Want to get paid to eat ice cream, watch TV and fly around the world? You can. Click the button to check out our guide to a few offbeat careers for your future and how to get them.
Chances are you’ve said, “I want to be a (fill in the blank) when I grow up” at least once. Maybe you said doctor, lawyer or teacher. In this gallery, you’ll meet people who said lumberjack, Barbie designer and taste tester. Find out more about their decidedly different careers, plus what to study now and in college to get paid for your passion later.
The gig: Spending days at the mall talking to people and figuring out what's cool.
The expert: Liana Morgado, Research Manager, Look-Look
The best part: Talking to trend-setting teens and traveling around the country to find them.
Getting there: Watch TV and read magazines. Then study sociology, anthropology, psychology, marketing or business in college.
Cool fact: Being conscientious is "in." (Think Brad Pitt in his environmentally-friendly Toyota Prius.)
The gig: Tasting 60 packages of ice cream each day to ensure the quality is consistent.
The expert: John Harrison, Official Taste Tester, Dreyer's & Edy's Grand Ice Cream
The best part: Isn't it obvious? "I get paid to taste ice cream," says Harrison.
Getting there: Keep your taste buds in tip-top shape, so no onions, garlic or spicy foods that can tweak your taster. In college, pursue a food science or dairy science degree.
Cool fact: The tasting spoon is made of pure gold. Unlike wood or plastic, it doesn't have an aftertaste. Unlike silver, it doesn't tarnish.
The gig: Cooking, arranging and making sure food looks yummy in TV commercials and magazine ads.
The expert: Brian Preston-Campbell, food stylist
The best part: Facing extreme assignments like styling a burnt goat head snack for New York Magazine.
Getting there: Work in a restaurant to learn basic food prep, cooking and baking. Then think about culinary or art school.
Cool fact: The ice in most TV commercial drinks is made of acrylic or glass, not water.
The gig: Work with chemists, engineers and designers to create and improve markers, crayons and colored pencils.
The expert: Dave Rowan, Research & Development Manager, Crayola
The best part: "I get to carve out a piece of my day just to be creative and think like a kid," says Rowan.
Getting there: You'll need a solid technical background. Take chemistry now and engineering in college.
Cool fact: While it only takes 10 minutes to make a crayon, it can take up to a year to come up with a new shade and name it. Who knew all that work went into mango tango?
The gig: Sketch designs and build prototypes of Barbie's clothes, accessories and hairstyles.
The expert: Cassidy Park, Vice-President of Barbie Product Design & Development, Mattel
The best part: "Helping to inspire children," says Park.
Getting there: Draw a lot. After high school, consider going to art or design school.
Cool fact: You and Barbie could be wearing the same shirt. Park's design staff is inspired by the same sources and uses similar fabrics as human clothing designers.
The gig: Rescue and rehabilitate reptiles confiscated by law enforcement.
The expert: Russell Johnson, President, Phoenix Herpetological Society
The best part: "Dispelling myths and fears," says Johnson. When he isn't out wrangling alligators or vaccinating rattlesnakes, he teaches kids to respect their scaly friends.
Getting there: Volunteer to work with snakes at a zoo or animal shelter. Then study exotic animals at veterinary school.
Cool fact: Having a little reptile as a pet can be a big responsibility. A cute 12-inch-long crocodile can grow to 8 feet and live 30 years.
The gig: Traveling the world in search of rare and expensive timber, then supplying it to jetliner companies, RV manufacturers and custom cabinetmakers.
The expert: Keith Stephens, President, Woodworkers Source
The best part: Seeing the world. According to Stephens, Bolivia and Peru have a "combination of cultures you don't see anywhere else."
Getting there: Math and foreign languages are key. Before you head to Paraguay with an ax, you'd better brush up on your Spanish.
Cool fact: Wood can be super expensive. Rare African blackwood can cost up to $90 a foot.