Five High-Paying Jobs That Are Fun

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Just because it's called "work" doesn't mean you can't have fun while earning a hefty paycheck.

By Andrea Duchon

Unfortunately, many people think that earning a hefty paycheck means working a boring job and long hours. Are you one of those people? If so, we're here to tell you that it's quite possible to have an exciting job that doesn't make you groan each morning and pays you a great wage.

"There are plenty of careers out there that combine elements of fun like spontaneity, flexible schedules, and creativity with a high pay," says Bruce Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, a career counseling and executive recruitment firm.

We took a look at five fun careers that pay a median annual wage of at least $44,000. Keep reading to find out which jobs offer elements of excitement, creativity, and spontaneity to your daily grind.

Career #1: PR Specialist

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Median
Annual Wage*
$54,170
Top 10 Percent of Earners*
$101,030
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners*
$30,760

Have you always wanted a career where you get to story tell, connect with people, and take the stage as the center of attention? If that sounds like a fun way to earn your paycheck, perhaps you should take a look at a career as a public relations specialist.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, PR specialists write press releases and prepare information for the media in order to create and maintain a favorable public image for their clients.

Why It Pays: "This position pays well, because you need a number of skills: media savvy, speaking skills, and articulation on paper. More often than not, an understanding of various software suites like the Adobe suite [Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign] and Corel is also needed," says Eddie LaMeire, CEO of LaMeire College Consulting, a higher education consulting agency.

Additionally, Hurwitz says that PR specialists command a good salary, because they have the ability to make their clients look good while saving them money through excellent problem-solving, decision-making, and crisis management techniques.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Communications Program.

Education Options: PR specialists typically need a bachelor's degree in a field like public relations, journalism, communications, business, or English, notes the Department of Labor.

Career #2: Graphic Designer

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Median
Annual Wage
$44,150
Top 10 Percent of Earners
$77,490
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners
$26,250

Pretty websites and marketing materials don't just make themselves! They're produced by the creative minds of graphic designers. In this career, Bob Hankin, program director of graphic design at Bellevue University, says the atmosphere, the collaborative nature of design, and the ability to be ultra-creative at work contribute to the fun factor.

But what do graphic designers actually do on the job?

They meet with clients to determine project scope, create images to convey brand identity or a message, and present designs to clients or an art director, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It Pays: Hankin says a graphic designer's ability to combine type and image within a given space to deliver a specific message requires an experienced skill set that companies are willing to pay for.

LaMeire adds that graphic designers are often coveted in the labor market for the simple reason that every business needs one.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.

Education Options: A bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field is usually required, says the Department of Labor. However, those with a bachelor's degree in another field can pursue technical training to meet employer qualifications.

Career #3: Software Developer

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Median
Annual Wage
$90,060
Top 10 Percent of Earners
$138,880
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners
$55,190

Maybe you've always had a knack for problem solving or you're fascinated by what makes a laptop run. If this sounds like you, a career as a software developer could allow you to inject some fun into your daily routine and pay you big bucks to head to work.

Hurwitz says that the work is fun, because software developers are creating something tangible from a bunch of ones and zeros. For example, think of the popular game Candy Crush - a software developer made that fun, addictive app for you to enjoy!

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, software developers create applications that allow people to do a specific task on a computer. They accomplish this by analyzing users' needs, then designing, testing, and developing software that fits those needs.

Why It Pays: Everybody needs a programmer who knows what they're doing, which is why the demand for this profession is even higher, says LaMeire.

Hurwitz adds that designing software takes a special skill set for which employers are willing to pay top dollar. "As the healthcare.gov fiasco proves, not everyone can do it, and it costs a great deal to clean up the mess of those who cannot. That is why they earn the salaries that they earn."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Education Options: Usually, software developers have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field, plus strong computer-programming skills. Additionally, the Department of Labor says a degree in math is acceptable.

Career #4: Event Planner

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Median
Annual Wage
$45,810
Top 10 Percent of Earners
$79,270
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners
$26,560

If you ever saw the movie "The Wedding Planner" with Jennifer Lopez and thought, "Yep, that's my dream job," listen up! A career as a wedding planner could give you the satisfaction of a steady salary while keeping you on your toes.

"The fun is in seeing a plan come to fruition on the day or night of the event through organization and planning," says Hurwitz.

And the U.S. Department of Labor says event planners achieve that plan by meeting with clients to understand the purpose of the event, plan the scope, inspect places, coordinate event staff, and review event bills.

Why It Pays: Event planners are given responsibility for making certain that the final stage of an effort - a product launch, a fundraising event, or a big meeting - is perfect, says Hurwitz.

For example, he adds, if the sound system doesn't work at a product launch, it will reflect poorly on the company. "It has to be perfect. Event planners are hired to be perfect. That's why they make good money," Hurwitz says.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Program.

Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, event planning applicants should have at least a bachelor's degree and work experience in hotels or planning. Some related fields of study include public relations, communications, business, marketing, and hospitality management.

Career #5: Marketing Manager

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Median
Annual Wage
$119,480
Top 10 Percent of Earners
$187,199+
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners
$62,650

Whether you realize it or not, you're bombarded with marketing all day long. How many of those messages actually get through? If you think you'd like to take a crack at developing a marketing campaign, take a look at the career of a marketing manager.

Dr. Julia Cronin-Gilmore, marketing professor at Bellevue University, says a marketing manager's job is fun, because there's something new to work on each day.

"It's not a repetitive-task job and is filled with deciding what messages to craft, how an ad or video will look, and what strategy makes sense plus managing others, such as graphic artists, to create elements that maintain a brand's consistency," she adds.

Along with planning programs to generate interest in their clients, marketing managers work with department heads, negotiate ad contracts, and meet with clients to provide advice on their marketing, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It Pays: LaMeire says to think of it this way: As a marketing manager, you're often juggling advertising, public relations, and media interactions.

"On top of this, marketing managers will be responsible for developing and implementing the creative vision of any marketing campaign, and the creation of the 'brand' is something that companies are willing to pay for," he notes.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Marketing Program.

Education Options: The Department of Labor says a bachelor's degree is required for most positions, in addition to relevant work experience. Coursework in business law, economics, management, accounting, finance, math, and statistics gives candidates an advantage in pursuing this career. The Department also notes that many managers are former sales reps, purchasing agents, buyers, or PR specialists.

* All salary information from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages data, May 2012.

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