18 Unique Professions That Pay Surprisingly Well

Krystal Smith

If you’re tired of traditional careers like being a banker or a doctor, there are numerous unconventional ways to make money. We’ll explore 18 unusual yet lucrative jobs.

Bereavement Coordinator

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A bereavement coordinator helps families cope with the loss of a loved one by managing paperwork, making funeral arrangements, and arranging counseling. Typically found in hospices, hospitals, and nursing homes, bereavement coordinators need a bachelor’s degree, preferably in social work. Certification in thanatology is desired but not required. The median salary for this job is $47,660 a year.


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Periodontists are dentists who focus on preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum disease, placing dental implants, and dealing with oral inflammation. They typically earn about $248k per year. To become a periodontist, you must finish dental school and undergo three more years of specialized training. You’ll also need good hand skills, physical stamina, and problem-solving abilities.

Performance & Theatrical Makeup Artist

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Performance and theatrical makeup artists earn an average of $134,750 per year. These makeup artists are essential for movies, TV, and theater. They use cosmetics and prosthetics to create character looks. To become one, you must complete specialized training and be knowledgeable in color theory, chemistry, facial anatomy, and sanitation.

Clinical Ethicist

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The average annual salary for this job is $113,230. Clinical ethicists work with patients and medical staff to help them handle ethical issues. They need an advanced graduate degree in healthcare to do the job. Building trust is also very important for this role.

Certified Nurse Midwife

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Midwives are birth experts who work alongside obstetricians to ensure healthy deliveries. They’re increasingly popular, handling 7.8% of hospital births. Midwives offer prenatal and postnatal care, routine screenings, and family planning advice. Becoming a certified nurse midwife requires several years of study, relevant experience, and a compassionate, people-friendly approach. The average salary is about $112 per year.

Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

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Nuclear power reactor operators earn about $104k per year. Their job is to oversee reactors, monitoring systems and adjusting controls. They address abnormalities, identify causes, and rectify issues. A nuclear power reactor operator must hold a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license.

Ballet Master

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Ballet masters teach daily ballet classes and rehearse dancers for performances. They are usually experienced former dancers. While no formal degree is required, extensive dance experience is essential. A graduate or bachelor’s degree in dance can be helpful for career advancement. The median yearly pay of a ballet master is just above $101k.

Escalator Installer

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The average salary of an escalator installer is $97,860 per year. Escalator installers, also known as escalator constructors or mechanics, put in escalators and moving walkways. The work can be physically demanding and even dangerous, so they wear protective gear like safety glasses and hardhats. Usually, a high school diploma is enough to become an escalator installer, and most learn through apprenticeships. Many states require licensing.

Computer Hacker

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Computer hackers, also called ethical or white hat hackers, legally break into computers to test security. They have the same skills as cybercriminals but use them to improve an organization’s safety. Typically, a related college degree is required for this job. The national average salary is $93,861 per year.


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Podiatrists earn $90,795 per year. Previously known as chiropodists, these medical professionals diagnose and treat foot and lower limb problems like bunions, corns, and infections. They prescribe footwear and may recommend devices to ease foot conditions, offer medical treatments, and perform surgeries. You need to have a degree from a podiatric medical college to do this job.

Toy Designer

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Toy designers, also called toymakers, create toys and games that are both fun and safe for children. They collaborate with manufacturers to refine their designs, ensuring functionality and quality. With an average salary of $78,913 per year, they typically hold a bachelor’s degree in design or related fields, as well as artistic skills and proficiency in design software.

Food Scientist

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Food scientists test food to check its nutrients, develop new products, and inspect food factories for an average yearly salary of $78,340. They use nutrition science, chemistry, technology principles, and microbiology. To become a food scientist, you need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant area like food science, chemistry, or microbiology.

Body Part Model

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Unlike traditional modeling, body part modeling focuses on specific body parts like legs, feet, or hands instead of the whole body or face. Body part models often feature in commercials for products like nail art, hand cream, and pedicures, or work as body doubles for celebrities. Formal education is optional for this type of modeling. The average annual salary for this job is $75,000.

Veterinary Acupuncturist

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Veterinary acupuncturists balance the body’s natural healing by stimulating meridians and energy flow. They use acupuncture for pain, musculoskeletal, and neurological issues. Training and certification in acupuncture are required for this role. The average yearly earning for veterinary acupuncturists is about $69k.

Bingo Manager

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Bingo managers earn an average salary of $68,988 per year. Their job is to supervise daily operations, approve payouts, and ensure compliance with local laws. A high school diploma and relevant experience are typically sufficient for this job.

Voice-Over Actor

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Voice-over actors read scripts aloud for recordings used in TV, film, radio, and more. Some work in regional production companies, while many operate from home-based studios. No formal degree is needed, but a voice-over actor does need to have a distinctive voice. Some take acting and voice lessons to improve their skills. They earn nearly $67k per year.

Commercial Diver

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Commercial divers use tools like saws and welders for underwater maintenance and repairs. They might also do tasks like setting explosives or photographing marine life. No formal education is needed, but certifications, experience, good swimming skills, and passing a diving physical are necessary. The average yearly pay is $60,360.


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Coroners earn a median annual salary of $55,247. Their job is to oversee autopsies and lab tests. They gather information by visiting death scenes and consulting with law enforcement to be able to list the cause and manner of death on a death certificate. To become a coroner, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in fields like medicine, criminology, pathology, forensic science, or anatomy.

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