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Top 10 Most Surprising High-Paying Jobs

Farmer operating a tractor.

When you think big salaries, you might think about jobs like CEO, doctor, or accountant. If your goal is to earn big paychecks, there are more options out there than you might think. From media to hard science, the options are very diverse. Inspired by a piece on Forbes, we've collected ten jobs that land large salaries but aren't often considered.

1. Broadcast News Analyst – Working as a successful broadcast news analyst means having strong public speaking skills, natural curiosity, and the right knowledge to talk about the right subjects in general and specific ways. This line of works tends to be very public facing, so this is only an option for people who can maintain a generally positive, upbeat demeanor under a spotlight.
Average Salary: $84,380

2. Astronomer – Although a relatively small career field, astronomers tend to earn very high salaries. Their job is to observe and report on solar astronomical bodies, as well as develop theories and models to further understand the universe. This job requires a deep understanding of math and physics, among other scientific concepts.
Average Salary: $107,140

3. Mathematician – Obviously, if you want to work as a mathematician, you have to have an exceptional and outstanding grasp on mathematics. Professionals in this field focus on a range of problems from theoretical concepts to practical, business-oriented issues. Both ends of the spectrum have very different requirements and concepts.
Average Salary: $104,350

4. Funeral Service Managers – Funerals are by no means simple affairs. Not only does the event need to be coordinated, but death certificates need to be obtained, coffins chosen, and a variety of other miscellaneous tasks. Funeral service managers specifically oversee the operations of a funeral home. They tend to focus on higher level tasks like implementing marketing plans, managing resources, and training staff.
Average Salary: $81,080

5. Postsecondary Art, Drama, and Music Teachers – There are a wide variety of ways to make a living through art, but working as a postsecondary educator in the arts may be a lucrative and stable option. Professionals in this field focus on fine arts, drama, music, and more and earn stable paychecks doing it. They tend to either focus mostly on teaching students, or split their time between teaching and research or personal projects.
Average Salary: $73,350

6. Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels – It's not a career that tends to receive much attention, but working on a water vessel as a captain, mate, or pilot can be lucrative and stable work. There are a wide variety of these positions, not all boats are the same. You might want to operate a tugboat in a bay, or work on a vessel that traverses the ocean. Many of these jobs can be obtained by taking an entry-level job on a boat, but formal education is required for higher-end positions such as captaining a deep-water vessel.
Average Salary: $79,180

7. Detectives and Criminal Investigators – This line of work tends to be very demanding, but detectives and criminal investigators enjoy high salaries. They tend to specialize in specific types of crime, but participate in a wide variety of tasks to track down and apprehend criminals. The job includes running interviews, collecting evidence, observing suspects, and more. These careers typically require a certain number of years of experience with law enforcement, as well as a degree.
Average Salary: $80,540

8. Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers – Working as a farmer is fairly far removed from the cartoon caricatures many Americans grew up with. Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers these days use a blend of advanced technology and tried and true practices to produce the food we eat. And, it's a lucrative career. These jobs tend to require a variety of skills from manual labor to operating heavy machinery.
Average Salary: $72,570

9. Gaming Managers – Casinos see a lot of money exchange hands throughout the course of a day, so it follows that whoever runs the games makes a solid amount of money. While the job may seem cushy, it does require exceptional customer service skills, and some positions may even require a four-year degree. Many casinos send new hires to receive the necessary training after they're hired, but this position still requires a good deal of experience in related work.
Average Salary: $75,590

10. Hydrologists – Water is one of most important resources to human society, and the scientists who study it tend to be paid handsomely for their work. These experts look at how water flows across the earth, measure the quality of water in a given area, study its impact on the environment, and more. This career require not just a degree, but a masters as well as certain certifications.
Average Salary: $81,930

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