15 Unique, Well-Paying Jobs That Are Definitely Not Boring

These 15 unconventional careers that prove you can have it all.
Updated April 11, 2024
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If the jobs you think of when you hear “high-paying” — like doctor, lawyer, or engineer — don’t sound like an appealing way to get ahead financially, don’t fret. 

You actually have more options than you think to enjoy your job without sacrificing pay. Many less common career paths pay just as well but might be considered more exciting and fun.

Let’s take a look at 15 unique jobs that can be considered anything but boring, and actually pay pretty well.

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Body part model

looking2thesky/Adobe beautiful hands of woman with nude nail polish applying lotion

Do you have an attractive set of hands or feet? Believe it or not, some people make a good living as body part models. They may participate in magazine shoots, advertising campaigns, or even sub for celebrities during filming.

It’s not a standard 40-hour job, so what you can actually make a year may vary. However, some reports indicate that top-hand models can earn between $1,000 and $5,000 daily when they book shoots.

Average annual salary: $73,581

Esthetician/skin care specialist

Katy/Adobe professional beautician giving facial massage to female client on bed at clinic

Do you obsess over your skincare routine? Working as an esthetician or skin care specialist is a great way to put this interest and knowledge to use.

Typically, these specialists work in salons or spas and may provide facials, give skin care advice to clients, and perform other body treatments. Tips for these positions can be really good, depending on where you work.

Most employees will need to undergo a specific training program and get certified by their state.

Average annual salary: $38,060 (excluding tips)

Ethical hacker

Gener Vázquez/Adobe businesswoman sitting at table with laptop smiling while posing at camera

Putting the term “ethical” before hacker may seem counterintuitive, but many companies hire these hackers to act as malicious intruders to identify any vulnerabilities in their systems and offer solutions to prevent cyber-attacks. 

Most of these individuals are also called “information security analysts” and have a degree and/or experience working in computer science.

Average annual salary: $112,000

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Fire inspector

YouraPechkin/Adobe female fire inspector inspecting fire extinguisher in room while making notes on notebook

Some fire inspectors work in office settings, while others travel between sites. 

These workers protect public safety by working to detect potential fire hazards, recommend prevention tactics, and ensure spaces (like office buildings, restaurants, bars, and more) comply with local fire regulations. They may also investigate the cause of fires.

Fire inspectors typically need to have experience as a firefighter, and some states may require inspectors to have additional certifications.

Average annual salary: $65,800

Food stylist

Robert Kneschke/Adobe female food stylist with stylus pen doing his work

Food stylists make dishes look delectable for advertising campaigns, social media posts, and the like. It’s not a common gig, so a food stylist's annual salary can vary broadly to their total clients and location.

Some photography and design skills — plus a stellar portfolio —are likely required to land the gigs you want.

Average annual salary: $73,727

Genetic counselor

Chanelle M/peopleimages.com/Adobe african american male scientist researching on tablet

Although this job requires a bit more schooling than others mentioned on this list, it can be a fascinating career path for those who want to work in healthcare but avoid the many years (and debt) that come with med school.

Genetic counselors work with patients to gauge their risk of developing inherited conditions like congenital disabilities, cancer, and other health problems. 

They may work in hospitals, with physicians, at diagnostic labs, and in other settings. Typically, counselors need to have a master’s degree in genetic counseling.

Average annual salary: $89,990

Lighting designer

Виталий Бут/Adobe male artist wearing formal suit standing on big stage with spot light at empty concert hall

Do you want to work in entertainment without being on stage yourself? Lighting design is one of the many off-stage careers involved in live productions. 

These professionals plan and hook up the light displays you see at concerts and plays, which can be highly elaborate and complex.

Some companies may require that lighting designers have a degree in electrical engineering, but many learn on the job through apprenticeships or working as a concert tech.

Average annual salary: $72,767

Political analyst

Andrey Kiselev/Adobe male analyst in suit using stylus to analyze data

Those interested in politics can make decent money with a career as a political analyst (also known as a political scientist).

These analysts study political systems and may collect data to make predictions about trends. To become a political analyst, you may need an advanced degree (master’s) in political science or a related field.

Average annual salary: $128,020

Social/community service manager

N Felix/peopleimages.com/Adobe senior female volunteer working with multi ethnic colleagues at park

Working as a social or community service manager can be an incredibly fulfilling gig.

These employees often work for non-profits, government agencies, social service companies, or other organizations to create and assess programs for specific communities in need.

These workers typically need a bachelor’s degree and industry-focused experience, as well.

Average annual salary: $74,240

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Kirsten D/peopleimages.com/Adobe african american woman wearing apron holding glass of wine

If you enjoy wine (not just drinking it, but learning about taste profiles, regional differences, food pairings, etc.), a career as a sommelier can be lucrative. 

Sommeliers are typically in charge of purchasing an organization's wines and making recommendations to customers. You can find them in restaurants, hotels, vineyards, and more.

As for salary, this varies largely based on your particular level.

Average annual salary: $63,749

Special effects makeup artist

nimito/Adobe female makeup artist doing make up on actor during film shooting on movie set

Special effects makeup artists use makeup, wigs, and other tools to transform a performer’s appearance for theater, film, and other entertainment venues. 

The artists may use special tools to make performers look older, recreate the look of a wound, give them fantasy elements like horns or elf ears, and more.

The salaries can vary based on experience; the annual average for makeup artists in the theatrical/performance space is close to six figures.

Average annual salary: $93,850

Speech-language pathologist

Prostock-studio/Adobe african american pathologist sitting in class room giving lesson to little girl

These professionals work with individuals with communication disorders, assessing their issues and outlining treatment plans. They may work in schools, hospitals, and residential care facilities.

The job typically requires a master’s degree, and each state has different licensing requirements.

Average annual salary: $84,140

UX designer

mangpor2004/Adobe asian male website designer using desktop computer to design website at work

User experience (UX) designers work on apps and websites to help improve user experience. They may evaluate the app's or site's current uses, run tests, and help design new features to enhance user experience. 

The job requirements vary; some companies prefer experience, while others require a degree.

Average annual salary: $105,154

Video game designer

DC Studio/Adobe female developer explaining how to create game to female colleague

Video game development is another unique and lucrative career path. These professionals typically work in teams to develop, design, and test new games. To become a designer, candidates may need a bachelor’s degree in a related field and some experience.

This is another career where salaries can vary largely on experience and for the particular company you work for.

Average annual salary: $94,013

Voice actor

Daria Lukoiko/Adobe male vocalist wearing headphones standing in front of mic signing song at studio

Can you do incredible character voices or command a room with a compelling monologue? If so, a career as a voice actor is another unique (albeit competitive) way to make a living.

A voice actor can do a variety of things, including narrating dialogue in animated films and documentaries to reading audiobooks.

Average annual salary: $77,929

Bottom line

deagreez/Adobe male magician wearing white shirt and pant sprinkling stars out of hat

While the jobs featured here may seem like unusual ways to make more money, they can be great options for those who aren’t interested in a traditional nine-to-five job.

Plus, many of the unique gigs mentioned — like voice-over acting or body part modeling — also work great as side hustles. No matter what you're looking for, having fun at work can still make you a good amount of money. 

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.

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