We all know where the money is these days; to bring home the bacon, you must be a doctor, lawyer, engineer or CEO of a company you founded. At least, we think we know. There are also those jobs that don’t immediately come to mind. Someone does them, and in some fields that someone is making more than you think. Here are a few examples:
Afghan Language Specialists
Why: International communication requires translators, and for the last ten years the demand for linguists and interpreters who speak the two major Afghan languages, Pashto and Dari, has skyrocketed. From the military to the media, everyone needs to communicate, and it pays for those who facilitate the communication: $187,000 a year for those who speak Dari and slightly more for those who speak Pashti, about $193,000, according to Indeed.com.
The pay for a personal trainer varies by education, experience, location and clientele. The median salary is $54,200, but the top ten percent earn six-figure salaries. Certified personal trainers with years of experience under their belts earn the most. Those who train celebrities earn top dollar, as well as those who create exercise videos for the mass market, publish self-help books or tour as motivational speakers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the 2010 median pay for nuclear technicians as $68,000; a good return on the investment of an associate’s degree. The word “nuclear” brings to mind the well-publicized catastrophes Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima, but these are the only major accidents for over 14,500 cumulative reactor-years of commercial nuclear power operation in 32 countries, according to the World Nuclear Association. Nuclear technicians monitor equipment, test air and water samples and maintain safety and quality systems.
It might be a tedious job, but the pay is more than you might expect for keyboard skills, with a median salary of $57,200. Those with experience and serious skills – 200+ words per minute –earn more.
You wouldn’t imagine any job description including the word “mechanic” to pay top dollar. However, you don’t send just any grease monkey to fix a machine that moves people vertically 500 feet per minute. As a result, elevator mechanics earn about $72,000 on average.
Someone has to decide what merchandise a store will sell and negotiate purchases from each manufacturer. For smaller stores, this buyer may earn just $20-40k per year, but those who purchase for department stores or high-end boutiques make $80k instead.
Have you ever read the instruction manual for a new appliance or electronic equipment? The person who wrote it isn’t offended if you didn’t because he or she made, on average, $63,280 for writing manuals, brochures, instructions or reports.