16 Awesome Career Choices That Most College Kids Have Never Heard Of

Emmie Martin

For many students, a college degree puts you on the direct path to a certain career, such as a doctor, teacher, or journalist. 

But for many others, the future isn't as clear cut.

Maybe you want to go to med school, but don't necessarily want to be a doctor. Maybe you love maps, but aren't sure how to incorporate that passion into a career. Or perhaps you just haven't found anything that sounds appealing yet. 

Luckily, there are tons of great career options out there that many college kids have no idea even exist. In this helpful thread, Reddit users shared some of these under-the-radar occupations that most students probably haven't heard of. A fun bonus: most of them are pretty lucrative as well. 

Here are 16 of our favorites, including salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, for those who need some inspiration finding their dream job.

Did we forget any awesome, lesser-known jobs? Let us know in the comments.

Air traffic controller

Median annual salary: $122,530

"After school and training it pays an average of 100k a year, but there is an age limit to get accepted." —Kate1320

"My father is an ATC at Pearson. 200k a year with brilliant benefits. He provided a great quality of life for my family." —1stOnRT1

Court stenographer

"It's a three-year program (on average — took me four to finish), but if you're proficient in grammar, have strong language skills, have solid finger dexterity from playing an instrument or video games, and are able to work independently, it's an incredible career.

"You work from home most of the time, lawyers very rarely schedule depositions before 10:00 am, you can make your own schedule, and the pay is great. Your pay reflects how hard you want to work and the jobs you're getting, but I made 65k my first year and nearly 80k my second." —Bad_Karma21

Industrial design

Median annual salary: $59,610

Anesthesiology Assistant

Median annual salary for similar position*: $90,930

Geomatic engineering/Land surveying

Median annual salary: $56,230

"Most surveyors are old. For instance, the average age of a surveyor in the state of California is in the mid to late fifties, which means you will definitely get a job out of college and you can quickly work your way up to a decent six figure income once you get your professional license." —TheGeomatician

"Yes. Definitely yes. My dad actually worked for a surveyor for a while and has done surveying off and on as a technician. Made a livable income for someone who dropped out of college after a semester and funded a very heavy smoking habit. I've considered getting a side job with a surveyor in a year or two since part of my current degree involves Geographic Information Systems." —da_asparagus

Packaging engineering

Median annual salary: $85,150

"There are only a few schools who offer this degree but the level of difficulty is not high and the unemployment rate after graduation is incredibly low. Also you are likely to be hired to Fortune 500 companies, (P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Bemis, etc.)" —Klarkson1273

Hearing aid practitioner/Audiologist

Median annual salary: $69,720

"Jobs jobs everywhere. Same goes for speech pathologists. Requires a grad degree and a lot of clinic hours, state certification, but the pay is great and jobs are plentiful. Work is rewarding too, helping people communicate who otherwise couldn't is pretty rad." —PaleoVision

Physician assistant

Median annual salary: $90,930

"The short of it is a two to two and half year long post-grad program, and then you're able to work in the industry with a comparatively high level of independence and earning six figures doing something that results in one feeling as though they're making some sort of difference.

"It's not an easy way out, of course, but it's so much less commitment than medical school, and with the way med school costs are going, it's very possible that throughout the entirety of your career you can out-earn many doctors who don't specialize in a particularly expensive specialty. And this also comes with the ability to change specialties without going back to school." —You_Dont_Party

Hospital technology repair

Median annual salary: $44,570

"My brother in law works for a medical repair company. He made 55k starting, 15 an hour during the internship, and owned his own house at 23. They fly him around for free whenever someone out of state calls." —CurioustoaFault

"As a former biomed technician, I can confirm that it's a very solid industry to get in on. Medical equipment (even on the smaller scale, infusion pumps, defibrillators, and portable suction machines) are ridiculously overpriced, and with this comes huge maintenance prices too. I remember one week in particular, our team of four technicians working on a particular job billed $35,000+ for our company simply doing routine checks on certain equipment in one of the nearby hospitals." —Bananaman_lives 

Internal auditing

Median annual salary: $63,550

Mining engineer

"It can be cyclical (bit of a miner lull right now in my specific resource/location right now) but on a good year it is white hot. I signed on to a $100k salary (plus bonus and benefits) straight out of my bachelors degree at 23 for a job that had me moving across the planet (Canada to Australia). The year I graduated we finished school in May and 80% of my graduating class had jobs lined up already and the remainder found jobs by the end of July.

Tower technician

Average salary: $20/hour

"I've been doing this for a few years and I'll pull in roughly 60 to 70k this year. It's great if you like working outdoors, like heights, and enjoy traveling. It's hard to get bored when you're in a new town every week working with guys who have your back. The cool thing is you don't need a college degree, or any kind of education (Personally, I have my Bachelors in an unrelated field)." —IClimbStuff


Median annual salary for similar position*: $56,560

"Very few people know this, but blacksmithing is something still practiced in today's society. Very few colleges have courses in it and I believe that mine is the only one that you can get a degree in it (Southern Illinois University of Carbondale). I am a student in this program. It is immensely fun. I have made knives, art, pedestals, hammers. I love talking about what I do but very few people understand it. And there is quite a job market for it too." —FarlandMetals

*Some median salaries were not available via the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so data for similar positions was used.

Funeral director

"My friends whole family are morticians and funeral directors. Not one of them makes less than $50k. One of them finished mortician science school at 20 and started making $60k as an apprentice and in a couple years he'll be a full blown embalmer making twice that." —Austronano

Geospatial/geographic information systems

Median annual salary for similar position*: $62,540

"It's basically the 21st century version of cartography and it's a field that ranges everything from making maps (think Google Maps or Garmin), pollution tracking, civil planning, interpretation of satellite imagery, and countless other uses. It primarily centers around the use of GIS programs like ArcMap or GrassGIS to graphically represent quantitative data.

Technical writing

Median annual salary: $65,500

"It's an interesting an exciting field for people with diverse backgrounds (everything from a liberal arts degree to engineering)." —Anonymous

"If you say get onto the back end of a high technology firm writing manuals for the operation of there equipment, you will be exposed to some of the latest and greatest that technology has to offer." —WilliamOfOrange

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