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14 Jobs That Are Surprisingly Creative

Get those creative juices flowin’

Megan Hageman

Woman dressed in bright colors

When we think of creative jobs, we typically gravitate toward artists or musicians, painters, writers, and architects—the traditional “creative” thinkers. But the larger market is full of jobs that require creative thought and expression. 

But at the core of creativity is the ability to develop original ideas and find unique ways to solve problems—there are far more creatives among us beyond the painters and musicians and dancers.

Take a look at these jobs that prove creativity can be found in even the most unlikely of places.

1. Interpreter/translator 

Average salary: $51,629

Interpreters must possess a great deal of knowledge and creativity to not only speak and write fluently in at least two languages, but to take nuance and meaning from one language to another. Translation requires a great capacity for creative thinking and a profound understanding of language

2. Physicist 

Average salary: $79,825

Physicists study the mysteries and interactions of energy and matter. It takes a large amount of creative thinking to develop hypotheses on how the world works and create experiments to test these otherworldly theories.

3. Therapist 

Average salary: $62,896

Every patient a mental health therapist sees requires a specialized approach and individualized attention. Therapists must convert their knowledge of the body and mind into personalized and effective solutions. 

4. Criminal investigator

Average salary: $66,641

Criminal investigators have to work backward, sometimes with very little material, to find the truth. It requires great patience, understanding of people, systems, and culture, plus the ability to synthesize all of that.

5. UX researcher

Average salary: $83,369

It takes a lot of creativity to design a website or online system and make it visually appealing, but it’s just as important to uncover how users interact with it and to make the experience as simple and easy to use as possible.

6. Political campaign manager

Average salary: $56,840

A campaign manager wears many hats: advertiser, fundraiser, crisis manager, spokesperson, marketer, PR rep, and general champion for their candidate. It’s not easy to sway the opinions of the public, so creative thinking and new ideas are necessary to make an impact.

7. Lawyer

Average salary: $83,377

Some may think of lawyers of paper pushers, but most areas of law require a great deal of creative thinking. Creating compelling arguments, uncovering facts (that someone may not want you to find), interviewing experts, winning over a jury, and conducting deep research are all ways attorneys must be creative in their work.

Read more: 13 Fun Jobs Someone Will Actually Pay You For

8. SEO strategist

Average salary: $58,860

While some see search engine optimization as simply plugging in keywords throughout a website, the process actually involves a high level of skill and strategy. SEO strategists conduct research on their target market, keywords, and competitors to optimize website content and advertisements to boost traffic and overall business performance—all for search algorithms that change daily.

9. Wedding planner 

Average salary: $41,429

Any kind of event planning requires a long to-do list and lots of organization. But with wedding planning specifically, it takes an extra dose of creativity to work with two families, interpret ideas, create the perfect atmosphere, coordinate timing to a tee, and do it all within budget.

10. Bartender

Average salary: $20,261

Mojitos, margaritas, and Bloody Marys are great, but bartenders at craft cocktail bars and high-end restaurants and hotels are artists in their own right. Many write their own menus, create their own mixers and bitters, and even invent new drinks on the fly—all while making it look oh, so easy.

Read more: How to Find a Job You Love (No, Really)

11. Small business owner

Average salary: $68,000 (can vary widely)

Small business owners often operate on islands, coordinating the ins and outs of the business: imagining great products, marketing them to customers, balancing the books, drumming up new business, racing the competition, and then starting all over again.

12. Medical sales representative

Average salary: $74,074

Any kind of sales jobs require creative energy to craft a value proposition that appeals to customers’ unique and changing needs. Medical sales can be a crowded field and customers are busy, so getting a foot in the door (literally), can require a great deal of creativity.

13. University athletic director

Average salary: $76,880

Athletic directors are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the roster of sports teams, coaches, and players. These directors need creativity to efficiently juggle recruiting, scheduling, training, fund raising, press requests, and budgets.

14. Personal financial advisor

Average salary: $60,519

Financial planning is a creative job that requires advisors to think differently for each client, who come with different goals for their money and ideas for managing it.  Personal financial advisors have to think of practical ways to cut costs, plan for future expenses, and meet short- and long-term goals.

Read more: 5 Rules for Answering; “What Should I Do with My Life?”

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