17 Well-Paying Professions You’ve Never Heard Of That Are Actually Really, Really Cool

Whenever you think of well-paying careers, jobs like doctor and lawyer probably come to mind. However, there are a lot of professions you’ve probably never heard of — and you might be surprised to find out how much money you can make in those fields.

A while back, redditor u/yonBonbonbon asked, “What jobs pay surprisingly well that no one knows about?”

Here are 17 of the top (and coolest-sounding!) answers:

1.“Legal videographers. If you watched Tiger King or Making a Murderer, then deposition videos played, and there was someone behind the camera getting paid anywhere from $60–$125 an hour to film that. Filming depositions is a very common practice in the legal field, and it’s a very easy field to get into.”

Close-up of Joe Exotic wearing a cap

“You only need about $3,000 worth of camera equipment, and no certifications are required.”



2.“Ethical hacker.”

A person typing at a keyboard with a small screen in front of it


“‘Ethical hacker’ or any role in computer security pays well. It’s rare that you can go from no education whatsoever to earning six figures in two years of part-time self-study (eight hours a week) or three months of intense self-study (eight hours a weekday).

“Working in computer security is fun, interesting, and extremely lucrative. I have no idea why every high school in the US is not telling their students about this career life hack.

“Source: I’m the CEO of a computer security company and have been doing this professionally for 20 years.”


MGM / Via youtube.com

3.“I work in public relations, specializing in crisis management. If you need me, you REALLY need me. But most of the time, you don’t need me at all. So I make six figures a year to do nothing at all most days. Just rushing in to save the day maybe a couple of times a year at most.”


Men and women dressed business casual and sitting at a table with notebooks, tablets, and laptops on it

Pixelfit / Getty Images

4.“Professional land surveyors. Due to the aging population of surveyors and no one really knowing exactly what they really do, the pay — once you’re licensed — is $90,000–$100,000 per year, and you can pretty much choose what part of the country you want to work in, as there are openings everywhere.”


A person outside looking through a small telescope

5.“I cook for resource camps (tree planting, firefighting, I’ve done the odd oil rig or scientific expedition in the past), and I get paid an amazing day rate.”

A person with a huge pile of ground meat in the kitchen

“It’s really cool! I cooked for a lodge of biologists observing polar bears in Northern Manitoba, and I did a six-week trek through the tundra for an observation of migratory birds.”


Disney Channel / Via Disney+

6.“Braiding horses for hunter shows. It’s been a while since I did it, but at the top shows, I was getting around $100–$150 per horse. On a good day, I could do 10 horses.”


A person braiding a horse's hair

Janellelugge / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7.“Merchant marine officer. Bank money, no expenses, half the year on vacation. I travel for work to wild places.”

A person at the helm of a ship
Aytugaskin / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8.“Stilt walking. I make $450 an hour.”


A person in a clownish costume walking on stilts outside

Jose Ignacio Martin Del Barco / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9.“Selling legal marijuana. I literally get paid just to smoke weed all day long. Half of the time I work from home, half of the time I’m just smoking pot with people to showcase my product lineup.”

A person purchasing some legal weed

“First year (while building my book of business), I made $65,000. Second year, I essentially doubled my annual wage. When it goes federally legal, I’m sure that number will break the $200,000 mark. Plus, I get fully comped on my vehicle and most of my meals and drinks Monday to Friday, as most of my social interactions are with people in the industry. Not to mention, I get a lifetime supply of weed for free!”


Ivan-balvan / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10.“A lot of medical technician jobs. I am a specialized ultrasound tech making $120,000 a year. I only have an associate degree.”


A medical technician operating an ultrasound machine

Nosystem Images / Getty Images

11.“Programming in COBOL. A whole bunch of banks and investment companies and insurance companies have these 50-year-old databases programmed in COBOL, and if you know the language, you can make bank because it’s much cheaper for them to pay a COBOL developer $250,000 a year than to spend $30 million transferring all of their database info to some new spec.”


Thomas Middleditch as Richard Hendricks from Silicon Valley looking intensely at a computer screen

12.“Environmental consulting. I started in biology to go into conservation biology but couldn’t justify working for $15 an hour for 10 years. Hell, I’d never even heard of environmental consulting when I was doing my undergrad! Now, three years after graduating, I make over $100,000, still do conservation work (about 50% of the time), and don’t have to penny-pinch!”


An environmental consultant with a laptop in the field

Solstock / Getty Images

13.“If you work in a state with recreational or medical cannabis, jobs in that field can be very lucrative. I’m currently in the field in Michigan. I can make my own schedule, typically working three to five days a week, and work environments tend to be very relaxed, as you might expect.”


Two workers in a cannabis store

14.“Underwater welders. I was working in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina and met this Scotsman at a bar. He had been trained in underwater welding by the Royal Navy and was now helping the NOLA shipping companies repair their ships that had been damaged in port by the hurricane. He was being paid $600 an HOUR when in the water. An HOUR.”

A welder working underwater
Sgcrouch1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15.“I’m a speech pathologist in central Kentucky. ‘Per diem’ or PRN jobs to cover vacations, maternity leaves, etc., pay $50–$60 hourly (that’s a lot in Kentucky, y’all), and you can choose your days or hours based on how much you want to work.”

A speech pathologist working with a child

“Nursing homes, hospitals, even some home healthcare. It’s not always regular work, but if you get in good with several companies, you can stay as busy as you want to be. If you already have health insurance through a spouse, it’s absolutely ideal!”


Prostock-studio / Getty Images

16.“I look for people on the internet who can work specific jobs. I get paid a ridiculous amount of money for the least effort possible.”

A person researching people's profiles on a laptop

“I work for a recruiter, but I’m not an actual recruiter. All I do is search the internet for qualified people in tech and add them to a database. I get paid way more than I should per hour, plus a massive bonus every time someone I add gets hired.”


Galeanu Mihai / Getty Images/iStockphoto

17.And finally: “The traveling version of anything. If you have any skill that you are willing to drop everything and go do at a moment’s notice in some random place, you can get paid quite well.”


A woman in a medical uniform with a stethoscope in a parking lot

Ljubaphoto / Getty Images

Do you have a surprisingly well-paying job in a career field most people haven’t heard of? What’s it like? How’d you get there, and do you enjoy your job? Share your answers in the comments!

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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