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As a kid, you daydream about the kind of job you’d like to have as you get older. And unsurprisingly, what makes a suitable dream job largely centers around how fun it would be.

Of course, as you get older and become more aware of adults’ responsibilities, the primary driver behind your choice of career migrates from “fun” to “will best pay the bills.”

But you don’t always have to sacrifice one for the other—you can find plenty of fun jobs that pay well, too.

Today, I’m going to go over several high-paying jobs that many people also find entertaining, fulfilling, and/or downright fun. For each job, I’ll show you the average annual salary, how many people are employed in that career, explain what they do, and provide the requirements to enter the field.

 

High-Paying Fun Jobs


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Obviously, not everybody will agree on the definition of a “fun job.” Some people love jobs that require excellent customer service skills, while others prefer more solitary work. Some people thrive where they can put their creative juices to use, while others prefer straightforward, task-oriented jobs.

All a way of saying: There’s no one universal dream job. 

In our look at high-paying fun jobs, we considered professions that typically boast high satisfaction. And we defined high-paying jobs as ones with an average annual salary of at least $100,000. Each average salary and employment number comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook. It uses data from May 2023, which is the most recently available data. 

These fun jobs are listed in order of the lowest mean (average) annual salary to highest.

10. Special Effects Artists and Animators


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $109,630
  • 2023 employment: 29,940

Special effects artists and animators make special effects or animations for media such as movies, commercials, and computer games. Says the BLS: “Special effects artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows.” Some of these workers mainly use computer software, while others prefer to draw or paint by hand before translating their work into computer programs, and still others work in physical mediums where their work is never digitized.

Why is this a fun job? Special effects artists and animators get to be creative with their work and learn new computer skills and programs. Many are proud of seeing their work in use. 

For example, they might collaborate with a video game designer and other team members to create a visually appealing video game. And the psychological payoff is pretty direct—every time they play the game or watch someone else play, they get to see how their hard work paid off. (The actual pay isn’t bad, either: This career’s average annual salary is $109,630, per BLS data.)

These creatives usually need a bachelor’s degree in animation, computer graphics, fine arts, or a related field. Some schools offer specialized degrees in topics such as game design or interactive media. Additionally, candidates should have a strong portfolio, which can be developed while earning a degree.

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9. Art Directors


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $125,920
  • 2023 employment: 51,200

Art directors manage the work of other artists and designers who create images for magazines, television, film, newspapers, product packaging, and more. These leaders are the ones ultimately responsible for the overall visual style and the message it sends to consumers. 

This is another career that lets people flex their creative muscles. These professionals are often given a lot of freedom, which helps to make it a fun and exciting job. Some also mentor designers, which can be enjoyable. And according to the BLS, the average annual salary for this job is $125,920.

Typically, art directors have a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, a design subject, or a related field. Some earn a master of fine arts. Additionally, the majority of art directors have at least five years of work experience in a relevant occupation, such as graphic design or photography.

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8. Astronomers


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $128,940
  • 2023 employment: 2,080

Not to be confused with astrologers who write horoscopes (though that does sound fun!), astronomers observe, study, and interpret astronomical phenomena. They may use what they learn to increase the world’s knowledge base, or use the information to solve problems.

This can be a very fun job; astronomers get to study the vast universe and have the opportunity to make interesting discoveries. And this field allows people to use advanced telescopes and other technology. 

The majority of research astronomers hold a doctorate in astronomy or physics as well as a master’s or bachelor’s degree in one of the same fields. Advanced mathematical knowledge is necessary for this career. But acquiring all of this knowledge can pay off: BLS data shows this profession has a mean annual salary of $128,940.

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7. Nurse Midwives


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $131,570
  • 2023 employment: 6,960

Nurse midwives are invaluable to pregnant women, as these workers coordinate nearly every aspect of the birthing process. They may work independently or as a member of a health care team. 

Prior to a birth, a nurse midwife might help with prenatal care, explain to expecting mothers the birthing process, and perform preventative health screenings. During the birth, they can check the labor progress, help with pain management, and aid in managing complications. Following a birth, they may offer breastfeeding education and postpartum care.

While nurse midwife work can be physically draining, many find it to be a rewarding job. Many of the more fun aspects of this job come before and after the birth. A nurse midwife can date the pregnancy, reveal a baby’s gender to expecting parents, and watch parents’ reactions during ultrasounds. Following a birth, some nurse midwives provide newborn care (or in other words, they get to interact with cute babies).

These professionals have excellent communication skills as they work intimately with mothers and other family members. It can be fun to develop these deep relationships. 

It’s also a financially rewarding job: The BLS data puts the average annual salary for this career at $131,570.

For this line of work, you need to have a registered nurse license, which means you either got an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. A BSN is necessary for getting advanced degrees. For advanced nurse midwife positions, people earn a master of science in nursing or a doctoral degree to be a certified nurse midwife. Nurse midwives also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination.

 

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6. Aerospace Engineers


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $134,330
  • 2023 employment: $66,660

It’s actual rocket science!

Aerospace engineers design and develop spacecraft, satellites, aircraft, and missiles. Under the aerospace engineer umbrella are aeronautical engineers, who work with aircraft, and astronautical engineers, who work with spacecraft.

For the right kind of person, aerospace engineering can be a fun job because these employees get to work with innovative technology, solve industry problems, and push ahead in the development of flight and spacefaring. It can be exciting to create and test prototypes, too. 

In exchange for their specialized knowledge, these professionals earn an average annual salary of $134,330, based on BLS data. 

Usually, aerospace engineers need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. While you don’t need licensure for entry-level positions, experienced engineers sometimes earn a Professional Engineering license, which lets them manage other engineers. Each state has its own license, but they typically recognize other state licenses that meet or exceed their requirements. 

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5. Computer and Information Research Scientists


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $157,160
  • 2023 employment: 35,210

Working as theorists, inventors, or designers, computer and information research scientists develop uses for technology. Collaborating with engineers and scientists, they solve challenging computer problems. These workers also often develop new computing languages, conduct experiments, write research papers, and present at conferences.

While not a great fit for everyone, for the right people, this can be a fun job. This career can often be done remotely and offers a flexible schedule. The field of computer science allows workers to be innovative and create real-world solutions for consumers. The average annual salary for this job is $157,160, per BLS data.

Federal government-related jobs in this field might only require a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology. However, for non-governmental jobs, employees often need a master’s degree in computer science or a related field. Some companies prefer people who have a Ph.D. Those who work in a specialized field, such as biomedical applications, may need knowledge of that field.

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4. Physicists


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $158,270
  • 2023 employment: 18,350

Physicists research the fundamental properties that govern time, space, energy, and matter. Some conduct experiments and study theory to increase the world’s knowledge about physics. Others use what they know about the topic to develop new technologies or solve problems.

It’s very common for physicists to work at universities. Those that do typically split up their time between teaching, researching, and writing scientific articles. Some physicists work as part of a team in laboratories. Others work independently solving problems, which is the best fit for introverts.

If you’re intrigued by space and enjoy problem solving, you would likely find being a physicist a fun job. This is a great career for people with a curious spirit who love to learn how things work. And the average annual salary for this profession is $158,270, according to BLS data.

Physicists start by earning a bachelor’s degree in physics. Some choose to also get a master’s degree in the subject. Those who want to be a professor or work in the most prestigious research positions obtain a Ph.D. The more research a person has conducted, the better.

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3. Psychiatrists


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $256,930
  • 2023 employment: 24,830

Psychiatrists diagnose, treat, and can even help prevent mental disorders. treat mental disorders. Note that this employment category excludes clinical and counseling psychologists: While both psychiatrists and psychologists are experts on mental health, psychiatrists are also trained in medicine.

Although it can be stressful, being a psychiatrist can also be a fun job. People with the occupation get to see the health of their patients improve and know they are making a positive difference. It can be fascinating to hear patients’ stories and the process makes the psychiatrist more empathetic. 

Their bank accounts are richly rewarded, too. Based on BLS data, the average annual salary for this career is $256,930.

It isn’t easy to become a psychiatrist, though. Psychiatrists have to go through medical school and graduate as a doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). Next, they spend four years completing a residency program in psychiatry. Some spend another year or two getting a subspecialty and certification. Plus, psychiatrists need to pass the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology initial certification exam. 

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2. Athletes and Sports Competitors


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $328,830
  • 2023 employment: 14,930

As you probably already know, athletes and sports competitors compete in athletic events to entertain others. To prepare for these events, they need to stay in peak physical condition, practice, and evaluate their performance to learn what they can improve.

Many people would consider these among the most fun jobs you can have, given how many people participate in sports just for the love of the game. 

The pay’s mighty good if you can play at a professional level. The average annual salary for this professional is $328,830, per BLS data. The most elite athletes make substantially more—in the millions of dollars per year.

Unfortunately, these fun careers are hard to come by. There are only so many positions available, after all.

There are no formal education requirements for athletes and sports competitors. Instead, they must have a very high level of athletic talent. They also need to know all the ins and outs of their sport, such as the rules, regulations, and best strategies. Many people begin training at a young age and continue developing their skills through years of practice.

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1. Dermatologists


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  • 2023 mean annual wage: $342,860
  • 2023 employment: 12,040

Dermatologists diagnose and treat issues related to skin, hair, and nails. They may also perform medical and dermatological surgeries. 

Medical work can often be depressing, overwhelming, and have long hours. But there is also a lot of variation within the vast field of medicine. Specialties in radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesia, and dermatology (ROAD) often require fewer hours and are even considered enjoyable.

Of course, even if you didn’t enjoy dermatology, the exceedingly high pay—$342,860 annually, on average—would be more than enough reason to grit your teeth and get through the day.

It’s a long journey to become a dermatologist, however. You start by earning a bachelor’s degree and passing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Then, you need to attend medical school and pass the first two parts of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Finally, you have to complete your residency, pass the third part of the USMLE, get a license, and become board certified. The entire process can take up to 13 years.

 

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Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper has been a professional writer since 2016 and has worked with WealthUp (formerly Young & the Invested) since 2019.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she was still immersed in words through previous roles as a library specialist and teacher. Her background in education helps her take complex topics and turn them into easy-to-understand text.

Hannah holds a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. When she isn’t writing, Hannah is usually found playing with her niece and nephew, traveling, or brewing more coffee.