In our previous article Unique jobs you might not have considered (part one), we came up with a selection of 15 unusual roles to give people some outside-of-the-box inspiration. After seeing how many members enjoyed the variety that the list had to offer, we’ve pulled together 15 more unique roles that might also be of interest…
1. Air Traffic Controller
If you fancy a challenge and you’re good at concentrating for long periods of time, then it might be worth considering a career as an Air Traffic Controller. Air Traffic Controllers usually work in air traffic control towers, which can be hundreds of feet tall and located near most airports – so if you’re afraid of heights, then this may not be the career for you!
As an Air Traffic Controller, you’ll be responsible for managing an aircraft through every aspect of its flight, from take-off through to landing, to make sure it sticks to its time schedule, stays safe, and takes the most efficient route.
This is by no means an easy role, as the safety of passengers in the sky will be in your hands – you’ll have to use highly sophisticated radar and radio communication equipment to stay in touch with pilots and offer information, advice, and instructions.
Interested in landing this unique position where you could be working high in the sky? The great news is that you don’t need to have any formal qualifications or previous experience to apply. The National Air Traffic Services offer trainee schemes to people with determination, good reasoning skills, and the ability to accept criticism from others. They take on trainees as and when they need them, so even if they aren’t currently accepting trainees, it’s a good idea to register your details with them, so that you’re the first to know when they are.
2. Wedding Planner
Do you love weddings? Would you love to play a big part in helping one of the most special occasions in people’s lives run smoothly? Then a career as a Wedding Planner could be for you! Weddings can be a harmonious yet stressful time for people – mostly because they want them to go well, and you could be a big part of making that happen!
Wedding Planners typically work on a self-employed basis and can offer several different levels of service from full wedding planning, where you’ll organise every last detail of the wedding, through to on-the-day management, where you’ll provide support only on the wedding day itself.
You’ll usually start by having a discussion with clients about their initial ideas and budget, before making a proposal which will set out exactly what you’re able to do, how you’ll do it, and how much you’ll charge. You could be responsible for coming up with colour schemes, finding and booking a venue, and liaising with suppliers such as florists, caterers, and photographers.
The work (although not easy), is often fun and varied, as no two clients will be the same and you may even get opportunities to travel if your clients are planning an overseas ceremony. It’s also incredibly satisfying to see happy couples enjoying their big day as a result of your hard work.
You don’t need any particular qualifications to get started, but if you want to start winning clients, then you’ll need to work on building up your experience. The best way to do this is to start by helping to plan the weddings of friends and family and building up a portfolio to document your work. It can also be helpful to get in touch with local Wedding Planners to ask if you can shadow them.
Although it’s not essential to have any qualifications, it can be useful to take an event management course online to boost your skillset and enhance your credibility. This will also give you more information about setting up your own business.
3. Antique Dealer
Have you got a love of all things old and beautiful and a good head for business? If yes, have you ever considered becoming an Antique Dealer?
Antique Dealers buy and sell a range of second-hand items, such as furniture, pottery, or memorabilia that have become more valuable as they’ve aged. Antiques can be sold in a number of different ways including internet sales, auctions, or on market stalls.
To be successful as an Antique Dealer, it’ll help if you have specialist knowledge of market prices so that you can always be on the lookout for good opportunities to make a profit.
Most dealers work on a self-employed basis, which means that the rate of pay varies considerably – depending on which antiques you specialise in, your level or expertise, and how many hours you commit to finding the right stock. It’ll also depend on how well you’re able to build up a reputation and a customer base.
To succeed in this role, it helps if you have a real passion for antiques as you need great attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of market prices, and good buying and selling techniques. Some people find that it helps to take a short course in topics such as antiques or the history of art, which is offered by a few large auction houses in London such as Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Christie’s Education.
One of the most common ways that people get started as an Antique Dealer is to start by collecting and researching antiques as a hobby and then start up your own stall at a market, or open an internet shop through sites like Etsy.
Are you a people person who doesn’t mind the sight of blood? Then why not give phlebotomy a go? Phlebotomists take blood samples (and possibly other specimens) from patients to be sent to the laboratory for diagnostic testing. They work with members of the public of all different ages and backgrounds and are generally based in hospitals or private laboratories.
While you must be skilled at taking blood, you’ll also have to be a great communicator to help put people at ease and reassure them, as some people can get quite nervous about having their blood taken.
There are no set entry requirements for a career in phlebotomy, but you may have an advantage if you have some experience in the healthcare sector. Many hospitals accept direct applications for paid apprenticeships or trainee positions.
If you’d like to get started, then it’s worth contacting your local hospital directly to find out whether there are any opportunities available. You might also want to see whether there are any voluntary positions available so that you can network, build up some new skills, and decide whether phlebotomy is the right role for you – and this way, if any trainee positions do pop up, you’ll be one of the first to know.
5. Pest Control Technician
If you’ve ever had a pest problem yourself, then you’ll understand how frustrating it can be, and how relieved you were when a Pest Control Technician came to save the day. If you’re in the market for a new job, then you could become that person (as long as you’re not squeamish!).
Pest Control Technicians visit properties where there have been reports of pests such as rats, mice, and cockroaches. The first thing they do is look for signs that a pest has invaded the property and will look for clues as to which animal that could be. Once they’ve identified the kind of pest they are dealing with, they’ll work on trying to clear the property using baits and traps. They’ll usually revisit the property after a few days to check whether the treatment was successful and solve any remaining issues if necessary.
Usually, you can apply directly for jobs in pest control as employers will be willing to train the right person on the job. They tend to look for people with good customer service skills who can remain calm under pressure and be able to think clearly using reasoning and logic. It can also help if you have experience handling chemicals or working in the building trade.
Fancy giving it a go?
6. Court Usher
Court Ushers often act as the “glue” in court proceedings – making sure that court cases run smoothly and that everyone involved with a case – including lawyers, defendants, and witnesses – are present and aware of their responsibilities. They usually possess strong communication and organisation skills and are able to deal with a diverse range of people – from the timid witness who’s nervous about taking the stand to the stressed-out lawyer who’s frustrated by the direction the trial is taking.
Often, Court Ushers will also label and pass evidence to the judge and jury, call witnesses and defendants into the room, and direct the taking of oaths, generally maintaining order in public areas of the court.
If you’ve got an interest in law, but you don’t want to get too involved with the intricacies of legislation and decision-making, then this could be the ideal role for you. You often don’t need any specific qualifications, but you may have an advantage if you have a background in customer service or office administration.
Employers will also look at what personal qualities you have. Patience, the ability to stay calm in stressful situations, and excellent attention to detail are all valued qualities in prospective Court Ushers.
7. Picture Framer
Picture Framers create frames to protect and display people’s photos, certificates, or possibly even 3D objects like medals or memoirs. People will usually only seek out someone to frame things that are of particular importance or sentimental value.
They’ll trust you to help them choose something that will enhance their object and keep it safe. Individuals who go into this profession can usually work creatively, accurately, and within strict time frames.
If you don’t have any framing experience, then you could start by taking a short course in picture framing at your local college or adult education centre. It’s also worth looking out for assistant or trainee vacancies at art galleries or framing shops and working your way up. Many people also decide to work on a self-employed basis – starting by framing images for friends and family.
You might also be interested in joining the Fine Art Trade Guild because they offer plenty of advice on training providers and information on how to start up your own picture framing business.
8. Animal Ambulance and Pet Taxi Driver
If you enjoy driving and you love animals, then why not combine the two and become an Animal Ambulance Driver? Just like humans, animals have accidents and fall ill and sometimes they need emergency transport to a vet or animal centre. This is because, in some cases, their owners may not always be in a position to provide this transport – especially if the animal has special transportation needs to ensure a smooth recovery.
Sometimes, people also book an animal ambulance in advance to transport their sick pet to veterinary appointments if they do not have a way of getting there themselves. Although the primary role of the Animal Ambulance Driver is to drive the ambulance, they also care for animals and their owners from the time they are picked up to the time they are dropped off, so it helps if you have a genuine love of animals and a kind and compassionate nature. They’ll also be responsible for filling out the relevant documentation about the pets and ensuring that the vehicle stays clean and safe.
You usually don’t need any previous skills or experience to become an Animal Ambulance or Pet Taxi Driver, but you do need to have a clean driving licence, an enthusiastic and cheerful nature, and a desire to help animals. Before you head out onto the open road, employers will typically make sure that you have been first aid trained and that you know how to safely move and handle animals.
9. Close Protection Officer (CPO)
A career as a Close Protection Officer (CPO) can offer a great deal of reward, particularly because you’ll be making a difference to clients’ lives by increasing their safety and security while getting the opportunity to work anywhere in the world.
Executives, celebrities, or politicians will hire Close Protection Officers to protect them from physical harm (e.g. violence, kidnapping, mugging, and acts of terrorism). So typical duties can include 24-hour surveillance, shadowing clients during their daily activities, and checking areas for potential threats before arrival.
Because clients’ safety is on the line, the role is quite demanding – there may be long hours involved and you’ll always have to be alert and ready to get clients to safety in the event that they come under threat. However, it’s usually a well-paid profession that can offer a fascinating view of the world that many of us would not normally see.
If you’re interested in becoming a Close Protection Officer, then you’ll need to have a good level of strength and fitness, as well as excellent organisation and judgement skills. You may also have an advantage if you’ve been in the armed forces, have studied martial arts, or worked for the police force.
To get formally qualified for roles based in the UK, you’ll need to complete the Level 3 Certificate for Working as a Close Protection Operative and become first aid trained, so that you can apply for a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence (which is what clients look for when making hires).
Once qualified, it can also be a good idea to join the British Bodyguard Association who can give you support and guidance, as well as access to industry vacancies.
Modern hypnotherapy is not like we see on TV, with the practitioner dangling a crystal in front of someone’s face and sending them into a trance. In reality, hypnotherapy is an extremely popular complementary therapy that helps to bring about positive behavioural changes in clients. People turn to hypnotherapy for a range of reasons, but often they need help dealing with a phobia, addiction, stress, or anxiety.
Hypnotherapy works by making positive suggestions about alternative behaviour whilst clients are in a deeply relaxed state – in the hope that it might stick in their subconscious. Hypnotherapists don’t offer their services as a ‘magic pill’ for people’s problems, but as something that could be very helpful for clients who are really committed to making positive changes in their lives.
Most Hypnotherapists work on a self-employed basis and charge anywhere between £40 and £100 for an hour-long session. There is no set pathway to entering a career in hypnotherapy, but it’s recommended that you take a course such as a Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma that is recognised by one of the professional hypnotherapy bodies, such as the National Council for Hypnotherapy or the National Hypnotherapy Society. The courses will consist of classroom-based learning, self-study, and written assignments, which will teach you all the essential skills and knowledge that you need to start a career as a Hypnotherapist.
11. Victim Care Officer
Working as a Victim Care Officer can be an extremely rewarding, yet challenging profession. The role involves helping people who have been victims of crime come to terms with what happened to them, and offer support through court proceedings. Some Victim Care Officers work with people who are victims of a range of crimes, while others decide to specialise, helping those who are victims of specific crimes like domestic violence or sexual abuse.
Every victim is different and will have their own vulnerabilities so it’s important to tailor your support to their needs as much as possible – which is where the challenge comes in. It’s also possible that some victims may not have opened up about their feelings before, so you must be prepared for any emotions (for example, anger, fear, and guilt) that rise to the surface as they begin to deal with what happened to them.
Although this role can be particularly challenging, there is no doubt that you can make an incredible difference to the lives of people who have been through such a traumatic time. If you think this is something you’d be interested in learning more about, then the best way to get started is by gaining experience.
If you’ve got experience in counselling or working with vulnerable people already, then you might be ready to apply for a role directly. If you haven’t then it’s worth getting your foot on the ladder by doing some volunteer work with a victim or witness care organisation first, such as Victim Support, in order to help you develop the skills needed to support victims.
12. Professional Queuer
Believe it or not, being a Professional Queuer is actually a legitimate job role – and people really will pay you to queue for them for a range of different things. It could be anything from queuing for the release of the latest iPhone to queuing in the January sales.
Queuers usually go equipped with everything they need, such as energy bars, water, and personal toilet facilities to make sure that they can stay in the line for as long as possible and avoid losing their space. By registering on professional queuing websites such as Bidvine, you can offer quotes to clients – on average queuers charge about £15 per hour, but it’s totally up to you what sort of prices you decide to offer people for your services. And there’s no reason why you can’t take a good book or some music to listen to while you wait.
According to research, the average Brit spends three months of their life queuing – so there’s usually plenty of queuing work available. However, if you’re someone who gets bored easily, cannot stand for long periods of time, or just hates queuing, then this probably isn’t the role for you.
Interested to find out more about how it all works?
13. Visual Merchandiser
Have you ever walked past a really eye-catching shop window display and been tempted to go inside? That’ll be the work of a Visual Merchandiser!
Visual Merchandisers are creative individuals who are in charge of putting together attractive visual displays in retail outlets. They aim to create eye-catching aesthetic designs that promote the products and services of that business, and encourage customers to buy them.
Your day-to-day work could include deciding how to make the most of a shop’s space and light, drawing designs by hand or on a computer, and teaching sales staff how to display goods in an interesting and appealing way. If you’re interested in working in retail, but you also want to explore your creativity, then this could be the role for you!
One of the best ways to get started is to apply for a role as a Visual Merchandising Assistant first and work your way up, through training and promotion.
14. Emergency Call Handler
Emergency Call Handlers play a vital role in the smooth running and operation of emergency services in the UK. People will call for police, ambulance, and fire services at all times of the day and night and how their call is handled can literally be the difference between life and death.
Emergency Call Handlers answer calls from the public and direct the correct services to the people who need it. They will often stay on the phone with the person who’s made the call until the service they’ve requested has arrived.
People can be particularly distressed during this period of time, particularly if they or someone they are with are in immediate danger, so the call handler has to be able to stay calm and think clearly under pressure, and to be able to give the caller practical help and reassurance whilst they wait.
If you’re interested in taking on a role where you can make a real difference in your community, then chances are you’ll find working as an Emergency Call Handler extremely rewarding. Employers will usually take people from all backgrounds, as long as you have a calm, positive, and caring nature. You’ll receive full training on the job – including how to deal with high-pressure calls.
Ready to give it a go?
Have you ever thought about becoming a fruit and vegetable ripener? If you are passionate about providing customers with great quality products, then it’s worth finding out more.
Ripeners have specific knowledge of how specific foods ripen and what impact their environment has on them. They use this knowledge, along with purpose-built ripening facilities, to make sure that customers receive the right quantity and quality of fresh products. Some Ripeners work with a single type of produce (e.g. bananas) while others work with a wide variety.
Many employers will take on Ripeners with little or no experience and train them on the job – however, it does help if you already have some experience of working with fresh produce or of working in a quality-controlled environment.
We hope that you’ve found some unusual job inspiration in this article. If not, or if you’d simply like more, then check out our article Unique jobs you might not have considered (part three). Or, if you’re looking for more conventional career change ideas, check out our list of popular career change ideas for over 50s.