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Fun Jobs That Are Financially Rewarding, Too

Fun Jobs That Are Financially Rewarding, Too
Fun Jobs That Are Financially Rewarding, Too

If you land a job you really love, it will never feel like work. But love won't necessarily pay the bills. So how do you find a job that's a blast and provides a good salary?

Some jobs that pay well are less than desirable, but readers of Ranker identified more than 40 that are both financially rewarding and fun.

The median salaries come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the sources of other pay information are as noted.

We were very surprised by No. 1. See if you agree.

41. Fire chief

Firefighter Discussing With Colleagues At Fire Station
Tyler Olson / Shutterstock
A fire chief supervises fire crews and firefighting operations.

Average salary: $76,814

Firefighters put their lives at risk to save people and property, and a fire chief has a tremendous responsibility, supervising fire crews and firefighting operations. The work is gratifying — and can be fun. Wouldn't you love to ride a fire truck?

The average pay for a fire chief is close to $77,000 per year, according to PayScale. In some states, like New Jersey, a fire chief can make way more than average: upwards of $175,000 a year.

40. Engineer

Asian women worker and engineer electrician work safety control at power plant energy industry , Thailand.  Engineer Concept.
Freebird7977 / Shutterstock
Electrical engineers and other engineers work to solve industrial problems.

Median salary: $73,000+

Engineers come in many varieties, but the one thing they all have in common is that they work to solve complex problems in their respective industries.

Salaries vary, too. The median annual pay for an agricultural engineer is $77,110, a civil engineer makes $86,640, and a typical aerospace engineer — who helps test rockets and satellites — earns $115,220.

39. Romance novelist

love theme - open book with rose on the moss in the forest at sunset
A.G.A / Shutterstock
A successful romance novelist will love the money.

Median salary: $62,170

Writing over-the-top romance novels can seem like a fun and lucrative way to earn a living — especially considering that Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James is worth a reported $150 million.

But incomes for writers can vary drastically. Many emerging romance novelists have opted to self-publish e-books rather than finding a traditional publisher. On Amazon, e-book authors earn anywhere from $10,000 up to more than $1 million a year.

38. Cruise ship entertainer

Female singer, performing her vocal sound. With lens flare and spotlight.
Bright097 / Shutterstock
Musicians and other cruise performers entertain for a few hours each night.

Average pay (dancers): $18.17 an hour

Working on a cruise ship sounds like a never-ending vacation. Entertainers get to go ashore when the ship is in port, so they enjoy a unique travel experience — along with free room and board.

Dancers, magicians, comedians, musicians and other cruise performers attend rehearsals during the day, and perform for a few hours at night. Contracts usually last for three to six months and pay up to $2,000 or more per week.

37. Food scientist

Female chemist injecting ripe tomato
Dragon Images / Shutterstock
Food scientists conduct tests to make foods taste better and last longer.

Median salary: $64,020

These taste creators have fun brainstorming about new food products and conducting flavor tests on the way to creating potato chips that taste like mac 'n cheese, or sandwich cookies flavored like birthday cake.

But it also can be serious work. The majority of jobs in this field involve experimenting with crops and testing chemical additives in food.

36. Art therapist

Mother and child draw a picture paints, art lesson
Oleksandr Nagaiets / Shutterstock
Art therapy helps people express their emotions through art.

Median salary: $47,860

Mix art and psychology together, and you get art therapy. After earning a master’s degree, an art therapist can work in schools, psychiatric hospitals and veterans associations helping people express their emotions through art.

Unfortunately, there are not many job opportunities in this field, especially since many states don’t recognize art therapy as a licensed practice.

35. Music therapist

Two women make a music therapy and having fun
Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz / Shutterstock
Music therapists work in various types of facilities to help kids and adults express themselves through music.

Median salary: $47,860

Similar to an art therapist, a music therapist usually works in schools, retirement centers and mental health facilities to help kids and adults express themselves through music.

Salaries start at $20,000 a year and climb to $135,000 for music therapists with private practices.

34. Lighting designer

The stage worker sets up the lights
Oleksandr Nagaiets / Shutterstock
Lighting designers are the pros behind the fancy light shows you see at concerts.

Average salary: $53,982

Have you ever admired the fancy light show at a concert and wondered how you could get that job?

Lighting designers usually need stage-lighting experience at schools or in community theater before they can move up to careers with higher-paying opportunities. The pay averages about $54,000 per year, though senior lighting designers typically earn $64,005, says Glassdoor.

33. Audio engineer

Man using a sound mixing desk in a recording studio.
antb / Shutterstock
Sound engineers work in recording studio, theaters and sports arenas.

Median salary: $52,390

Mic check, test 1, 2! These are the experts who work to get things sounding right in sports arenas, theaters, recording studios and movie and video productions.

The skills needed for these jobs can be self-taught or picked up through on-the-job training. As with most jobs related to the entertainment industry, opportunities are far more common in major cities.

32. Magician

Magician with rabbit, Juggler man, Funny person, Black magic, Illusion
Samir Atabey / Shutterstock
Make rabbits appear -- and income, too.

Average pay: Up to $500 an hour

Few magicians achieve celebrity status and conjure up a huge salary (you won't believe what David Copperfield is worth), but it’s still possible to make a decent living performing street magic and booking private parties.

The pay for a magician doing private events ranges from $100 to $500 per hour, according to CostHelper.

31. Lego master builder

hand building up a wall by stacking up lego.
graja / Shutterstock
Some people make a good living building stuff out of Legos.

Average salary: $37,500

Who wouldn’t want to get paid to play with Legos all day? Master Lego builders create larger-than life statues and art installations.

According to multiple media reports, professional Lego builders make $37,500 a year working at one of the Legoland parks, or they can earn thousands of dollars doing privately commissioned Lego art projects.

30. Zookeeper

Elephant trainer instructs African elephant to sit.  Open pen outdoors.  Woman trainer in uniform.
Bonita R. Cheshier / Shutterstock
Zookeepers work nights, weekends and holidays caring for the animals.

Average salary: Up to $43,000

Becoming a zookeeper may be the closest you’ll ever get to exotic animals like lions, tigers and elephants.

Zoo animals require care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which means zookeepers work nights, weekends and holidays. Pay ranges from about $21,000 a year to around $43,000, according to Glassdoor.

29. Personal trainer

woman exercise and  working out with fitness personal trainer in gym
dotshock / Shutterstock
Personal trainer can be a great career if you love pushing people to their limits.

Median salary: $39,820

If you love fitness and love the idea of pushing people around (for their own good!), becoming a personal trainer can be a great career.

Obviously, personal trainers to the stars earn a lot more than the median. The top 10% of trainers earn $76,000 a year on up, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

28. Stunt performer

Hero on motorbike escapes explosion with blurred background, comic style edit
Ben Heys / Shutterstock
Stunt performers take risks on behalf of stars.

Pay: At least $933 per day

Behind every action movie star is a fearless stunt double.

Rather than getting paid by the hour, stunt performers receive a flat fee for the days when they are needed on set. A stuntman or stuntwoman earns at least $933 per day, while a stunt coordinator is paid $1,100 per day, according to the Screen Actors Guild.

27. Brewmaster

a brewmaster expert checks the quality of the freshly tapped beer from wooden barrels formerly used for flavour the wine or beer.
HQuality / Shutterstock
Brewmasters make a living making beer.

Average salary: $47,883

Brewmasters make beer for a living, but don't think they get sloshed every day. Their job responsibilities include cleaning the equipment, testing new recipes and traveling to events on weekends.

The average pay is around $48,000, and top earners can make $74,000, says PayScale.

26. Fashion designer

Fashion Designer Stylish Showroom Concept
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock
If you're a successful designer, the money can be gorgeous.

Median salary: $72,720

Designing clothes, meeting high-pressure deadlines and fixing a hem on a model about to walk the runway are just a few things that fashion designers do routinely.

The field is highly competitive, and most opportunities are in big cities. Or on "Project Runway."

25. Homicide detective

Caution tape and broken sun glasses rest near a chalk line from an auto accident.
Joe Belanger / Shutterstock
You might dream of cracking murder cases as a homicide detective.

Median salary: $81,920

If you’re a crime junkie and hate the idea of anyone literally getting away with murder, you might dream of cracking cases as a homicide detective.

The pay for a criminal investigator varies dramatically, depending on the location. Salaries can range from $43,800 a year in the lowest-paying places all the way up to close to $140,000 at the top.

24. Winemaker

Winemaker tasting his harvest in vine cellar
tomasworks / Shutterstock
Some winemakers own their own vineyard.

Average salary: 59,661

Making great-tasting wine can be complicated and requires a great deal of knowledge in food science and chemistry. Some winemakers work for large wineries, while others decide to buy a vineyard and venture out on their own.

While the average salary for a winemaker is around $60,000 a year, those at the high end earn in the neighborhood of $102,000, according to Glassdoor. Salut!

23. Concert promoter

Crowd at concert
Goran Djukanovic / Shutterstock
Concert promoters help organize and advertise rock shows.

Median salary: $109,480

A concert promoter works with band managers to book concert venues and advertise upcoming shows.

Major perks of the job include scoring free concert tickets — and being able to boast, "I'm with the band!"

22. Airline pilot

The cockpit of modern jet airplane. Aircraft flies above the city landscape and river. Pilots at work.
Skycolors / Shutterstock
Flying a commercial airplane is a stressful job that requires years of training.

Median salary: $115,670

Being a pilot looks so cool and glamorous in the movies, doesn't it?

Learning how to fly a commercial airplane takes a lot of time and expensive training, and the jobs are high-pressure and can mean lots of nights away from home. But the high salaries can make it all worthwhile.

21. Dog walker

Professional Dog Walker Exercising Dogs In Park
SpeedKingz / Shutterstock
Walking dogs probably won't be your full-time gig, but you'll have fun.

Pay: Up to $45 per dog per day

If you really love dogs, walking them could be a dream job, though probably a part-time one.

Dog walkers typically charge anywhere from $15 to walk one dog for 20 minutes on up to $45 for two walks per day, according to Angie's List. If the owner has additional dogs, those cost up to $10 each per walk.

20. Landscape architect

Landscape architect design backyard plan for villa
Toa55 / Shutterstock
Landscape architects use trees, lawns, flowers and other vegetation to create stunning natural surroundings.

Median salary: $68,230

Landscape architects use trees, lawns, flowers and other vegetation to create stunning natural surroundings.

They design outdoor spaces for parks, businesses and private homes. Some of the work is done indoors, creating designs, preparing models and meeting with clients.

19. Event planner

close-up of registration desk in front of conference center with Businessman Writing on the Table
panuwat phimpha / Shutterstock
Event planners make sure that conferences, conventions and meetings runs smoothly.

Median salary: $49,370

Event planners are the highly organized types who put together corporate meetings, conventions and more — and make sure that everything runs smoothly.

The jobs can involve travel, and occasional long nights. But the reward is that feeling of satisfaction when, despite all the people involved and the many moving parts, an event goes off glitch-free.

18. Park ranger

Shenandoah National Park in Autumn foliage, Virginia USA
Orhan Cam / Shutterstock
Rangers serve and protect America's national parks.

Median salary: $61,340

Park rangers serve and protect what are often called "the pride of America": its national parks.

Conservation scientists and foresters working for the federal government earn a median salary of between $66,000 and $76,000. The highest earners make close to $100,000 per year.

17. Astronaut

Brave astronaut at the spacewalk. People in space. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
Vadim Sadovski / Shutterstock
For astronauts, the work is literally out of this world.

Salary: Up to $100,701

How's this for an out-of-this-world career path? The money can be astronomical, too.

According to NASA, the starting salary for an astronaut is $65,140. The pay can go up to $100,701 a year with time and experience.

16. Graphic designer

High angle view of an artist drawing something on graphic tablet at the office
ESB Professional / Shutterstock
Graphic designers use a variety of media to create illustrations for advertising, book covers, websites and more.

Median salary: $50,370

Graphic designers use their artistic talents, computer technology and more traditional media (like painting and drawing) to create illustrations for advertising, book covers, websites and more.

Most graphic designers work for corporations, though 1 out of every 5 is self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

15. Video game designer

Studio Portrait Of Video Game Designer Wearing VR Headset
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
Imagine how incredibly awesome it would be to design video games for a living.

Median salary: $72,520

If you love playing video games, you’ve probably imagined how incredibly awesome it would be to design them for a living.

It takes more than passion to land one of these jobs. Often you need a degree in game design, game development or computer science.

14. Toy creator

Cute little robot testing in a lab
Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock
Inventing new toys lets you make kids happy and feel like a kid yourself.

Average salary: $58,068

Want to be one of Santa's elves? Inventing new toys is a job where you can make kids happy and will keep feeling like a kid yourself.

While the average pay is just over $58,000, more experienced toy designers can earn as much as $86,000, says PayScale.

13. Cruise director

Passengers partying on board a cruise ship
By photostock77 / Shutterstock
A cruise director keeps the partying going on board.

Average salary: $57,767

Volleyball tournaments, trivia contests, cooking classes, bingo, storytime for the kids, happy hours for the adults — cruise-ship schedules are jammed with activities. A strong leader is needed to organize and oversee all of the events.

A cruise director makes anywhere from around $41,000 a year on up to $99,000, according to PayScale.

12. Professional athlete

Multi sports proud players collage on grand arena
Eugene Onischenko / Shutterstock
Some pro athletes make all-star salaries, but the typical income is modest.

Median salary: $50,650

Remember, that salary figure is only the median. Celebrity athletes are among the richest people in the world, thanks to multimillion-dollar contracts and hefty endorsement deals with big-name brands like Nike and Adidas.

At the other end of the scale are Olympic athletes, who earn less than $15,000 a year, according to Forbes.

11. Ethical computer hacker

It consultant working with servers
Kjetil Kolbjornsrud / Shutterstock
Information security analysts help protect companies from hackers.

Median salary: $98,350

Hackers have a reputation for being the bad guys, but computer programmers can put their powers to good use — as ethical hackers.

Companies hire these information security analysts to reveal weak points in website security, to keep out the other kind of hacker.

10. Wardrobe stylist

girl with stylist choosing her fashion outfit. Women deciding what to wear. Analysis of the client's wardrobe. Fashion stylist consultation. Master class about how to stylishly clothing
Alter-ego / Shutterstock
Personal stylists help clients dr

Salary: Up to $75,000

Choosing the perfect outfit for someone could be a dream job for fashion lovers. Stylists who work for retail stores dress mannequins and create window displays, while self-employed personal stylists hustle to find new clients in big cities.

It takes experience to make the really big money as a celebrity stylist, but everyone’s gotta start somewhere. Typical pay ranges from around $20,000 to $75,000 per year, reports Job Monkey.

9. Personal shopper

Personal shopper picking out dress shirts for a male client
By GaudiLab/Shutterstock
Personal shopper is a great job if you love to shop — and love the idea of spending someone else's money.

Salary: Up to $100,000

In the high-pressure corporate world, or in celebrity circles, people can be so busy they have no time to do their own shopping. So, they hire a personal shopper, or a "corporate concierge," to do it for them.

This is a great job if you love to shop — and love the idea of spending someone else's money. Personal shoppers typically make between $30,000 and $60,000 a year, though the best ones earn six figures, says Job Monkey.

8. Marine biologist

Scuba Diver and Lionfish (Pterois miles)
Rich Carey / Shutterstock
A marine biologist studies and cares for aquatic creatures.

Median salary: $63,420

Do you love snorkeling? Do you go to the beach not to sit in the sun but in hopes you'll spot a dolphin? Studying and caring for marine mammals and other aquatic creatures on a daily basis makes this job the perfect catch for many.

To become a marine biologist, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree. A master's may be needed to move up to investigative or scientific work.

7. Mystery shopper

Shopping with Big Sunglasses Woman Keeping a Secret - Cool mysterious girl with shopping bags undercover
Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock
Mystery shoppers rate the store's customer service, cleanliness and more..

Average salary: $42,634

Like personal shoppers, mystery shoppers go on buying trips with other people's money — though in this case, the goal is to rate the store's customer service, cleanliness and more.

Often, these gigs are only part time. The average full-time salary is around $43,000, but some mystery shoppers earn as much as $127,000 a year, says ZipRecruiter.

6. Interior designer

designer choice  wooden material sample for  modern house
RomanR / Shutterstock
An interior designer chooses wall colors and furnishings — and must understand building codes.

Median salary: $53,370

If you’re a fan of those home makeover shows on HGTV, you've probably spent some time draydreaming about what life would be like as an interior designer.

The job isn't just about choosing fabulous window treatments and furnishings. It also involves understanding building codes and inspection regulations.

5. Chocolatier

young chocolatier decorating egg chocolate
ALPA PROD / Shutterstock
A chocolatier is a professional chef who specializes in making amazing chocolate concoctions.

Average salary: $40,487

Working with chocolate for a living? Where can I sign up? A chocolatier is a professional chef who specializes in making amazing chocolates.

Though the typical salary for a confectioner may not seem as sweet as what some other fun jobs pay, the field's top earners make in the neighborhood of $50,000, says the Economic Research Institute.

4. Supercar driving instructor

car racing on the road and track with motion blur and Radial blur
TuiPhotoEngineer / Shutterstock
A supercar requires super skills.

Salary: Up to $120,000

If you love an adrenaline rush, you can’t get much better than a career as a driving instructor for "supercars” like Ferraris. Owners pay experts to teach them how to drive their luxury, high-performance cars in the best (and baddest) way possible.

Pay information is difficult to track, though a former NASCAR driver turned Ferrari instructor once indicated he earned up to $120,000 per year.

3. Food critic

restaurant, people, technology and holiday concept - smiling man with tablet pc eating main course at restaurant
Syda Productions / Shutterstock
Restaurant critics dine out a lot, and get to share their opinions.

Average salary: $79,108

This job gets five stars if you love to eat (who doesn't?), love to write and love to share your opinions.

While the average salary is around $79,000 a year, senior food critics with at least eight years' experience average about $98,000, says the Economic Research Institute.

2. Professional video gamer

Professional video gamer in eSport tournament
Professional gamers participate in eSport competitions.

Pay: Up to $15,000 an hour

Yes, it is possible to play video games for a living. Professional gamers play in front of audiences on video platforms including YouTube and Twitch.tv, plus they participate in eSports competitions.

If you've got the chops, the money can be insane. Top gamers earn as much as $15,000 per hour, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

1. Voice actor

Woman Recording Audiobook. Audio Recording Studio Theme. Caucasian Voice Talent.
welcomia / Shutterstock
Many voice actors do the work from the comfort of their own home studios.

Average salary: $91,196

Voiceover artists bring cartoon characters to life, narrate audio books and record voice tracks for commercials. Many voice actors do the work from the comfort of their own home studios.

As with all acting careers, you must audition for gigs, and higher pay comes with experience. The pay can be very, very good, averaging around $91,000 per year, with top salaries reaching $223,500, says ZipRecruiter.

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