Cool jobs may not grow on trees, but they do make life more interesting. After all, who wants a world in which only ho-hum occupations exist? If most of us have to work for a living, then we at least deserve a chance at doing something that doesn’t make us all yawn when we talk about it.
The coolest jobs give us hope. They stoke our imagination and inspire us to keep striving for a world that rewards curiosity, playfulness, risk-taking, and willful service to others. They represent bold steps forward in our collective evolution. Plus, awesome jobs aren’t just fascinating or impressive; they are also proof that humans don’t necessarily have to work in dullsville. With today’s cool careers as our examples, we can create more occupations that make us feel alive and energized instead of numb and bored.
What makes a job cool? Well, for starters, a cool job provides a fun topic of conversation. Almost everyone enjoys discussing fascinating, adventurous, out-of-the-ordinary, or impactful careers. But, frequently, an awesome job is also one in which the person who has it feels like he or she is living the dream and doing something that doesn’t feel much like work at all.
That said, everybody has a unique perspective on the world as well as a unique set of interests. So one person’s “cool” job is often another person’s “I don’t really care about that” job. It’s all a matter of taste, experience, and personality. Even so, most people can probably agree that the following jobs are pretty awesome.
The extensive list of cool jobs below is in no particular order. But it is broken into eight different categories based on general interests and personality types. As you explore them, you’ll notice that some of the jobs could easily fall under more than one category. They include jobs for:
Awesome Careers for Big Kids
Some of us never want to grow up. We might be adults, but we still value the joyful feelings created by engaging in fun and games that are supposedly only reserved for children. Thankfully, many adults are able to make a living by being the big kids that they truly are at heart.
1. Video game designer
It’s easy to feel childlike wonder when you get to dream up new worlds, characters, storylines, and other game elements. Plus, bringing those things to life involves collaborating with a variety of fun-loving professionals such as writers, programmers, and other people trained in art and design.
2. Lego master model builder
Lego bricks are some of the coolest, most popular toys of all time. They are just plain fun. And, for a few lucky teens and adults, Lego bricks represent the building blocks of their entire careers. They get paid to design, build, install, and maintain awesome Lego models and conduct workshops at the toy maker’s various theme parks and events.
- Reports vary, but pay can sometimes go well above $12 per hour. However, Lego model builders usually begin their careers as apprentices and reportedly earn pay closer to around $10 per hour in the beginning.
3. Disney face character
What could be more childlike than pretending to be a Disney prince, princess, fairy, or evil villain all day at one of the company’s popular theme parks? It’s a job that is all about making kids (including big kids like you) smile, laugh, and feel pure joy and wonder. Most face characters begin their careers in furry costumes before moving on to their other roles.
- According to one report, pay starts at about $8.20 per hour and rises to a maximum of about $13.59 per hour.7
4. Amusement park ride tester
From kiddie rides to roller coasters and other thrill rides, every attraction at every amusement park needs to undergo regular testing in order to ensure safe and fun experiences for guests. Positions for this type of job are limited since the responsibility of actually riding each attraction often falls to a park’s operations manager. But if rides are your favorite thing, then no other job could be more awesome.
- Average salary (for operations managers at amusement parks and arcades)—$92,7201
5. Professional mermaid
Here’s another job that is almost too cool to believe. Some people get paid to wear mermaid costumes and perform under water as part of shows or attractions at hotels, resorts, theme parks, fairs, and various events. They are also sometimes hired for film or photography shoots. Most professional mermaids are strong swimmers, physically fit, and have backgrounds in freediving, which means that they can hold their breath for two to five minutes at a time.
- Pay varies significantly, but some mermaid performers reportedly earn between $100 and $300 per event.
6. Toy designer
Some industrial designers specialize in dreaming up new and innovative toys. They can often let their imaginations run wild while developing toy ideas that kids might find cool. From dinosaurs to aquatic robots, the playful possibilities are endless.
- Average salary (for all industrial designers)—$71,4301
7. Skateboarding instructor
A lot of cities and recreational organizations host periodic skateboard camps where kids and teens can learn the basics of this fun activity. As a result, instructors are often hired to help teach and mentor kids in the art of safely riding skateboards and performing simple tricks. It’s even possible to get certified through an organization such as the Skateboard Instructors Association.
- Pay varies, but some jobs have been advertised for as much as $15 per hour or more.
8. Prop master
Theater, television, and movie productions always require people to acquire or create believable props. It’s frequently a fun and creative job that feels more like playtime than work.
- Average salary—$42,3545
9. Stunt coordinator
Imagine having the awesome job of designing impressive action sequences for movies, TV shows, or live performances. Stunt coordinators help cast the people who perform dangerous stunts and choreograph each sequence based on the goals of directors and what has been scripted.
- Average salary—$39,5365
10. Summer camp counselor
People who help kids have a great time at organized camps frequently have some of the coolest summer jobs. They often get to lead fun outdoor activities and make full use of their penchant for imaginative play.
- Average pay—$9.00 per hour2
11. Professional storyteller
Oral storytelling has a long tradition that goes back several centuries. And it is still alive and well today. In fact, some people have built successful careers out of telling popular and obscure folk tales or ghost stories at public or private events. They’ve developed a captivating style of performance that fires up the imagination in both kids and adults.
- Most professional storytellers are self-employed, so pay rates vary. But some of them have reported charging $250 per hour or more for their performances.