Most people think the term "fun job" is an oxymoron. But if you have specialized skills and a bit of talent, a number of jobs are not only fun and rewarding, but offer great pay. Be aware, however, that competition for many of these professions is tough, and job seekers in these fields usually need four years of specialized education and some hands-on experience to be competitive.
Art directors are the senior staff in art departments who get to use their creative talents with considerable autonomy and get paid well while doing so. They work on projects for movie and TV production companies, newspapers, magazines and manufacturers who need art for their packaging. They communicate with their clients to get a sense of their goals, use those goals to develop a style for advertising or marketing materials and supervise creative staff in the creation of these materials. Most employers ask that art directors have a bachelor's degree in design or art, plus considerable work experience in related positions, including photography, illustration or graphic design. Art directors earn a mean annual wage of $94,260, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Winemaker or Enologist
Making wine professionally is the dream of many wine lovers, and fortunately, wine lovers do not have to sacrifice a great salary to achieve this dream. According to a 2011 survey by WineBusiness.com, less experienced winemakers earn an average of $95,263 per year, while experienced winemakers earn $121,774. Winemakers are responsible for the entire wine making process. They work with viticulturists to ensure grapes meet their needs and supervise lower-level workers during the crushing, fermentation, aging and clearing processes. Enologists specialize in the blending of wines, though some wineries allow enologists to perform many of the duties of a winemaker. Enologists usually need a bachelor's degree in enology, while winemakers usually choose to earn a degree in viticulture or enology.
Airline and Commercial Pilots
Airline pilots operate planes in a variety of conditions, monitor their on-board instruments and communicate with air traffic controllers to ensure that their passengers or cargo arrive on time and safely. Commercial pilots may fly planes to fight fires, transport small groups of passengers, dust crops or take aerial photographs. One of the primary ways to become a pilot is through military training, though many budding pilots get their training from civilian flight schools. Most have at least a bachelor's degree, though it is not strictly required. To get the required licensing, pilots must be in good physical health, have excellent eyesight and have a minimum number of hours of flight experience, which varies depending on the type license sought. According to BLS, these professionals earn $92,060 per year.
Veterinarians examine, perform tests, diagnose, treat and perform surgery on animals. Their patients can include livestock, pets and animals in zoos and laboratories, though more than three quarters of all private practice veterinarians work primarily on pets. Veterinarians need to attend veterinary school after completing their undergraduate degree. In addition to classes in anatomy, zoology, chemistry and biology, veterinary programs provide training laboratory and clinical settings. Once they graduate, prospective veterinarians need to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam and may also need to pass a state licensing exam before beginning work in veterinary hospitals or private practice. According to BLS, veterinarians earn a mean average of $93,250 per year.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Art Directors
- California Employment Development Department: Enologist/Winemakers
- Wine Business: Salary Survey Report Preview
- Wine Institute: The Champions of California Wine
- Drinks Wines Spirits: The Professional Winemaker: A Job Description
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Airline and Commercial Pilots
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Veterinarians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Veterinarian Wages
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Art Director Wages
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