For many working Americans, the “perfect” job is the right balance of pay and interest. We want to feel engaged and inspired by what we do, but also recognized and appreciated with monetary reward (on top of benefits that support work-life balance).
Despite the belief that you have to take a major pay cut to do what you love, fun jobs don’t have to be low-paying. In fact, these 30 exciting jobs can earn you quite a nice living and you won’t hate going to work every day.
Definitions of a “good” salary vary widely depending on who you ask and where (we break it down here), but the median household income in the U.S. was $68,703 in 2019. These 30 jobs all have an average salary above $50,000.
1. Toy designer
Average salary: $87,923
Harness your creative spirit to concoct original toys that will inspire little ones. This fun profession is never dull when you have new projects to work on and the payoff is worth all the effort.
2. Romance writer
Average salary: $63,200
Writers of all kinds have an average salary of $63,200, but the top 10 percent of that pool makes more than $122,450. Romance novels top the list of best-selling genres, so prolific novelists who focus on this category can bring in a lot of dough.
Average salary: $59,432
Working with beer for a living? Yes, please. The brewmaster position has gained lots of traction in recent years as the microbrewery has taken over cities large and small across the U.S. People with a passion for creating and drinking can also bring home a nice paycheck.
Average salary: $105,164
Many a childhood dream had involved traveling to space and viewing Earth in the background, as small as a snow globe. While becoming an astronaut requires many years of schooling and training, it pays in the six figures and may eventually land you on the moon.
Average salary: $122,220
While we’re talking about the universe, an astronomer is another fun gig that pays well. Work with space full time (or engage in related research) and make six figures. You typically need a Ph.D. in astronomy to get paid this much to stargaze.
6. Food scientist
Average salary: $65,160
Food and agricultural scientists engage in research to try to improve food products and work with creative concoctions and flavors. Entry-level jobs in this field typically require a bachelor’s degree, and the demand for these positions is set to increase in the next decade.
7. Art therapist
Average salary: $55,900
Art therapists help people of all ages deal with mental or physical illness with this unique form of therapy. They guide people through creating art, which helps them focus and relax.
8. Fashion stylist
Average salary: $51,867
If you have an eye for fashion and love helping other people look their best, becoming a fashion stylist will put you in your element. These professionals make a decent living, and if you eventually get to the celebrity-stylist level, you’re looking at six figures.
9. Food critic
Average salary: $50,004
It’s easy to dream about landing a job as a paid food critic, being catered to at high-end restaurants and writing up all of your opinions for publication. The salary can vary widely, but if you live in a bigger city you can make close to $100k per year.
10. Stunt person
Average salary: $70,000
Love taking risks? Want to get paid to do it? Stunt people make an extremely good living for the dangerous but exciting work they do in Hollywood and elsewhere.
Average salary: $62,896
The life of a detective may not always be as high stakes as seen on TV crime dramas, but the work is interesting and requires excellent problem-solving skills. Detectives can be paid up into the six figures, so their commitment to justice pays off.
12. Professional video gamer
Average salary: $60,000
What could be more fun than getting paid to play video games? Yes, some lucky individuals actually make this their career. As with other jobs in entertainment, you can expect big rewards for putting all you have into winning, and some make up to $15,000 per month.
13. Ethical computer hacker
Average salary: $82,263
Hackers aren’t all bad. You can actually hack into systems legally for a living by becoming a certified ethical hacker. You can help organizations find weaknesses in their security systems by using schemes and techniques that are usually malicious.
14. Audio engineer
Average salary: $51,774
Did you know you can earn a great living being the sound person? Audio engineers work on mixing and recording sound effects and music for a variety of outlets, from movies to concerts to video games.
Average salary: $60,553
If wine is your drink of choice, you could bring in a pretty penny making it. Winemakers may take on tasks related to growing and harvesting the grapes, maintaining the plans, and making the wine itself.
Average salary: $54,071
Keep people guessing and flex your creative muscle by becoming a professional magician. Some magicians in the U.S. make over $100,000 to awe and inspire crowds of all ages.
17. Landscape architect
Average salary: $91,500
If you have an eye for outdoor landscapes, start laying the blueprints for a lucrative career. This is a fun and rewarding job where you get to plan out parks, gardens, and other public spaces.
18. Social media manager
Average salary: $51,423
Interacting on social media platforms can be exciting, and the job of social media manager allows creatives to design engaging visuals and well-written posts to help brands build their online presence.
Read more: What Does a Social Media Manager Do?
Average salary: $59,500
For many book lovers, there’s nothing more romantic than spending all day organizing a library. When you pursue this career path, you can make good money while being surrounded by your favorite books all day.
20. Food stylist
Average salary: $70,000
Food stylists are usually creative types who get to set up yummy treats for photographs or other staged displays. A variety of companies hire these stylists who may be contract workers.
21. Music therapist
Average salary: $56,836
Music therapists combine their musical talents with psychology. They help patients of all kinds find outlets for anxiety, anger, stress, rehabilitation, and more, whether at hospitals, mental health agencies, nursing homes, or daycare facilities.
22. Fashion designer
Average salary: $73,790
Designing clothes doesn’t sound like a bad way to make a buck. Many designers have a bachelor’s degree and have a strong creative drive. They need to know what’s happening in the industry and have killer networking skills.
Average salary: $72,636
Another interesting career path that pays well is geology. Geologists get to get dirty for work, studying rocks and researching materials of the earth, trying to find out important information about its history and patterns.
24. Crossword puzzle writer
Average salary: $70,903
If you love doing the Sunday crossword puzzle, did you know you could get paid to make them up? This creative job always gives you something new to learn.
25. Concert promoter
Average salary: $78,600
Concert promoters are fairly new professional positions. Music lovers get to help plan and create musical shows and often juggle a lot of the behind-the-scenes responsibilities.
26. Cruise director
Average salary: $63,185
Cruise directors wear many hats, managing everything from guests to entertainment to events on a cruise ship. This job can be a fun way to meet new people and travel around the world while getting paid to do it.
27. Voice actor
Average salary: $76,297
Some people just have that special voice that can soothe or excite audiences. Voice actors can make over $200,000 per year, and it is a highly sought-after profession for actors and journalists.
28. Marine biologist
Average salary: $66,214
Marine biologists study ocean wildlife, including underwater plants, animals, organisms, and ecosystems. Many marine biologists have a Ph.D. and conduct research, in addition to hanging out with the animals they’re studying.
Average salary: $61,270
If you are passionate about helping people, consider a career as a dietician or nutritionist. These individuals help people manage their health and wellness and advise how to develop a nutritious meal plan.
30. Mystery shopper
Average salary: $51,533
Mystery shoppers are sent to stores and organizations to report on the level of customer service or compliance the company is exhibiting. These professionals basically get paid to shop. The dream.