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15 Odd Jobs That Pay Insanely Well

Rachel Farrow

If you’re looking for a high-paying job, don’t overlook some of the oddest options out there. You meet nurses, teachers and lawyers every day, but how many cruise ship entertainers or bounty hunters do you know?

GOBankingRates rounded up some unusual jobs that pay pretty well for the right person. You aren’t likely to hear these jobs mentioned at dinner parties when people ask, “What do you do?” But if you have the required skills, you might want to explore a high-paying odd job that you didn’t even know existed.

Last updated July 22, 2019.


In difficult times, embalmers step in to give people a cherished final look at loved ones who have passed away.

These highly trained professionals prepare the body of the deceased, which might involve removing the blood and replacing it with embalming fluid, applying makeup, and reconstructing the body’s physical appearance to disguise any damage. This job can be a challenge — it requires a flexible schedule and, more importantly, the ability to deal with death and tragedy in a sensitive manner on a daily basis.

How Much It Pays

In order to enter this career field, you’ll need to complete specific education requirements and training. Mortuary science school is a basic requirement, with dozens of accredited programs throughout the country. Every state requires embalmers to be licensed and, in most cases, hold a two-year accredited mortuary science degree.

With a median annual salary of $44,250 and the top 10% of earners making $71,920 a year, embalmers receive a decent paycheck.

Bounty Hunter

If you’re familiar with Duane “Dog” Chapman, star of the old TV series “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” you’ve probably seen just how odd this job can be. Bounty hunters serve as fugitive recovery agents for the bail bond industry. They pursue criminal fugitives in exchange for a monetary reward upon capture. One thing is for sure: This job isn’t boring.

How Much It Pays

According to PayScale, the median bounty hunter salary is $60,402, though some make up to $973,000 a year — and those figures don’t include bonuses or commission. A bounty hunter is paid a percentage of the bail bond amount, so the right location and experience could increase the amount of pay. Bounty hunters can come from all sorts of different backgrounds, but most states require them to be licensed.

Crime Scene Cleaner

A cleaner of crime scenes certainly falls under the category of odd jobs. These workers travel to the sites of incidents such as homicides, accidents and suicides after the police work is done to clean up blood and other remnants.

Be warned: This isn’t a job for the squeamish. As a crime scene cleaner, you’ll see things that even the most grizzled police officers find tough to view. This is such a niche job that the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t even have a category for it.

Read More: High-Paying Jobs You Didn’t Know Existed

How Much It Pays

Formal education typically isn’t a prerequisite to enter this field. However, many crime scene cleaners receive on-the-job training that teaches the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s federal standards and procedures for cleaning crime scenes and disposing of hazardous materials. That’s according to Aftermath, a business that specializes in trauma cleaning and biohazard removal.

Your work can net you a nice paycheck, with the top 10% of hazardous materials removal workers — the closest BLS occupation to crime scene cleaner — earning salaries of $75,840 annually.

Portable Toilet Route Driver

Workers 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.

One important requirement for this job is the ability to lift up to 80 pounds and climb in and out of a truck more than 60 times per day.

How Much It Pays

The average hourly pay for a portable toilet route driver is $16.24, according to Indeed, though some positions pay as much as $29.85 per hour. Some employers — like the New Jersey-based Johnny on the Spot — also offer numerous benefits to their drivers, including medical and dental insurance, life insurance, profit sharing, a 401(k), paid vacation and holidays, and paid personal days and sick days.

Cruise Ship Entertainer

Performing artists have a variety of jobs they can pursue, from recording voiceover or acting in Hollywood to singing in a coffeehouse or dancing on Broadway. They can also audition for a role as an entertainer on a cruise ship.

These jobs are competitive and usually require an audition. If you can land one, though, you might get to travel the world for your job.

How Much It Pays

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 all of those roles can vary — according to Indeed, Warshaw Entertainment is looking for entertainers on a cruise ship to be paid up to $6,000 a month.


A job as a woodworker combines creativity, attention to detail and, increasingly, skills operating computerized machinery. You might think of woodworkers as craftsmen using a hammer and nails to complete a project. Nowadays, they still use tools such as saws, routers and sanders, but they also must be comfortable using automated machinery that helps with accuracy.

On the job, the workdays are varied. Woodworkers make cabinets, furniture and other items using a variety of materials, such as wood, veneers and laminates.

Typically, a woodworker must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Several years of on-the-job training should make a worker proficient at the job.

How Much It Pays

Although you won’t be carving out a fortune as a woodworker, the career has the potential to provide a steady living — the top earners in the woodworking field earn more than $49,230 annually.


Some odd jobs pay well because there’s potential for danger. Glaziers fall into this category — they’re the individuals who step onto construction equipment and install glass exteriors, such as windows, on buildings. Glaziers can also have less hazardous duties, such as installing everything from windows to shower doors for residential construction.

How Much It Pays

To break into this field, it’s important to not glaze over the educational requirements. Workers must have a high school diploma and take part in a four-year apprenticeship program to become a glazier, according to the BLS.

Glaziers receive a median salary of $43,550, but the most highly skilled workers are rewarded handsomely: The top earners rake in salaries of more than $81,950.

Wind Turbine Technician

If you want to work outdoors and don’t mind heights, consider getting a job as a wind turbine technician. Also known as wind techs, these individuals install, repair and maintain wind turbines. Their job consists of making routine inspections to pinpoint potential problems.

Most wind techs develop their skills by attending a program through a technical school or community college. Once a wind tech starts working with their respective turbines, a training period of at least 12 months typically follows.

How Much It Pays

Once you get over the heights, the sky’s the limit with a wind tech career. The highest bracket of earners in the field has the potential to net $83,560 annually, and the median salary is a respectable $54,370.

Even better? Wind tech is one of the jobs where opportunities are expected to grow substantially over the next several years.

Wildlife Control Agent

Wildlife control agents play an important role in controlling the animal population in particular habitats. These individuals conduct on-site surveys to determine the number of birds and other animals living in these areas. They also investigate claims of damage by wildlife.

How Much It Pays

Being a friend of the forest definitely has its perks. Wildlife control agents earn an average salary of $72,890 annually, according to Zippia. If you’re interested in working with animals while getting paid well, this might be a suitable job for you.


Cartographers get paid for professionally designing maps. Part of the job involves collecting geographical information to create a visual representation of data. A cartographer can 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 or surveying is the most common track to pursue this occupation — plus, cartographers must be licensed in some states. The number of jobs in this field is projected to grow 19% between 2016-26, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Much It Pays

Cartography might be a viable road to success for people seeking a steady career — the median salary is $64,430, and the top 10% of earners collect a salary of $101,400. The most lucrative sector for cartographers is within the federal government.

Certified Ethical Hacker

With online hackers becoming savvier and more daring, ethical hackers are in high demand. These professionals are paid to intentionally hack computers and systems to find areas of weakness.

How Much It Pays

Typically, these professionals and other information security analysts hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming or a similar field. Some employers might prefer workers who also have a master’s degree.

For the top 10% of earners, hacking can really bring in the green — the best can earn $156,580 annually.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

If you’d like to earn more than $75,000 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. They administer radioactive drugs to patients before the images are taken to highlight the area that’s being examined. In addition to controlling the equipment, the technologist will look for any potential issues or reactions from the drug in the patient.

How Much It Pays

To break into this field, you might not need many years of schooling. Nuclear medicine technologists typically need an associate’s degree in nuclear medicine technology, although some professionals hold a bachelor’s degree.

The top 10% of earners in this field cracked the six-figure salary range, grabbing a yearly salary of $104,730. Either way, the median salary for all workers is more than livable at $76,820 a year.

Elevator Installer and Repairer

If you frequently ride elevators in your apartment or office building, you’ve probably seen them break down at some point. Fortunately, there’s someone out there whose job is to make sure your elevators are operating smoothly.

People who install and repair elevators must ensure they are in proper working condition at all times. These workers must also check to see that the elevators meet safety regulations. Some elevator technicians also repair and install escalators, moving walkways and other lifts.

How Much It Pays

A college degree is not a requirement, but working as an elevator installer and repairer could involve an apprenticeship. Thirty-five states require workers to hold licenses, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. With the top 10% of earners clocking in at $121,200, this career is one of the most lucrative jobs available for those without a college degree.

Medical Illustrator

Many of the highest-paying jobs in the country are in the medical field, but you might not have heard of this profession. 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 out or animate complex medical information for education and legal 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.

How Much It Pays

Medical illustration is a growing career sector with a broad title. Depending on the field, your employer and the specific job requirements, you could earn the median annual salary of $70,650 or up to $173,000.

Self-employed illustrators reported a median income of $80,000, with some earning a staggering $1 million per year, according to data from the Association of Medical Illustrators.

Master Distiller

You can get away with drinking on the job if you work as a master distiller — in fact, it’s part of the job description. Those who hold this senior position are responsible for overseeing the creation of spirits and liqueurs, staff management, product development, quality control, product testing and materials sourcing. They usually also act as the face of the company, liaising with customers, the media and wholesalers to promote products.

To become a master distiller, you’ll typically need years of experience in the industry to perfect the craft, plus an academic degree in distilling, chemistry, food science or microbiology. Other areas of experience needed include staff management, public relations, project management and quality assurance.

How Much It Pays

The average master distiller earns $61,953 per year, but the top 10% earn $132,207, according to SimplyHired. The job can also come with other benefits, including health insurance, parental leave, paid time off, retirement benefits and flexible schedules.

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Priscilla Aguilera and Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.

Median annual salaries were sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on May 28, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

Last updated July 22, 2019.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 15 Odd Jobs That Pay Insanely Well