Are you sick of working minimum wage at fast food places, or stocking shelves for measly pennies? Does Zoo Curator, Animator, or Loan Officer sound like a better career move? Yes it does, especially if the pay is good.

59% of employees in the United States are paid by an hourly rate. Think of how far you could make a pre-tax $800-a-week salary go from working 40 hours.

Check out this list compiled by CNN of jobs, where you don’t have to take your clothes off, and can get paid more than $20 an hour:

1. Subway and streetcar operators –
Annual = $46,180. Hourly = $22.20. I’m not sure where these ‘streetcars’ are located outside of San Francisco, but subway operator sounds doable. Press a few buttons, babble incoherently over a loud speaker, yell at people for holding the doors open. Don’t forget about the intense responsibility of operating a high speed transport vehicle… and the cool hat. (not pictured)

2. Gaming Supervisors – Annual= $42,390. Hourly = $20.38. These are guys sometimes known as the pit bosses at casinos. The guy brooding and pacing around the casino floor making sure none of the dealers are losing too much. This sounds like a sweet job too. How much education and training do you really need to shake down and break the legs of a card-counting cheat in the back room?

3. Multimedia artists and animators – Annual = $58,030. Hourly = $27.90. Toy Story, Shrek, Bee Movie and Finding Nemo were all great movies that took years of painstaking digital animation and countless artists to create. Everyone’s seen the ‘making of’ for these movies, and you know they need a guy to run around in a weird black suit with motion capture sensors. That could be you! Besides, wouldn’t it be fun to start sneaking hidden sex messages into Disney movies again?

4. Respiratory therapists – Annual = $46,610. Hourly = $23.37. Teaching people how to breathe?! You’re kidding me. These guys bring home this salary for helping doctors treat patients with breathing disorders. Squeeze a plastic bag here, blow a few rescue breaths there and then call it a day. Done and done, pay me.


5. Curators – Annual = $49,980. Hourly = $24.03. Everyone loves museums. According to the writeup on this, these salaries also include zoos, aquariums, nature centers and botanical gardens. These are places you would love to spend your free time. Imagine having a career hanging out at the zoo all day? And don’t tell me it would smell bad, because you know training monkeys to give high-fives and explaining to little kids why two peacocks are climbing on each other are priceless opportunities that lend themselves to great personal amusement.


6. Health educatorsAnnual = $43,370. Hourly = $21.81. Remember Mr. Smithsburg, the health class teacher in high school? He passed around that prosthetic phallus with the silicone testicles showing everyone how to give themselves a testicular cancer self-exam? Well you could do what that guy does and earn a decent salary! Come on, who doesn’t want to be an old creepy guy talking about STDs and prostate exams with young, impressionable, and mortified high school students?


7. Cartographers and photogrammetrists – Annual = $52,600. Hourly = $25.29. These guys make maps and analyze photographs. Seems simple enough, I mean come on, there isn’t really any heavy duty cartography going on these days. Those days of traveling the globe on a ship to sketch landscapes are over. Most of the earth has been Google mapped to oblivion. We can even pinpoint where on a map a kid fell off his bike.


8. Arbitrators, mediators and reconcilers – Annual = $58,790. Hourly = $28.27. I think one of the best examples of this profession is from the opening scene in Wedding Crashers where Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are mitigating a divorce settlement. If everything were just like in the movies, real life would be great. And if hearing people argue about money and squabble about child custody, isn’t up your alley you could always go into buried treasure mitigation hearings. I demand 40 gold doubloons and 3 pirate skulls.


9. Urban and regional planners – Annual = $58,940. Hourly = $28.33. There are people who get their Masters and Doctorate degrees in studying this kind of stuff for city planning, but I’m gonna sum it all up for your so you can start making money in this career. Don’t put the paper mill next to the tire fire yard, and keep the sex offender prison away from the elementary school. Now get planning, we need New New Jersey mapped out by Tuesday.


10. Loan officers – Annual = $61,930. Hourly = $29.77. Want to feel like you’re making a difference with a career? Well jump on the bandwagon and continue to worsen the credit and housing markets by tricking people into high-interest loans they can’t afford. At least you will be able to make your monthly payments, with this sweet new job.

Any other professions that do surprisingly well for themselves? Let us hear it in the comments section.

CNN: Ten jobs that pay $20 an hour, April 23, 2008