Unconventional career paths you’ve probably never considered

by Nov 29, 2021

For a long time I had a very simplistic view of work. In my head, the options were:

Step 1) go to uni,

Step 2) study something practical,

Step 3) become a doctor, lawyer, or teacher.

It makes sense – at school we’re given a fairly limited scope of options and may not be aware of the sheer scope of potential careers. As a result, many of the more niche or eccentric roles go overlooked. In reality, there are endless possibilities for our future careers – and some you may never have heard of!

Keep scrolling for some inspiration on weird and wonderful jobs you could land depending on your studies. Who knows, you might find yourself applying to become a chocolatier, pet acupuncturist, or puppeteer sooner than you think!


If you study in… Design, Architecture and Business

You could be a… Food Stylist

Don’t let it blow your mind too much, but a lot of the food we see in advertisements isn’t even edible. Making food look good in pictures and film is actually harder than it seems, and the responsibility of an employed food stylist.

There are a bunch of tricks food stylists use to make some of our favourite meals look finger-lickin’ good. Next time you watch an ad, keep in mind that the milk in the cereal is probably glue (it flows better), the steam coming off a burger is more likely caused by microwaving a cotton ball (or tampon, which apparently holds steam for longer), and the cream cheese or icing on a cake is actually shaving cream.

Food stylists are highly respected in the photography and marketing world, making on average around $91,000 a year.


If you study in… Arts and Social Sciences

You could be a… Chief Listening Officer

Put your listening ears on, because it turns out landing a job as a Chief Listening Officer is a legit thing.

If you’re studying in communications, marketing, or a similar discipline, you could find a career here. The job description of a Chief Listening Officer involves monitoring both internal and external communications for a particular organisation, with the aim of improving things like marketing plans and business strategies.

People in this industry are also tasked with reviewing organisations’ social media presence, searching for feedback to improve relationships both within and outside the company. Although this job isn’t super popular in Australia, it’s thought to pay a salary of around $80,000 a year.


If you study in… Engineering

You could be a… Roller Coaster Designer

Engineering is one of the most versatile areas to work within, with careers ranging from sound design to creating chemicals for the medical industry.

One of the lesser-known (but very fun by the sounds of it) jobs someone studying engineering can land is that of a roller coaster designer. Engineering is all about developing and analysing complex systems, and roller coasters are no different!

This job involves a lengthy planning process, ensuring that the roller coaster is designed well to begin with, and followed up with a safety and cost analysis. The engineer will typically be responsible for any troubleshooting after the design process, as well as overseeing the overall process.

Roller coaster engineers usually study mechanical engineering at uni, and are thought to earn over $100,000 a year.


If you study in… Science

You could be a… Hydrologist

What could be more important than a job that deals with the most precious resources we have: water? Hydrology is a fascinating area of work for anyone studying science, spent exploring the water cycle and the effect of human intervention in this movement.

As well as looking at water in general, hydrologists are often tasked with looking at how general human activities have an impact on the hydrologic cycle, water quality, and management and conservation.

Since water is used in most areas of our lives, from drinking and bathing to agriculture and hydroelectric power, hydrologists have one of the most important jobs going. If you’re considering a career in this area, you could end up earning around $92,000 annually.


If you study in… Health

You could be a… Genetic Counsellor

As medical technologies continue to develop, genetic counsellors are going to become more and more popular in the health industry.

Basically, genetic counsellors are responsible for communicating information around genetic testing and results to individuals and families who need them. There are several avenues this could take. Some genetic counsellors provide reproductive advice around screening for genetic conditions before and during the pregnancy process. Others work in paediatrics, giving support to children with genetic conditions and their families.

Further opportunities are available working on family history, cancer, and medical technology, just to name a few! Since 2006, genetic counselling positions have increased by 85%, and are believed to grow a further 29% in the next eight years. Someone working in this area should earn around $96,000 per annum.


There are countless options for careers, with more jobs being created every single day. Long gone are the days where you have to follow just one path after studying. Who knows, your future career might not even exist yet!

Let this be a source of inspiration to continue to search for the career you want. And if you end up on the set of a food advertisement, just remember not to eat the icing off a cake…


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron

Communications Assistant

Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.