7 Weird, Odd & Unique Jobs That Pay Well for an Unconventional Career

Looking for a less ordinary career path? Check out our guide on unique jobs that pay well for inspiration and advice to land yours!

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” they’d ask you when you were younger. No doubt that if you’d said you want to be an ice cream taster, they would have laughed at your childish innocence. 

It turns out, though, that taste-testing ice cream is a perfectly valid career path. Not only that, but an ice cream taster is one of many unique jobs that pay well! 

Unlike familiar, well-paying roles such as banker, doctor, or lawyer, these unusual jobs tend to be very under the radar. Tell someone at a party that you’re a hippotherapist or a clinical ethicist, for example, and they likely won’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

Luckily, we’re here to explain more! Keep reading to learn all about some of the most unusual yet lucrative ways to earn a living and how to get into them. 

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1. Ice Cream Taster

What better place to start a list of unconventional jobs that pay well than with the dream job of most kids (and adults!)?

As you might expect from the name, ice cream tasters – aka taste masters, flavorologists, or food scientists – taste-test ice cream. The role involves assessing the quality of each ice cream flavor. Specific measures of quality include appearance, smell, color, and consistency, as well as other factors. 

But, as fun as all that ice cream might sound, full-time tasters often follow an aggressive daily sampling schedule. They don’t even eat the ice cream, either. Instead, they swish it around their mouths and spit it out, much like wine tasters. 

Some tasters may also take an active role in inventing new flavors or products. And, thanks to their unique and refined palates, they’re often integral to the formulation of recipes and selection of ingredients and flavors. 

As for how much they earn, ice cream tasters can pull in up to $100,000 a year, although the average national salary is around $69,000. Before you can even think about tasting ice cream for a living, though, you’ll need a degree in food science or dairy science, and an apprenticeship to get you started in the industry. 

Related Read: How to Prepare for an Interview: 10 Ways to Get Ready for Your Big Day

2. Hippotherapist

Rewarding jobs often attract people who want to make a difference to the world. But there are many unusual jobs that pay well and involve helping people beyond the obvious teacher, nurse, or firefighter routes.  

The name hippotherapist sounds like it might involve working with hippos. But it’s actually equine-assisted therapy. In more specific terms, hippotherapy is a form of physical, occupational, and speech therapy that uses the movements of a horse. These movements help patient development through graded motor and sensory input. 

Hippotherapists treat child and adult patients with all kinds of disabilities. These might include autism, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, MS, stroke, or behavioral disorders. As such, you would need to be a trained therapist with specific disability knowledge, as well as an affinity with horses. And for all this expertise, you can expect to earn an average national salary of $75,000 a year. 

3. Toy Designer

We’d bet that working as a toy designer would is another role that would be pretty high on most children’s list of dream jobs. The good news is, it’s also an odd job that pays well, with an average national salary of almost $79,000 a year. 

Toy designers are responsible for imagining and creating toys that are both entertaining and safe for children. To be successful in this field, you would also need to know how to design toys that are easy to maintain but durable. 

As a niche form of product design, toy design requires a creative flair and a high level of artistic ability. You would also have to have engineering skills, while knowledge of computer-aided design is essential. Depending on your qualifications and experience, an internship with a toy manufacturer or toy design company is often a good way to get a foot in the door. 

Related Read: What to Bring to an Interview? 10+ Things to Take for Your Big Meeting

4. Master Marijuana Extractor

With more and more states legalizing the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, it’s safe to say that the marijuana industry has never been so respectable. And for those interested in working in the industry, turning cannabis into a career no longer has to involve shady street deals or secret growing operations. 

An especially well-paid option is to work as a master marijuana extractor. This role involves supervising a team of technicians to extract cannabis concentrates from cannabis. You would then work together to produce high-quality edibles, oils, and other marijuana products from these concentrates. 

A key draw of this job is the average salary range of between $90,000 and $120,000 a year. But, as is often the case with many weird jobs that pay well, you have to complete years of college first. 

Most master marijuana extractors have a PhD in biochemistry or similar scientific disciplines. A background in engineering is also key if you want to enter this field. So, if this sounds like something you’d like to do, you’d better get studying!

5. Clinical Ethicist

Many roles in the healthcare industry are well-paying as well as rewarding. The downside is often how stressful these careers can be, with long hours, high-pressure environments, and far too many tough calls. 

If you’d like to help healthcare professionals with these difficult decisions, you might enjoy working as a clinical ethicist. As an unusual job that pays well, this role isn’t very well known. But clinical ethicists are an integral part of the decision-making process when contentious medical issues arise. 

The role involves taking an unbiased position within certain medical dilemmas. Clinical ethicists help and guide doctors, patients, and families toward a final decision. To do this, they need to examine the issue and present their findings in a way that helps all sides feel informed and able to make a choice. 

To become a certified clinical ethicist, you would need to earn a bachelor’s degree and complete a graduate program in bioethics or a related field. Although, when you’re qualified, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that you can expect to earn $113,230 per year working as a clinic ethicist. 

Related Read: Best First Jobs: 75+ First-Time Job Ideas for Teens & College Students

6. Ethical Computer Hacker

Luring would-be hackers away from a lucrative life of crime has to involve a decent salary. But what you might not realize about this unconventional job that pays well is that using your hacking powers for good could net you a cool $94,000 per year. Not to mention, all that cash would be 100 percent legal!

The role of a white hat hacker, as these ethical computer experts are also called, is to try to break into company software. By doing so, these ethical hackers can help uncover the software weaknesses that real hackers would use to their advantage. The company can then alter the software until the hacker is unable to break through, ensuring its optimal security. 

As you can imagine, this role is becoming more essential as we rely more and more on technology and digital storage. For most organizations, proven hacking skills are a top priority. But, if you want to consider becoming an ethical hacker, you may need a degree in information security or computer science to stand out from the crowd. 

7. Embalmer

Among lists of odd jobs that pay well, working as an embalmer stands out as a role that isn’t suitable for everyone. But with top earners in the field taking in more than $78,000 a year, it’s definitely worth pursuing if the field interests you. 

Embalmers prepare bodies for interment after death. The full process includes washing and disinfecting the bodies of the deceased and replacing body fluids with preserving agents. Often, embalmers also have to style the deceased’s hair and create a natural physical appearance using restorative techniques and makeup. 

Unlike many of the other roles in this list, extensive studying isn’t essential to become an embalmer. Instead, you would need to complete a two-year associate’s degree program in mortuary science. Classes include embalming techniques, pathology, anatomy, restorative processes, physiology, and funeral service law. Following that, long-term training in the workplace would be essential, while individuals often need sensitivity and reverence to succeed in this unusual field. 

Related Read: Top 17 Best Job Sites to Check Out if You’re Looking for Employment

Concluding Our Guide on Unique Jobs That Pay Well

As this list shows, rejecting the well-trodden career paths out there in favor of something a little more unconventional doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of financial struggles. 

From weird and wonderful roles to rewarding jobs that you’ve never heard of, there are all kinds of unique jobs that pay well to choose from.

So if you dream of working with ice cream or you’d love to help people while spending time with horses, don’t be afraid to take a different path! 

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Goodwall Team
Written By Goodwall Team
This article was written by the Goodwall team or by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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