We all know the common and famous careers out there. Did you know there are many great career paths that are 'hidden' from the normal news mainstream? Careers we probably know exist if we really thought about it, but we tend to forget them when we look at the entire career picture.
Put on your seatbelt — here we go!
Welding - From many schools, you can graduate with a welding degree. The average salary for a welding engineer is $48K to $101K. That's not too good for some people, but if you had a wife who worked the same job as well, and only spent half of each others pay check. Hey, you'd have 1 million in 10 years.
School Administration - Most people think education degrees can only lead to being a teacher but if you get your masters in administration you will be a principal making well over six figures.
Technical Writing - There is a wide variety of sub-specializations which lean more toward engineering, how-to's, or investigations. Even at a little company, there's more random stuff than you would think (DNA, DEA, bacteria, electrical engineering, IT, etc.) Most get a BA, but people who just have AAs that work in the field.
The U.S. Coast Guard - Most people don't know that it's an actual military service or that it even exists. All the military benefits and living by the ocean or water your entire career with very few exceptions.
Bioinformatics - Seriously, perfect for young people who know how to use computers and love looking at a screen all day. Why not do that working for Pharma or the Government? $100k+ entry-level if you set yourself up the right way.
Real Estate Appraisal - Combines an interest in real estate and allows for a guaranteed paycheck. Paid on a type of "commission" basis, but you earn a percentage of the fee a client pays the company (most clients are banks, at least at my company). So unlike a lot of sales positions, you TRULY make as much money (to a point) as you'd like. Because you're paid on "commission" or fee split as we call it, your schedule can be busy or quiet, and you're also practically guaranteed work.
Car Sales - If you get into the game, you can quickly become a finance or desk manager making $120+ a year. If you keep moving up you can triple that as a General Manager. If you work hard enough and own your own dealership you can rake it in without doing much anymore.
The Army - I don't think people realize that Army will pay for your ENTIRE COLLEGE fund, send you to a great school, and offer the best benefits in the United States arsenal. Also their MOS's transfer fantastically into the civilian world. You will always have a leg up on people for being in the military. And if you're worried about dying out there, note that you're statistically more likely to drive than you are going to war.
Power Line Technician - Everyone needs power, even in recessions. A past client of mine makes about $150k a year and his job is not dependent on the economy.
Physician's Assistant - I know a lot of young people want to be a doctor, but PA's get a lot of medical training and can function as near autonomous primary care physicians in the right setting, or essentially as permanent resident physicians. Doctor's love having you around; once you're in a practice long enough, I've heard many doctor's will give your opinions equal if not more weight than other physicians. The pay is also excellent; I've heard people say it's half the work/training for 90% of the pay of a physician - it's food for thought.
Electrofishing - A pal of mine performs fisheries research in Canada and gets to catch fish all day with electricity to determine populations, tag the fish and release them back into the wild. Spend all summer in the mountains and write reports on your findings in the winter. BEST JOB EVER.
Low Voltage Technician (a.k.a. Satellite / Cable guy/gal) - You're out on your own, virtually unsupervised after training. See different sites every day. Decent career path to management or senior tech. New technology all the time. And as much talk as there is about cord cutting, a vast majority of households still have some form of copper to their home for tv or internet. They make more than some of my friends who have degrees, and there's no certificate or college program required. Show an interest, and your local cable, satellite or phone company will probably hire you. It's a recession-resistant career, and you can find work anywhere in the world.
Railroading - Railroads are hiring like crazy. You don't need a degree for most of the jobs in the field. If you do want a degree they'll pay for you to go to school once you've been with the company for a year. It's easy to move up and they don't pay into social security - they have a completely separate retirement fund. A 20-year old locomotive engineer makes around $100k a year with no prior work experience.
Math - Take math as far as it can possibly go, no matter what your major is, because to be an EXPERT in any field means to know the math behind it. You can do EVERYTHING with advanced mathematics. Even if you don't become a scientist, at the very least you'll quickly be a department or regional manager.
Optical Engineering - 100% job placement, 6-figure average starting salaries with 4 years of schooling/training, entirely because of the mismatch in demand/supply of qualified people. Designing and building optical systems for everything from your SLR camera's lens, to MRI medical imaging, to Heads-up displays like the Oculus Rift. The best part about it is how diverse the field is - a mixture of engineering, science, computer programming, and hands-on fabrication trade skills all centered around simple trigonometric equations - it's mostly triangles. The work is fun and the pay is great no matter what level of schooling you get, whether it's a Bachelors, Masters or even PhD. There are three premier optics programs in the US at the UArizona, URochester, and CREOL - but plenty of other smaller programs around the US and the world.
Welding - Welders are in great demand and will make $80k starting out and have the potential to be making over $100k with experience. A friend of mine is a chemical plant manager and he said that he pays his engineers $110k and he is worried that they aren't paying enough.
HVAC - Heating and Air. It's a skilled trade which requires minimal physical labor and pays $75-$95K starting wages. Takes 2 years to get your education and the courses are dirt cheap and the jobs are in huge demand. Employers are asking job seekers to join the organization, they pay for the education, and they'll wait for them to get certified.
Food Science - It's a growing industry because as the population increase more and more people must eat, and everyone has to eat! Because of this, it's very rewarding, and if you weren't aware, the food industry has lots of cash. A client of mine is paid exponentially more than many of my friends do, and it's only her first year out of college. In fact, she's well ahead of the average US salary. Additionally, the employment rate is near 100%, and for graduating students in food science have 100% job placement (which few majors can say). Also, it's one of those majors that will never trend or be posted on Yahoo as a growing area, so the market never gets flooded for food scientists and they are always in high demand.
Patent Analyst - Most patent analysts love their job. They wake up every morning with a new analytic problem to solve and get paid for using their brain power. They learn about the newest tech while it's still in a 'skunkworks' phase and try to describe how they will change the world. What better job is there?
Industrial/Organizational Psychologist - Amazingly great job that lets you branch into academia, organizations, or consulting. Allows you to focus on different aspects of organizations - restructuring, selection, retention, leadership development, etc. Can also go into "Data Scientist" roles. These pay $100K-$250K starting off.
Actuary - Only if you're good with math. You need a bachelor's degree - you can start working and taking tests to become fully certified. While you work, you get time on the job to study for exams. Pay depends on how many exams you have passed. If you have all of the exams completed, minimum pay of around $150k. You can make well more than that and there is lots of room for promotion. Probably the easiest and fastest route to becoming a VP of a company if you're a hard worker.