The Top 5 Jobs in The US (and how to get them…)

In high school my careers adviser said I should become a mailman, in the end I have been everything from a riding instructor, librarian, a salesman at Toys R Us, a children’s entertainer and an ice cream alchemist, to be honest I still haven’t quite decided what I want to do when I grow up… (45 years old and I still think growing up is over rated!) I saw an infographic from Graduation Source all about careers and how to achieve some of the leading careers in the country. However, this made me want to investigate more more, what were some of the more unique and best paying careers in the US? Also, what do you need to do and where should you look if you want to have one of the more interesting jobs in the country?

It depends if you want to earn the big bucks, become famous or just or do something totally unusual or truly out of this world. Here are, in my opinion, the five top jobs in the US and what you need to do if you want the job. So, grab your CV, brush up on your networking skills and discover a way to get true job satisfaction.

1. Flavorologist

Love food and have a perfect sense of taste? Maybe you could become a flavorologist, a professional employed to taste and assess food.If you are interested, following in the footsteps of John Harrison, a Master Ice Cream Taster for Edy’s Grand Ice Cream.

John ensures that each batch of their delicious ice cream is up to scratch, however he also spends time working with the lab, creating new and exciting flavors. His working day involves up to five hours tasting up to twenty flavors of ice cream (his favorite is still vanilla). His work is so important that the company have his valuable taste buds insured for $1 million. There may be a downside, but I haven’t found it yet!

Flavorologist’s or food scientists to give them their proper title, are employed by many major food manufacturers and earn up to $60,000 per year, according to Payscale data.

Of course it is not all lovely foods like ice cream. Spare a thought for Philip Wells a professional dog food taster for natural dog food manufacturer Lily’s Kitchen. Phillip says that the worst part of the job not the taste, but is the deadlines and that he quite enjoys the food. No wonder my dog seems to enjoy it so much!

2. Snoozeahologist… (Professional Sleeper)

If you are not great first thing in the morning and the lure of your bed is too powerful to brave the day, then perhaps the role of professional sleeper is an option for you. There are a number of medical schools who require people to sleep for medical trials where you can earn over $10,000 just for relaxing in bed, the only downside is that you have to be wired up to a range of medical devices to track your sleep patterns.

If being wired up while you nap is not for you, there are some hotels who hire people to sleep. Take the Hotel Finn in Helsinki. They advertised for a dynamic individual who would spend time sleeping in each of its 35 rooms. As the hotel stated, “this person will share their thoughts, adventures and experiences of living in the best spot of summery Helsinki.” It may seem simple, but the successful candidate was required to speak English, Finnish and Russian.

Figures on Simply Hired that a professional sleeper could earn on average $61,586 per year, not a bad figure simply for resting.

3. Movie Star

Perhaps the lure of the big screen attracts you. How does one get into pictures? Start with a good grounding in acting at one of the major acting programs such as Julliard or Yale School of Drama. With a practice and qualifications in acting you are still only at the beginning of your journey.

You should consider moving to one of the major cities where the film industry is located such as New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. Even the big stars have to live near the industry if they want to be in regular work, it is just another day at the office. Additionally, you will need to join SAG-Aftra the union which represents professional actors, without this you will not be able to work on union projects.

You need a portfolio and ensure you look for as many opportunities to be ‘seen’ as you can this may include attending open casting sessions — you should consider this to be your main job if you do wish to get into the industry. Alternatively you could try being an extra or working behind the scenes, looking to work your way up to the limelight.

Of course it doesn’t mean that you will immediately hit the big time, the average salary of SAG-Aftra union members is $53,423 but with luck you could be as big as stars like Jackie Chan who last year earned over $61 million.

4. Anesthesiologist

A survey by the United States Department of Labour has shown that over half the professionals in the top paid jobs in the US are in the healthcare industry with Anesthesiologist being the highest paid averaging over $246,000 per year.

Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who are responsible for the safety of patients before, during and after surgery. Undertaking a long program of education lasting up twelve years to complete with a four-year undergraduate degree followed by at least four years at medical school and then four year anesthesiology residency program. This is often followed by an additional fellowship year or specialist training.

There are over thirty thousand anesthesiologists in the United States with an expectation that there will be an increase of 18% over the next five years, so if you study hard, in just 13 years this could be your new career.

5. Astronaut

If the sky really is the limit, perhaps you feel the call of space. Looking at the stars you may wish to be one of the small number who find the opportunity to leave this planet in the same way that Clayton C. Anderson did.

Clayton was an astronaut and previous resident of the international space station for 152 days. In his book “An Ordinary Spaceman” he explains that when he started as an astronaut candidate he earned $90,000 and when he retired he was on a salary of $150,000, not that the money is everything. As British astronaut Tim Peake said of space travel — “Living and working on board the International Space Station is the best place you could be as a professional.”

So how do you become an astronaut? NASA state the basic requirements are:

  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics, followed by at least three years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-charge command of a jet aircraft. Quality of academic preparation is important.
  • The ability to pass a NASA space physical, which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:
  • Distance visual acuity: 20/200 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20, each eye.
  • Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position.
  • A height between 58.5 and 76 inches.

Sounds simple? Pass the basic requirements you still have to get through the rigorous selection and training program. You will then need to go through a week long interview process. If, and only if, you pass all of these you will have to undertake a 2 year program of training and evaluation. This includes time in a zero-g simulator the charmingly nicknamed ‘vomit comet’ a plane which climbs before dipping almost in free-fall to give you zero g. Sadly it is said to make some people ill, hence the nickname!

The chances of being an astronaut are somewhat slim, at the time of writing there were no astronaut jobs being advertised on the NASA job site and the last intake was in 2015. However, if you persevere you could join the ranks of the 536 people who have been in space.

Study hard, it could be you, go on give the astronaut selection office on 281–483–5907 and ask them if you can fly into space!

Picture Credits — Astronaut, Ice Cream Cone, Clapperboard,Bedroom,Surgery from

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