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10 Cool Jobs and What They Pay

10 Cool Jobs and What They Pay

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 rancher 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.

Find ranching jobs and farm manager jobs.

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 $19.14 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Singers and musicians do better, earning a median of $22.99 an hour, but in both fields, the work is so erratic that the BLS can’t calculate reliable annual earnings data.

Find a job in music or other performing arts fields.

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.

Find brewery jobs.

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 $230,117 in 2010. With 161 ladies on the money list, top-ranked Na Yeon Choi earned more than $1.8 million, while 161st-ranked Jackie Gallagher-Smith earned just $1,786. If you want to stay in one place, work as a golf pro and earn a median salary of $57,141, according to Monster's Salary Wizard.

Find a golf pro job.

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.

Find cruise-related jobs.

6. Personal Trainer

The vast majority of the 235,000 personal trainers and fitness instructors aren’t selling their DVDs at Wal-Mart; they’re working in health clubs, where they earn an average salary of $31,030, according to the BLS.

Find personal trainer jobs.

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 $452,744 as of mid-2009. 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.

Find accounting jobs.

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 wage for the approximately 10,480 US broadcast journalists is $54,140 while the 30,000 or so people working as print reporters earn a median salary of $34,530.

Find reporting jobs.

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 BLS projects the industry will grow 9 percent between 2010 and 2020, to 336,900 jobs. The median salary for firefighters is $45,420. Make chief, and you could about double that salary.

Find firefighting jobs.

10. Flight Attendant

Free flights are the best perk offered to flight attendants. Attendants’ salaries start at around $16,191 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 90,500 US flight attendants is $37,740, 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.

Find flight attendant jobs.

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