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10 Cool Jobs and What They Pay

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What's the coolest job ever? One that allows you to express your personality while doing something you love and getting paid for it (otherwise, it's a hobby).


That's the conclusion reached by David Rosen author of What's That Job and How the Hell Do I Get It?: The Inside Scoop on More Than 50 Cool Jobs from People Who Actually Have Them.

Rosen believes "coolness" is subjective. Everyone interviewed in his book thought they had a cool job, but that doesn't mean they wanted any of the other 49 jobs he wrote about. The mediators were fascinated by solving disputes and helping people get along. Designing jewelry would seem trite to them,” Rosen says. “Physical therapists love that their jobs end and there’s no homework, but some of the coolest jobs are jobs you’re never really not doing.”

Still, some jobs just seem inherently cool -- the kind of jobs you dream about on days when you want to knock down your cubicle walls and run screaming from the office. With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 really cool jobs, links for finding them on Monster and, just to keep the reality meter running, a glimpse at what they pay.

1. Cowboy

If you dream of living the rural life as a cowboy, consider a position as a ranch or farm manager. You can expect to earn between $25,000 and $35,000, says Brady Lynch, an agricultural search consultant for MRINetwork Management Recruiters of Sioux Falls LLP. “A lot of times [benefits] will include other things like housing, a vehicle and even beef or chickens,” he adds.

2. Actor or Singer

Most actors have second jobs, and they often end up as waitresses, teachers and administrative assistants. About 50,000 Americans work as actors, earning a median income of $11.61 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Singers and musicians do better, earning an average of $19.73, but in both fields, the work is so erratic that the BLS can’t calculate reliable annual earnings data.

3. Brewmaster

It’s every college guy’s dream and a reality for about 4,000 members of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling. Study to become a brewer at The Siebel Institute or the University of California at Davis. The typical brewmaster salary ranges from $25,000 at a local brew pub to more than $100,000 at a larger national brewery, says a source at a national brewers trade association.

4. Professional Golfer

You need nerves of steel and a love of travel to survive as a professional golfer. Average yearly winnings in the Ladies Professional Golf Association were $237,598 in 2007. With 190 ladies on the money list, top-ranked Lorena Ochoa earned more than $4 million, while 190th ranked Cindy Pasechnik earned just $2,156. If you want to stay in one place, work as a golf pro and earn a median salary of $57,141, according to the Salary Wizard.


5. Cruise Director

Cruise directors are the multitaskers of the seas. At American Cruise Lines (ACL), the cruise director organizes and goes on shore excursions, manages guest speakers, schedules entertainment, does concierge duty and then circulates in the dining room to pitch the next day’s events, says Joe Pascarella, ACL assistant manager for operations. Hospitality recruiter Renard International in Toronto says the average salary for a cruise director is $45,000 to $50,000. If you have bank teller or retail experience, consider signing on as a casino cashier or for a job in an on-board retail shop.

6. Personal Trainer

The vast majority of the 235,000 personal trainers and exercise instructors aren’t selling their DVDs at Wal-Mart; they’re working in health clubs, where they earn an average of $31,170, according to the BLS.

7. Academy Awards Ballot Counter

For the past 72 years, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Entertainment and Media practice has been counting the ballots cast for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Academy Awards. The two partners who run the 10-day ballot-counting team get to sit backstage and pass out the envelopes with the winners’ names inside. Inside Public Accounting says the average compensation for an accounting partner was $461,272 in 2007. Since your odds of becoming one of the two partners handling the task are as remote as your odds of winning an Academy Award, consider an alternative: working as an accountant in the entertainment industry.

8. Broadcast Sports Reporter

What’s not to like about a job where you watch sports, talk sports and interview athletes? The paycheck may not be as large as you’d imagine. The median salary for the approximately 9,300 US broadcast journalists is $50,730 while the 40,000 or so people working as print reporters earn a median salary of $38,620.

9. Firefighter

There’s a lot of work out there in firefighting but the competition is fierce, so you’ll need mechanical aptitude, physical fitness, and a bit of firefighting or emergency responder education to win a paid position. The good news is that if you can land this job, opportunity will abound. The BLS projects the industry will grow 12 percent between 2006 and 2016, to 404,000 jobs. The median salary for firefighters is $41,190. Make chief, and you could more than double that salary.

10. Flight Attendant

Free flights are the best perk offered to flight attendants. Attendants’ salaries start at around $16,000 a year, according to the Association of Flight Attendants. But salary goes up as you stay on the job, and the median salary for the 97,000 US flight attendants is $53,780, according to the BLS. Some airlines have minimum and maximum height requirements, and you can’t be too large to walk down the aisle facing forward. Speaking a second language will make you more appealing to international airlines.

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