghostwriter might be the perfect fit for you. Dating profile ghostwriters write bios, choose photos, and give clients advice on which online dating services they should use.
Crime Scene Cleaner
As anyone who loves true crime shows knows, crime scenes can be messy. After the police are finished at the scene, it is the job of the crime scene cleaners to remove blood, fluids, human tissue and other harmful residue. Sometimes this includes removing floors, walls and furniture affected by the odor or fluids. Their work is not limited to crime scenes. These professional cleaners are also called on to clean up drug labs, remove biohazards and decontaminate properties after a disease outbreak. Crime scene cleaners must be able to handle extremely gruesome sights and foul smells.
Tropical Island Caretaker
Spending time on a secluded island sounds like a dream job. However, being a tropical island caretaker isn’t all fun and games. The position requires you to promote tourism by posting weekly blogs online, taking lots of good photos and conducting multiple interviews with the media.
Many people got a glimpse of the bounty hunting world in “Dog the Bounty Hunter” featuring Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman. Bounty hunters are responsible for capturing fugitives who don't follow the rules of their bail. Historically, bounty hunters have existed in many countries around the world. However, this profession is only common in the United States and the Philippines now.
Chiropractors typically manually manipulate the spine and other joints into alignment in humans to alleviate pain. This has morphed into utilizing those same efforts on animals. Some of the duties of an animal chiropractor include reviewing the animal’s x-ray results, monitoring its mobility and performing adjustments. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association certifies doctors focusing on animal chiropractic. Since 1989, 1,100 animal chiropractic professionals have been certified.
Imagine doing a job where you can shop all day long and get paid for it. Personal shoppers pick out clothing and accessories that best suit a client’s needs. Giant retail companies including Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s hire personal shoppers. Some personal shoppers work as independent consultants, managing their business online.
Professional Food Taster
A professional food taster sounds like it could be a dream role for those “foodies” out there. But to get hired, tasters have to go through rigorous taste and odor recognition tests. They also need to describe food by identifying tastes, textures and ingredients. When food tasters are hired, their food and sensory lexicon could grow even more. Some food companies expect workers to have a degree in food sciences or a similar field.
What is better than being surrounded by chocolate? Chocolatiers are different from chocolate makers, who turn cacao beans into chocolate. A chocolatier is an artist who crafts chocolate into extravagant desserts and candies for customers. Chocolatiers make almost $75,000 a year.
Cartographers study and design maps. According to U.S. News, cartography is "a job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve.” Cartographers gather geographical data to draw a visual representation of the information. The responsibilities of a cartographer include drawing maps in digital or graphic form and updating maps that already exist.
Airport Wildlife Control Expert
An airport wildlife control expert prevents airplane collisions with birds and other mammals. Some of their responsibilities include analyzing animal strike patterns, managing the habitat around the airport and conducting tests to prevent animal/airplane strikes. Currently, experts at John F. Kennedy International Airport are testing aircraft lighting to give birds more time to get out of an airplane’s way. Other animals that may collide with planes include coyotes, turtles, deer and alligators.
Dog walking is another newly blossoming career option, as people still want pets but have a hard time finding the time with their busy work schedules. Some dog walkers find jobs using the Wag app, where workers can make around $17.50 per walk. However, some people market their own dog-walking businesses and have their own clients. Two professional dog walkers from California say they can earn between $30,000 to $80,000 a year.
Yes, you can actually get paid to look at baby chicks all day, but it might be their undercarriage. Commercial chicken hatcheries hire what are called “chicken sexers” to check the gender of newborn chicks. While female chicks are valuable and are often sold to egg companies, male chicks are considered useless. Chicken sexers are common in Japan and the UK. In the 1920s, Japanese researchers discovered chicken sexing could be taught. Their teachings spread to the UK when Koichi Andoh, trained hatchery employees on how to distinguish the chicks in England.
As patience is becoming more and more of a virtue in today’s fast-moving society, individuals have taken the opportunity to make a career out of it. Professional line standers are in high demand during new product releases like iPhones or massive sales such as Black Friday. Those interested in being a professional line-stander, can start their own line-standing business, post a Craigslist ad, or offer line-waiting services on TaskRabbit.
Thank your local gum remover for gum free sidewalks. Major cities like New York and Washington, D.C., hire professional gum removers to keep all of the sidewalks clean. When gum is peeled off sidewalks, it leaves a black mark on the sidewalk. Gum removers, also known as gumbusting professionals, use special cleaning tools to make sure sidewalks remain spotless.
Elevator Installer and Repairer
Have you ever taken an elevator and wondered who maintains it? Thankfully, people who keep elevators safe and efficient exist. An elevator installer and repairer makes sure elevators meet safety requirements. The job is physically demanding because workers must stand for hours and lift heavy objects. Professionals must recognize elevator problems fast to prevent getting injured on the job.
Glaziers are responsible for installing, removing and cutting glass. These glass professionals work with many surfaces such as windows, doors and walls. Glaziers must be able to read blueprints, remove broken glass and install glasses of different colors, sizes and types. While these responsibilities sound simple, they can actually be dangerous. Workers risk being cut by tools and glass.
Cruise Ship Entertainer
When most people think of cruise ships they think of vacations, not work. But cruise companies have to hire everything from engineers to entertainers to keep the ship running and guests busy. Landing a spot on a cruise ship is difficult because entertainers must compete with many talented performers from around the world. Cruise ships usually select singers, dancers, and musicians who specialize in top 40, jazz, classical or international music. Hiring committees often ask musicians to play a specific piece during an audition.
Professional odor judges perform scientific smell tests on soaps, shampoos, skin products, mouthwashes and deodorant. In order for judges to do their research, they need volunteers to apply these personal care products on themselves. Judges rate the effectiveness of hygiene products after sniffing the subject’s armpits, feet or breath.
Embalmers work in the funeral industry. They’re responsible for preparing the deceased for burials or cremations. The job duties include applying makeup, removing blood and replacing it with embalming fluid, and disguising physical damage on the body. Many embalmers reveal that the experience is fulfilling because they help people during difficult times. "By far the most rewarding part of the job is the gratification that families show for all that you have done for them,” says John "Jack" Mitchell IV, an embalmer.
Portable Toilet Route Driver
Portable toilet route drivers transport portable toilets wherever someone might “need to go.” This includes concert venues, sporting events and construction sites. Drivers also respond to emergency calls and provide portable restrooms during forest fires, floods or hurricane recovery. The job requires a lot of physical effort, which includes lifting, climbing and bending.
Who’s responsible for the detailed pictures in your medical textbook? Much of the detailed work is done by a medical illustrator, which is a professional artist who creates images based on scientific information. These illustrators work with scientists and physicians for education, research or marketing purposes. Each assignment is a learning opportunity for the illustrators. “With every program I developed, I learned about a new topic in a specific field of medicine. At the same time I was improving my illustration skills and adding to my portfolio of work,” says medical illustrator Monique Guildersen.