12 hobbies you can turn into a decent paying career

Game testers can make an average of $36,464 a year, according to job site Getty Images

Whether it’s exercising, baking or art, many of us have hobbies we turn to that help make our work weeks a little more bearable.

I mean, who hasn’t wished they could leave the office early – or ditch work altogether – to get back to doing what they love?

But unfortunately, hobbies don’t pay the bills or put food on the table. Or can they?

READ MORE: The top eight careers of the future in Canada

Well as it turns out, turning a hobby into a career can be doable – it just may depend on what your hobby is.

So what hobbies and passions, then, can you turn into a decent paying career?

Job site compiled a list of the top 12 paying jobs that may fit that category and their average salary.

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  1. Swimming instructor – $31,352
  2. Dog walker – $32,404
  3. Cake decorator – $34,558
  4. Game tester – $36,464
  5. Tour guide – $36,952
  6. Makeup artist – $37,765
  7. Gallery assistant – $41,222
  8. Fitness trainer – $43,337
  9. Carpenter – $46,728
  10. Photographer – $48,281
  11. Writer – $49,014
  12. Pilot – $78,315
“[These jobs] provide flexibility and perhaps some opportunities to become your own boss and have your own business,” Jodi Kasten, managing director at, says. “I think this is realistic for people to do, and I think the list we provided here and the salaries that are self-reported by the job seekers and by the employers who are posting these jobs, [people] can make a decent living for sure.”

And it’s not just the millennial generation looking to dab into their passions, it’s people of all ages, Kasten says.

“All of these jobs were from a wide range of job seekers on,” she says. “So we have people who are finishing university and looking for their passion and what they might be doing. Equally you have people at the other end of their career who are looking to transition out of a more professional setting type of job into a second career or retirement career.”

If this is a career path you see yourself on, Kasten offers some advice on how to get that started.

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First, she says, make sure that your choice is something that will truly make you happy.

Second, test out your new venture on a part-time basis to see if it will really work for you.

READ MORE: Are companies setting unrealistic expectations with their entry-level job descriptions? 

Lastly, do your research. Whether you decide to go the corporate route or become an entrepreneur, see what opportunities are out there and formulate a plan.

But one has to wonder just how in-demand these careers are.

According to the Government of Canada’s Job Bank, the outlook for each job varies from region to region.

(The following is rated on a three-point scale of “poor,” “fair” and “good” on the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada website.)

Swimming instructor

B.C., Nova Scotia and Nunavut see the employment outlook in their provinces to be good. However, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador are predicting poor demand.

Dog walker

This job is listed under “pet groomers and animal care workers.” The outlook is considered good in B.C. and Nova Scotia, and poor in Manitoba. Everywhere else predicts a fair outlook.

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Cake decorator

This occupation is found in the “bakers” tag on the website. P.E.I. is the only province predicting a boom for bakers. Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador are forecasting a poor demand.

Game tester

This job falls under “graphic artist technicians” in the Job Bank. The outlook for this career is considered fair in B.C. and Ontario, and poor in Quebec. The remaining provinces list no employment outlook due to low levels of employment.

Tour guide

B.C. is the only province forecasting a good outlook for this career. Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia see a fair demand for this job in the near future. However, the rest of Canada remains undetermined due to low levels of employment.

Makeup artist

Alberta and Quebec predict poor demand, while B.C. foresees a good demand for this occupation. The rest of Canada is unable to provide a prediction for demand due to low levels of employment at this time.

Gallery assistant

This career can fall into two categories: “library, archive, museum and art gallery managers” or “retail and wholesale trade managers.”

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For the former, all provinces are unable to determine an outlook due to low levels of employment.

For the latter, however, B.C., the Northwest Territories and Nunavut anticipate a good outlook. The rest of the country forecasts a fair demand.

Fitness trainer

This career is listed under “program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness.” B.C. and Nunavut are both predicting a good outlook, while Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador report poor demand.


Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Quebec anticipate low levels of employment in their  forecasts. B.C. is the only province to have a good outlook, while the rest of Canada calls for fair demand.


Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario see a fair demand for photographers, while Nova Scotia and Quebec foresee low demand. The remainder of the provinces and territories are unable to predict demand due to current low levels of employment.


The majority of provinces envision a fair demand for writers. However, B.C. is unable to provide a prediction, saying that salaries for writers in that provinces vary as it may be based on talent or entrepreneurship. New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut are also unable to provide an outlook due to the current low levels of employment in this field.

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Manitoba is foretelling a high demand for pilots, as well as New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The remainder of regions predict fair demand with the exception of P.E.I., which remains undetermined due to low levels of employment in the field.

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