If you're looking for a high-paying job, don't overlook some of the oddest ones. They’re the jobs you aren’t likely to hear mentioned at a dinner party when someone asks, “What do you do?” You meet bankers or teachers or lawyers every day, but how many cruise ship entertainers or bounty hunters do you know? Likely none.
We’ve rounded up some unusual jobs that pay pretty well for the right person. Do you have these skills? If so, you might want choose one of these weird jobs.
- Median salary: $62,750
This might sound like one of the most boring jobs, but cartographers get paid well for professionally designing maps. The number of jobs is growing 29 percent faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Part of the job involves collecting geographical information to create a visual representation of data. A cartographer could create maps in digital or graphic form, as well as update existing maps and charts as needed.
A bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, engineering, math or surveying is the most common track to pursue this occupation. Cartographers must be licensed in some states.
Pet Waste Service Technician
- Estimated pay: $15/hour
This one of the jobs you might hate but love the money. If you don’t mind picking up dog poop, or other animal droppings, you can make some side cash as a pet waste service technician.
According to a job posting from the career website Indeed, a pet waste service technician at one company in Massachusetts can earn as much as $15 per hour, have a set weekday schedule and enjoy a paid vacation.
Job requirements? You must like pets, be reliable and pay great attention to detail.
Cruise Ship Entertainer
- Estimated salary: $4,000-$5,000/month
Entertainers have a variety of jobs to pursue, from voiceovers to acting in Hollywood to singing in a coffeehouse to dancing on Broadway. They also can audition for a role as an entertainer on a cruise ship. In fact, it's one of the best jobs that let you see the world for free.
According to Glassdoor, a singer on a cruise line can make $4,000 to $5,000 monthly. Guests on a cruise ship enjoy the entertainment by show dancers, lounge singers and musicians. Those entertainers also require a production staff to support them. Salaries for those roles vary.
These jobs are competitive and require an audition or an audition video, at the least.
Certified Ethical Hacker
- Median salary: $71,331
With hackers becoming savvier and more daring, ethical hackers — also known as penetration testers — are in high demand in every industry. These people are professionals paid to intentionally hack computers and systems to find areas of weakness.
Typically, these professionals and other security analysts require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or a similar field. Many people who do this job also have a master's degree.
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Portable Toilet Route Driver
- Estimated salary: Varies
Those who fill these jobs bring and service portable toilets where they are needed, from crowded concert venues to sporting events to construction sites. They perform an essential service when a facility doesn't have enough, or any, working restrooms.
According to Honey Bucket, a company in the sanitation industry, route drivers can make decent cash. One job posting from the company says the pay range is between $17 and $20.35 an hour in a Seattle suburb. The job comes with paid time off, tuition reimbursement, job training and union benefits.
Another job requirement is the ability to lift more than 70 pounds and climb in and out of a truck more than 60 times per day.
- Median salary: $82,000
Many of the highest-paying jobs in the country are in the medical field. But you probably haven't heard of this profession that pays more than $80,000.
A career as a medical illustrator requires specialized training and advanced education in many disciplines, including the obvious ones: medicine and art. These individuals work with scientists and doctors to draw complex medical or scientific information for education, research or marketing purposes.
Most of those who work as medical illustrators have a master’s degree from an accredited graduate program, according to the Association of Medical Illustrators. Because this is a highly specialized field, there are very few graduate programs in the United States.
- Median salary: $42,260
In a sad time, an embalmer steps in to give loved ones a cherished final mental picture of someone who has passed away.
These highly trained professionals prepare the body of the deceased, which might involve removing blood and replacing it with embalming fluid, applying makeup or reconstructing the physical appearance to disguise damage. This job can be a challenge. The schedule requires flexibility, but more importantly, it can be difficult dealing with tragedy.
To enter this career, you’ll need to complete specific education and training. Mortuary school is a basic requirement, with dozens of accredited programs throughout the country. Every state requires an embalmer to be licensed and hold a two-year mortuary science degree.
Crime Scene Cleaner
- Median salary: $40,640
A cleaner of crime scenes certainly falls under the category of odd jobs. These workers go to the site of incidents such as homicides, accidents and suicides after the police work is done to clean up the blood and other remnants of an unfortunate event. If you’ve seen "Dexter" or "CSI," then you know what can be in store for these folks.
A college degree is typically not a prerequisite to break into this field. Many, however, do receive certification through courses that teach the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards and procedures for cleaning crime scenes and disposing of hazardous materials. That's according to Aftermath, a business that specializes in crime scene and biohazard cleaning.
Be warned — this is not a job for the squeamish. You will see things that even the most grizzled police officers find tough to view. This is such a niche job that the BLS doesn't have a category for the job, lumping it instead under the category of "hazardous materials removal workers."
Elevator Installers and Repairers
- Median salary: $78,890
Unless people are looking to get in some exercise, most choose to ride the elevator in a department store, multistory hotel or office building. But have you stopped to think about the safety of them? Fortunately, there’s someone keeping an eye on them to make sure they operate smoothly.
People who install and repair elevators must make sure they are in proper working condition at all times. They also must check to see that the elevators meet safety regulations. Some elevator technicians also repair and install escalators, moving walkways and other lifts.
A college degree is not a requirement, but this job could require an apprenticeship. At least 35 states require workers to hold licenses, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Median salary: Varies
If you’re familiar with Duane “Dog” Chapman, star of the old TV series "Dog the Bounty Hunter," you probably have seen just how odd this job can be. But did you know a bounty hunter could also make big bucks? Chapman, for one, has an estimated net worth of $6 million.
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Bounty hunters serve as fugitive recovery agents for the bail bond industry. They pursue the criminal fugitives who have posted bail but failed to appear in court, in hopes of making money for bringing back the fugitive. One thing is for sure: This job isn't boring.
According to BountyHunterEdu.org, an online resource for bail bondsmen and recovery agents, some bounty hunters might make six figures. A bounty hunter is paid a percentage of the bail bond amount. So, the right location and experience could increase pay.
To become a bounty hunter, you’ll have to complete a training program, either from a private academy or community college. Some states also require a bounty hunter to be licensed, according to Study.com.
Wildlife Control Agent
- Median salary: $62,027
Wildlife control agents play an important role in controlling the animal population and protecting surrounding environments. These individuals conduct on-site surveys to determine the number of birds and other animals that live in the habitat. They also investigate claims of damage by wildlife.
The salary for this job can range from about $47,000 to about $82,000 a year, according to Salary Expert.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
- Median Salary: $74,350
If you'd like to earn more than $70,000 a year in the medical field without devoting an eternity — or a small fortune in tuition — to college, consider a career as a nuclear medicine technologist.
These professionals operate the equipment that takes images of a patient’s body. In this position, technologists administer radioactive drugs to patients before the images are taken to highlight the particular area that’s being examined. The technologist will look for any potential issues or reactions from the drug in the patient in addition to controlling the equipment.
Nuclear medicine technologists typically need an associate’s degree in nuclear medicine technology, although many professionals have a bachelor’s degree.
- Median salary: $41,920
Some unique jobs pay well because they can be potentially dangerous and scary. Glaziers fall into this category.
These are the individuals who step onto construction equipment and install glass exteriors, such as windows, on buildings. Glaziers also can have less hazardous duties, such as installing everything from windows to shower doors in residential construction.
People interested in this field must have a high school diploma and take part in a four-year apprenticeship program, according to the Department of Labor.
Wind Turbine Technician
- Median salary: $52,260
If you want to work outdoors and are a bit of a thrill seeker who doesn't mind heights, consider working as a wind turbine technician. Also known as windtechs, these individuals install, repair and maintain wind turbines. Their job consists of making routine inspections to pinpoint potential problems.
Most windtechs develop their skills by attending a program through a technical school or community college. With strong demand for workers, some employers might identify prospective windtechs before students complete their two-year program. Once a windtech starts at work, a training period of 12 months typically follows.
- Median salary: $30,180
A job as a woodworker combines creativity, attention to detail and, increasingly, skills operating computerized machinery. On the job, the work days are varied. Woodworkers make cabinets, furniture and other items using a variety of materials, such as wood, veneers and laminates.
When we think of the word "woodworker," we think of a craftsman using a hammer and nails to complete a project. They still use tools such as saws, routers and sanders, but they also now must be comfortable using automated machinery that helps with accuracy in a project.
A woodworker typically must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Three years of on-the-job training should make a worker proficient at the job.