While salaries vary based on a variety of factors, we found eight professions, a list compiled by CareerBuilder writer, Susan Ricker, that offer a better — or worse — average income than most people would expect.
1. Air traffic controller* 2010 median pay: $108,040 What they do: Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of air traffic to ensure that planes stay safe distances apart. Why the surprise: While the excitement may be on the planes with the pilots and flight attendants, the big salaries are in the air traffic control towers. Airline and commercial pilots get paid $92,060 annually, and flight attendants make $37,740, though the coordination, organization and attention to detail needed by air traffic controllers give them a major pay bump.
2. Announcer 2010 median pay: $27,010 What they do: Announcers present music, news and sports and may provide commentary or interview guests about these topics or other important events. Some act as a master of ceremonies or DJs at weddings, parties or clubs. Why the surprise: Celebrity announcers and emcees may have the coveted paychecks, but theirs are usually due in part to their celebrity status. Events and parties often require announcers, no matter the size, and the paycheck tends to get bigger as your talent and notoriety grow.
3. Legislator 2010 median pay: $19,260 What they do: Legislators are elected officials who develop laws for the federal government or for local or state governments. Why the surprise: Legislators and politicians often have a reputation for being wealthy, though this median pay would suggest otherwise. While each state has its own standard for paying its legislators, many lower salaries are supplemented with a per diem, meaning they are given an allowance for daily expenses.
4. Model 2010 median pay: $32,920 What they do: Models pose for artists, photographers or customers to help advertise a variety of products, including clothing, cosmetics, food and appliances. Why the surprise: TV and magazines would have us believe otherwise, but working as a model doesn’t necessarily come with free travel opportunities and six-figure paychecks per photo shoot. Many models work part time and most experience periods of unemployment. This role requires spending a considerable amount of time on self-promotion by putting together and maintaining portfolios, printing composite cards and traveling to meet potential clients.
5. Multimedia artist and animator 2010 median pay: $58,510 What they do: Multimedia artists and animators create animation and visual effects for television, movies, video games and other media. They create two- and three-dimensional models and animation. Why the surprise: Multimedia artists are most often hired by the motion picture and video industries, followed by software publishers, computer systems design and related services and advertising, public relations and related services industries. While these industries may be known for big budgets, the Hollywood-worthy salaries usually go to on-camera stars. Also, the pay may be a surprise considering that 59 percent of multimedia artists and animators are self-employed.
6. Pharmacist 2010 median pay: $111,570 What they do: Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer advice on their safe use. Why the surprise: Education levels often make a big difference in job responsibilities and paychecks. Pharmacists require a doctoral degree and can make six-figures, while pharmacy technicians, who help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication, require a high school diploma or equivalent and make $28,400.
Read more here…