5 Non-Traditional Careers With High Earning Potential

We have brainwashed our youth into pursuing traditional jobs that are well known, easily attainable and considered prestigious.

Society tends to polarize people who work in traditional jobs from those who have non-traditional seldom sought after jobs.

Most of us in the western cultured Caribbean would be praised for pursuing popular career paths. During my time at university, students from various faculties felt that their “degree” was worth more than others due to level of difficulty.

But really, how many people became successful from just their prestigious degree? It is usually the norm to work for someone and work your way to the top.

One’s career path can be quite vagarious and choosing to study a “safe” field because it is perceived to be prestigious, to me, is very normal.

Think about this. If more people are encouraged to pursue a particular niche, who will do the others? Aren’t the other fields as equally important?

Did you know that there are higher paying jobs than the status quo? I know a few persons in specific professions who clock in six figures daily and/or sometimes weekly.


1. Taxi Operator/Tour Operator

During tourists’ season, tour guides are gods.



Photo courtesy: DG Tours

Tour guiding was once seen as a modest job that many people did not venture into. It involves a vast amount of research and knowledge of the entire tourism product (your island).

It was customary for tour guides to work with a tour operator or taxi driver, but in recent times, tour guides are branching off to work independently. While some focus on one niche, the best of the best knows every off-the-beaten path of their island. As a tour guide, it is your responsibility to magnify the guest experience and this does not only come with knowledge of your island but of different cultures.

During a conversation with a tour guide, he enunciated how he made much more money from tours than he did in construction (as a labourer, not a contractor). He elongated the conversation to explain that a tour guide can earn up to XCD$10,000 per month from tours. They also receive tips in excess of his fares which is based on the clientele and level of satisfaction received by the tourist. I have worked in the hospitality sector with tour guides and I can attest to this.

The myopic thinking that tour guiding does not earn a lot is long gone. If you are creative – you will find ways to enhance each guest experience EVERY time and find your unique selling point. The key is partnering with a hotel and delivering above the tourists/guests expectations.

Working independently is more advantageous as a tour guide since you can take tourist to select locations to alter their experience, which allows you to price discriminate.

With the rise in property development in the tourism sector, persons should take advantage of the upcoming opportunities. For example, Kempinski Resort in Dominica is expected to open by December 2018. Jungle Bay Villas and the Marriott Hotel are both currently under construction. So there is anticipated demand for taxi and tour services.

Because ‘Tourism is Me and is You’, everyone should know a little about their island to promote it.

Want to become a tour guide?

Discover Dominica Authority is NOW accepting applications for tour guiding training. Do not miss your opportunity.

2. Tailor/Seamstress

Photo courtesy: pixabay.com

As a young girl growing up, there were only a few persons who sewed. Sewing seemed like something that the “older people” did for leisure and occasionally earned from it.

Luckily, the skills were transferred to the younger generation who are applying innovative techniques and breaking fashion trends. Seamstresses are in high demand. It costs more to make an outfit than to purchase it.

But how rewarding is it?

Here’s a scenario of a popular seamstress:

A seamstress can earn  XCD$4, 000 plus a month based on demand. Using an 8-hour day she can sew up to four dresses depending on the style – taking into consideration, her prep work (measurements and cutting) which has to be done at least a day prior. Also, the time spent attending to walk-ins and alterations she does throughout the day will contribute towards her cash in-flow.

If she charges XCD$75 per dress (more based on the design), with just three (3) units daily, working five days a week, she can then earn up to XCD$4, ,500/month  based on the above schedule. Notwithstanding peak season when she has to work extra hours to meet the influx. If she charges from XCD$10 to XCD$20 for alterations and can do at least five (5) per day.

She can make a living on this.

Wanna learn to sew? There are many local sewing programs at Adult Education Division and Royal Globe Inc.

You can also enroll in a Technical Vocational Educational Training (TVET) soft furnishings and garment making accredited programs to be more marketable and recognized in the Caribbean. Most excellent seamstresses completed short training courses and learned through practice.

An essential aspect to succeed is to monitor your cash flow, learn the small business management skills, financial management and marketing. Practice proper record keeping, know your input costs and price based on their cost of production to measure your return.

The advantage is that you can work for yourself and set your own price margin based on the time it takes you to complete a unit.

3. Cosmetology

 Women have raised the standard of hairdressing due to the demand for extravagant hairstyles, versatility and high fashion. A widely accepted stereotype is that a woman’s beauty lies in her hair.

There are many formally and informally trained hairdressers in the field. This is one of the jobs where both professional training and on-the-job training comes into play. To fully reap the benefits, persons should get certified to gain authority in the field.

The average woman will go to a salon at least once a month to get her hair done, be it natural or relaxed. She has long hair but will still put in a weave (myself included).

An excellent hairdresser should know the fundamentals; from the acidity, hair type, and PH levels, porosity and influence of diet on hair. This understanding will better guide them when putting in colours, treatments, relaxers, and weaves.

If you’re going to do something, be excellent at it.

Right here in Dominica, we have a certified Cosmetologist and Trichologist with 15 years’ experience in the beauty industry. Caribbean Beauty Salon and Clinic provides a plethora of services from makeup, aesthetics, hair, colors, cuts, locs, relaxers, weaves, keratin treatment, manicure, fusion extension, facials, pedicure and makeup

Subjectively, they are the best.

On nail technician

A woman’s nails tell a lot about her personality. If it is cut and neat, she does a lot of work, if it is long and painted she is stylish. I’m kidding. Nail Technicians typically require a few months training to be certified. More women take pride in their nails than before without being considered “stylish”.

The input costs are high but so are the earnings. A typical full-set cost XCD$95.00. During a conversation with a nail technician – she can do up to six (6) sets a day. There are other inexpensive options but the knowledge which accompanies the certified nail techs is worth it.

Pinkies Nails has evolved into one of the best nail technicians on Island. She is self-employed and progressing. Her services include gel nails, acrylic, manicures pedicures and nail treatments.

4. Heavy Equipment Operators


Photo courtesy: pixabay.com

Heavy equipment operation is another high earning field (as owner and/ or operator). Heavy equipment operating involves the operation of excavators, loaders, and rollers etc. These jobs are off the beaten path, capital cost is extremely high and jobs are seasonal.

The work environment may often be remote and sometimes in unsafe places that are hard to reach.  However, the reward is attractive.

I recall after Tropical Storm Erika in 2015, the demand was so high but there was a limited supply of services to clear the roads. These services are compulsory, yet many people gravitate away from it because the level of risk involved is high.

It’s not every day that you find a young man saying “I want to operate an excavator”. Those who are involved are usually family based businesses, so they train their sons from a young age.

It can cost from anywhere from XCD$3000 – $5000 a day to hire the services of an operator and excavator to come onto your property to level the land. There are a number of companies involved in this, for example, Fast Company and George Nanthan, who are well known, may have to work long, odd hours, as there not many competitors.

Due to the requirement for flexibility, they charge more for their services.

5. Trades (Carpentry, Joiners, Plumbers, Tilers, and Electricians etc.)


Photo courtesy: pixabay.com 

To become successful in either of these trades, one must acquire both theoretical and practical training. Having knowledge of one without the other is useless.

During the incipient period, the key is to learn the basics; being able to read and understand designs and plans, know how to match designs, which types of materials correlate with a particular climate.

There are many men who can “do construction, wire buildings, tile and do plumbing’, but most do not know how to do the job consistently enough to earn sufficient money.

Ensure that you are familiar with all the intricacies and risks involved. For example, I had a plumbing issue in my previous apartment and the plumber could not figure out where the water was coming from. I consulted with a more experienced plumber who knows both theory and practical and he could easily identify the issue.

The average daily rate for a worker is XCD$100.

Some Tilers make at least XCD$140 a day based on their level of experience and training. Electricians charge up to XCD$15,000 for one job and they may simultaneously work on multiple jobs.

You do not even need an electrical engineering degree – the best of the best electricians I know learned from old veterans in the trade. As time went by, they educated themselves with the latest emerging technologies in the field.

This does not go without saying that a formal degree is not important – but for these fields – you learn a lot through on-the-job training.

So if you cannot get a job, I encourage you to venture into either of these.

We should encourage more young persons to explore all fields, be it traditional and/or non-traditional. The very same so called admired jobs appear as ordinary. In fact, some of them earn less since the market is over saturated. A balanced society needs persons from all industries –diverse and innovative fields. Bloggers and Photographers are emerging. Perhaps ten (10) years from now, another field will be trending. This just goes to say that unpopular fields should be advocated for as much as the well sought after ones.

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I would love to hear your perspective. Do you know other non-traditional careers that earn much more than popular jobs? Feel free to share in the comments below.