Have you ever wished that you could get paid for sitting on the couch or taking a nap? Well, across the U.S., there are many unusual jobs like these that pay well and certainly make employees stand out from the typical workplace...
Teddy Bear Surgeon
Hanna Hach is a surgeon, but not in a typical ER. Instead, her patients are more of the stuffed kind. Yes, we're talking about teddy bears. Hach is the chief surgeon and doll washer at Hanna Bruce Bears & Teddy Bear Hospital, and on an average day, she has several surgeries to complete.
Hach's job is to revive teddy bears to their best state possible, from a deep clean to reattaching eyes and limbs. And to do this, she charges anywhere between $65-$160 per patient. Depending on where one of these surgeons practices, they can make an estimated $41,400 to $52,000 annually.
Dog Surfing Instructor
Have you ever wished that your dog could be by your side as you catch the next big wave? Well, dog surfing instructors can train your pooch to do just that! And, if their skills are up for the test, the state of California even runs the World Dog Surfing Competition.
While it might not make a ton of sense why a dog would need these skills, if you happen to have a passion for the sport and live by the ocean, this could be just the thing you've been looking for! How about that for some pet bonding time? Now all that's left to decide is if you're going to wear matching lifejackets.
Crime Scene Cleaner
This next job is on the opposite end of the spectrum, but hey, someone needs to do it! Crime scene cleaners are contracted all over the world, but in the United States, Maryland is the place with the highest employment rate in this area. When serious crimes occur, these professionals are called in for clean-up duty.
With Maryland having one of the highest homicide rates in the country, these cleaners stay pretty busy. Equipped with safety gear and what we can imagine being some pretty serious bleach, these professionals gear up and scrub away. We don't know about you, but to us, this seems like a CSI-lover's dream!
In Japan, thousands of people take public transportation to and from work, and like anyone else in the world, being late to work is never ideal. So, that's where professional train pushers or "Oshiyas" come in to play. It is these individuals' jobs to ensure everyone gets on the train for work.
To do that, an Oshiyas' job is to push stranglers onto the trains before it pulls away from the station. So, while it might seem like harsh treatment in the morning, they're really just trying to make sure everyone gets to their desks in time for another day at the office.
Gross Stunt Tester
Have you ever watched Fear Factor and cringed at the odd bugs that contestants eat? Well, for every person who has won the jackpot by gobbling up grasshoppers or scorpions, there is a person who has already done the same thing before the cameras began rolling.
These people are called "Gross stunt testers," and it is their job to test (eat) everything deemed as gross. For example, the woman photographed here is about to try a fried bug. But at least she has her bright red lipstick on to distract those with more squeamish stomachs!
Have you ever been labeled a couch potato by a family member or friend? Well, as it can sometimes come with a negative association, did you know that you can actually get paid to do just that? That's right; it is the job of professional furniture testers to lounge around during work hours.
They ensure that cushions have enough filling and chairs with enough back support to be equipped with maximum comfortability. Their job consists of sitting, standing, laying down, looking, and determining the safety and enjoyment of an item.
Professional bicycle fishers are in high demand in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is their job to make sure that the canals of the most bike-friendly capital city in the world are properly cleaned. This means that they remove all bikes from below the water via a large magnetic claw or diving into the stream.
It's estimated that these professionals remove about 15,000 rusted-over bikes from the waterways each year. Diane Kleinhout, a spokesperson for Amsterdam's Waternet, explained that fishing for bikes began back in the 1960s when the canals were treated as an open sewer.
Nail Polish Namer
Have you ever wondered who comes up with the unique names of nail polishes? Well, the answer is double-sided. Some companies hire marketing creatives to come up with labels, while others leave it up to the higher-ups like Essie Weingarten of the "Essie" brand. As the founder of the company, she names each of her creations.
"A name has to be witty and fun. It has to have personality, and it has to resonate with what I know [nail polish-wearers] want," Weingarten explained. So, for all of you who have come up with your own paint names, it might just be time to become employed as a nail polish namer!
Golf Ball Diver
The next profession is most common in the Island State of Hawaii. Full of dozens of golf courses, many are situated beside the ocean's edge. So, what happens to the golf balls that end up in the water? Due to their potential to damage the underwater ecosystems, divers are employed to collect all of the "Fore!" balls.
Professional golf ball divers suit up in scuba diving gear, grab their netted bags, and head to the depths of the ocean to collect the lot. Depending on the time they put in, these pros can earn anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 per year! Anyone else suddenly want to wet-suit up?
Professional Ethical Hacker
In a unique twist of events, "White hat hackers" are seen as the good guys when it comes to technology! That's right; large companies employ these pros to break into varying networks, then offer guidance for how to ensure real hackers cannot gain access to the platforms in the future.
Seen here are experienced hackers at 'Insomni'hack, an ethical hacking contest held in Switzerland. During the competition, they attempt to break into the security-oriented challenges put in their way in order to prove their ability to hack in a flash.
On the complete other side of the spectrum is a job with next to no danger involved: Professional sleeping. Yes, that's right, this is a real job! Thanks to NASA and The Minnesota Sleep Institute, people are often paid to sleep by the bed and or pillow makers, sleep researchers, and in this case, the American Space Agency.
The ASA was interested in examining the effects of lying stationary for 70 days, which is the amount of time they estimated to travel to other worlds taking. So, the organizations pay anywhere in the ballpark of $18,000 to have volunteers do nothing at all besides sleep.
To kick off our list, we're starting with an essential job that benefits nearly all humans: deodorant. To test the product's effectiveness, what's referred to as "Odor judges" are employed to smell volunteers' armpits. Intrigued? Us too...
The staff is required to have a keen sense of smell and are tested on it monthly. Deodorant testers are trusted to make sure the products made are effective. For this job, ZipRecruiter estimates their annual salary to be between $38,500 to $101,500 in the U.S. And, top earners make about $114,500 per year.
Have you ever heard of a chicken sexer? If not, we'll tell you all about it. It's a much more straightforward job than one might think. In fact, all it is is identifying the gender of baby chickens. This job is crucial to determine the number of roosters versus hens in a group.
While some people might not think this job gets taken seriously, several sources reported expert "Vent sexers" are expected to check 700 chicks per hour. And on top of that, they're required to maintain at least a 98% accuracy of their gender determinations.
There are tons of people in the world that enjoy fishing, but after picking up the day's bate, not many think about where the can of worms comes from. In states like Maine, worm digging is a needed form of employment due to the amount of fishing that takes place there.
To fill the need for bait in the state, worm diggers are employed to search and sift through the mud. Not just in one place, but all across the land and shoreline to find thousands of worms each day. With the long chain of events that takes place after the bait is in a fisher's hand, worm digging could be considered essential!
Paranormal Tour Guide
Cynthia Young (pictured below) is just one of the many individuals that leads ghost tours across the country. In Alabama, professional paranormal tour guides such as Ms. Young take the bravest of tourists through the state's long and haunted history.
From ghost walks and cemetery tours, haunted houses to twisted tales, these people are professionally trained to cause a spook at just the right moment. While many of us might love Halloween spookies, this paranormal profession is a whole new jack-o-lantern.
Pet Food Taster
Okay, try not to cringe too hard at this next one. Simon Allison is a professional food technologist for Marks and Spencer. His job? To taste new dog and cat food products, including bones, canned food, and treats. This unique job not only fills up Allison's stomach but his wallet too!
He, like other testers, is tasked with ensuring that both the flavor and texture of each item are accurate compared to human meals. And, that it stands out compared to other brand competitors. We can't imagine that this professional ever goes hungry for too long…
Wind Turbine Technician
Have you ever driven by a wind turbine and cranked your neck up to look at the tower's turning blades? Well, we sure have, and each time, we've wondered who is employed to fix them when the wind is just too strong. Well, in many states that have these turbines, technicians are mandatory.
That means that there is a team of brave individuals throughout the world who are not afraid of heights in the slightest. We say this because professional wind turbine technicians often have to climb over 200 feet into the air and strap themselves to the towers while performing maintenance.
We're not kidding when we say that professional cuddling is a job that can make bank. All over the United States, both men and women are employed to give a snuggle to anyone in need. But, there are rules, and payment is mandatory, even for some head scratches.
Whether the customer is looking for spooning, lounging around, or hugging out whatever issue they're personally dealing with, there is always a professional cuddler to call. We don't know about you, but our interest is piqued at being the cuddled and the cuddler.
Little known to many, it is a centuries-old tradition in South East Asia to associate loud funeral guests with assisting those who have passed as they travel to the afterlife. So, it is a common practice for people within the culture to hire the help of professional mourners.
These people are hired to cry and weep as loudly and believably as they can throughout the funeral service. While other cultures may see this as mocking mourners, it is seen as a form of respect in South East Asia. These individuals are so good at their jobs that oftentimes, it causes a louder outcry from attendees.
Dice Quality Inspector
At casinos worldwide, some people are employed to ensure that anyone playing a game that includes dice has the same odds of winning as anyone else. To do this, all dice are inspected before entering a store to be sold or used in a casino by a trained dice quality inspector.
Each batch of dice is checked to see if all sides of the cubes are equal in weight and that there's no hanky panky happening. These professionals also test the rolling and paint qualities. And, those in Missouri are especially busy, seeing as though it is home to a casino-quality dice manufacturer.
Dredge operators such as David Woods (pictured below) use giant machines to extract debris and other objects from bodies of water. Possibly surprising to some, Nebraska is home to parts of large rivers that require a close eye. The state has one dredge operator for every 10,000 "regular" jobs.
But, how much can someone really make sorting through sediment in water? Well, according to several hiring company websites, the range of pay for this crucial job is between $24,000 and $36,000 annually. Not bad for getting to spend your workday on the water!
People have decorated their homes, backyards, poolsides, and front yards with rocks of all shapes and sizes worldwide. But have you ever wondered where all of these stones come from? Well, we have. And, upon looking into it, we found that it's someone's job to chop up sheets of rock to form smaller ones.
The job of breaking apart rocks from stone exporting plants is an extremely physically demanding job that's more common in the state of Oklahoma than in any other place in the United States. If you've recently come into or decorated with a bunch of rocks, there's a good chance they passed through OK first!
Don't quack at this opportunity before you learn about it! The famous Peabody Hotel in Memphis is home to an interesting tradition where a group of five ducks waddles through the lobby of the building. Led by the duck master (the job that might be calling your name), the animals file into the hotel fountain twice a day.
The webbed-footed beings have become widely known as the Peabody Ducks, and their first duck master began his job in 1940. The professional amazingly held the position for 50 years and has since been replaced by another animal fanatic. All masters sport a cherry-red sports coat and guide the ducks down a red carpet to the water.
Water Slide Tester
After Tommy Smith, who traveled the world testing and rating waterslides for four years, Sebastien Smith has since taken over the position as the official waterslide tester in residence for SpashWorld slides. With a paycheck of about $27,500 per year, anyone with this job basically gets paid to have fun under the sun.
Taking the associated adrenaline rush of the slide into consideration with the "Splash factor" of each water-filled ride, these professionals have a big job at hand. They not only need to determine which slides are the most fun but also suggest ways to make the experience of each tube-tastic ride even better.
Rooftop Snow Clearer
There's no denying that the whole world has experienced some pretty chilly snow-filled winters. And, for those who live in homes or buildings that aren't equipped to hold several pounds of frozen water, the job of a rooftop snow clearer comes into play.
No matter how steep the roof, some professionals strap on their gloves and grab their shovels to help out. The people that hold this profession have to have a passion for winter, as it's their job to go out in the cold to make sure enough weight gets taken off of each roof, so there isn't damage to the building.
For anyone who enjoys a satisfying moment of making a clean line on the ground, an object sitting precisely into place, or anything else of the kind, you might want to consider professional floor sanding. It is quite literally the job of these workers to ensure wooden floors are smooth and perfect.
Whether they are sanding, finishing, or buffing wooden floors, the amount of satisfaction of completing a job like this can be almost emotion-inducing. So, who else suddenly wants to buy a sander or become a professional to do this on the daily? Just us? It can't be…
Trained professional flavorists use mixes of chemicals to recreate familiar tastes or entirely new ones within the food that we eat. In this example, Marie Wright, Vice President, and Chief Global Flavorist at Archer Daniels Midland, is gloved up making black truffle flavor.
After getting the recipe and flavor just right, the trained food scientist will pass the concoction on its way to be mixed into an aioli sauce. The long process of becoming a flavorist might seem daunting, but to acquire the keen sensed Wright now has, it might just be worth it!
Cheese Curd Taster
Wisconsin is known worldwide for its immense cheese industry. So, it makes sense that the state is said to produce almost half of all specialty cheeses made in the country. In celebration of this, some unusual cheese-related jobs exist in the area. In fact, in Madison, Wisconsin, there's such thing as a "Curd Nerd."
These specially chosen "Curd Nerds" are employed by the online food ordering company, EatStreet, to travel across the state in search of the best cheese curds in town. Imagine that: Being paid to travel, eat, and rate cheese. Now that sounds like something we'd submit our resume to!
This next job is not for the faint of hearted! The task at hand for a professional snake milker is to collect the venom from poisonous snakes. To do this, they coax the snake to release its poison into a jar that is then used to create anti-venoms and other medications.
While this is one of the most dangerous jobs on our list, it is also arguably one of the most important when it comes to human life! Several environmental science sources report this occupation earning about $30,000 per year. Do you think that's enough for this high-risk job?
For all of the many ways that scientists and bird fanatics track species worldwide, there's banding, where a small identifier is put onto a bird's leg like a bracelet. For example, Roger Everhart, a licensed bird bander and teacher at the School of Environmental Studies at the Minnesota Zoo, does this on the daily.
While sometimes a bird species, in general, is tracked, sometimes researchers are looking for some things in particular. From keeping an eye on a bird's weight to their age, gender, size, or anything else, all can be logged thanks to these pros putting bands on our friends in flight.