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Nine cool jobs that pay well

  • Story Highlights
  • Toy creators get paid to think of ideas for new toys, produce and play with them
  • Food scientists spend their days in laboratories developing new flavors
  • Sommeliers know everything about wines, and can make six figures
  • Event planners get to visit various sites and network with various people
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By Anthony Balderrama
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Of course there is more to life than being cool -- at least that's what our parents said when nobody would invite us to parties in high school.

But when you're surrounded by beige walls reading inane e-mails all day, you can't help but wonder if there isn't a cooler job out there that will still put food on the table.

Good news: There are cooler jobs and they pay pretty well.

Plenty of people are going to work every morning and having a lot of fun while doing it. That's not to say they don't work hard -- these jobs might be cool but they're not easy.

If you're prepared to put in some elbow grease and be the envy of your working-stiff friends, consider these cool jobs:

1. Brewmaster

To put it mildly, a lot of people like to drink beer. It's associated with goods times, 21st birthdays and football games. (In fairness, it's also associated with hangovers the next day.)

Who wouldn't want to be the creator of a tasty ale that will be imbibed by many the partygoer? Plus, you get to do taste-testing along the way, which is always fun.

Salary: $42,430*

2. Toy creator

Most kids dream of spending every waking minute in a toy store. Most adults, though, aren't too keen on the idea of dealing with screaming children all day.

Toy creators, also known as commercial and industrial designers, get the best of both worlds: They use their imaginations and play with toys without the hassle of noisy customers. They get paid to think of ideas for new toys, produce them and play with them to see if they're ready to go into production.

Salary: $54,560**

3. Food scientist

You might not have ever cared who creates all the different flavors of ice cream as long as the scoops keep appearing in your bowl. Well, food scientists spend their days in laboratories developing and perfecting new flavors so that low-fat birthday cake ice cream tastes good and not, well, low-fat.

Sure, you might put on a little weight, but it's a small price to pay for making your living off of ice cream.

Salary: $53,810**

4. Doll fashion designer

If you've ever played with dolls, you know that their fashion accessories are no small matter. Barbeques, dinner parties, sailing -- these dolls have outfits for every occasion.

Fashion designers, like the ones who create the clothes you're wearing right now, decide what attire dolls need and come up with the best design to sell to the public. It might sound like child's play, but consider that Barbie's wardrobe makes Mattel one of the world's largest clothing manufacturers.

Salary: $62,610**

5. Sommelier

Fine diners know that the perfect meal isn't just about the entrée; it's also about the glass of wine that accompanies each course. From the first taste of the cheese flight to the last bite of gelato, the right wine can elevate any meal to a new level. Of course, if you're like many people, you don't know if a Riesling is the best match for fresh tilapia or if it's a faux pas that will send the chef into tears.

Fear not. Sommeliers know everything about wines, from the vineyards they were pressed in to the best entrées to pair them with. They take courses and obtain certification to become bona fide experts on the subjects so you never have to look at a wine list with confusion in your eyes.

Salary: $28,000 for novice sommeliers and $80,000-$160,000 for certified Master Sommeliers.**

6. Athletic trainer

Every sports team has an athletic trainer on hand to get athletes into shape and to prevent injuries. They know what stretches and exercises they need to get ready for a big game and how to treat any injuries that do occur.

It's a sweet gig for anyone who wants to be as close as possible to the action on the field without having to actually play the sport.

Salary: $36,560**

7. Event planner

Event planners are responsible for finding convention and meeting sites, orchestrating enrollment and registration, possibly making transportation arrangements for attendees and negotiating prices for venues and hotels.

What makes this job cool is that, although you work hard ironing out the many wrinkles that big events entail, you get to visit various sites and network with people of every imaginable industry, which means you're not stuck at a desk all day.

Salary: $42,180**

8. Wardrobe stylist

If your friends and family come to you when they don't know what to wear -- or you offer this advice even when they don't ask -- you're suited to be a wardrobe stylist. You get to use your fashion sense to dress actors in commercials, TV shows and movies so that the characters' clothes match their fictitious lifestyle.

For example, you know how to dress a 20 year-old actress so she looks like a believable high school student or like a successful businesswoman, depending on the role.

Salary: Depending on the type of production and the stylist's experience, pay ranges from $1,000 per week to $10,000 per week.

9. Concert promoter

On average, concerts are two hours of loud, hand-clapping fun, full of good music and swirling lights. However, making those two hours happen isn't easy work. Concert promoters decide which cities artists should visit, choose the venues they play and get sponsors for the tours.

Plus, all the logistics that come with the each show, such as security precautions and even the amount of bathrooms available for concertgoer, are their domain. It's tough work but they get to see free shows and travel around the country.

Salary: Earnings depend on the type of concert and its success, so the pay can be as low as minimum wage and, for industry veterans, as high as millions per year.

*Median salary based on data from

**Median salary based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority

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