9 unusual, great-paying jobs for 2020 you've never heard of

Looking for a hot job or a great-paying career path? There may be options in job categories you've never heard of. Most Georgia job seekers already get the idea that the health and tech sectors have the highest demand for workers, and jobs like physician assistants and software developers are paying red hot salaries. But there are some under-the-radar jobs that are also great picks for people looking to get hired in 2020.

Start looking beyond the obvious with these nine lesser-known jobs for 2020 that pay well and offer a shiny future:

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Front-end engineer. Look no further for a job that pays a median base salary of $105,240, makes 3.9 of 5 workers happy and is positioned to increase in demand. Glassdoor tapped this profession as its No. 1 for 2020 among jobs that offer the trifecta of job satisfaction, solid salary and high demand for workers. And don't let the name fool you. According to Chron, front-end engineers are also known as front-end web developers or designers. Their job involves selecting, installing and testing "the user interface elements of a website. The front-end developer focuses on the look and feel of the site, along with its functionality. Job prospects remain strong for front-end engineers, particularly those who have the skills necessary to develop websites that are accessible on mobile devices."

And part of the reason these jobs are so hot for 2020 is that both tech and non-tech companies must compete for those who can do the front-end engineer job, according to Glassdoor senior economic research analyst Amanda Stansell at MarketWatch.

Respiratory therapist. One of the jobs U.S. News and World Report considered lesser-known among those tapped on its Best Jobs of 2020 list, respiratory therapist commands a very decent median salary of $60,280. Its anticipated job growth rate is 20.8% between now and 2028, and its low stress levels and possibilities for work-life balance helped it earn that high ranking. As for the job behind the title, "these health care professionals help patients improve breathing and lung capacity," U.S. News noted. "The vast majority are employed by hospitals, but these workers can also be found in nursing homes and some physician offices. Both associate and bachelor's degrees are available in respiratory therapy. All states, except Alaska, require therapists to be licensed."

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Solar photovoltaic installer. Even its high-ranking spots on rankings of careers with stupendous job growth potential hasn't put this job description into common conversation. What do solar photovoltaic installers do with their work hours? "They install and maintain solar panels," explained U.S. News. "You won't need to spend long years in college to become a solar photovoltaic installer. Otherwise known as PV installers, many workers learn the trade through on-the-job training or apprenticeships. Some technical schools and community colleges also offer classes in the field." This isn't the highest-paying job, with median salary of $42,680. But it can't be beat for expected job growth: It's anticipated to increase 63.3 percent between now and 2028.

Cartographer. If you thought this position went out with Christopher Columbus, it's time to draw a new picture. According to U.S. News, Ye Olde mapmaker jobs currently command a median salary of $64,430 and jobs will grow by 14.7 percent by 2028. "The job of a cartographer, also known as a mapmaker, has evolved in recent years," U.S. News explained. "Paper maps are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and today's Geographic Information System technology has added a technical aspect to the work of collecting data and drawing maps."

A bachelor's degree will usually provide enough education to become a cartographer, and in some states the job also requires getting licensed as a surveyor. "According to our Best Jobs analysis, these professionals don't just have good prospects for future job growth, they tend to have low-stress positions that allow for a healthy work-life balance," U.S. News added.

Speech-language pathologists. Employing data from the BLS Occupational Requirements survey,The Interview Guys ranked speech-language pathologist No. 5 on a list of "top-paying occupations requiring no work experience." More than 70 percent of jobs in this category don't require previous work experience, and the 2018 median pay is $77,510 per year or $37.26 per hour, according to the BLS. But, ah, what do they do? "Assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults," according to the BLS. "Some speech-language pathologists work in schools. Most others work in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals." The work typically requires a master's at a minimum and most states also require these workers to possess a license.

Diagnostic medical sonographers. Another pick from the Interview Guys, who said 56.9 percent of diagnostic medical sonographers won't need prior work experience and can expect to earn a median salary of $73,860. This type of sonographer "provides patient services using medical ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves that produce images of internal structures)," the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs explained. "Working under the supervision of a physician responsible for the use and interpretation of ultrasound procedures, the sonographer helps gather sonographic data to diagnose a variety of conditions and diseases, as well as monitor fetal development."

Of course, this isn't a position you just luck into. According to Study.com, "an associate or bachelor's degree is typically required to pursue employment as a diagnostic medical sonographer. Students also have the option to graduate with a degree in a related field, pursue a certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography, and then receive on-the-job training."

Devops engineer. Another in-demand, high-paying job for 2020 that isn't on the tip of every job seeker's tongue is Devops engineer. The job pays $107,310 median average and has a 3.9 out of 5 job satisfaction according to Glassdoor. What is it? Essentially, a cross between a software developer and IT operator, according to Techno FAQ. Devops engineers are in demand because "they streamline an already expensive process to make it much more palatable for their clients. Why would a business hire a software development manager and a separate operations manager when it can hire one person for both jobs? Why would a software development manager avoid operations? Anticipating operational issues in advance avoids software failure and tweaks."

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The more you study, the better the Devops opportunities, in 2020 and beyond. "If you’re already working higher up in information technology, you probably have the education required to become a devops engineer: a bachelor’s degree," Techno FAQ added. "This being said, earn your master’s degree in some type of operations or management and you’ll find yourself an even hotter commodity on the job market. You’ll also find yourself able to negotiate higher salaries, which is important if you want to live in the aforementioned cities or anywhere in the Silicon Valley. A postgraduate degree increases your chances of finding topnotch employment and benefits."

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons. It's as unlikely that you've heard of this position as it is you could land one of these "doctorate required" jobs, but it's fun to know what's out there. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons ranked No. 9 on U.S. News and World Report's 100 Best Jobs, including a No. 3 ranking among best-paying jobs and a No. 7 rank among healthcare positions.

Why so popular? To start with, the unemployment rate in this category is an awe-inspiring two-fifths of one percent and its mean annual wage is $242,370. If this leads you to wonder what these folks do to earn these wages, they "perform surgeries on the face, mouth and jaw," according to U.S. News. "These professionals are dentists with at least four years of additional surgery training, so they can do everything from treating facial traumas to fixing cleft lips. They can diagnose and treat patients with head, neck and oral cancer. They can even administer anesthesia and perform cosmetic surgeries, such as face-lifts."

These surgeons will be in high-demand in coming years, but only the ones who are dedicated to keeping pace with technology advances in the field. "You have to have a commitment to lifelong learning," Louis Rafetto, president-elect of the American Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons told U.S. News. "The surgeries will stay the same, but the way we do them will change."

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Now that you know what they do, if you've got the time, the science background and the tuition covered, there's plenty of time to earn what it takes to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The BLS projects 7.4 percent employment growth for oral and maxillofacial surgeons between 2018 and 2028, with 400 job openings becoming available.

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