The 20 Most Innovative Careers

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There's nothing worse than being bored at work. They say a watched pot never boils, and the same idea can be applied to a slow-moving work day. Checking the clock six times before lunch isn't going to bring 5 p.m. around any faster.

The best way to avoid overwhelming boredom at work is to find a career that's challenging and allows for creativity and individuality. With this in mind, CareerTrends has found the 20 most innovative careers.

To accomplish this, we used the most recent data available from O*NET, an occupational database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. We used the results from surveys sent out to employers asking them to rate, on a scale of 1 to 5, how much a job "requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems." The occupations with the highest "Innovation Rating" based on the response to the survey question made up the 20 jobs on the list.

Note: We used the most recent wage data from the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center and most recent employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which were released in June 2015 and May 2014, respectively. In the event of ties, the job with the highest employment is ranked higher on the list.

Creativity Preferred

    20. Set Designers: 4.48 Innovation Rating
    19. Hairdressers: 4.5 Innovation Rating
    18. Advertising Managers: 4.51 Innovation Rating
    17. Mechatronics Engineers: 4.52 Innovation Rating
    16. Instructional Designers: 4.52 Innovation Rating

Unsurprisingly, designer jobs require a good bit of creativity. Set designers create exhibits for movie, television and theater sets, with an experienced-level salary of $47,587 (experienced workers typically have three or more years of experience). Advertising managers, who are tasked with creating advertising policies, programs and materials, have experienced salaries of $91,284.

Visionaries Wanted

    15. Painters: 4.58 Innovation Rating
    14. Makeup Artists: 4.59 Innovation Rating
    13. Geographic Information Systems Technicians: 4.6 Innovation Rating
    12. Craft Artists: 4.61 Innovation Rating
    11. Copy Writers: 4.61 Innovation Rating

For an artist, a blank slate - be it a canvas for a painter or an au naturel face for a makeup artist - represents a world of possibilities. Though more of a technical role than an artistic one, GIS technicians assist scientists in building, maintaining, modifying or using GIS databases and can perform custom application development, all tasks requiring a good deal of creativity.

Originality Required

    10. Engineering Professors: 4.62 Innovation Rating
    9. Video Game Designers: 4.67 Innovation Rating
    8. Fashion Designers: 4.69 Innovation Rating
    7. Creative Writers: 4.72 Innovation Rating
    6. Graphic Designers: 4.74 Innovation Rating

With an experienced salary of $95,418, engineering professors are among the highest-paid innovative jobs on the list. Video game designers have a wide range of responsibilities, such as specifying innovative game mechanics, storylines and character biographies. And as any writer can attest, nothing feels more daunting than staring at a blank Microsoft Word document. Having the difficult task of filling page after page with original stories earns creative writers a spot in the top 10.

Innovators Only

    5. Physics Professors: 4.78 Innovation Rating
    4. Interior Designers: 4.78 Innovation Rating
    3. Industrial Designers: 4.79 Innovation Rating
    2. Music Composers: 4.8 Innovation Rating
    1. Choreographers: 4.88 Innovation Rating

The jobs occupying the top two spots - choreographers and music composers - are both part of the fine arts, meaning if you want to make it in that field, you'd better bring a whole batch of fresh ideas to the table.

Learn More About Careers at CareerTrends


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