The Quick Report

20 Surprisingly Well-Paid Jobs You Don’t Know About

If your dream job has turned out to be less than dreamy, read on. You’re about to discover 20 surprisingly well-paying jobs you may have discounted or never even heard of. Some require little to no training or experience.

20. Medical Waste Worker

orange prescription bottle lot
Photo by Haley Lawrence

This job requires no formal education or experience to get started and is surprisingly simple. You handle the collection and drop-off of medical waste from hospitals, veterinary facilities, and other healthcare locations. Job growth in this field is expected to rise by 14%. Strict adherence to safety measures minimizes the risk that is inherent in handling hazardous materials.

19. USPS Sorter

landscape photography of white box van
Photo by Joel Moysuh

Working as a sorter for the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a surprisingly easy job that pays well – around $25 per hour. You can wear whatever you want and even listen to music while you work. The job entails putting mail in sacks and typing ZIP Codes. It’s also a unionized job and comes with great benefits.

18. A Traveling Anything

man in white shirt standing near glass window
Photo by Artem Zhukov

Numerous jobs require people to travel and the one thing these jobs have in common is that companies pay traveling workers well. The cost of travel and lodging are paid, and many times, food expenses are covered as well. Some jobs require workers to drop everything and travel at a moment’s notice. See the world while getting paid.

17. City Workers

a man in a yellow vest is holding a piece of paper
Photo by Jon Tyson

These jobs are often overlooked but pay surprisingly well, have excellent benefits, and job security. In addition to insurance, paid sick time, maternity leave, and vacation pay, you’ll usually receive some employer matching with a 401(k) plan. People used to joke about winding up a garbage man, but disposal workers make a lot more than many people these days.

man in white shirt sitting on chair

Filming depositions is a very common practice in the legal field. This job is easy to get into. If you have a good grasp of working with video equipment you’ll have a leg up. But even if you don’t, some places will train you. Legal videographers get paid between $60-$125 an hour to film depositions.

15. Professional Snuggler 

man and woman hugging each other photography
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

This is a unique job with a very high salary which ranges from $80-$100 per hour. Professional snugglers provide platonic cuddling for comfort and relaxation in a safe and therapeutic manner. Moreover, snugglers provide a sense of human connection that combines physical touch with emotional support.

14. Solar Photovoltaic Installer

man in white dress shirt and blue denim jeans sitting on white and black solar panel
Photo by Bill Mead

A solar photovoltaic installer installs solar panels on homes and businesses, usually working in teams. The median salary is $45,230 annually and many workers make much more. A 22% job growth is expected in the field and it currently ranks #3 as the best construction job and #11 as the best job you can get without a college degree.

13. Horse Hair Braider

a brown horse with braids on it's head
Photo by Michael Hamments

It needs to get done and they have to pay someone to do it. A horse hair braider gets paid to braid horses’ manes for hunter shows. The top shows pay between $100-$150 per horse or more. On a good day, a horse hair braider can do ten horses. That’s $1,000-$1,500 for a day’s work.

12. Wind Turbine Technician

silhouette of wind turbines during sunset
Photo by Anna Jiménez Calaf

Because renewable energy is growing rapidly, this position expects a 45% job growth. The median salary is $57,320. Wind turbine technicians are trained to maintain and install these machines. It can be learned at a technical school or community college. The job ranks #2 among best repair and maintenance jobs and #4 among best jobs without a college degree.

11. Resource and Remote Camp Cook

two black cassesoles
Photo by MD Duran

Positions of cook, prep cook, line cook, baker, and other kitchen positions at resource/remote camps are in high demand. Some jobs are intermittent and on-call. Work at bases with remote workers of firefighters, oil workers, forestry, scientific expeditions, and more. Jobs start at $47.60 an hour, or day rates between $150-$200, or up to $2,100 a week.

10. Welder

man wearing yellow hard hat holding angle grinder
Photo by Ahsanization

Welding is an easy trade to learn that pays big bucks. You can learn the skills at a community college, trade school, or on the job. One worker was making $80,000 in his first year. The median annual salary for welders in the US ranges from $47,000-$60,000 on average but can be higher depending on where you live.

9. HVAC Technician

woman standing in front of the sink
Photo by National Cancer Institute

HVAC technicians are in high demand, with an average salary of roughly $59,000 a year. However, most experienced workers make around $83,000 annually. The skills can be learned at a community college, trade school, or on the job. The states with the highest-paying positions are Alaska, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

8. Arborist

man in orange shirt sitting on tree branch
Photo by henry perks

An arborist specializes in the care of trees and other woody plants. The median salary ranges from $38,000-$96,000 annually. Arborists are responsible for planting, maintenance, diagnosis, removal, and offering advice to their clients which includes companies, municipalities, and governments. An arborist needs to be physically fit and comfortable with heights.

7. Land Surveyor

person holding digital device
Photo by Scott Blake

As the population ages, there is a shortage of people with the skill of land surveying. As a result, entry-level positions start at $70,000 annually, with an average salary of $87,477 annually. Experienced workers make up to $117,500 per year on average. It typically requires a four-year degree education or apprenticeship to be eligible to apply for licensing.

6. Medical Technician Jobs

white medical equipment
Photo by Marcel Scholte

Many medical technician jobs only require associate degrees or none at all. Medical technicians often operate specific diagnostic machines or perform tasks that can be learned at a community college or trade school in a relatively short time. Some technicians make up to $120,000 a year. Medical jobs are in high demand, with a great working environment and excellent benefits.

5. Underwater Welder


This job requires both experience as a welder and a diver. However, welding can be learned at a community college, trade school, or on the job. Diving can be learned through short, private courses. Most underwater welders earn around $80,000 per year. However, highly experienced offshore underwater welders can earn well over $100,000 annually.

4. Plumber


It’s often joked that plumbers make more than doctors. A plumber might charge $300 for a 30-minute repair, $600 for a one-hour repair, or $800 if it’s on a weekend or holiday. According to Glassdoor, the median salary for plumbers is between $64,000-$120,000 annually. Plumbing can be learned at a community college, trade school, or on the job.

3. Panda Express General Manager


Ninety percent of Panda Express general managers make over $90,000 annually, 50% make over $100,000, and the top earner brings in $225,000 annually. Full benefits at 30 hours a week, plus disability and paid life insurance and a 401(k) plan with the company matching up to 5%. Managers get up to 5 weeks a year paid vacation annually.

Read More: These Jobs Are Perfect for a Career Change After 50

2. Programming in COBOL

man in gray dress shirt sitting on chair in front of computer monitor
Photo by Luke Peters

Many people don’t realize that old programming languages, such as COBOL, are still used. Because most people learn newer languages, it puts those who program COBOL in high demand. Companies have a lot invested in their old databases and it’s cheaper for them to pay a COBOL programmer $100-$250K a year than spend millions updating their databases.

Read More: Find Steady and Remote Work with a Medical Billing Degree

1. Merchant Marine Officer


The median salary for a merchant marine officer is $133,242 annually, according to Glassdoor, which is an average salary of $70,000, combined with additional pay from tips, commission, bonuses, and profit sharing for another $47,000-$87,000. This career involves traveling and no expenses, with at least half the year on vacation.

Read More: These High Paying Jobs Are in Long-Term Demand