Unusual Jobs With Unexpected Salaries

by on December 10, 2012

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.

Personal Trainer

unusual jobs with good payThe 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.

Nuclear Technicians

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.

Court Reporter

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.

Elevator Mechanic

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.

Merchandise Buyer

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.

Technical Writing

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.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Whitaker January 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

These types of lists always fascinate me!

A couple of others you can add to this list are:

1) Embalmers: Sounds a little on the “ewwwww” side, but hey, someone’s gotta do it! These guys can make over $40k a year. Not bad. Good thing: at least your clients wouldn’t talk back!

2) Airplane Repo Men: Well, someone’s gotta do it! When a person doesn’t make the payments on the plane, enter the repo man! According to Forbes, these guys can make anwhere from $10k to $90k per plane repossessed! Sign me up!
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Cat February 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm

This is the post I’ve been looking for! I’m in IT but curretnly an entry-level person, but I was thinking about getting my personal trainer certificate on the side. I’m kind of obsessed with being healthy…

But you never know how things are going to turn out. Maybe I’ll stink at it or not be able to get as many clients as I would like because of the market, or maybe I’ll totally rock it. It’s on my list of things to try 😀

This post is awesome- I like thinking outside the box at other possible careers because I don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer, and I’m sick of people telling me that I’ll never make big bucks if I’m not. (like my relatives)
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Gemma May 4, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hi, thanks for this and I am seriously considering packing in being a legal secretary (pay is not great) and becoming a technical writer as I should have all the skills needed 🙂
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Barry Callaghan May 28, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Your post is a really interesting one. In fact, I am really tempted to quit my present job and maybe start taking classes in Pashto and Dari. Even the option of becoming a personal trainer sounds pretty good; maybe I could give that a try.

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Thomas Grieg June 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Being a Personal Trainer sounds great, however there is major competition for jobs as there are huge numbers of people all over the world that want to become a personal trainer and with economy struggling at present, jobs are fewer and fewer.

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CSOFT International, Ltd June 29, 2015 at 3:34 am

Chris you are very correct and I agree with your write-up. And seriously everyone needs to communicate that’s why International communication requires translators. Now-a-days its very important. All para are really ridiculous and thanks Chris to find out the actual cause translators.

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