This article was originally published on VisualChase
When we picked our jobs, we probably didn't know how diverse our options really were — and how well they paid! No career test could tell you that you were meant to be a live mannequin, a dog food taster, or a scientist studying mud. But rest assured, there are millions of people out there that have found incredibly strange yet surprisingly financially fulfilling careers. Read on to see if you might want a change yourself: From lowest to highest, some of the salaries will definitely make you reconsider your life choices!
Face Feelers Get an Expert Wage
Face feelers, otherwise known as sensory scientists, are actually in demand right now. And yes, they feel faces for a living. At first, it sounds too wacky to be true. But this job exists, and cosmetics companies need their services to perfect formulas. After a volunteer is done testing a cleansing product, the feeler steps in to see how things are going. For their trouble, they earn $25 an hour. But how often are they needed?
Sadly, face feeling is not a full-time profession. Most can expect to work three hours a day, three days a week. But do the math: That means a supplemental income of 900 bucks a month is achievable here. Not bad, right?
Waterslide Testers Actually Make This Much
We all enjoyed going to waterparks as kids. Some of us still do this as adults! For those who love to splash around, there's a job out there for you: Waterslide testers travel to different sites to try out the performance of new installations. They tell companies if there are any safety concerns and rate the rides. We're glad someone is on top of this! But how much could this pay?
Slipping around can earn you a steady salary of $30,000 a year. We are pretty sure you don't spend nine hours a day on the slides, and you could probably get a second job and earn even more. We're in, if they let us!
Gumologists Make Us Jealous
A gumologist is an actual job out there, folks. They get paid to chew bubblegum, of all things. But of course, there are people who tried the stuff on the market before you did. They advised companies on essential issues, like how long the flavor lasts. Gum has stages of development, like any other product. How much money can you make, if you start blowing bubbles for a living?
Currently, the salary is around $32,000 per year. While you're not going to get wealthy from this career, it still pays better than many jobs that require a bachelor's degree!
Panda Nannies Get Human Wages
At China's Giant Panda Protection and Research Center, you can be a panda nanny, and it's exactly like it sounds. You just hang out with the little bears and keep them busy. You also need photography and writing skills to document the process for the world, as well as a bit of panda knowledge. But that's it! The pay is actually comparable to a normal nannying job for little humans, believe it or not.
We already suspect you like pandas. And if you're a natural cuddler, this is the job for you. Perks include a $32,000 salary, a free room, and a company car. In summary: Sign us up!
Furniture Testers Are Comfy
By the time you get out your checkbook to buy new furniture, it's been analyzed by experts. It sounds funny at first: Professional bed testers are actually a thing. Sofa testers do, too. Real human beings are hired to try out these items before consumers find them in stores. With so many options on the market today, why buy anything? The competition is fiercer than ever, and professional feedback is essential!
If you want to get paid to lay and sit around, furniture tester is the gig for you. It pays between $25,000 and $40,000 year, and those numbers sure sound appealing!
Dog Food Tasters Do Surprisingly Well
We notice that our dogs prefer some food brands over others, but we never know exactly why. Is one bag too salty, or sweet? To minimize this issue, major brands actually employ dog food tasters. But it's not canines that give them feedback. It's human beings! A detailed analysis of the flavor profile can only be communicated in English. How much will you make, if you want this odd career?
Believe it or not, you can beat lots of college grads with the money you would make tasting kibble. You don't even have to swallow it: Even spitting it out can get you $40k a year!
Soap Boilers Get a Clean Paycheck
Anyone who has ever purchased fancy suds knows that luxury soap is worth the extra pennies. What are you really paying for? Besides unique smells, you are certainly paying the cost of labor at a small or medium company. Someone there actually boils and stirs the ingredients before getting your fragrant custom bar to you, and that actually takes a lot of work. Have you ever thought about that?
Probably not. And boiling soap never occurred to us in our own job searches. It's easy to dismiss this manual labor job as old-fashioned. But should you? According to statistics, the median annual wage is a whopping $40,685!
Braille Proofreaders See Profits
Lots of people are there are legally blind. According to WebMD: "An estimated 1.1 million Americans are legally blind. Some conditions, like glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes, and macular degeneration can affect your sight to the point that you may be diagnosed with the condition." If you are in this group, you need an alternative to printed text. Braille is a miraculous invention that helps people read without vision, but somebody has to check it all. Enter: Braille proofreaders!
The requirements? A bachelor's degree and knowledge of braille. If you like the idea of helping the blind, translating literature and practical documents is a great contribution. You can definitely support yourself while serving others: The median salary for this profession is currently $41,142.
Forest Fire Inspectors Are Hot Right Now
Whether it's from a lit cigarette butt or a lightning strike. our forests go up in flames more often than we would like. According to the EPA: "Since 2000, an annual average of 70,685 wildfires burned an annual average of 7.1 million acres." These days, it's more important than ever to have a plan in place for future fires. As a forest fire inspector, you must check the woods for fire hazards, enforce regulations, and give recommendations for prevention. And guess what? Only an associate's degree is required.
If you want to interpret the trees, you can expect to make around $42k a year. We wish this job wasn't necessary, but we suspect fires are here to stay. Sad, but true!
Ever Considered Being a Professional Bridesmaid?
If you just swoon over the idea of being at a wedding, there is a secret job for you. Sure, DJ, planner, and caterer are all obvious choices. But did you know you can work as a professional bridesmaid? As it turns out, a lot of ladies really don't have 10 girlfriends who want to deal with the duties. If you are willing to pretend for the day, you can make some serious cash. $300 to $2,000 is common, per event.
Are there enough events, though? As it turns out, professional bridesmaids report overall salaries of up to $42,000. But that's not bad for looking glam and eating fancy cake!
Airplane Painters Earn a Respectable Wage
As kids, some of us were fascinated by big airplanes, and that feeling didn't go away for everyone. But pilot, TSA agent, and flight attendant may not have appealed to us all professionally, to get more involved. There's another job you can do if you want to be around aircraft every day, and it pays pretty well, too. As an airplane painter, you excite passengers with fresh new stripes and unique designs.
Interested, maybe? All that's needed is a high school diploma and a bit of training on the job. Painting planes is pretty, stable day-to-day: The median annual wage is $42,286.
Costume Attendants Pay the Bills
If you're someone who likes being involved with live shows, you might enjoy building a career backstage. Have you ever thought about working as a costume attendant? At live performances, actors and singers often need a quick change in between scenes or songs. That's where you come in: A costume attendant is right there, ready to go with the next outfit. Some might be skeptical about the salary. But don't be!
The median annual wage is listed as $42,910. If you're organized, quick on your feet, and passionate about entertainment, this could be the way to go. And it doesn't hurt if you love dressing up!
Billboard Installers Outearn Many of Us
According to a recent study, around 71% of us consciously look at billboards on the road. As far as advertising goes, that's pretty good. As a result, there is a demand for human hands to put up new ads, all the time. No education is required: Training on the job will do. And you'll be happy to know that it's well worth your time if you like climbing and working up high.
The median annual wage for a billboard installer is $43,555. We're not expecting this job to go away anytime soon, either. Just think about all the board space out there!
Live Mannequins Get Great Gigs
Some people have a higher boredom threshold than others. If you are someone who doesn't mind doing literally nothing, we have a job for you. But you have to meet mainstream beauty standards within the fashion industry. Ever considered a modeling job as a live, human mannequin? You will be placed in the middle of the store for customers to admire. For some reason, marketing folks believe this gets the right attention. Perhaps it does!
If you're pretty good at standing still and looking good, you can expect to earn around $100 an hour. But because showings are not always available, the average salary ends up being around $44k. Not a bad start, though!
Embalmers Make Lots of Morbid Money
What is an embalmer, anyway? Most of us haven't thought about the realities of that job, but there are a number of people who make it their calling. If you hold this position, you will be washing and disinfecting the bodies of the dead. You will also be draining them and preserving them with chemicals. In the end, you will give them a makeover with cosmetics and hairspray. Goodness gracious!
For those willing to deal with the scary aspects of this job, there are financial rewards. The median annual salary is listed as $47,632. That's a decent incentive, for the right candidate!
Acoustic Ceiling Tile Installers Make More Than You Would Think
How often do we think about the acoustic ceilings above us? Well, there is a way they got there, and it's all because of acoustic ceiling tile installers. That's a full-time profession, and it pays decently. With no education required at all, employers just provide on-the-job training, Once you know what you're doing, you can insulate all kinds of buildings from noisy noise. Homeowners and storeowners alike will love you!
Right now, acoustic tile installers make around $49,00 a year. If you like working with your hands, there's are plenty of ceilings out there. Surely, many more need an upgrade!
Being a Line Sitter Pays Pretty Well
There's one thing no one likes, and that is long lines. We all feel we have somewhere more important to be than standing in a formation with a hundred strangers. The anticipation and uncertainty of how long it will take is the worst. Isn't there a way to bypass this hell? Why, yes. Yes, there is! A job has emerged called line sitter. Someone will actually stand in your place until it's time for your big moment. Wonderful!
And it's not only real-life: Companies now exist to help people waiting for virtual services, too. In practice, workers in this field usually make $50,000 a year. Not bad for literally standing around!
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators Probably Make More Than You Do
We all like to think that flushing the toilet is our business, and nobody else's problem. But indeed, things do not enter a magical realm down the pipes. All of that nasty liquid goes to a treatment plant in your area, and thank heavens it does. Where would be if it all flowed right into the river? For their trouble, wastewater treatment plant operators are compensated appropriately How much do they make?
At the moment, you can expect to make more than the median American salary — around 50,000 bucks a year. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it!
Private Investigators Make More Than Cops
When something goes wrong in our lives, it doesn't always rise to the level of a crime. The police won't always get involved immediately. But there's a solution for that: Many people choose to hire private investigators to figure out their own mysteries. If you like the idea of doing investigation work for a living, you need a high school diploma and a sharp mind. On-the-job training will get you to the finish line, in this field.
If you are nosy by nature, private investigator could be a great gig for you. The median annual wage is now $50,086. That's above average, and that's always good news.
Paper Towel Sniffers Outearn Accountants
Have you ever wondered why your paper towel smells so neutral? That didn't have to be the case, but thanks to a smeller employed by the company, you receive products that always seem fresh. It's an odd job, but someone thought about it. We don't even want to imagine getting paper towels that smell bad! The main requirement for this job is a sensitive nose, and not everyone has one!
In case you don't take this line of work seriously, know that the pay is perfectly respectable. The annual salary ranges from $19,000 to $52,000. And we like the way that smells!
Bridge Tenders Have Boatloads of Cash
A bridge tender is responsible for letting boats get through a waterway. Although you are not quite the captain of any of these ships, you do play an important role in sea business. If you love being near the water and you want to make above the median American salary, this might be a good option in your career search. Few people have heard of this job. How much will you take home?
Pirates might get jealous when they find out the median annual wage for a bridge tender is $52,333. That's a pretty paycheck for a job that doesn't require any college at all!
Hearing Aid Specialists Know Their Worth
Hearing aid specialists fit and test hearing aids for patients. It's a critical job, and the need is increasing. According to WebMD: "For 37 million Americans, the world is a very quiet place. Severe hearing loss can make conversations fade into whispers and turn music into a faint hum...Often, people with severe hearing loss withdraw from their social lives because they're embarrassed to ask family and friends to repeat themselves over and over again. They might be afraid they'll misunderstand a conversation and answer with the wrong comments."
If you like helping adults and children regain their hearing and dignity, this job will let you find meaning and money. The median annual salary is $52,770 right now. Pretty respectable, all around!
Windtech Salaries Blew Us Away
At the moment, oil, coal, solar, and nuclear energy are competing with wind to power the world. Who will win, in the end? Only time will tell. But if you want to be part of the growing wind turbine business, you can become a windtech. Professionals are needed to inspect, diagnose, repair, and adjust the machines. In the next ten years, there is an expected 70% increase in job growth for this specialization. How much can you hope to make?
Wind professionals make $54k a year, which is a lot compared to desk jobs, these days. If you like being out and about and feeling the wind in your hair, this might be the path for you.
Bulldozer Mechanics Outearn You
Mechanic is a pretty general term: Areas of specialization include cars and planes, among other things. But did you know you can actually focus on bulldozers? These giant tools help us move dirt and debris around a modern construction site, and we would be nowhere without them. As a bulldozer mechanic, you help make work easy for others. All that's needed is a high school diploma and some industry training.
Bulldozer mechanics make around $55,000 a year. If you've ever wanted to get involved with the construction biz, this is one good way to make yourself useful. Bulldozers will always need TLC!
Underwater Demolition Drivers Do Surprisingly Well
Just what is an underwater demolition driver? Well, it is a job few know exists, perhaps because it all happens underwater. When there is a need for an explosion, this is the professional who you call. Sometimes, there is a reason to destroy manmade or natural structures in the water. Obstacles could be causing a problem for civilian or military reasons. If this sounds intriguing, all you need is certification. No degree required!
We think scuba diving and explosions seem like exciting work tasks. If you want to get into this field, you can make around $55k a year. Do you dare dive?
You Might Want to Consider Becoming a Stenocaptioner
A stenocaptioner is a fancy name for a court reporter — you know, that lady that sits near the judge and types every word of testimony. You might think this has become automated, in the digital age. But that's just not the case yet. If you want to get into this profession, you don't need a college degree. Just a little training will do, and you're good to go at top trials.
During the tensest moments, stenocaptioners are there to capture it all. What do they make per year, on average? The official data says $61,651. That's not bad for typing all day!
Soil Scientists Are Solid Earners
Science is usually imagined in a sterile lab, with lots of test tubes and white coats. None of it looks very messy. But quite a bit of research happens in the natural world, and it's hardly clean at all. Certain specialists spend their time in the dirt for a living: Soil scientists. These professionals just have a BA, but they are experts in the composition of this stuff. It pays well!
If you're willing to get your hands dirty, you can expect to make around $62k a year. You're not going to become a millionaire digging around out there. But it's a surprisingly respectable wage!
Theatrical Makeup Artists Fare Well
Not all of us are meant to be on stage under the spotlight. If you want to be involved in theatrical productions, makeup is a great way to spend time in the biz. Theatrical makeup artists apply cosmetics to actors, dancers, and singers who star in the shows. Most in the field report high job satisfaction. And even better news: Job growth is projected at 37% in the coming years.
Looks fun to us! If you want to play with makeup for a living, you can actually do quite well for yourself. We checked: The median annual wage is now $64,251.
Fire Investigators Make More Than You Think
The fact is, arsonists are on the loose, washing machines break down and explode, and cooking can get messy with burning oil. We will probably always have to deal with fires in our neighborhoods. But luckily, we have fire investigators who can figure out exactly what made the flames catch. You will need previous experience as a firefighter to upgrade to this job. Then, you will receive specialized training. How's the pay?
The median annual wage is now $64,605. We see this gig as a win-win: If you want to help victims and pay your bills with ease, fire investigating is a hot job!
Professional Tasters Can Afford to Eat Out
We all dream of getting paid to sit around and eat our favorite food. But actually, some people really do pay their bills this way. Professional tasters are hired to evaluate food and beverages for large brands and small cafes alike. Sometimes, a new pizza recipe needs honest feedback before a launch. Or perhaps, Starbucks needs to select the most marketable tea flavors. Bad news: Only refined palates need apply!
It sounds like all the free food would be rewarding by itself. But the salary is actually delish, too. Professional tasters make $40-70k a year. Where can we sign up?
Netflix Taggers Are Shockingly Cozy
Netflix now employs a select number of taggers to constantly improve its streaming service. Not many people will ever get this opportunity. Only a few dozen exist in the world! But if you're curious how much they make, we've got a wild number to share. For the trouble of sitting around in your PJ's all day and watching movies, you can make nearly 70k a year. You heard that right!
Dream job is an understatement. We wish we had contacts at the company to get our resumes through the door. Sadly, we will just have to keep streaming, and dreaming.
Railroad Police Are Well Compensated
It's the era of cars and planes, and trains are out of fashion. Some people still take them, though! To manage passenger safety, railroad police are employed to make sure no funny business is happening on the tracks. Property, workers, and riders are all safe when these professionals are around. All that is required to apply is a high school diploma and police academy training. Then, you're good to go choo-choo!
Not only is the field expected to grow over the next few years, but the current positions already pay quite well. The median annual wage is listed as $72,571. Not bad, right?
Personal Shoppers Have an Enviable Lifestyle
Personal shoppers are an essential, for a certain type of diva. We'd all like to think that celebrities have their own unique taste. But truthfully, they all have shoppers and stylists who take care of their image. It's just too much work! Wealthy people who no one knows use these services, too. We assume it's fun to shop for those who have unlimited credit cards. The question is, how much does the shopper make?
If you're good at helping others dress up, you can make $65 an hour. In practice, these people make $40-80k a year. Sure, you think you're a shopahlolic. But do you really have what it takes?
Fortune Cookie Writers Actually Outearn Journalists
If you've been to a Chinese restaurant, chances are you've eaten a fortune cookie or two in your time. They're not the tastiest treat in the world. But that's not what makes them special! The hidden message inside usually claims that you are about to make more money, find love, or a new lucky streak. We know that it's probably not true. But we don't usually think about the person writing them. They exist!
Would you believe that you can make $40,000 to $80,000 doing it? This cookie position pays much more than other writing jobs, and it's not even close. Your fortune says: Time for a switch!
Algae Scientists Make More Than Expected
When you visit a pond or lake in your area, you might notice a thin green film on top of the water. You may even find this in your fish tank if you don't clean regularly. That gunk is algae, and it's a subject of interest right now. Algae scientists study it as a part of wildlife ecosystems. They're not just curious for the sake of curiosity: One day, we might use it for biofuel. Does the research pay well?
Indeed, it does. This job might be the study of pond scum, but the paycheck is anything but yucky. Algae scientists can expect to make upwards of $84,00 a year!
Escalator Installers Outearn Most Lawyers
When we want to move around a big building, there are usually three options. There are elevators. There are stairs. And there are escalators, which is the subject of our discussion now. How much do escalator installers make, and how can you become one yourself? Answer: No degree is required, and you will only need to find an apprenticeship. Then, you might find yourself making more than double the national average!
Right now, the median annual wage is $88,546. Has anyone even heard how much these folks make? That's more than thousands of lawyers out there. And with no college debt!
Crystallographers Make More Than Nurses
Crystals have made a comeback in recent years. Some folks think they have magical properties to heal the body. Others think that there are special energies in each stone, and they use them for good vibes. Regular old researchers just want to learn more about them. No new-age notions! If you are a crystallographer, your mission is to document the molecular structures of pretty paperweights. We are curious, too!
How much do these sparkle scientists make? Get ready to send your CV: The shocking median wage is now $93,579 a year. We would have never guessed it was so lucrative!
Golf Ball Divers Outearn Veterinarians
If you've played on a Florida golf course, you probably noticed all the perfectly manicured green. You also may have noticed little ponds breaking up the scenery, just for fun. Well, we all know that some golf balls roll into the water each day. And over time, that really clogs up an ecosystem. Despite the live alligators, golf ball diver is a job. How much does this dangerous task pay?
Surprise: Golf ball divers earn way more than you. Divers make $50k-$100k per year! Maybe it sounds like it should pay decently. But we would never guess that it paid this well!
Ice Cream Scientists Make Some Cool Cash
Did you know that some people do eat ice cream for a living in a lab? We all enjoy ice cream as a hobby. We never dreamed we could make it into a career! But yes, a special food scientist is paid to taste all the flavors and give detailed feedback to brands. They need to understand the texture, smell, flavor, and presentation of the product. This isn't how we eat treats. It's actually pretty clinical!
If you meet the qualifications for tasting, you can make $100k a year improving creamy treats. We are not sure where to begin. But without a doubt, we are in!
Professional Snugglers Make More Than Some Professors
If you've ever thought that snuggling might be a good business, you're behind the curve. That's been a formal profession in Japan for years, and lonely men can't get enough of the girls who do it best. Some are suspicious that snuggles are not only what is being offered. But rest assured, that's really all it is at these friendly facilities. How much do they get paid for the TLC?
A profesisonal snuggler can make $60 to $80 an hour. Add up nine hour days, five days a week, and you're looking at at least $130,000 a year. Nice work, ladies!