See if these unique jobs pique your interest.
Everyone knows what it means to be a nurse, plumber or police officer, but there are plenty of other jobs you’ve never thought of. These include positions such as logisticians, clinical laboratory technicians and management analysts. Many of these unique jobs come with good salaries and excellent job growth.
To find the best underrated jobs, U.S. News looked for lesser-known occupations that ranked highly on the Best Jobs for 2021 list. These rankings consider which positions have good incomes, low stress and the chance for a positive work-life balance, among other factors.
Based on our analysis, here are 20 interesting jobs for those who want unique careers. Salary and job growth data comes from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Medical and Health Services Manager
Median Salary: $100,980
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 31.5%
While they work in the health care sector, medical and health services managers don’t provide clinical care. Instead, they manage how health care businesses are run. Also known as health care executives or administrators, these workers may prepare budgets, oversee staffing decisions and develop strategic goals for a hospital, clinic or similar organization.
Medical and health services managers need a bachelor’s degree, and larger organizations may prefer to hire someone with a master’s degree. Degree options in this field include health administration, health management and business administration. In some cases, managers may begin in a clinical role such as nursing and later be promoted to an administrative position.
Learn more about medical and health services managers.
Information Security Analyst
Median Salary: $99,730
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 31.2%
The technology industry is another sector that has many jobs with unfamiliar titles. Information security analysts are specialized workers who design and implement security measures for computer systems and networks. They may monitor for breaches, research the latest security technology and educate system users on security protocols.
Information security analysts often have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field. Some companies may prefer to hire analysts who have a master’s degree. Professionals can demonstrate their expertise by earning a voluntary certification such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional.
Learn more about information security analysts.
Orthotist and Prosthetist
Median Salary: $68,410
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 16.9%
These professionals may have one of the more underrated jobs in health care, but they provide a vital service to those who have lost limbs or need supportive devices. Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate artificial limbs, braces and other prosthetic devices.
To work in this field, you’ll need a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics. In addition to two-years of graduate school, orthotists and prosthetists must complete an accredited one-year residency program before they can be certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics. Some states have licensure requirements as well.
Learn more about orthotists and prosthetists.
Operations Research Analyst
Median Salary: $84,810
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 24.8%
On the face of it, operations research analysts have a straightforward job. They are given a problem, such as how to reduce costs or improve efficiency, and asked to solve it. To do so, they may need to conduct extensive research, use sophisticated software and run hypothetical models using a variety of scenarios. It can be a challenging job, and operations research analysts are paid well for their problem-solving ability.
Workers in this occupation are expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a technical field such as engineering, analytics, computer science or mathematics. A few schools have dedicated degrees in operations research.
Learn more about operations research analysts.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Median Salary: $74,320
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 16.8%
You probably know about this job even if its name doesn’t sound familiar. Diagnostic medical sonographers are often called ultrasound technicians although prenatal ultrasounds are only one facet of the work they do. Health care providers rely on sonographers to provide images of various sections of the body, such as the heart and abdomen, to help with diagnosis and treatment or injuries and ailments.
Training options for this field include one-year certificates, two-year associate degrees and four-year bachelor’s degrees. However, most students find a one- or two-year program is sufficient. Employers may prefer to hire those with a professional certification from an industry group such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
Learn more about diagnostic medical sonographers.
Median Salary: $81,880
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 21.5%
This occupation has been made possible by advances in health care technology. Genetic counselors help assess a person’s risk for inherited conditions. They gather information, suggest testing options and provide consultation reports for physicians and other health care providers. Prenatal, cancer and pediatric are three common specialties within the field.
Genetics counselors generally have a master’s degree. Some states require they be licensed prior to beginning their practice, and professional certification is available through the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Not only do these workers have unique jobs, but they also get paid well and should have good job prospects going into the next decade.
Learn more about genetic counselors.
Median Salary: $137,720
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 3.2%
While renewable energy is making gains, don’t expect oil and gas to disappear anytime soon. And as long as these resources are needed, petroleum engineers will be in demand. These professionals get paid good incomes to help companies extract oil and gas deposits safely and efficiently.
Many petroleum engineers have bachelor’s degrees specifically in petroleum engineering. However, jobs may also be available to those with degrees in other engineering fields such as civil, mechanical or chemical engineering. Some employers may prefer to hire those with a master’s degree or previous work experience.
Learn more about petroleum engineers.
Computer Systems Analyst
Median Salary: $90,920
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 7.4%
Also known as systems architects, computer systems analysts are responsible for ensuring a business or organization’s technology is appropriate for its needs. They may identify technology requirements, configure software and hardware and make recommendations to help systems operate more efficiently and effectively.
A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field is the standard education for computer systems analysts. However, some employers may hire analysts with a variety of educational backgrounds.
Learn more about computer systems analysts.
Median Salary: $69,050
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 4.6%
Compliance officers do just what their name says. They ensure people and businesses comply with laws and regulations. Some manufacturers having their own compliance officers who keep current on the latest rules and make sure the company is following them. Others may be employed by the government or another agency to perform inspections.
A bachelor’s degree is the most common level of education for a compliance officer. However, these workers can have more or less education. Our analysis finds the job market should be bright for compliance officers in the years to come.
Learn more about compliance officers.
Computer Network Architect
Median Salary: $112,690
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 5%
Computer network architects create the framework upon with computer systems operate. They create network plans and layouts, select hardware to support the network and make upgrades as new technology becomes available. It’s a technical occupation that usually requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science as well as some work experience.
Not only do computer network architects earn a six-digit median income, but they also have a near zero unemployment rate. Our Best Jobs analysis gives the occupation high marks for its job market, although the occupation can be stressful at times.
Learn more about computer network architects.
Median Salary: $93,750
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 9.7%
From customer names to shipping records, databases contain information that is essential for businesses to run smoothly. It’s up to database administrators to ensure this information is well-organized and easily accessible by the right people. They perform backups, test systems and merge databases as needed.
Database administrators typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field. However, some employers may prefer to hire those with a master’s degree. To demonstrate their proficiency with specific programs, database administrators may pursue voluntary certification from software vendors.
Learn more about database administrators.
Median Salary: $61,330
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 19.4%
If you or a loved one has ever been hospitalized for asthma, pneumonia or another respiratory illness, you’ve likely come in contact with a respiratory therapist. These health care professionals help patients improve breathing and lung capacity. The vast majority are employed by hospitals, but these workers can also be found in nursing homes and some physician offices.
Both associate and bachelor’s degrees are available in respiratory therapy. All states except Alaska require therapists to be licensed. National certification is also available through the National Board for Respiratory Care. Eligible applicants who pass a certifying examination can earn a designation as either a Certified Respiratory Therapist or a Registered Respiratory Therapist.
Learn more about respiratory therapists.
Median Salary: $85,260
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 10.7%
Management analysts have another of the jobs you’ve never thought of. It’s not that their work is weird; it’s just an occupation that is easy to overlook. Management analysts are hired by companies to help them improve their organization’s efficiency. An analyst may interview key staff, review financial data and identify potential problems before making their recommendations.
Also known as management consultants, these professionals usually have at least a bachelor’s degree and preferably several years of work experience as well. Although not required, some management analysts choose to become certified through the Institute of Management Consultants USA.
Learn more about management analysts.
Business Operations Manager
Median Salary: $100,780
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 5.8%
Every business needs operations managers to oversee departments and daily activities. Business operations managers may have diverse tasks that include hiring people, monitoring budgets and developing strategic plans. With low unemployment and a median six-digit salary, these interesting jobs are worth a second look by anyone planning a business career.
Companies may look for job candidates with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration. Those with extensive work experience may also be eligible for business operations manager positions, regardless of their degree background.
Learn more about business operations managers.
Median Salary: $60,510
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 6.7%
The health care industry contains many occupations that sound like weird jobs but really aren’t all that strange. Radiologic technologists are one example. While their title is unusual, you’re probably familiar with their work. They take X-ray images at hospitals, laboratories and physician offices.
Radiologic technologists generally have to be licensed by their state. For many, that means earning an associate degree from an accredited program and passing a certification exam. Once these professionals have a few years of experience, they may move on to take more advanced images as an MRI technologist.
Learn more about radiologic technologists.
Clinical Laboratory Technician
Median Salary: $53,120
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 7.3%
Clinical laboratory technicians have one of the behind-the-scenes jobs that make modern medicine run smoothly. They often work under the guidance of clinical laboratory technologists to analyze body fluids and tissue samples. They may also study blood in preparation for transfusions.
These jobs are usually filled by people with either an associate degree or a postsecondary certificate in clinical laboratory science. Some states require technicians be licensed.
Learn more about clinical laboratory technicians.
Computer Systems Administrator
Median Salary: $83,510
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 4.3%
Technology has given rise to a number of specialized IT occupations, such as computer systems administrators. These workers configure and maintain computer networks. That may include setting up network hardware and software, implementing security measures and training users.
Like other unique careers in the IT sector, a bachelor’s degree is the standard education for computer systems administrators. However, depending on the employer, an associate degree or postsecondary certificate in a computer field may be all that’s needed to land a job. Regardless of their degree level, computer systems administrators often take continuing education courses to stay on top of the latest trends and developments in technology.
Learn more about computer systems administrators.
Ophthalmic Medical Technician
Median Salary: $36,940
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 14.2%
Ophthalmic medical technicians sound like they have weird jobs, but their work really isn’t all that strange. Technicians complete initial eye exams before a person is seen by an ophthalmologist. Their duties may include collecting patient data, performing basic vision tests and measuring eye pressure.
Some schools offer degrees or diplomas in ophthalmic assisting, but it’s not unusual for workers in this field to be trained on the job. Ophthalmic medical technicians can also pursue voluntary certification to demonstrate their expertise.
Learn more about ophthalmic medical technicians.
Median Salary: $74,750
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 4.4%
These professionals are experts in supply chains. In other words, they are the people who make sure products move smoothly from suppliers to consumers. They can oversee all aspects of acquiring product materials, storing inventory and transporting it to buyers. Some logisticians may be responsible for moving people as well, such as military personnel.
Some people may become logisticians through work experience or by earning an associate degree. However, a bachelor’s degree is a more common entry point into this occupation. Professional certification for logisticians is available through industry groups such as the International Society of Logistics.
Learn more about logisticians.
Environmental Science and Protection Technician
Median Salary: $46,540
Expected Job Growth by 2029: 8.4%
Environmental science and protection technicians may be employed by consulting firms, the government or testing laboratories. Their job takes them into the field where they conduct inspections and monitor for pollution. Technicians may collect air, soil and water samples for analysis and present their findings to verify a site’s compliance with environmental regulations.
To land one of these interesting jobs, workers typically need an associate degree or two years of postsecondary education. Majors in the field include environmental science, environmental health and public health.
Learn more about environmental science and protection technicians.
The best lesser-known jobs include:
— Medical and Health Services Manager.
— Information Security Analyst.
— Orthotist and Prosthetist.
— Operations Research Analyst.
— Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.
— Genetic Counselor.
— Petroleum Engineer.
— Computer Systems Analyst.
— Compliance Officer.
— Computer Network Architect.
— Database Administrator.
— Respiratory Therapist.
— Management Analyst.
— Business Operations Manager.
— Radiologic Technologist.
— Clinical Laboratory Technician.
— Computer Systems Administrator.
— Ophthalmic Medical Technician.
— Environmental Science and Protection Technician.
More from U.S. News
Update 03/25/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.