12 Well-Paying, Often Overlooked Jobs That You Might’ve Missed First Time Around


1. Machinist

A machinist is a person who modifies metal parts (usually) using machine tools. They cut away excess material to make sure the part fits the specifications of the order (or blueprint). So if you like to see stuff get cut like this:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLWLUt9RURs&w=584&h=390%5D

This is it.

According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, a machinist makes just over $19 an hour, their median wage was $40,000. A Precision Grinding Machinist makes about $71,000 and a Screw Machinist makes $32,000.

To become a machinist, you would have to enter into an apprenticeship and/or attend a technical school.

2. Sonographer

A sonographer is the operator of ultrasonic imaging devices. They are trained to select images that physicians can use to diagnose the patient, which means that they need to know what images to select to present the most amount of information as possible. An experienced sonographer makes an average of $82,000 a year.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-udHxQ2BPQ&w=584&h=390%5D

To become a sonographer, you would have to enroll and graduate from a CAAHEP/JRC-DMS accredited program.

3. Surgical Technician

If you’ve wondered who that person is standing next to the surgeon and hands them the scalpel when he asks for it, that’s the surgical technician. Also called surgical technologists or “scrubs,” (some of) these men and women have gone through anywhere from 9 to 24 months to obtain an associate’s degree and have received their certification. Having a certificate is preferred by many employers!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NfDu0XK8xU&w=584&h=390%5D

As a “scrub,” you are expected to have stable, dextrous hands, as well as understand medical jargon and know how to use equipment.

Expect to make an average of $39,000 (double that amount if you’re a certified cardiovascular operating room surgical technologist).

4. Wastewater Treatment Operator

If you want a career that you can take around the world (and still get hired), becoming a wastewater treatment operator just might be the job for you. I mean, people drink water every day, right?

Operators monitor meters and gauges and make sure conditions are to safety requirements. To become one, you would need a license and take on-the-job training.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1wUOad-0ag&w=584&h=390%5D

Apparently, being a wastewater treatment operator is dangerous, as waterborne diseases can cause severe infections and embed themselves on skin.

In 2012, wastewater treatment operators were compensated about $42,000 per year.

5. Sanitation Worker

They work behind-the-scenes, working hard to clear off the trash from the curb that you haphazardly left behind.

Believe it or not, sanitation workers have twice the fatality rates of police officers and seven times the fatality rates of firefighters. And they can’t accept tips (at least in NYC).

To become a sanitation worker, you would have to pass a civil service exam and a physical. Candidates must have a high school diploma and have a commercial driver’s license.

Sanitation workers (Brooklyn) make an average of $33,455. In New York City, that shoots up to $53,140. In Glendale, CA, the average is $39,602. (Source)

6. Certified Nursing Assistant

CNAs may make just under $25,000 on average,but they are extremely important figures in the healthcare world.

To become a CNA, you need to take courses in nursing assistance. Then a 75-hour program, and then an externship (roughly 16 hours), which is required before certification.

7. Appliance Repair Technician

Appliance repair technicians fix home appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, and etc. To become one, you’d usually start off as an apprentice. Technicians should be able to put a dryer together in no time (apparently, it’s really easy). Their average salary is about $37,270, which isn’t too bad. Technicians with over 20 years experience can get up to $31 an hour!

8. Landman

A landman is an oil worker. They perform “various services for oil and gas exploration companies.

In 2010, a landman made an average of $121,000. If you were to graduate college with a Petroleum Land Management/Energy Management degree, you could potentially make up to $130,000. And of course, with experience comes more money.

9. Wind Turbine Technician

Or Wind Techs, they assemble, maintain and repair wind turbines. These men and women made up to $22 per hour in 2012.

To become a wind tech, you’d have to enroll in a two-year program offering an associate degree in applied sciences. The two-year program should give you a basic understanding of how wind turbines work, along with teaching safety skills needed to work around wind turbines.

10. Plant Operator

Be the next Homer Simpson — or not. A plant operator can make up to $32.80 per hour ($68,230 per year) and all you need is a high school diploma or equivalent!

It is, however, a very tiring job, where operators work in rotating shifts. This is to keep the plant operating at all times.

Plant operators require extensive training, as this is a very important job. You’ll also probably go under a background check and drug testing.

11. Explosives Technician

If you like explosions, danger, and find yourself working under pressure a cinch, you’re well-suited to be a an explosives technician.

“Explosives technicians work in a variety of environments, including the military, fire and police departments, construction and demolition, mining and other industries.” You enter the field through hands-on training as an assistant. Programs are also available around the country.

A high school diploma or equivalent is needed for this job.

12. Submarine Cable Technician

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6p0Mf_CAvg&w=584&h=390%5D

Be one of the guys speeding up the internet. That’s right. Submarine cable technicians lay cable on the ocean floor using trawlers (and they’re sometimes tasked with fixing said cables when they break).

I’m not sure how accurate this is, but apparently, a submarine cable tech can make about $70 grand in NYC.


Let me know if you plan on going into one of these fields! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Follow Michael at @UghHugs.

Keep up with Michael on Twitter and thoughtcatalog.com

More From Thought Catalog