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Image: Sommelier
Steve Cukrov  /  Featurepics.com
Master sommeliers' pay from $80,000 to $160,000 a year on average.
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updated 6/7/2012 10:04:13 AM ET 2012-06-07T14:04:13

We all know that radiologists and CEOs make good money. But it’s also possible to pull in more than six figures as an airplane repo man or a master sommelier. PayDay One, a provider of payday loans, compiled a list of 10 unusual jobs that pay well, based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job sites SimplyHired.com and PayScale.com, as well as reports from USA Today, CNNMoney, DailyFinance.com and The Daily Telegraph.

It turns out that submarine cooks in Australia can earn more than $187,000 a year, according to a report from The Daily Telegraph. The base pay is just over $50,000, but submarine cooks can bring in an additional $140,000 in bonuses and allowances each year. Why do they earn so much? According to The Daily Telegraph, these professionals are “critical” to the Australian Navy.

So-called “ethical” computer hackers, master sommeliers and airplane repo men can also pull in six-figures a year. Aircraft repo men, for instance, earn 6 to 10 percent commission on the resale price of each plane they repossess. Given that planes typically cost millions of dollars, these professionals can take home anywhere from $10,000 to $90,000 per plane.

Master sommeliers, who help restaurant diners decide which wines perfectly complement their meals and assist restaurants in crafting their wine lists, can make $80,000 to $160,000 a year. However, PayDay One says not all sommeliers make such good money; only the experienced and extremely knowledgeable ones bring home the hefty paychecks.

A desk job that earns especially well: ethical hacker, which pays more than $170,000 per year ($92,000 on average), according to PayScale.com. Ethical hackers help companies find glitches and weaknesses in their computer systems.

Here is PayDay One’s list of 10 unusual jobs that pay surprisingly well. Not all crack six figures, but some are novel enough that PayDay One thought they merited a mention.

Forbes.com slideshow: Unusual jobs that pay surprisingly well

Orthotists and prosthetists
Average pay: $71,000 per year

These professionals make orthopedic braces and prostheses, like facial parts and limbs, and then measure and fit these devices for their clients.

Psychics
Average pay: $41,000 per year

USA Today reports that in 2009, the economic downturn helped the psychic business as more people looked for answers and reassurance about their financial future.

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Embalmers
Average pay: $45,060 per year

One of theoldest-known professions, embalming entails getting bodies ready for interment based on legal requirements.

Master sommeliers
Average pay: $80,000 to $160,000 per year

Sommeliers help people dining decide which wines complement their meals. They also help restaurants craft their wine lists.

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Subway and streetcar operators
Average pay: $59,400 per year

They operate people-movers and sometimes collect fares.

Flavorists
Average pay: Up to $100,000 per year

Also known as flavor chemists, flavorists synthesize and re-create natural flavors.

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Ethical hackers
Average pay: $92,000 per year

These professionals find glitches and weaknesses in business computer systems.

Airplane repo men
Average pay: Can earn $10,000 to $90,000 per plane repossessed

When the owner of an aircraft can’t or doesn’t make payments, banks hire professionals to repossess the aircraft.

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Submarine cooks
Average pay: Varies, but in Australia they can earn up to $187,000 per year

According to The Daily Telegraph, these professionals, who are “critical” to the Navy, live and work in a steel pressure tube deep under the sea preparing meals, seldom seeing daylight.

Voice-over artists
Average pay: Experienced voice-over talent can earn $50,000 to $80,000 per year

Experienced professionals who do voice-overs for television, radio or movies can earn $300 for 5 minutes of finished audio work, according to DailyFinance.com.

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© 2012 Forbes.com

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