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30 Rewarding Gigs For Laid-back People

SimiOctober 4, 2018

Are you one of those people who, when the alarm clock rings on Monday morning, feels physically ill? When you walk in the door to your house in the evening, is your stomach still in knots? Maybe you have a perpetual headache, find you cannot sleep or feel as though your life is not your own and you have little or no control over what is happening? All of these can be symptoms of job-related stress, a constant pressure at work either from a job you do not like or a job you are not suited for. Taking the dog for a walk or seeing a professional may help, but sooner or later you will have to look seriously at your life and try to decide what to do about it.

Ignoring your health issues will not resolve the problems, and feeling that your life is careening out of control will cause you greater stress. The last thing you need is to have a complete breakdown, and that is where you could be headed without some significant changes. Remember, it is never too late to make a change.

If you know that you cannot handle the stress you are experiencing, and you don’t have the millions in the bank to will allow you to sit back and live a life of luxury in a stress-free environment, you will have to take a long, hard look at what you are doing and resolve to make a change.

To help you along the path, here are some jobs with low stress levels that still pay a living wage. You may have to return to college, but that will also break the stress cycle!

1. Chemical Engineering

This job requires a bachelor’s degree, but it is a rewarding and fascinating job that will lead to a great career. In a nutshell, chemical engineers take raw materials and turn them into useful products. Almost all the food and drinks we eat every day, the clothes we wear and the chemicals we use exist because of work done by chemical engineers. They undertake this research while considering the world’s resources, the health and safety standards and the environmental impact that each product has.

Jobs in this sector can be broken down into two areas: design, manufacture, and use of plant and machinery to produce products, or the development of new products and substances.

This is one of the few jobs that has no typical first job for graduates as they can be absorbed into almost any industry. The most common industries are water cleaning and reclamation, pharmaceuticals, food or petrochemicals. The average annual salary for this type of job is around US$103,000.

2. Civil Engineering

Civil engineers not only build astounding structures such as skyscrapers or bridges, they also must develop and maintain all civilian infrastructure such as roads, railways, bridges, flood defenses, energy requirements, water collection, storage and reticulation, and waste management.

These people are the problem solvers and problem fixers of the modern world. They must come up with solutions to complicated problems and implement those solutions. These problems must be solved while considering population growth, natural disasters and climate change.

With your bachelor’s degree, you can choose one of two routes. The first is to become involved with consulting, where you are one of a team that is more concerned with considering the problem and finding and designing a solution for it. Alternatively, you could work in the contracting side, where you would be concerned with watching the construction and ensuring that it is done to the design specifications.  Your average annual salary will be around US$88,000.

3. Dental Hygienist

Dental work may not be for everyone, but it is well paid at around US$73,000 per year, and it can be gratifying. You will work as an assistant to a dentist and be responsible for cleaning teeth and looking for signs of gum disease such as gingivitis. You will also be responsible for taking and developing X-ray plates, and documenting each patient’s dental history.

You will use many different tools that will allow you to remove plaque, tartar and other stains from patients’ teeth.

Not only will you be responsible for cleaning teeth, you also have a responsibility for teaching patients proper dental and gum care. You will show them brushing and flossing techniques and explain the process of taking care for their mouth and gums.

4. Medical Scientist

To undertake work as a medical scientist, you will need a doctorate or other professional degree, but it can be highly rewarding. Medical scientists make research projects that are aimed at improving human health by determining disease response to a drug, or combination of drugs, and then conducting trials to evaluate the effectiveness of medications under testing.

Medical scientists work in many fields and usually specialize in one area, such as oncology or blood disease, as research projects often take many years to complete. A medical scientist may also work to determine the links between certain aspects of human life and disease. An excellent example of this would be the link between smoking and lung cancer. Scientists who work in the commercial field will have less stress than their academic counterparts, as research grants are not easy to justify and get funding approval.

5. Microbiologist

These scientists will have at the very least a bachelor’s degree, but many places require a much higher level of education. As a microbiologist, you will study small organisms that can’t be seen by naked human eyes such as viruses, fungi, bacteria, parasites, and algae. A microbiologist’s job is to understand how these organisms live and how they interact with their environment.  Many of these organisms are dangerous to humans, animals and the environment, but they all fulfill a specific function, and it is the responsibility of a microbiologist to study these interactions and determine how they affect the world around us.

Microbiologists work in many spheres, including hospitals, and government and civilian laboratories. They work in nearly every industry from the medical industry to animal, plant and crop husbandry, chemical industries, food industries and all the way to outer space. Yearly salaries in this sector usually average around US$76,000.

6. Optometrist

Eye doctors, also known as optometrists, require a Doctor of Optometry qualification, which takes four years to complete, and you will also need a state license. An optometrist examines eyes for health problems as well as refractive errors that result in vision problems.  They might prescribe glasses and contact lenses as required.

There are several places optometrists can work. There are many opportunities for an independent optometrist, as they work in a primary health care sector by caring for their patient base. Working as a hospital optometrist will expose you to many more complex eye conditions, and you will work closely with many eye specialists.  There are also opportunities within the military as well as public health. The yearly salary is around US$115,000.

7.  Art Directors

This is an impressive job title, but it means many different things in different organizations. Many creative fields employ art directors, such as graphic design studios, advertising and media houses, marketing organizations, publishing houses, web design shops, film and television studios, and creators of video games.

Basically, as an art director, you would lead a team of artists and designers working on a specific project, but the amount of autonomy and responsibility will vary according to the type of project you are working on. You will be responsible for the visual style and the pictures in any production, advertisement, product package, magazine or newspaper edition. You must have either a bachelor’s degree or substantial work experience, and can expect a yearly salary around US$101,000.

8. Technical Writer

This is a job that requires an excellent knowledge of the language in which you intend to write. Technical writing involves writing content for specialized magazines, and creating content for technical manuals, instruction guides and maintenance manuals. Not only will you need a bachelor’s degree in your chosen language, you will also need in-depth knowledge of the subject about which you are writing. You must have excellent interpersonal skills, and you will be expected to work closely with technical experts to ensure all the material is accurate. Your ability as a writer coupled with your knowledge of the topic will allow you to write clearly, concisely and unambiguously about the technical subject.

The fields you can work in are unlimited. Technical writers can work in almost any area, but are most often found in scientific and mechanical environments. Salaries vary greatly, but you can expect to earn around US$73,000 per year.

9. Computer Hardware Engineer

This is the perfect job for a technically minded person who enjoys electronics and computer hardware. Your duties can include the research, development, manufacturing and testing of computer hardware. This opens up to a vast field of opportunity ranging from building and installing computers including desktops, laptops, and servers, to developing and testing new peripherals.

In this field you will have to research, track development, manufacture and test items that contain computer hardware in various scientific, industrial, commercial and military applications.

At a lower level, you can work with users of computer hardware and do installations and maintenance of existing equipment and business applications. This will allow you to run your own business. Those in a research environment can expect a yearly salary of around US$115,000, but the sky is the limit in this commercial field.

10. Orthodontist

Orthodontists are highly specialized dentists who have undertaken an additional three years of study in the diagnosis, prevention and correction of structural problems with human teeth. These skilled technicians work to correct misaligned teeth and jaw problems that can lead to speech defects, difficulty in chewing and eating and challenges in brushing teeth to maintain oral hygiene. These bad bites are called malocclusions, or irregular occlusions, and can cause severe jaw and facial problems. Orthodontists do not undertake surgery, and all their work is done with non-surgical processes.

Most often these problems are corrected at a young age, and it is recommended children be examined by an orthodontist to ensure there are no problems although orthodontists can treat patients of any age. There are many fields open to orthodontists, starting from general practice, where patients are referred to you by dentists, to hospital orthodontists, where you would work with a wide range of patients including those injured by accidents. Expect yearly salaries around US$220,000.

11. Hydrologist

This is a highly skilled technical job that will require a master’s degree, but it combines indoor and outdoor work, a real bonus for those who do not want to sit behind the desk all day.

As a hydrologist, you will be expected to measure bodies of water to determine the volume of water and the flow of water in and out of the body. You will be held responsible for researching the flow of water through the earth’s crust. You will also collect samples of water and the soil around bodies of water for analysis purposes, and research the environmental impact of issues such as erosion, pollution and drought.

You will apply the data collected in the field to computer models to forecast water supplies for the future and the impact of pollution, drought and any other issues. You would also assist in the evaluation and feasibility of water projects such as building dams or hydroelectric plants, irrigation schemes for farmers and wastewater treatment facilities. You can expect to earn around US$83,000 per year.

12. Software Developer of Applications

This is a very satisfying job where you will take a customer’s requirements and convert them into computer code to create a system or application for the customer’s use. You are a creative genius behind the computer programs you create. You will not work on computer operating systems, but rather build the applications the user will interact with daily.

You will need to be highly skilled in computer coding and will design, develop, test and implement the software applications you create. While strictly scientific, this job also has a significant component of art and design built in as the application developer must take into account the interface between the computer program and the person using it. For all of this, you can expect to earn around US$102,000 per year.

13. Computer and Information Systems Manager

A computer and information systems manager must have a deep understanding of a company or environment within which they work. They must have a clear understanding of the problems facing the company and be knowledgeable of its goals and future direction.

The computer and information systems manager then goes to the marketplace to find software applications that will work to resolve the problem areas, and be a fit for the future direction the company wishes to take. If no off-the-shelf software will resolve the issue, they might then work with software fevelopers to create a system specifically designed for the company. They would manage the project and oversee the implementation and training of all staff. To undertake this job, you will need a bachelor’s degree and will earn around US$140,000 per year.

14. Actuary

Actuaries are most often found in the insurance industry where they use their highly developed mathematical and statistical attributes to manage risks. They use these skills in three major areas: The first is to evaluate the likelihood of something happening, using mathematical and statistical models to calculate the risks. Secondly, they research and design creative plans to reduce the likelihood of these undesirable events taking place. Finally, they devise suitable means for lessening the impact of these adverse events should they take place.

Being an actuary means having a combination of strong analytical skills, in-depth business knowledge, and a deep understanding of human behavior to calculate and manage the vast array of complex risks that face modern society.

Actuaries are an essential part of management teams that face an ever-changing world and are the brains behind the financial safeguards that we all take for granted and allow us to continue with our lives while letting someone else worry about the risks. Actuaries are paid around US$110,000 per year.

15. Operations Research Analyst

Operations research analysts are the data miners of the world. This job involves the analysis of data and extraction of the most relevant information so the organization can learn more. You will look at trends and draw insight into how the business is performing to determine strategies to drive the business forward or streamline inefficient or ineffective practices.

This role relies heavily on the data from information systems and uses many mathematical and statistical models and simulations that drive value out of the data.  This highly skilled job requires at least a master’s degree in business and analytics, and a deep understanding of business and statistical models. The yearly salary for this job is around US$84,000.

16. Geoscientist

Geoscientists are at the forefront of trying to answer some of the earth’s most challenging problems and are viewed as the caretakers of the resources and environments on earth. They do their best to understand the natural processes that take place on the planet. They investigate soil, water, oceans and atmosphere to develop land-use plans, determine potential environmental impact and find new sources of useful natural resources. The research and information gathered is vital for solving problems that face society and feed into governmental policies for the use of the environment, resource management, public safety and environmental protection.

Geoscientists are concerned with the earth, global climate and what effect climate change will have on the environment, as well as human, animal and plant life. Waste management and how we dispose of waste, water management and how we use natural resources, human suffering because of volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and other natural disasters are all research areas covered by this career. This rewarding and fascinating job pays around US$105,000 per year.

17. Astronomer

Astronomers are the stargazers of the working world, but they do so much more than that! Astronomers research and investigate the universe by trying to understand how stars, planets, galaxies and our solar system work. They study the evolution of stars to try and better understand how our solar system was created and what will happen as it ages. To carry this out, the astronomer studies computer science, mathematics, physics and chemistry, and research the interaction of particles and other physical interactions that take place in the universe.

Astronomers cannot touch or feel the things they study, so they must learn different skill sets and learn to extrapolate data from images captured by telescopes and stellar probes. They do not spend all night peering through a telescope, and most days are spent with images from telescopes, but for a few days each year they spend time exploring the universe for themselves.

18. Economics Teacher

Teaching at the college level will require a master’s degree, but a bachelor’s degree is enough for teaching at a secondary school. For this job, you will need a degree in economics and a teaching certificate. Economists who teach at the college level not only lead instruction, but also undertake research into economic models and propose amendments to those models.

Economists are not only concerned with money, they must also look at issues such as production, labor, investments, land, administrative expenses and taxes. This field often overlaps other areas, so the economist must have a good understanding of mathematics, history, health issues, political science and environmental studies. All these can influence how the economy works so students must learn to appreciate the different fields and how the economy affects and is affected by them. College professors can expect to earn around US$115,000 a year.

19. Physicist

Physicists study, explore and investigate the basic principles that govern the behavior and structure of matter, the interaction between matter and energy and the transfer and generation of energy, in practical and theoretical areas.

There are a wide range of disciplines within physics such as astrophysics (study of stars), chemical physics (study of atomic collisions, sophisticated materials and the behavior of individual atoms), computational physics (study of physics in computer technology), fluid dynamics (study of fluids), laser science (study of lasers), material physics (study of materials with regard to force, light, heat and mechanics), nuclear physics (study of the nature of matter) and plasma physics (study of plasma, solids, liquids and gasses).

All these fields have theoretical and practical applications, and research into each feed into the day-to-day lives of humans in almost every area.

20. Biomedical Engineer

These people have a goal of improving the effectiveness and quality of patient care by analyzing and designing solutions to biological questions. They create products such as artificial devices to replace natural body parts, design machines and systems to diagnose medical issues, install and maintain machines used for biomedical purposes, train clinical staff to use the equipment provided, and work in a team with other scientists and chemists to research, design and develop the engineering aspects of biomedical devices.

These scientists work in many areas such as machine, computer software and instrument design, and the design of new processes for medical problems. They most often have a background in engineering and medicine, and use their expertise in both areas when solving problems. This means these specialists span several disciplines, and this requires a high level of education. Biomedical engineers they usually hold more than one degree.

These scientists can expect to earn around US$100,000 per year.

21. Material Engineer

Material engineers design, develop and test new materials for almost every industry from aircraft parts, computer chips, biomedical parts and everything between. They study the properties of plastics, ceramics, metals, and composite and nanomaterials to make something new that meets the specific mechanical, chemical or electrical needs of an industry.

Material engineers need a bachelor’s degree in material science and engineering so they have the background to create and study materials at the atomic level. You will have to use computer modeling to predict how a material will react in any given environment, and have excellent financial and project management skills as well. It is highly likely that you will work as a member or leader of a team of technical specialists while designing the materials under consideration. Material engineers can expect a salary of around US$94,000 a year.

22. Political Scientist

Political scientists require a variety of skills as they are part forecaster, analyst and research technician. Their area of expertise is to understand how the laws enacted and policies adopted by a government will affect businesses and people in the area. They take historical evidence into account and observe current trends to try and predict the future. Not only do they study what occurs, they also look at public opinion, political party manifestos, economic indicators and international relations to help with forecasting the possible outcomes of a law or policy.

The work of the political scientists is not limited to one thing. Their jobs are multi-faceted, and they must have a broad understanding of the issues at hand to be able to understand the effects of the government on the governed. Salaries for this job are around US$103,000 a year.

23. Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers help farmers apply the latest technology to improve agricultural outputs. They can work in many fields, and may be involved in designing, developing and testing new equipment that makes use of the latest technology such as GPS systems. They may use their skills to assist biological scientists in creating better strains of crops that can resist things like disease or drought. They can also help control pollution or water usage on large operations.

These engineers are also frequently found in the power generation field, where they are involved with the creation of new forms of biomass, such as algae, that can be used to generate power or in the invention of fuels. Agricultural engineers are vital for modern farming and can expect to earn around US$80,000 per year.

24. Statistician

A statistician should hold, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree and uses mathematical techniques and models to interpret data and draw conclusions. They design survey materials and opinion polls to collect data from specific groups of people. These samples must follow statistical norms so the data collected, and interpretations made from it are believable.

After the data is captured, the statisticians look it over, calculate any number of specific results and indicate the reliability and validity of data. Statisticians are found in every industry and earn around US$85,000 per year.

25. Geographer

As a geographer, you will use your bachelor’s degree to study the earth and people. Geographers use many technologies to assist them in their studies, but the most important is GIS (geographic information systems) which helps them make sense of various data sets.

This allows the geographer to take an area and overlay multiple data sets such as aerial photographs, population density numbers, satellite images, flora and fauna data sets, agricultural, forestry and water resources and building densities to advise governments and businesses, and answer questions around population and resource clashes, location of industry, environmental issues and many other problems. The computerized maps they create present complex data sets in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. Geographers work in many industries and can earn around US$75,000 per year.

26. Mathematician

Mathematicians use their college degrees and a combination of mathematical theory, computational techniques and algorithms to answer complex scientific, economic, engineering and business problems. Mathematicians work in two areas, theoretical mathematics and applied mathematics, though the two disciplines frequently overlap.

Theoretical mathematicians will try to move mathematical knowledge forward by developing new principles and knowledge, and understanding previously unknown relationships between the laws of mathematics. Most often this type of mathematician is found in a university or research setting.

Applied mathematicians use their mathematical skills to solve business, economic, engineering and government problems. An example of this would be to determine the most efficient use of a fleet of trucks or an aircraft. Applied mathematicians also work in the security industry, analyzing computer security and decryption and encryption systems.

27. Fuel Cell Engineer

Fuel cell engineers are the alternative energy specialists of our world. They investigate, design, build, test and modify fuel cell components and systems that are used in transportation or stationary applications.

Fuel cell engineers use their bachelor’s degree, often starting out with mechanical or chemical engineering, to undertake experiments on fuel cells. They may use a range of analytical instruments and electrochemical diagnostic instruments to create innovative fuels, or to improve on existing technologies. Computer modeling and computational models are an essential part of the fuel cell engineer’s toolbox when determining design and efficiency. A lot of their work also involves writing reports and working with material engineers to create new materials for use in fuel cells.

28. Oceanographer

Oceanography is the study of the marine environment that includes aquatic ecosystems, marine life, water circulation in the oceans, tectonic plates and the geology of the seafloor. Most oceanographers tend to specialize in one field such as marine biology, which is the study of aquatic plants and animals.

Chemical oceanography is a study in which scientists examine the chemical make-up of seawater, how it interacts with the world around it and how pollutants and other environmental changes affect it. Also, geological oceanographers study the seafloor, how it was created and what is currently impacting and changing it.

The work undertaken by these scientists help us to understand the environment we know little about and ensure we develop the policies required to protect this fragile but vital part of the planet. You can expect to earn around US$50,000 a year for this job.

29. Forest Engineer

As a forest engineer, you will take engineering principles and apply them to the management and sustainable use of forests. This career includes a wide range of skills such as the care of the wilderness areas, watersheds and water catchment areas, timber plantations and the wildlife inhabiting the forests. This work allows the engineer to make viable decisions on the economic use of forests to ensure the sustainable use of these plantations and allow recreational use of the areas.

A forest engineer should have a background in water resource engineering, ecological engineering, road design, soil usage and erosion, timber usage and harvesting, and a little geospatial engineering. You can expect to earn around US$70,000 per year in this field.

30. Audiologist

Audiologists work within the healthcare industry where they specialize in the identification, investigation, diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders. They treat hearing loss, tinnitus and balance problems that relate to the middle ear.

Audiologists administer hearing tests to determine the range of loss of hearing, and prescribe and provide custom-fit hearing aids when necessary. They also diagnose and treat balance problems and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and offer advice on hearing protection.

Audiologists can work in several areas. They are often found in private practice, but they also work extensively in hospitals and businesses where noise is an issue and the care of hearing is required. The implementation and monitoring of preventative measures are essential. Audiologists are also commonly found in hospitals and within all branches of the military. Audiologists earn around US$75,000 per year.

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