5 Unique STEM Careers with High Salary Potential

Published: Apr 19, 2024

 Salary & Benefits       Technology       
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Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are all the rage right now, and there’s plenty of avenues you could go down to find a fulfilling career in STEM. In fact, there are many lesser-known STEM roles that might be of interest to those who really like to think outside the box when it comes to their education and career. Here are five unusual STEM careers.

Rollercoaster Engineer

Those with an interest in STEM fields and who also have a penchant for break-neck speeds, loop-the-loops, and intense vertical drops might enjoy a career as a rollercoaster engineer. That’s right, you can put all your engineering skills to the test in designing and building the next best rollercoaster. You’ll also be responsible for testing your creation, which of course means you’ll be able to ride the rollercoaster before it’s open to the public.

Rollercoaster engineers take pretty much the same path as most mechanical engineers, so a bachelor’s degree in mechanical, electrical, or structural engineering will help you get started; however, a master’s degree might help you get more high-profile jobs. Rollercoaster engineers can expect to make anywhere between $50,000 and $165,000 a year depending on factors such as their level of experience and the project.

Storm Tracker

When we think of storm trackers, we might imagine the gang from Twister chasing tornados and getting into dangerous, high-octane scenarios all over the mid-west. As a storm tracker, you will be engaging with storms and other forms of weather, but in a far more controlled way. You’ll be studying storms and other weather phenomena through the use of various software and gathering data to be used in the media and various publications.

Storm trackers, also known as atmospheric scientists, typically require a bachelor’s degree in meteorology or a related field. This is another one of those careers where you’ll get more mileage with a master’s degree or a Ph.D., so keep that in mind if you decide to make a career out of storm tracking. In this role, you’ll be making anywhere between $72,000 and $190,000 a year.

Toy Designer

If you’re serious about collectibles and looking to get into a STEM career, toy design might interest you. In this role, you’ll be designing and creating exciting new toy prototypes. You’ll also be responsible for conducting research to see what’s popular and what the next big trend will be. In certain cases, you might get the opportunity to work on some major licenses, which for enthusiasts would be a dream come true.

Toy designers take a similar path when compared to product designers. As such, you should get yourself a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, computer science, industrial design, or a related field. The average annual salary range for toy designers is between $70,000 and $110,000, depending on factors such as your level of experience and the project you’re working on.

Flavor Chemist

Have you ever noticed how there’s an insane variety of snacks out there these days? Well, someone has to come up with all those wild flavors and as a flavor chemist, it’s up to you. Flavor chemists might also find themselves working on fragrances to be used in colognes, oils, and other aromatic products. The best part is you’ll get to test your inventions before they’re available for public consumption.

To become a flavor chemist, you’ll need to get yourself a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a relevant field. Flavor chemists also have a lot of experience working in a laboratory environment, so keep that in mind if you decide to take on this career. As a flavor chemist you’ll be making anywhere between $55,000 and $123,000 a year.


This one might be a little controversial, but it is a real job, and you can get paid. Cryptozoologists are scientists who study animals that are officially undiscovered or otherwise considered to be incredibly rare or mythical. In other words, if you’re all about Bigfoot, the Mothman, and other illusive creatures, then you would love this career. As a cryptozoologist, you’ll often find yourself going on expeditions and searching for signs of these legendary creatures.

If cryptozoology seems like something you’d be interested in making a career out of, you’ll need to get a bachelor’s degree in biological science, zoology, conservation, or a related field. Most cryptozoologists start their careers working in traditional zoological roles, while simultaneously working up a specialization in cryptozoology. In this role, you can expect to make anywhere between $43,000 and $231,000 a year.

If you’re looking for an exciting STEM career that’s a bit off the beaten path, there are many options out there to consider. It can be easy to think about STEM roles and limit yourself to some of the more typical career paths, so if you’re a student or you’re looking to make a career change and get into STEM, be creative in the way you view STEM roles—you may find something that’s perfect for your skill set, and that also closely aligns with your hobbies and interests.